How can flexible racquets be powerful?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Ashley D, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Hi anubis,

    I'm seeing 4 versions of the APD.

    1. Yellow and Black APD Cortex, 67 ra, sw 324
    2. Yellow and Black APD GT, 70 ra, sw 331
    3. Black and Yellow APD 69ra, sw 316
    4. The Older Dark Grey and Yellow APD, 67 ra, sw 324

    Which one do you have? Also what is your string and tension?

    Thanks!

    Ashley -

    Yeah cool, your post #50 is a bit over simplified, but it's mostly correct. There's a little bit of difference in power with a stiff frame at the very tip and towards the very bottom of the stringbed, but when you hit the center of the strings, the stiffness of a frame makes little or no difference with regards to rebound power.

    By the way, I'm going off line till late tonight. My models are done rendering... back to the world that has nothing at all to do with tennis racquets. (frowny face)

    -Jack
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
    #51
  2. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    LOL, so what about the judgement of LeeD???
     
    #52
  3. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Mine is the new 2013 version. #3 on your list.


     
    #53
  4. Ashley D

    Ashley D Rookie

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    Anubis,
    For what it's worth, here's what I took from Jack's information:

    I can now look at racquets that are a comfortable swingweight, balance, grip size, head size, etc, for me personally, and then pick the most flexible one, which I find more comfortable. I can do this safely, in the knowledge that this is not affecting the power of the racquet greatly, aside from the odd time when I might hit from the tip or base of the stringbed. I've actually found the whole conversation quite liberating! Good luck with your racquet search. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
    #54
  5. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Howdy troops - here's my take on the issues of "power" (yes, issues plural) among racquets with different heft and flex. Just my perspective though...

    I grew up playing serve & volley tennis, so this gave me a keen appreciation for a frame with some stability around the net along with a nice measure of "pop" to put some authority behind both my volleys and serves. My ProStaff 6.1 Classics were wonderful for that sort of work and they also had enough head-light balance to be rather maneuverable for me.

    When I started spending more time around the baseline, those 6.1 Classics forced me to reign in my strokes enough to keep the ball down on the court, but eventually I tried out some more flexible alternatives, including the LM Radical mp, Prince NXG, and Volkl C10 Pro. The response or liveliness of these softer frames was generally more mellow for me, but that meant that I found a greater sense of control and consistency with the flexible racquets - I no longer needed to hold back like I did with the 6.1's.

    So while a stiffer frame may seem to "have" more power in the form of that extra zip off the string bed, my softer racquets let me play with more power. I can take significantly bigger rips at the ball with my C10's and still keep it in the court. I should note that I've tried a couple racquets that seemed just too soft and lifeless for me despite their weight, but I've also sampled a couple of stiff frames that felt under-powered for me because they had no weight to them.

    In Lee's defense, I think that this individual fit is tough to nail down just because swing speeds and styles vary a lot out there. The optimum racquet response for each of us will boil down to a somewhat unique recipe that includes the weight, flex, and also string type and tension. Numbers aside, there's also the ultra-subjective issue of feel. Our racquets need to tell us what's happening at contact so that we can distinguish between good and bad shots. Here's to good vibrations, right?
     
    #55
  6. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Hi Jack,
    Yet again superb info, the best technical posts lately on here have come from you, great stuff, just a couple of questions please:-

    1. So for the very fastest most powerful volleys, you will need a heavy and stiff racket, and need to hit the ball low in the hoop where the dampner would be, is that correct?

    2. One thing you havn't discussed much is where the rackets flex. When measuring the standard racket RA, there is a lot of focus on the throat area of the racket. However I think the reason for the Donnay above, even though having a lower RA reading than the Babolat (mainly due to the Donnay's more flexy throat), demonstrating more power, is because the Donnay has a slightly stiffer hoop than the Babolat, and with the SW being very similar, this makes the difference in power, making the Donnay slightly more powerful than the apparent stiffer Babolat, what do you think about this please?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
    #56
  7. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    And I think if you used the "FlexInfinity" machine as described by Corners below, the Donnay would have a more flexible throat than the Babolat, and Babolat would have the slightly more flexible hoop. I really hope someone here buys one of these machines, to show us all some more examples!

     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
    #57
  8. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    This really is a great thread. I think the key to finding a perfect racket is:

    - find the right head size

    - find the right swing weight (which is usually done with customization)

    - tune the power with string bed tension/ stiffness (which is done with a mix of spacing/ string pattern) and type of string

    - unless you want to risk injury, get a relatively soft racket

    What is shocking to me is how Babolat has become so popular. Is this defiance against science, perhaps a post-modern thing and a rejection of objectivity (just joking. Sort of....).
     
