Arming and lightweight racquets?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by torpantennis, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    I've got a lot of history with modding the frames to my liking. My go-to specs a couple of months ago were 350-355SW, 365-380g and 32.8cm balance. Recently however I went back to a much lighter weight beginner racquet with specs 310SW, 310g, 33cm balance. Hitting with the lighter frame initially felt trivial, and back then I played better with it. But recently I've had a lot of timing problems with strokes. I've played very badly and as I watched a video of a practice session in which I played a bit better, it was clear I was arming the strokes. Nice followthrough, but no hip drive or racquet lag, just armswinging.

    What do you think: Is it really possible to avoid arming with these very light racquets? Or put in another way, is it even possible to hit an ATP style FH with an appropriate racquet lag using a lightweight racquet? Doesn't racquet lag need enough inertia so that racquet naturally "drops" into the lagging position?
     
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  2. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Yes, you can hit an ATP forehand, lag and all, with a light racket.
     
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  3. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    But is it more natural with a heavier racquet?
     
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  4. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    I can see how it would be more natural to feel the need to use your whole body to hit with a heavier racquet opposed to using a lighter racquet where one could feel the ability to cheat and just use their arm.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Relax.
    Loosen your grip, loosen your body muscles, think of quick reaction, not power.
    You will play better, move quicker, see the ball earlier, and move and swing faster....relaxed.
    Light rackets are easy to swing when you are relaxed.
     
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  6. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Yup, too easy! My FH is too whippy atm, timing feels impossible. With a heavier racquet I could hit a similar ball with less RHS and timing problems?
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Then why not save your energy, use LESS effort hitting the ball, and conserve that effort for running faster and extending long matches?
    If a badminton racket get's the job done for badminton, why bother to use a tennis racket?
    Same with tennis, if an 11 oz racket get's the job done, what better job would a 13 oz racket do for you? And if it does, what about a 15 oz racket?
    Why? Are you playing against 6.5 level players who run fast, hit hard, hit deep, and hit with heavy spin?
     
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  8. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    LeeD is correct here. 11.5 and above is overkill for most recreational tennis game.
     
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  9. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Did that, then the armswinging started. Now I've been trying to hit harder, which gave the timing problems.

    I don't know why, but for me it feels impossible to REALLY connect the hip/body rotation to the other parts of the kinetic chain if the rotation is not fast enough. When the rotation is fast enough it gives the stretch to shoulder which then kinda redirects the energy to arm. I think when I used the heavier racquets I didn't have to swing this fast.

    What I tend to do now with the lighter racquet is just armswing without hip rotation, and forcing so long a takeback that it stretches the shoulder. I should get rid of this habit immediately, i.e get that shoulder stretch with hip rotation. Any ideas how to reinforce the stretch with a light racquet WITHOUT swinging as fast as I can?
     
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  10. RajS

    RajS Rookie

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    Guys who can switch to rackets that are drastically different probably have really good technique. I've tried to do that, and the timing differences killed me - bad shots, pain in the joints, and so on. Best to find a racket that's truly comfortable, and make only small changes, in my opinion - unless you are a player with great touch and feel.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I can rally just fine with rackets from 9.3 oz up to Shroud's 15 oz monsters, or maybe 14.5, the one I tried of his.
    Problems come in match play, when points count, and near misses are still misses. I don't play rallyball tennis, I go for the winner first ball, so a racket needs to be somewhat familiar for me to play point play well with.
    Hitting, as in two guys standing at the baseline, or one at the service line, I can hit with anything.
     
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  12. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    ^^Agree, in normal times hitting sessions can be done with almost any racquet. But this is not normal, the timing problem has propagated even to hitting sessions. Guess how I've played in matches!
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Getting your groove back, first and foremost.
    Have a good bud hit you medium fast balls, slightly short of mid NML, so you can hit a few both sides, get the feel back, get the groove back.
    Then, using the light racket, really relax and FEEL the weight of the head, the SW, with a loose grip and relaxed forearms.
    Feel it.
    Now drop feed some, using the light touch, and hitting MODERATE speed, not fast shots.
    Hit 50. After 50 moderate pace shots, you are free to experiment with a faster swing.
     
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  14. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    11.5 is not overkill and 11.5 is a light racket. It is possible to get solid rackets under 11.5 oz but they will usually be less HL and have higher SW. SW is the key number in my view.

    I play against mostly 4.0 to 4.5 players and have been using rackets in the 11.7 to 12.5 range for the last 8-10 years. I am in my late 50s too. SW is usually in the 330-340 range and 4 to 6 HL.

    A decent percentage of the guys I play can hit a 1st serve that hits the fence in the air and/or a serve with decent spin and pace. A lot of these guys can also hit groundstroke with decent spin and pace. I find a racket under SW 330 grams just doesn't get it done. It feels filmsy when returning and volleying and doesn't reverse incoming pace/spin as effectively. Also, I find it easier to hit hard, deep and with spin with SW over 330 g. And, way easier to hit a slice with some bite with heavier frame. Finally, it absorbs shock better on off center hits and we ALL hit off center fairly regularly as you can find 100s of photos of pros hitting slightly off center causing racket wobble/twisting. If pros hit off center, I guarantee you we all do it.
     
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  15. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray can hit sick amounts of slice with their 355 - 370 SW racquets.

    One common setup for the big bashers is two layers of 6-inch lead tape at 3/9 - this will really stabilize the frame on off-center hits.
     
