Harden yourself with small head size and high swing weight?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Big Boris, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. Big Boris

    Big Boris Rookie

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    What about it? - Hit with a leaded and small head size racquet (like the Wilson PS 6.0 85 sqi, if your normal racquet is a 95 sqi PSC, HPS or 6195) during practise to improve your swing and spotting on.

    I have found that hitting with a heavily leaded racquet improves my topspin groundies. When I go back to my normal racquet I kind of keep the loopy, down and up, swing that the heavy racquet makes me do, and my strokes are much improved, I think.

    However, I have not yet tried using another racquet - with smaller sweet spot. Any ideas? I am maybe planning on buying one.
     
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  2. bcsax123

    bcsax123 Semi-Pro

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    I like racquets with a high SW, it does the work for you.
     
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  3. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

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    Just demo a few and you should find out. Maybe, you never come back to the lighter, MP/OS frames. See my sig for samples :)
     
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  4. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Hard? Go get yourself a 40 ouncer, a pack of marlboro reds, some tats, and a black ford escolade.
     
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  5. alu16L

    alu16L Rookie

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    Playing with a heavier racket forces you hit with better technique, because the racket is less forgiving. If you're looking to get a samller head size racket, I would recommend to try Volkl DNX10 Mid, Yonex RDS001 Mid, and Head LM Prestige Mid.

    All of this rackets ask for more input on your part and reward you with great feel and control. You can also try Dunlop M-Fil 200 Mp. Inspite of the 95 sq. in. head size, that racket has a very small sweetspot and will also force you to work hard on your strokes.
     
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  6. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    to apply the same theory to footwork, people should also play tennis in really heavy construction workboots and a scuba belt..then when they take all that stuff off and play for real, they will be incredibly fast.
     
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  7. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    NBM, I must say, I like that analogy a lot.

    Tennis is obviously a skill-sport, and one's racquet does become an extension of their arm, and we all know that our game involves knowing and understanding a particular racquet. I think it's a very, very scary piece of advice to suggest that a player train with a heavy, small racquet, and then somehow assume that there'll be a positive correlation to their own regular game, especially in terms of technique, which is what you're suggesting.

    I can't deny the fact that it may indeed work for you, Big Boris, because you say it does. I'd be very hesitant to make such suggestions to others. The training principle of Specificity essentially means that we get good at doing what we train to do, and playing with a heavy, small racquet - it'll help make you play better with a heavy, small racquet. If that's your game racquet - fine - it'll probably improve your game (and whether or not it should be your game-racquet is a whole separate discussion not being touched here). If it's not, then for most people it won't improve your game, and it will greatly affect muscle-memory patterns too.

    Think about this: You train for an hour or two with an artificially heavy & small racquet, then play with your normal one. After a few shots, you'll play OK on the shots you have time for, that you can think through. When you're out of position / pushed for time, your body will try and swing the racquet as if it's the heavy one, and your timing will be so far out the window it's just not funny.
     
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  8. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I've expanded my arsenal from 95" Prostaff 6.1 classics in the direction of 92" frames with the LM Prestige mid. It first seemed like everything about them would be limiting, but the combo of weight and flex have given me huge confidence to swing away. Also a good chance that I'll break the sound barrier with my serve next summer. I went in this direction after I noodled with an NXG mid for a while, but that Prince frame is so flexy that it's harder to volley or serve effectively.

    Overall, a heavier racquet with a modest headsize is at least worth having as a training aid. Using one made me move and prepare to hit a lot more efficiently and the very low powered NXG made me use smoother motion to hit a harder serve. These frames just don't let you get away with bad habits.
     
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  9. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Some people strap a 1kg wristweight to their serving arm when practicing. Apparently it helps to develop their serving muscles so when they serve under normal match conditions (no wristweight) they will have more snap and power in the swing and really drive through the ball. I can't confirm whether it works because I haven't tried it but intuitively it may work for those without the time to do a separate weight/gym session.
     
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  10. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    by the way, i hope you all know i was joking....as a long time teaching pro, i can say that nothing delays progress like when people insist on using more racquet than they can comfortably handle
     
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  11. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    PLEASE no one do this!

    Even if you don't believe things I listed in a post above about destroying muscle memory patterns, a ONE KILO (2.2 POUND) weight would risk *massive injury*.

    Serving is not about massive muscles, it's about solid technique. Strapping that weight there would have massive technique implications, and the risk to your shoulder / elbow / wrist is just massive.
     
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  12. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    I should add, some will insist on the weight on the arm thing. I still think it's *terrible* advice, but if you must do it, if it's going to change your life, please do the following:

    1. Go talk to a coach, and get them to evaluate it first
    2. Go talk to a fitness trainer who knows their stuff, they'll talk you out of it too.
    3. If you insist on doing it, start very very small - wear an extra watch or two on your arm, that sort of thing. Going straight to a 1 kilo weight would risk going straight to surgery.

    NB. I'm still not recommending it in any way ever for anyone, but I just have a feeling some people will now feel the need to try this no matter what!
     
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  13. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    OrangeOne, I accept more or less your point about technique. Regarding massive injury I think you used that expression to emphasise the point or maybe not. For a grown adult male 1kg is not heavy and will not build massive muscles. I was thinking more along the lines of the additional weight acting as resistance training.