    #58
  9. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Babolats are popular as a fair number of users are not restricted to notions of "players racquets" nor are they resigned to the use of racquets that they have been using for the past 10/15/20+ years. They are free to select what works best for them, while unencumbered by past practice or seemingly the perception on this board.

    Babolats are also popular for the additional reason that they are used by some of today's most popular (and successful) players - all the while, using sticks that are effectively retail. Not saying that they are not customized post-production, but they start as being largely the same as their retail brethren. As such, there is confidence that they could be used at the highest level, if done so properly. This is drastically different than getting the seal of approval from some middle-aged suburbanite or a 3.0-3.5 weekend warrior....

    Finally, they also lend themselves to easy customization, against which many of the most common complaints can be mitigated if not eliminated entirely. After all, it's this customization that renders Head/Wilson pro stocks so popular is it not? Or is it the endeavor to use what the pros use? Either way...

    Why are Babolats not popular here, well, there is the lemming effect but also the fact that despite their perception of being easy to use, they are actually very demanding (hence the many, many comments of those unable to control the stick). The APD is more difficult to use than a Pro Tour 630 for instance, with the former being more restrictive in terms of how the racquet is used. Despite this, I have no hesitation which one has a higher ceiling if "feel" wasn't the end all be all.
     
    #59
  10. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    No offense or anything, but that is a load of crap. Funny though.

    :)
     
    #60
  11. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Man i have to disagree. My experience with the pt630 was that it felt incredible but was a rather heavy stick that requires great footwork.

    The apd to me is rather easy to use. It makes the game easy, but i lose so much feel. That is what i hate about stiff racquets. It is tough to feel the ball at 70ra. Even rafa uses the first version....no surprise as his sticks measure in at 65 ra. Roddicks pure drives were softer as well.

    Anyone can use an apd, which is what makes it special. In the hands of a great player, obviously it will be utilized better. But can anyone use a pt630? Doubtful. Its a rather advanced stick.
     
    #61
  12. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    No offense, taken - but.... what exactly do you disagree with?
     
    #62
  13. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Hey PP -

    The APD has it's issues stock; totally agree. Then again, the PT57A is pretty awful without lead and silicone as well. Nonetheless, at stock, the APD's feel is hollow, and therefore the absolute opposite of "plush." Frankly though, a bit of Blu Tack in the handle, and some weight in the head to get the balance right, takes you a long way in terms of "fixing" the feel. At between 12 to 12.5 oz, the APD GT for instance is about the most stable racquet I've had the pleasure of hitting with, while still being spin-friendly and relatively maneuverable. While I prefer staying at the baseline and bashing away, once modded-up I don't believe I'm losing anything compared to the classics.

    As to the PT630, presuming you have the strength and fitness level the use it, it's a very, very easy racquet to use once you're a moderately decent player. I've seen beginners reverting to it to fix their shots or to handle heavy hitters - it does a lot of work for you. The APD on the other hand demands you have a strong, modern stroke with significant RHS. If RHS drops, presuming youre not an absolutely beginner looking to tap the ball back, it's a tougher racquet to control. If RHS is up, it does things the PT630 doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    #63
  14. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Literally everything you said. Can't really narrow it down.
     
    #64
  15. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Right, well, I don't really expect anything different from someone who has decided to invest in a stable of PT57As and then to advertise it in their signature. The perceived cachet of the PT57As is something you have bought into, and more power to you...
     
    #65
  16. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    What kind of things can it do that a Head with a similar string pattern can't?

    Once the swing weights are high enough and the swing pattern is appropriate for what you want, the rest is all pretty much feel imo (strings being a separate issue).
     
    #66
  17. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    As a decent player who is very strong and pretty fit, I have to disagree with this statement.

    Maybe I just didn't use the racquet long enough, but the APD in stock form was far easier to use. I have also used leaded up APDs and I would agree that they feel a lot better this way, but I just don't really like heavy racquets. I think the advantages are greater for me when my racquets weigh in around 325-330 grams.
     
    #67
  18. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Can you point me to where I was comparing the APD to a generalized Head racquet? Thanks.
     
    #68
  19. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    PP - perhaps this is personal taste; or perhaps your feelings on the PT630 derive from it's weight as mentioned. In terms of someone who prefers lighter racquets or has inherently high RHS with a modern stroke, yes, perhaps the APD is easier to use. However, I think generating moderate to high RHS is more difficult for the average player than coping with a 12.25/+ oz. racquet. Have you tried the PT630 or PT280 with a nice poly? It's hard not to have decent power and depth with that frame (with minimal fear your going to send a shot too far), regardless of RHS or swing/grip type. Not the case with the APD...
     
