Does a smaller headsize really equal more control?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Hessam, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    I have always wondered about this question. Is it the headsize or the string pattern, string and string tension and determine who effective you can control your shots with a given frame?
     
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  2. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    behind you, but i have to be somewhere else by the
    if you hit the smaller sweet spot if you mis less though
     
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  3. Sleepstream

    Sleepstream Semi-Pro

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    Typically the smaller headsize racquets provide less power, which may result in greater control. Strings, tension, pattern, and what not may contribute to more control, more power, more spin, or/and whatever else, but stroke mechanics and ability are going to be the main factors for control.
     
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  4. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    in my opinion it is a combination of all those factors - headsize, stiffness, swingweight, racquet-length, stringpattern, string used, stringtension, and last but not least technique that determine control.
    there is a limit in my understanding of headsize - i would say between 90 and 107 sq.inches the above mix applies, although the williams-sisters seemed to have quite some good control :D with a 113 sq.inch stick.
    basically, a larger headsize will have the strings deflect more upon impact and the angle at which the ball will take-off will be broader, so that you would spray more balls since you will not have perfect timing on each and every shot in a real world situation. to a certain extent you will be able to make up for that by stringpattern (denser = less deflection), string choice (stiffer poly = less deflection) and stringtension (higher = less deflection). so, it is possible to have two set-ups of small headsize - open stringpattern 16mains - soft and flexy string - low tension that will render the same amount of control as a bigger headsize - closed stringpattern 18mains - stiffer string - higher tension.
    if you're hitting flat you'll definitely get more control from a smaller headsize. if you play lots of topspin you will feel to get better control from a bigger headsize.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
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  5. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

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    If you hit the sweet spot a lot, lotta control. Small headed racquets usually have small sweetspots, so if you can't hit it, you lose a lot more control.
     
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  6. AngeloDS

    AngeloDS Hall of Fame

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    It depends; in the hand of a good player who has good mechanics and can hit the ball extremely consistent. Then it can provide a lot of control and power.

    However, in the hands of someone unexperienced who just swings aimlessly at the ball and hasn't developed the vision or sense of control. They won't gain control. Rather, they will go deeper and deeper down the hole =p.
     
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  7. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    well sweetspot is actually a point at which there's maximum deflection.... so technically you cant say that an oversize racket has a "bigger" sweetspot than a midsize or midplus racket
     
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  8. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    hessam,
    taken from tw learning center:
    Sweetspot: Simply put, the area of a strung racquet that provides the greatest energy return (power) and accuracy with the least amount of shock or vibration. There are actually 3 sweetspots: Sweetspot 1 is the Center of Percussion (COP) and offers the least amount of initial shock to the hand when struck. Shock is generally accepted as being potentially most harmful to player's arms. Sweetspot 2 is the Nodal Point (or Node) and produces the least amount of vibration when struck. Frame vibration is what players feel after ball contact (lingering, low-level oscillation) in certain (generally more flexible) racquets. While uncomfortable, frame vibration doesn't pose the same injury risk that frame shock does and can be effectively reduced with handle systems, such as Prince's Air+ Comfort Handle (found on their More racquet line) or Head's ShockStop Technology. Sweetspot 3 is the area of Maximum Coefficient of Restitution, or a racquet's power. It is the lowest of the 3 sweetspots. Location of sweetspot is determined by several factors, including racquet weight, balance, length, headsize and string tension.

    there is difference between mid, midplus and oversize. and the racquetframe also deflects hence affecting the deflection behaviour of the stringbed too.
     
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  9. ps60

    ps60 Professional

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    in my experience, the answer is Yes.

    smaller rackets by the way are much heavier. and that maybe an important factor to that.

    i think even if u miss the SS, the distance can't be as large as with a Big size. u 'll just miss the ball at all (with big timing or coordination error) with a small head. Even u probably can't hit the SS constantly with a small head, the heavy racket is still more controllable.

    One dimension of control is the Difference in power when u hit the dead centre and when u hit somewhere else on the stringbed. and i think that difference is smaller on a smaller size stick.

    Thus, the answer is Yes Yes Yes ! :grin:
     
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  10. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    Less torque will help with control. Which obviously a smaller headed racket provides. If you slightly miss the sweet spot with a big headed racket you have greater torque which can lead to badly miss placed shots.
     
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  11. Alafter

    Alafter Hall of Fame

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    "small head is more accurate because when you miss the sweet spot you miss by less distance"

    This argument is retarded. Making larger headsize sound like the cause of your missing the sweetspot by a greater distance is NOT a valid argument.

    You must consider the difference between larger and smaller headsize by thinking about striking the ball at the same off-distance from the sweetspot.
     