    I'll come clean and say I tried it once but stopped not because of any pain but because the weight couldn't be strapped on tightly enough so it moved about as I was serving so was irritating me.
     
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  14. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Yeah - I was partially doing it to emphasise a point :), but also because I think the injury risk really is there.

    My concern isn't about 'building massive muscles', it's about the force that 1kg can generate. Sure - lifting 1kg for a grown adult (male or female) is nothing, most of us can lift 20, 30, 40+ kilos with one arm, some maybe more.

    But it's the force that 1kg exerts at the end of a serving arm. A serving arm is a massive lever, and putting the 1kg at the end of that lever results in *much* greater force. As I added, if someone insisted on doing this, I'd want them to start very low - 50 or 100grams, and approach it progressively - the same way people should add lead to a frame.

    I would add that I think the real injury risk isn't related to the lifting or accelerating component of the swing, it's in the slowing-down, where the shoulder and arm have to stop the arm from swinging at a *much* faster speed, while carrying much more momentum.

    Another way to think about it? The serve is, at the core, very similar to a throwing motion. Most of us can throw a tennis ball, or a baseball, or many things. Asking us to throw a 1 kilo weight - which is effectively the same as tying one to your wrist while serving - is difficult enough. But serving with it attached - you don't get to release it, you have to slow it.

    I've been a fitness trainer, and I've coached juniors too. I'd never recommend the wrist weight to anyone, and especially not jumping straight into the one kilo end of the pool.

    [AAAA - thanks for the polite and intelligent reply, by the way. Some would not have seen my post for what it was, I appreciate that you took it the way I'd hoped people would].
     
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  15. AAAA

    AAAA Hall of Fame

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    Points accepted about the lever stuff OrangeOne. I guess I'd just stick to proper shoulder strengthening exercises and afterall the leg thrust and trunk rotation generates most of the power if they are used with correct form.
     
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  16. aznspongehead

    aznspongehead Rookie

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    Well, I'm still convinced that if you use a racket that requires more concentraction to play well with during practice, you would play better with less demanding rackets... someone tell me why that's wrong.

    Do you actually use different strokes for different rackets?
     
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  17. MordredSJT

    MordredSJT Rookie

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    Or maybe they could do drills with some kind of contraption that forces them to stay low and introduces extra resistance. www.apbelt.com

    Or they could do sprints and mobility drills in some sort of vest that makes them weigh more than they really do. www.thexvest.com
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have heard of a top 10 pro (name escapes me) who practises for matches against big servers by having his partner serve to him from the service line.
     
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  19. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    this is a very common practice drill amongst thousands of good players..usually a bit behind the service line
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I can see why drills done with some restraints are useful or why if you run 3 miles daily, a 1 mile race will be easy down the line, or if you practise tough problems for an exam, the exam will be a piece of cake, etc.

    These exercises build fundamental skills and strengths.

    Somehow I don't see that happening with racquets. I think people get grooved to their racquet and that is necessary for advanced play. If it was true that more demanding racquets help, wouldn't you see Nadal practising topspins with a 15 oz stick?

    But I guess you can counterargue saying Nadal is past the point when such things help.

    But I have not heard this in any other sport either. Basketball players don't practise with a heavier basketball. In racquet sports, absolute harmony between arm and stick is essential - the stick is an extended arm.
     
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  21. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I agree. I have a 16 oz Jack Kramer woodie I use to practice serves about once per week. I only hit about 50 or so with it and would say it is probably too heavy for many guys. Something in the 13-14 oz range might be ok for most guys with decent shoulders. The shoulders are so complex and many guys have such weak shoulders to start with, I cannot understand why anyone would internally rotate and pronate with an extra 2 kgs.

    -Robert
     
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  22. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    When you change a racquet's playing characteristics, such as weight and balance point, you will change your swing. That's the downside to using a heavier racquet to practice with.

    On the other hand, a smaller headsize is helpful, IMHO, to help folks who have a tendency to come off the ball-aka getting lazy. That would be me. :) I hit with my woodie against the wall or ball machine a bit each week. The first few minutes is always very painful, but such a demanding stick will keep you wonderfully focussed. I do tend to flatten out my strokes much more with a heavier stick, which means that when I go back to the lighter stick I must focus more on brushing UP on the ball.

    Is this sort of changing of swing patterns helpful to one's game? If you have played a long time, it won't hurt because most better players can play with a trash can lid. If you are a newbie, I think it's probably a question of how much feel you have.

    -Robert
     
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  23. Big Boris

    Big Boris Rookie

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    Different sweet spot location problem?

    What I did with my high sw frame was not practicing match like rapid situations, which I guess might in the long run give you the "wrong" muscle memory when then switching back to your "match frame". I was hitting topspin groundies. The high sw frame then forced my strokes to become more loopy, depending more on all aspects of a good swing. This improved my topspin groundies. I did not have any big problem with poor timing when switching back. So I plan to continue.

    The sweet spot of the 85 sqi psc 6.0, or at least the center of the string bed, is a little further from the butt comparing to a 95 sqi pro staff. Would this be a problem, or can one expect that the swing and hand/eye coordination takes care of that as well? What do you think?
     
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