    #69
  20. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    ok... what can it do that a PT630 can't?
     
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  21. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    If you used correctly, the appearance of more controllable spin and higher power. What you sacrifice, is some feel and perhaps an element of control (the latter likely due to the increase in power).
     
    #71
  22. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is where I have to say that I honestly am not sure. I have been able to generate good head speed since I was a kid so I have no real perspective on this.

    I just find heavier sticks to be a lot more demanding personally.

    I was handed an APD and a PT630 in stock form and I could hit well with both, but the APD was be easier for me (I actually did this a few years back when I used the APD).
     
    #72
  23. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    To be honest, from what I recall of your posted videos on You Tube, you indeed have very high RHS - so I'm not at all surprised that you find it easy/easier to use. Why did you leave? Was it strictly the feel?
     
    #73
  24. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Stiffness..I developed some pretty rough tendinitis that sidelined me for a few months. It just built up to the point of where making ball contact would make me drop the racquet in pain. It was not the APD that did it...it was a bunch of things, but the stiff racquets can flare it back up.

    I just love flexible sticks. I can do so much more with the ball. Im a baseliner, but with so many players standing far behind the baseline, I find the need to hit slice and drop shots more. To really hit great ones, I am more succesful with soft sticks.
     
    #74
  25. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    You know, my perception of the APD changed entirely with the Blu Tack. I remember a few weeks back that Corners was mentioning how the use of silicone, putty, etc. has the practical effect of conveying the impression that the stick is flexier than originally rated. Not doubting him, nor am I confirming his methodology, but I have to say - stiffness is no longer an issue with the BT (it honestly feels very comfortable). If you still have an affinity for the APD, perhaps it's worth a try?

    I have to agree with your last point - the seemingly increased dwell time does tend to benefit drop shots/slices/etc. More of a redirection than a rebound.
     
    #75
  26. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have been using the Pure Storm team with some lead and putty and I find it to be optimal. I like closed patterns and flex. The Pure Storm to me is the best Babolat racquet for how I like to play.

    I dabbled with the PDR and APD many times and liked them, but I always go back to the lower powered player's style sticks.
     
    #76
  27. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I was hoping for that to be true, but it isn't for me. I am developing old wrist issues with the APD, after about 15 hours of use. My next step is to try to find the lowest tension that I can find and still keep the ball in. Every time I string it, I'll be trying a new tension. It's currently @ 50 lbs, down from 54 lbs. I won't go below 40 lbs though, if I still have wrist issues @ 40 lbs, then I'll go back to a Radical (and lose more often, unfortunately).
     
    #77
  28. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Hi, Anubis:

    What string are you using? I find that the Black Widow, Genesis BMs and (especially) the BHB7s are really very comfortable on the APD Gt - I've tried it between 48-55M and 45-52C and find that you really need to make sure that your crosses are strung about 3 lbs looser. Also, are you indeed using Blu Tack? If so, how much are you using? Even if you fill the entire handle w/ BT, you should still be at point where you counter-balance at the frame to get your preferred balance while remaining south of 12.5 oz. Happy to offer any help.
     
    #78
  29. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    That is another absurdly pointless and stupid statement. I'm beginning to think you just can't help yourself?

    Enjoy your stiff little toy. (No pun intended)
     
    #79
  30. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    **** off - I'm sure your PT57s have transformed your game to other-wordly levels unattainable by those who use those stiff toys - such as Nadal, Roddick, Tsonga, etc. Yep, another middle-aged poser thinking his game just demands $500 pro-stocks...;)

    To that end, I wonder why you stick with the PT57s when you obviously can't afford them - hence your stringforum post. Here's a tip, go buy a PT280 or a IG Radical and use your money for something more useful. I'm sure you'll feel no difference in your over-40/50/60s league or blistering doubles round-robins.
     
    #80
  31. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Hey you 2, what's all this got to do with how flexible racquets can be more powerful, please don't ruin this great thread with arguments.

    I'm looking forward to ChicagoJack returning with some more great info. and hopefully answering my questions from post56 on page 3.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    #81
  32. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Literally every assumption you have made is wrong, just like all of your posts on this subject. Which is fine I guess.

    And I haven't paid more than $225 for any racket, including the PT57's.

    I like the 280's but a little harder to customize and people have been asking $200+ for those lately as well.

    Literally no one would agree with your statement that an APD is harder to use than a 280/630 Prestige MP.

