How heavy is too heavy?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Maui19, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I have been experimenting with racquet weights and distributions and have settled on a polarized setup of about 345g. I really like the the heft of the racquet and the combination of stability and maneuverability. When I first went from a depolarized to polarized setup, I had a little trouble getting on top of my spin serves, but I soon worked that out.

    Yesterday, I played 6 sets of tennis (in two sessions)--mostly doubles but some singles too. I played pretty well all day, until the last set or two. I started missing shots I normally make, and the overall level of my game declined. I'm thinking that tennis is a lot like basketball, meaning that when your legs get tired your stroke declines. But part of me wonders if it is the heavier racquet, setup, which I've only been playing for two weeks or so.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. Cooper_Tecnifibre4

    Cooper_Tecnifibre4 Professional

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    Having a heavy setup of 345g can be demanding on your body, Unless you have good Muscle Mass i would avoid going this heavy. But then again some 'Meat Heads' will tell you that 345g is light....so it's really hard to tell you what is what.
     
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  3. Six.One.Tour.90FAN

    Six.One.Tour.90FAN Professional

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    I wouldn't be too upset considering you played six sets.
    But if it is necessary, go down 10-15g to give your arm
    that extra help. Keep the same swingwieght/balance and
    you should be fine. Ultimately, it's up to you to perceive
    if it was the weight with the issue or simply your form.

    90
     
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  4. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    When your shoulders become fatigue, the racquet is considered heavy. Normally, I start with a heavy racquet (~350g) and switch a lighter one later.
     
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  5. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Make sure when you're running around the court, waiting for serve, preparing to hit, etc. that you hold the frame with both hands. One hand should be on the grip, the other on the throat.
     
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  6. TheBoom

    TheBoom Hall of Fame

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    "Use the heaviest racquet you can use comfortably" that is what jollyroger said in his thread and it makes sense
     
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  7. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    The only time that a racket is too heavy is if it keeps you from playing defensive tennis ie it is lessening your ability to get to needed shots. Otherwise a racket can never be too heavy.
     
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  8. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    I feel that when i have a unstrung weight on around 355 grams and over, then it´s simply to much mass!

    I have a couple of paintjob-Wilson PSC that´s 347 grams each at about 8-10 pt head light and they are just about perfect, but with some lead on they turn into unplayable bats
     
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  9. ryushen21

    ryushen21 Hall of Fame

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    I wish I knew. I used to swing a frame that weighed 396g with a 385 SW and it wasn't too heavy. I don't think I wanna know what would max me out.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Gotta isolate what makes your game go downhill.
    If you can still prep and get your racketback in time, maybe you legs started to go south, and that is not the fault of the racket directly.
    If you just can't swing forward fast enough, it's the weight of the racket.
    An example.... I just switched from a 12.4 oz racket to a 10.3 oz'er. Playing four doubles sets, my legs still get tired. My arm now has all the zip as the start of play. So I can't blame my rackets ever, for my decreased level of play due to tired out legs.
    Before, my shoulder would get fatigued, so dropping 2 oz was worth the bucks, thank you, TW.
     
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  11. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    This is how I see the most scientific way of choosing your "best racket".

    Buy or borrow a sports radar (SpeecTrac is OK and not very expensive) and place it far enough so that it measures the speed of the incoming ball and not the speed of your racket face.

    Start with a heavy racket and hit a couple of serves towards the radar. Then a couple of topspin forehands (use as much topspin as you would normally use in a match). Then a couple of topspin backhands. Then try a lighter racket to see if you get any more MPH out of it (I was actually surprized to see that the difference in my serve speed could be as big as 10 MPH just from going 1 lbs lower). Continue to decrease the weight until you see that it no longer pays off. This is your maximum weight, your first estimate.

    Try it in a match situation. See if you can handle it without getting tired/sore, and if you are constantly late with your swings or not. If you cannot - continue to reduce the weight. If you can swing it - stick with it, it is your best weapon, and you know it for a fact without any guesswork.