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  12. haerdalis

    haerdalis Hall of Fame

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    The reason you have more control with a smaller heaqdsize is because less potential stringbed deflection on impact. If you string the OS tighter you can reduce the deflection of the bigger stringbed and thus gain some control.
     
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  13. ps60

    ps60 Professional

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    short and precise, hoped i could have put it your way :grin:

    U maybe right, but when i use a big size, i would hit the frame as i do with a small size... But the frame is at a bigger distance from centre on a 110" .... :confused:

    Never mind, the small size eg. 93" feels much more stable and string bed difference is smaller, and the result is a more predictable ball.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
    #13
  14. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    Anything that minimizes string bed deflection will increase the "control" characteristics of a racquet.

    The tricky part in choosing smaller headsizes is do you have to skills and techniques to consistently hit the center of the sweet spot.. ;)
     
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  15. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I am going to put this to the test this weekend. I have never used an oversize racquet before and this weekend, I am going to play with the so called Agassi "limited edition" Radical racquet (107 sq-in head size). If I cannot keep the ball in the court then we will know smaller head size equals more control.
     
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  16. ps60

    ps60 Professional

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    i'd like to add one idea...

    that SS is not proportional to head size.
    a good design can have a Big usable area of stringbed in a small head size.

    eg. my current Volkl T10 mid 93" has a bigger usable area than the 95" Rebel. or 100" Diablo.
    (Both Rebel and T10 has 18x20, while Diablo has 16x18)

    my point is head size is only one spec. how the wt is distributed, how much polarised a racket (in both directions) is have much influence on this topic.
     
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  17. pow

    pow Hall of Fame

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    If you hit the sweetspot yes, and apparently, lots of it. I experienced it tonight. The Tour 90 and PS 85 are incredible sticks.
     
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  18. Alafter

    Alafter Hall of Fame

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    I will agree with you that the DIablo MP is NOT a generous stick.
     
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  19. haerdalis

    haerdalis Hall of Fame

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    And also spacing between the strings make a difference in how the racquet feels. So a 16/19 pattern in a 100 sq in head wont always feel the same.
     
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  20. anirut

    anirut Legend

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    To the OP:

    I should think that all the underlined factors do affect control (and/or lack thereof).

    Given the same racket model, using same guage string at different tension, the control will be different.

    Same racket model, one strung with thinner guage and one with thicker guage, at same tension, control will be different.

    String type will also affect control, given that other variables are the same.

    How effective can one control the shots of a given frame? It depends on "what frame" and the person's playing style.
     
    #20
  21. bluetrain4

    bluetrain4 Legend

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    If you're a good player and the racket is a good, stable racket, the difference will be minor. I will give an edge to a smaller racquet for control, but only a minor edge.

    I've hit back to back with a Prince Diablo mid (93 sq. inches) and a POG OS (107 sq inches). And, that's a big jump in size (unlike say, moving from a kfactor 90 to a kfactor 95). Lots of control with both.

    It's been said a thousand times on these boards, but I'll say it again: YOUR skills matter. If you can't control a ball, a racket isn't going to do it for you. Not saying rackets don't make a difference, but more credit is due to the people swinging them.
     
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  22. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    good point bluetrain4, i myself have recently switched from n6.1 95 to 106 nblades and i would even say that i have slightly more control with the bigger frame, which is much flexier too.
     
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  23. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I am hoping for some more control at the net with the Agassi Radical 107 sq-in head size :)
     
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  24. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    mick,
    you could be in for a surprise - that stick is quite heavy, has a 6pts hl balance which, supposed you're able to move it around anyway, makes it quite maneuverable, and if your skill-level allows for centerhits you could place volleys pretty good. i have no troubles with my blades when playing doubles.
    if you wanted to prove a point, you picked the wrong stick.:D i played the regular radical os which is somewhat lighter and had no troubles with it. i prefered the touch i got from the blades though.
     
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  25. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I think I should be okay because when I am at the net, my strokes are really compact. They are more like for blocking and re-directing the ball then hitting the ball. I do have a full swing in the backcourt but I would adjust depending on the condition. The only area I am concerned about is the serve because I prefer to serve with a smaller headsize racquet. Thanks for your feedback, fgs. Will let you know how it turn out this weekend :)
     
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  26. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    mick,
    volleys should be compact unless you go for that swinging topspin approach volley from midcourt, that's another cup of tea. there should also be no problem with such a racquet, having a tight stringpattern too, to have a full swing from the baseline. i'm an agressive baseline player hitting lots of topspin off both sides and i feel very comfortable with those 106 blades. i think the behaviour of the agassi limited should not differ very much since it's not a "rocket launcher" by no means but rather a control oriented players racquet.
    as i pointed out in one of my earlier posts in this thread, due to the bigger deflection of the stringbed in os racquets, these tend to be "magnifying glasses". if you don't hit quite precisely, the balls will definitely spray more since the angle the ball will take off the stringbed is wider. it's a question of hitting precision after all. but everyone should go with the racquet he feels most confident with - than you simply can concentrate on your game and not think about angles of incidence and other stupid stuff while trying to whack that ball.:D
    have fun this weekend and see you around.
     