    The weight is low on the pro stocks giving room for adjustment, which exactly is what you are a proponent of with the APD.

    I struggle with arm pain and have used radicals, instincts, prestige but settled on the feel of the PT57a with gut mains as my holy grail with respect to feel and comfort. It's not a status symbol (sort of humorous you think a PT57 is a status symbol given you hit with an APD).

    I also have a one hander and the APD simply did not swing the way I needed.

    The point of this thread though is about the science of soft vs. stiff and I agree with the science posted. I don't believe there is a good objective reason for a stiff racket unless someone just loves the feel and has no risk or history of injuries to the upper extremities.

    Oh, and I'm 29...
     
    #82
  33. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Agreed.

    ..
     
    #83
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    1. Not sure about that. I used to play in the 14 oz wood days, and S/V at the highest B level in the mid 70's. Yes, the rackets then were heavier than most of todays.
    But I find a much lighter racket can volley just as well, because the volley is an underspin short swing motion, depth adjusted with grip pressure and ball height. In theory, heavier should hit harder, as it's a more solid backboard....but, in reality, what volleys the hardest is what the PLAYER can get into position and moving forwards at the right time. Seldom are we perfectly position to make a volley, while often, we're reaching, stepping forwards, reaching, or reacting to a ball that is out of our sweetvolleying zone. In all those cases, a lighter SW racket is much more powerful because the player is ready to hit the ball, while the heavier racket is still trying to get there.
    2. I have a couple of stiff headed LMRadMids in PuertoRico. They definetely can hit harder than my MicroGel (softer head), Mfil and Aero200's (softer head), but don't seem to hit harder than my lightweight Aero500's (very stiff head but 2.5 oz lighter in weight and 20 lighter in SW).
    What I say, a powerful racket is only powerful for THAT particular player. Some players don't find a heavier racket to be powerful, and some players don't find a stiffer racket to be more powerful FOR THEM.
     
    #84
  35. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, some interesting stuff there. I do realise that once all the different parameters of actually being out there on the court playing a match come into play, then measuring the variables can be very difficult to judge.
    That's why separating out the variables and trying to analyse specific issues, I find very interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing ChicagoJack's thoughts on my 2 original points as well.
     
    #85
  36. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Most of my points were objective realities. I guess that's above you and your ability to comprehend. Go read the first post you decided the mock....

    So basically, you're a 29 year old with bad form and a bum arm... Yes, you clearly have the gravitas to make recommendations. Despite the use of near stock Babolats by Nadal, Roddick, Tsonga, etc., these frames just don't make it to the exacting standards of the invalid with the crap OHBH.... Oh wait, I thought the APD was vastly easier to use than the PT280/630/57s; I would have thought that easier use would inherently entail OHBHs...

    No wonder you were offended by the lemming comment, as it clearly speaks to you. Again, if you like the PT57A get a PT280 (there are no less than 4 on e*bay well below $200)(you can get it 9HL and below 12.6 oz easily) or a Black Ace 98.... stop wasting money you evidently don't have, just because the PT57A is "grail racquet" on TT.
     
    #86
  37. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Then stop making it personal.
     
    #87
  38. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Well again with your assumptions. It's safe to say you are objectively wrong regarding the effectiveness of your rackets unnecessary stiffness. So are we done or are you going to continue the red herring argumentation of painting a picture of someone you've never met in order to make a (incorrect) point?
     
    #88
  39. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Wow, you don't really read very well do you. Go ahead and quote where I made mention of the effectiveness of my rackets unnecessary stiffness.... Have fun with that.
     
    #89
  40. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Wow. You are an angry little man aren't you. Keep going, you are ruining this thread.
     
    #90
  41. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    That would be you; you're the one who made this personal and now are slithering away.

    You can't make personal attacks without having something of substance underlying your position. You don't; you're just an idiot who lashes out against those who disagree with you. You offer nothing of benefit, so again, **** off.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    #91
  42. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Your first post insinuated the following-

    People only use the PT57a to copy the pros because they started using them 15 years ago, and it's the 3.0 middle aged weekend warrior not giving their seal of approval to Babolat. Also we are lemmings. Then it gets worse and you say the APD is MUCH more difficult to use than the Pro Tour! And the APD has a much higher ceiling people are just stuck on "feel" and that's why we don't all just give up and buy an APD and become enlightened like you.

    Pretty sure you made it personal off the bat with your absurd post.

    So **** off
     
    #92
  43. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Lol what do you do for a living? Hopefully it's not something involving much responsibility.... or the need to comprehend what you read. ;)

    If you're going to make personal attacks, at least understand what you are responding to....