    This only helps if you need the most efficient racket for competition. If you just want to improve your technique, a heavier one could be helpful to teach you early preparation and using your body muscles (to avoid arming the ball). Beware of bad habits though, such as a slow swing and overly flat shots (relying on the mass too much and sacrificing the racket head speed and the resulting topspin).
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
    #11
  12. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I've had my volkl PB10 Mid up to 366g+ and 9pts head light and really enjoyed its performance. I never felt too tired to play but after three hours I certainly felt it. It's now down to 355g and I'm buying a DNX 10 mid which I hope will weigh no more than 346g after any tweaks (eg overgrip and dampener).
     
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  13. rlau

    rlau Professional

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    In my experience the DNX 10 Mid swung a lot more cumbersome than the PB 10 Mid, especially in long matches, so be aware that the static weight of a frame does not tell the whole story....
     
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  14. adizzy

    adizzy Rookie

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    If you are asking (meaning you arent used to anything as of yet) I would say anything over 12.0 oz. Many will disagree and everyone absolutely everyone has a right to their opion. But unless u r truly some kind of physical specimen, I would say 12.0 is about the limit. The other thing is if you are playing at a very, very high level.

    Just my opinion.
     
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  15. Chezbeeno

    Chezbeeno Semi-Pro

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    It's all about personal preference and what feels best to you
     
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  16. OldButGame

    OldButGame Hall of Fame

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    The way i experience 'Too Much Weight' is a loss of stamina and too much fatigue before the end of the match. For me it doesnt get localized to legs or arms or anywhere specific as much as getting winded and not getting that wind back. I can do more things with the heavier racquets, but really have to be in shape to use them effectively without tiring. Could just be my age talking..:(
     
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  17. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    Nobadmojo's rule of thumb is the best!

    If you can swing it fast enough for long enough against opponents at your level then it's ok.

    Applying NBM's rule to your case, if you typically play that many sets for that long of a period then the racquet is too heavy for you because you couldn't swing your frame properly for the last 2 sets.

    I think the racquet is probably ok bc it seems like you had an atypically long session when you last hit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2010
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  18. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    To me, the easiest way to see if my racquet is too heavy is to try kick serves with it. If I can't get enough racquet speed and wrist snap is difficult...then it's too heavy. Serves are where the racquet feels heaviest, so if you can serve effectively for 3 long sets, then the racquet is not too heavy. Also, you should be able to set up for a forehand and then be able to pull it wide crosscourt or go down the line, without tipping it off too much.
     
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  19. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    That's where I first noticed it--on the serve. I was having trouble getting on top of my serves in the last 1-1/2 sets and had to focus on really snapping my wrist. Before that, I was serving really well.

    I am really really liking this setup, so I don't want to change it if I don't have to. I think 6 sets (4-1/2 hours) is a lot of tennis to play in one day, which means I won't face this all the time. I also need to get back into the gym and add some wrist/forearm work to my previous routines. Or just start doing wrist/forearm exercises while I'm watching TV.
     
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  20. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Very interesting topic.

    Maui, great observation in your first post in terms of your overall game more or less wilting once your legs got tired. If anything I'd say that this is a good indicator your stroke mechanics are generating power from the ground up. If you were resorting to too much arming of the ball, I'd bet that you'd have felt the burn in your arm and shoulder before anything else.

    I personally haven't experimented with polarizing racquets, but I definitely keep track of both the weight and balance of the frames I use. Static weight on its own doesn't tell me much without also knowing the balance. For example, a racquet that has what I might typically find to be a low static weight could actually feel too heavy and slow for me without enough head-light balance.

    Sure, there are racquets that are too heavy or too light for individual players, but at least for me, balance is probably no less important a contributor to any racquet's behavior and performance. Our pal rlau mentioned the cumbersome aspect of the Volkl DNX 10 mid compared with their PB 10 mid and I'd be willing to be that this is a great example where the DNX 10 is not HL enough to handle comfortably. I actually demoed that frame myself a couple years back and I had the same impression. If I bought one of those racquets, I'm sure I'd want to put some lead under the grip.