    #26
  27. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Thanks. I would leave the swinging topspin volley to the pros :)

    I do have great control from the backcourt but that control would lessen significantly when I am on top of the net. I think it's because I cannot see the ball quite as well when it's moving fast up close and there is little time to anticipate and re-act. I could volley well with a 95 head size racquet but sometimes I would frame it and I am hoping the 107 head size racquet would reduce the framing.
     
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  28. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    mick,
    trouble with volleys is, the blocked ones at the net not the swinging ones, that if you hit off-axis you'd have quite a bit more torque on the larger headsizes than you'd have on 95s or 90s, and that will both strain your wrist and have you lose control. have some fast volley drills (have somebody shoot fast balls with high frequency to you) in order to improve on eye-hand coordination under time-stress.
     
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  29. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Alrighty, I had better bring along my K95 for in case the Radical doesn't work out (i should be able to find that out in 15 minutes) Thanks for your insights, fgs :)
     
    #29
  30. Ripper

    Ripper Hall of Fame

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    I've noticed the flatter a player hits the more he/she can benefit from a smaller head size and vice versa.
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    But in reality the greater power coming from the larger headsize imparts more directional control and depth. Also the greater topspin helps in better control. And thirdly, resistance to twisting with bigger head (due to larger moment of inertia) also increases control. I think the sacrifice is in losing pinpoint directional control. I am getting some of the best control with a 100 si head.
     
    #31
  32. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Agreed. It's mostly up to the individual.

    However, all things being equal, from my own experience the smaller head size usually provides more control.
     
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  33. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    I only got to hit with the OS racquet for about 15 minutes before the rain came but you are so right . To keep the ball in play, i had to make slight adjustments to my ground strokes. If I hit my normal ground strokes, I would spray some of the balls. Not quite sure if this is what I want in a racquet although the racquet seems very solid and great for volleying. Will test it out tomorrow again for a longer period.
     
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  34. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    mick,
    hope you have better weather!:D
    the ones you didn't hit perfectly clean are going to spray over the court. and when i say perfectly i mean perfectly! that is the reason why most say that you have better control with smaller headsize.
     
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  35. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    Realistically, control is about the racquet operator and not the racquet and in more cases than not, smaller headed frames give people less control rather than more. People can find racquets with a more obtainable sweetspot which have none of the downfalls that smaller headed frames bring to the table. in the real world, that's what most do. People often make wrong assumptions based upon limited or no experiences or some myths perpetuated on the TW forum.
     
    #35
  36. dr_punk

    dr_punk Professional

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    I agree with NoBadMojo
    you should buy the PS 85
     
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  37. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    nobadmojo,
    i basically agree with you and i think that in one of my earlier posts i mentioned my understanding of it. i would "disagree" with you, although i don't think we disagree on this, that we'd have a difficult time to control a n1 force while taking the usual full and fast swing at the ball. so, yes, it is the operator within certain limits (like 90-107 headsize for instance), and it is the combination of headsize, weight, swingweight, stringpattern, etc. that will have a decisive effect on this "control"-issue.
     
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  38. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    i recently hit with the Volkl Power Arm. I think that has maybe a 115 headsize, and had no problem whatsoever controlling the thing, just to put things into some sort of perspective. i can control almost anything just by spinning the ball more provided it is string reasonably for me. misshitting a small headed frame just doesnt give people very good control at all.
     
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  39. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    i tried a n1 force for five minutes (a guy at a vet tournament gave it to me) and by playing my normal strokes i couldn't really prevent from not hitting the court but constantly hitting the fence.
    now, i'm pretty sure that if i were to give a lesson (so not competitive tennis!), i might get used to that rocket launcher and get it "under control". but that would not be my take of control. that would be isolating this feature from the other ones that make up playing tennis, and most of all you would end up changing (yes, not adapting) your strokes to fit the new racquet, which i find one should do only if they are basically flawed.
     
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  40. Wilson6-1

    Wilson6-1 Rookie

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    I think there is a significant difference between a 90" and 107" headsize; and I think it is an over-simplification to assert that players would lack control at 115", but not necessarily at 107", where it is the "player's ability".