    Nonetheless, I'm done discussing this with you. There's no sport discussing things with the likes of you... Cheers.
     
    #93
  44. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    You made the personal attacks. I am a lemming, remember?
     
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  45. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    LeeD

    I have quite an opposite experience on volleying and weight. I definitely volley better with a heavier stick. Because, as you say yourself, we hardly ever volley in perfect position. If you could always stick your own weight into a volley, it would be perfect. But if you are caught off balance, a heavier stick will still do the trick.

    It is quite simple for me, with my heaviest stick I can just go to the net with self-confidence. I know I will be able to get my racquet on the ball and play a good volley. I have taken balls out of the air on the service line and volleyed them straight into the corner with my heaviest racquet. I couldn't do that with the lighter ones. And about getting in position on time: I really think in singles that is a non issue. There is always plenty of time to react. Doubles might be different, but I most certainly prefer to have a heavy shield in those cases too.

    I do agree with you on point two. In the end it all boils down to what works for a specific player. I simply know from experience that my setup works for me, but another player might have other experiences.
    However, I now really believe one should try a racquet out of one's comfort zone and play a few sets with it. Way too many people look at swingweight and say: "I could never play with that". To be honest, when I first played with what is now my preferred stick, I did not know the swingweight at all, nor the static weight. A friend of mine brought an old racquet to court and for fun I played a match with it. I couldn't believe my own eyes. After a 30 minute adjustment phase, my serves had never been so heavy, my volleys were pinpoint and I felt I could just kill groundstrokes at will. A few days later, another friend of mine told me literally: "You are another player now".

    I would have never played with that racquets, had I known its specs from the start. I now know the racquet has a SW close to 360 and a mid 50s flex, coupled with a static weight around 375, strung with overgrip, no modifications.

    Now, when I try to customise a racquet, I don't use the scale anymore. I still look at the balance, but mostly after I tested the modifications and already approved of them. Numbers don't matter. It is how you play with a racquet that matters. Whether that racquet has 305 or 385 swingweight is just a statistics, nothing more. And I really believe too many people give up on a racquet after a 20 minutes practice. Of course in 20 minutes you will notice that a racquet swings heavier than the one you use, but maybe another 20 minutes later you have grown used to it. People really underestimate how quick the human mind and body adapt to new things. Moreover increases in weight have little to do with muscle, but rather with timing. Playing with a heigher SW will momentary throw off your timing, but in the long run might be much more beneficial.
     
    #95
  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    36,436
    Location:
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    1. I find with lots of player's I play against, a low short volley works better than one deep but not into the corners, so a light racket allows the short angles more, and maybe less of the deep penetrating volleys.
    2. I played 3 years with 12.4 and 12.7 oz DunlopMfil and Aero 200's. I know they don't work for me. And every month or so, I'll spend two days using them to remind myself why I bought 500's.
     
    #96
  47. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Holland - Belgium
    Very well said, my experience entirely! I bought my first 4D200 Tour in the blind because I couldn't demo it, liked the 200 but wanted a more open string pattern. For the first half hour I couldn't keep a ball in play, but as I adjusted my swing and timing to it I started to like it more and more. In a normal demo session I would have dumped this stick immediately, but now I have been playing with it for 3+ years!
     
    #97
  48. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    Guys,

    Stop Swearing... There are kids around and... You could get this thread deleted... and... You could get banned.

    Learn to discuss and disagree without fighting. Be respectful please.
     
    #98
  49. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,098
    I disagree. I think it's a hard racquet to use. Felt like a heavy
    wet noodle to me.

    Again, I totally disagree. The babolat pure drive and APD are
    two of the easiest racquets to use if you string them with
    full poly at a low tension. I've seen park hackers using bunting
    strokes, wristy strokes, and all kinds of homemade methods
    of hitting spin and the babolats helped them keep the
    ball in with more spin, power, and a big sweet spot. Plus
    stock they are light enough for most people.

    I love the pure drive with full lux and a little lead, but
    my wallet and elbow didn't like it -- otherwise I would
    have switched to it. I initially tried it with synth gut and
    it was completely uncontrollable. btw, no racquet
    has ever given me pain. Only the pure drive.
     
    #99
  50. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,013
    I am using BHB7, and I love it. I am not using blu tack, I have not yet experimented with weighting it at all. So far, I feel like the APD is perfectly weighted for me. I have issues with high swing weights, can't really whip that frame around fast enough.

    As soon as I calibrate my new crank machine, I'm going to string it @ 48/46 lbs and see how it feels. I won't really know anything until it has about 8 hours on it though.

    thanks for the help :)
     

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