    I don't think the idea of only strengthening your wrist and forearm will do a whole lot of good for helping the endurance of your swing. Work everything! Some of our pals here like to refer to the "kinetic chain" that we use to generate good serves and strokes. If you're going to do some exercise off the courts, I think it's smart to strengthen every component - or in this case, every "link" in that chain.
     
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  21. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Great post Fuzz thanks!
     
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  22. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Some of this has to do with how much you play. The more you play the stronger you get. There is a point however when the weight is too much no matter how much you play.
     
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  23. rudester

    rudester Professional

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    Having always used heavy racquets, it seemed easier somehow to let the racquet do the work. I really notice when i try lighter racquets that it takes a lot of work to hit a heavy ball, if you can do this at all, that is. I do really believe that you should use the heaviest racquet you can handle. A huge indicator IMHO, that you have gone too far with the weight, is when you have trouble getting the racquet in position to return a hard serve, I backed up on the weight as little as .3 of an ounce,(by removing lead) and all of a sudden my serve return shows drastic improvement. I know there are all kinds of variables, eg swingweight and balance to take into account.
    What i am trying to express is what created a red flag in my own game that my racquet was too heavy. Personally I find a strung weight of about 12.2 oz is perfect in my case.
     
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  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    When the benefit you get from the mass of the racquet is outweighed by the loss of manuverability.
     
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  25. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Everyone has their own optimum combination of racquet mass and swingspeed. The only way to discover this is too experiment.
    Just saying "use the heaviest racquet u can" isn't too smart IMO.
     
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  26. GameSetMatch

    GameSetMatch Banned

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    It's a matter of personal preference, based on the particular player's style of play and the level at which they play at. I would suggest that anything that impedes good technique or sufficient racquet head speed or results in fatigue after a couple of hours is too heavy.

    The heaviest racquets that pros on the tour use are roughly in the 340-360g range, strung. Given that they're elite athletes with perfect technique who are at the top of their game, and who are lightyears better than anyone on these forums, I'd suggest that anything above that is pretty silly.
     
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  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Well, it could be running around a tennis court for 6 sets, sprinting, jumping, and walking, using your muscles over and over again in rotating your body and rotating your arm in complex motions, and mentally competing for that amount of time,

    Or it could be because you are carrying the extra weight of the equivalent of a ring on your finger.

    I doubt it is really because of the last one.

    Everyone's ideal racket weight is different so I'm not saying lighter or heavier is better, but weight of the racket isn't a significant factor in fatige.
     
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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    C'mon man 345 g is 12.1 oz - it is a breeze. I assume strung. 12.5 is when it starts getting cumbersome.
     
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  29. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    It sure is. Swinging a "too heavy" racquet for 3 hours will leave you a lot more tired than swinging one that is of comfortable weight.
     
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  30. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    Never had much of a problem with arm fatigue due to weight. My problem is stroke production with a raquet either too heavy or to light.

    -Unstrung- over 12 oz I start having issues with "getting the 1hbh around when under pressure."

    -Unstrung- under 10.5 oz the forehand just gets funky.
     
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  31. kevoT

    kevoT Semi-Pro

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    It's too heavy when you start feeling tired in the arms before you start feeling tired in the legs. That's the lines I follow :)
     
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  32. OldButGame

    OldButGame Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ This is the way i see it too, and how i experience the differences in weight...:-|
     
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  33. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    I fully agree. All of you who want to know more about this 'issue' I strongly suggest to pay more attention to what Jack is saying...
     
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  34. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    At your size, you should be playing around 15 ounces. :)
     
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  35. lodeen

    lodeen New User

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    Everyone's different; different physical & technique, what's heavy for you may be too light for me, and vice versa, you just have to experiment for yourself for the best combination.
     