    Not that this next comment is directed at you, but again, it is an emotional debate for some here. In general, I think most serious players would agree that a smaller headsize improves control. It just seems that it is difficult for some on this forum to acknowledge.
     
    #40
  41. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    wilson6-1,
    i think it is a mix. just saying smaller headsize is more control is not generally correct in my opinion. there are 90sq.inch sticks out there, very stiff, with 16mains that really have lots of power, and then you can have a flexier 98 with 18 mains, that in the end will give you the same "control" as the smaller headsize. in this mix you obviously have to include also the string type and tension. most of all, it's the player and the gamestyle. in an earlier post i said that the williams sisters obviously had great control form their 113 sticks and won some slams - i doubt they did in "uncontrolled".:D
    i'm not at all emotional about this, i just post my opinion and experience. the most recent one being that i have the same "control" from my current 106 blades than i had previously with the n6.1 95's, in spite of playing the same string, just 1kg (approx. 2lbs) tighter.
    i'm sure a flat-hitter would bring down fences with my current setup and hence have NO control on faster paced shots.
     
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  42. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    dr_punk, I already got a PS 85. It's great from the backcourt but it's too demanding (for me) to use at up the net :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  43. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    these are good points for sure

    it still boils down to this....there really isnt good control with misshits and frame balls, and i think most of us would agree you get more of those with a small headed frame than you do with a larger headed one, altho i've heard the argument that small sweetspotted frames are actually easier to flush hit because they FORCE you to concentrate ;) the other issue is that smaller headed frames are often heavier frames and as a result many people tend to hit late with these frames more often, and hitting late results in tremendous loss of control for many

    as usual, the reverseness of racquet selection rule applies and people are welcome to play with whatever gear they wish
     
    #43
  44. Wilson6-1

    Wilson6-1 Rookie

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    In my experience, most "flat-hitter" players play with MP or OS racquets anyway, and don't necessarily struggle, but they also tend to play more of a pusher style. I play predominantly doubles now and when I watch others play, I just find that OS racquets don't tend to provide as good of control, whether baseline or volley.

    Lastly, when I watch Serena or Venus play, they are currently playing a Wilson Mid or Midplus, not an OS racquet anymore.
     
    #44
  45. Wilson6-1

    Wilson6-1 Rookie

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    From what I have noticed, the players that struggle with miss-hits or "framing" the ball are more junior players, and most of them play with OS racquets anyway.
     
    #45
  46. dr_punk

    dr_punk Professional

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    well, thats what nobadmojo is always recommending.... thats all i'm trying to say
     
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  47. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Thanks. I am going to give the OS racquet another try. If it does not work out too well, I will move back to the 95 mid plus racquets and stop worrying about racquet head sizes.
     
    #47
  48. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    wilson6-1,
    i just said that they (the williams sisters) won grand slams with 113 sq. inched racquets. currently they are using 103 it seems, but that still doesn't take away those 113-slams.
    i didn't mention my setup, so mea culpa - 106 blades, 337g static, 415 sw due to 12g lead at 11 and 1 o'clock, 1 pt. hh balance, nxt tour 16g at 51lb mains and 49lb crosses.
    i played the n90 and really liked it a lot. but i'm too old for it, meaning that i can't get as often into position to make a perfect shot. i'm playing competitively and therefore i do really care. i find it to be for ME a "digital" racquet - if i'm properly setup for the stroke i have all the control, power, you name it in the world (i started with woodies by the way some 38 years ago!). if my opponent gets me running, i tend to be late on the third or fourth or fifth or ... shot and then i'm having an offcenter hit and that means the ball goes nowhere. so, it's either "on" or "off" = digital.:D
    if i were 10 years younger, i'd most probably be playing a n90 (k90 in the mean time), but i'm getting older with each day and then i don't hit so precisely anymore in a real world situation, hence i need a more "forgiving" stick, and that is currently the 106 blade for me.
    so, i'm not making up universal laws, i'm not saying that i'm right, i'm not suggesting that everyone should do what i do (as a matter of fact they shouldn't!), i'm just telling what my opinion is about a certain issue.
     
    #48
  49. Wilson6-1

    Wilson6-1 Rookie

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    fgs,

    I am not, and I hope I have not, implied that your opinion was wrong, my point was that I thought you were using a small example of players to make a broad statement about the vast majority of players.

    I agree with the vast majority of your posts and believe you provide very sound advice.
     
    #49
  50. dr_punk

    dr_punk Professional

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    don't mind fgs, he/she tends to become irritated after you don't agree with him.
     
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