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  16. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    I think you're right. I opted to beef up SW, by adding small amounts of lead at 9/10/11/12, adding 20-30 units SW. Today's practices will show whether this helps taming down the whippiness.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Everyone is different.
    Some, built like a weightlifter, would choose a heavier racket.
    Some, built like a beanpole, would choose a lighter weight racket.
    Ever watch the Conan movies? Arnold always used a huge broadsword. Gerry and the little 'un's used a tiny short sword.
    Same in Lord of the Rings. You don't see the tiny guys using broadswords, and you don't see the huge monsters wielding foils and needles.
     
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  18. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Beefing up SW turned out to solve the problem, at least for today. The racquet was IMO easier to swing, without muscling. It just seems that we all have a personal optimal racquet specs where we can swing naturally, in the most relaxed way.

    My strokes also had more easy penetration, but still I got no problems with the balls sailing long, i.e I was able to generate enough topspin. I'll stick with these specs for a while now.
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Could it be, you did not give enough time to acclimate to the lighter racket?
    Could take over a month, for match play effectiveness, to fully get used to a drop of over an ounce of weight, especially SW.
    Did you just go from your 12 oz racket to something lighter, and expected INSTANT positive results?
     
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  20. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    ^^I've used the lighter racquet for the last 3 months. Up until the last two weeks, I've played relatively well with it, in terms of decreasing errors. BUT, now that I think of it, my match results within that 3 month period haven't been that great. Maybe it's due to my shots losing some penetration with the lighter racquet.
     
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  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    OK, I now agree with you.
    I also cannot hit with a sub 310 SW racket, no penetration, meaningless RHS, and short volleys.
    I add 12" of 1/4" lead tape to the 10-2 positions of my 308SW rackets, making it around 320 in SW.
     
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  22. torpantennis

    torpantennis Legend

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    Beefed up static weight is still only 324g, i.e 11.4oz. Wonder what was the real SW, maybe below 300. :lol:
     
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  23. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    How can you say that? Is core body strength, and overall conditioning not a factor?

    What about personal preference? Half the TW play testers prefer 12 ounce racquets and are now rec players.

    Its not overkill at all. It's a preference.

    Where did you come up with 11.5 as the line to be drawn?
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I thought OP stated original SW was 310, just out of the ballpark, but very close. 300 is playbable only at 3.5 levels, talking incoming shots.
    And yes, big strong guys NEED heavier racket's, while little skinny wimps can play well with lighter rackets.
     
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  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I said that based on experience. Just like we learn that majority of rec players are around 3.5-4.0, and if I trust my tennis/experience, then I believe I know what's optimal.

    What about "core body strength and overall conditioning" in your understanding?
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Predator.
    Personally, I don't see GovJesseVentura being very effective with a .22.
    And, I can't see that guy with glasses carrying a VulcanMiniGun.
     
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  27. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Whats your experience? I have been playing most of my life and have never heard that all rec players should use racquets under 11.5. I see guys with all kinds of variations out there.

    It's not overkill to use a 12 ounce racquet for anybody if they are strong. I was using 13 ounce sticks when I was a junior and we hit pretty much the same way. Heavy topspin, clay style game.

    If a racquet is too light, it doesnt work for everybody. To say that there is some kind of a weight cutoff seems pretty silly.
     
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  28. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you, personally I dislike lighter rackets, my specs say 12.3 ounces.

    I'm also 6'2" and strong enough (been power forward in basketball).
     
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  29. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Kimiko Date's racquet is 14+ ounces and she's no Serena Williams.

    I don't consider myself strong but I can still swing a heavy stick.
     
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  30. WilsonWand12

    WilsonWand12 New User

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    I have to agree with using a heavier racquet. I thought I was maxing out with the Pro Staff 90, but even it was not stable enough for me, so I demoed the Pro Kennex PSE, and it is absolutely perfect in my opinion! I also feel that using a heavier racquet encourages me to utilize my whole body in order to hit effectively. I've made up my mind on switching as soon as possible.
     
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  31. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I'd swear its harder to find heavier racquets.. I got one from Tennis Warehouse but they are always lighter then I imagine because they count 'strung' weight. How much weight does string really add?

    The pendulum has swung to the light weight on racquets.
     
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  32. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    String adds usually 16-18 grams and 30 sw points.
     
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  33. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    Did you ever try using a leverage band by pat dougherty? I think it might help you hit the ball out in front with a lag.

    Harry
     
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  34. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    They are getting harder to find. The KPS88 was discontinued. There's the Ki5 PSE. The BLX 90 is pretty heavy and the Prestige/Radical Pros are not at the top but relatively heavy.

    In general, if you want more weight or swingweight, you need to go customized.
     
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  35. winstonlim8

    winstonlim8 Semi-Pro

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    My sister (5' 4" height), my brother (5' 6" height) and I all used the old Dunlop Maxply Fort when we were 10-12 year old kids. It weighed 13+ oz if I remember correctly, and we never got tennis elbow or any other form of stress-related injury. Or ended up arming the ball, either. It was only after I took up tennis after 30 years and started using a light (10 oz) racquet that I got tennis elbow and started arming my forehand - something I am still trying to get rid of even after switching to an 11.6 oz BLX Pro Tour.

    I forgot to add, my brother and sister represented our country in international competitions. My brother went on to play tennis for an American university when he went for further studies in 1987.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
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