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  36. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    My technique is flawed. I muscle the ball a lot and I use my wrist even more hence I cannot use anything like this "crazy dude" above me uses lol :) 14oz PS85 geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez :D
     
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  37. lodeen

    lodeen New User

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    Even though my arms are like twigs compared to Bob's tree trunk arms, :) I generate my shots with my legs and entire body, you know, the whole kinetic chain; I never get tennis elbow and my arms never get tired, but when my legs get tired, that's when my shots start to go down. So individual's technique matters a lot to how heavy a racquet one can manage. Oh btw my racquet is headlight...racquet balance is an important factor too.
     
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  38. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    Well said, NLBwell, I couldn't agree more! There are myths about heavy rackets, and there are myths about light rackets, and I think you've punctured the latter one very aptly here...
     
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  39. 15_ounce

    15_ounce Guest

    if you have the right technique and good fitness and most importantly a good string setup, 12 oz above racquet won't tire your arm. I'm not a big guy and very slimly built and I play everyday, about 2-3 hrs each day average. I swim every morning with butterfly stroke and backstroke. I feel that my upper body strength is solid. All of my racquets are above 12.3 oz. Also, the string setup will affect a lot of your playing style. If you use a very tight string tension, you'd normally tend to muscle/arm the ball more. I use a relatively low tension string setup and that make things easier for my arm. I also utilise my wrist more when I hit the ball.. therefore produces more racquet head speed and less "arming". Heavier racquet with softer string setup also helps a lot if you have a single handed backhand, because of the easy power.
     
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  40. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I know what you mean with this - I had the same experience a few years ago when I was rebuilding my ground strokes and spending a lot of time on the courts. I also took up with some especially heavy racquets that I sort of used as training aids - not prescribing this for everyone; it's just what I tried.

    When I first started using them, my arm and shoulder would wear out in only around 20-25 minutes, but this got me thinking. It wasn't extremely hard to swing these bats by themselves, but my timing wasn't good enough to get them to the ball with a smooth delivery. My arm was having to rush them to contact at the last split-second.

    After a few months and some significant effort, I changed my habits enough that my legs and core would be the first things to wear down instead of my racquet arm. I had to relearn my setup and advance my swing timing to get the racquet going earlier without that rush to the ball with my arm. I wasn't concerned with being able to brag about my heavy frames. My improved habits gave me much more command over my strokes with any racquet.

    So what's my point? Just wanted to offer the idea of the relative fit of any racquet to any player's technique. If a racquet is way too heavy for someone, it just takes too much effort to use it for an hour or two. But if a player doesn't have the most efficient timing, technique, etc., their arm might wear out after a while with no more than a relative middleweight frame. Those training frames I mentioned are 13.4 oz., but with the right timing, I learned to use them just fine. They were only too heavy for me when I wasn't moving and swinging correctly.

    So kevoT, if you're aware of that fatigue in your arm after a while on the courts, you might want to consider addressing that in your swing timing. It could require altering your habits just enough so that you get the racquet going a tiny fraction of a second sooner without a rush. No major overhaul (or messing with your favorite racquet). That would allow the bigger muscles in your legs and core to really "drive the bus" without wearing on your arm and it could also help you tap a little more of your energy potential by swinging more from the ground up.
     
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  41. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    I played for years with Snauwaert Gottfrieds at 375g unstrung balance 325. A Volkl PB mid 10 at 396g strung feels like it isn't even there, very HL and aerodynamic. A Snauwaert BG is just a lump of wood with the aerodynamics of a truck.

    It is just what you are used to, and with a heavy frame you are LESS tired as you are not swatting flies. Nice and steady and let the racket do the talking.

    I think the pros are actually using lighter frames than everyone else should be using as they have perfect technique and need to generate serious spin to control the ball. We are just hitting a length, pretty straight with a little top.

    If you are hitting with side and top and the ball bends like a banana then get a 360g frame, if not you need another 40g.
     
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  42. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    I think being late and still trying to whack the bejeezus out of the ball for 3 hours is what makes most people tired when they play with a heavier frame.
    :)
     
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