How much power does lead really add?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Bubbagumptennis, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Bubbagumptennis

    Bubbagumptennis New User

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    When put in the correct places of course.

    Like there's no way you could take a TFight 305 and lead it up to get it as powerful as a Pure Drive, right?

    I want to start leading up my racquets, but not if it's just gonna be a slightly noticeable effect.
     
  2. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Just test it out, get feedback from your partners. Lead tape is cheap and easy to add/remove.
     
  3. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    It can add a LOT of power in the right spots. And a little goes a long way.

    Power from added mass feels different from power derived from other sources such as strings. It can improve accuracy as well as oomph as your frame gets bounced around less, especially against heavy shots but even against weak shots accuracy improves.

    I enjoy extra lead from roughly 9 to 11 and 3 to 1. For some reason I feel like I get a lot of extra accuracy, especially on serve.
     
  4. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I was thinking about trying lead tape as well. I have been playing with a Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet lately and I would like to weight it so it is a little less than my Pure Drive just to try it out. I am not looking for as much power as I am stability for blocking and volleys. Watching this thread.
     
  5. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I don't think that lead adds much power. Instead, I think it adds the potential for power. You still have to have a fast swing in order to utilize that mass to push the ball into a higher velocity. If you keep your swingspeed the same, I don't think you'll notice much, except for slightly better stability.
     
  6. DownTheLineWith90

    DownTheLineWith90 Rookie

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    Have two matched rackets.
    Add one gram to one of the rackets at 12.
    Huge noticeable difference.
     
  7. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    Torsional stability is also increased by some judiciously placed lead.
     
  8. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Try this experiment:

    1. From a height of 3' drop a 10 pound weight on your foot.

    2. From a height of 3' drop a 1 pound weight on your other foot.

    Let's assume for a moment that the two weights have similar aerodynamic properties. Both will be accelerating at precisely the same rate determined by gravity (again, assume similar aerodynamic qualities so the influence or air is minimal).

    Both will be moving at the same velocity on impact. The one pounder will hurt. The ten pounder will probably send you to the hospital.

    So it is with racquets. Mass is probably the single most important variable in power potential (TWI has a great article on the topic). Swing two frames at the same speed and on the same path and the heavier one (the one with the higher swing weight) will provide more power.

    This is why lighter, head heavy frames exist. SW as officially measured isn't the frame's actual swing weight. It's only a relative reference point. Actual SW is quite a bit more and that's why two frames with the same reference SW but very different static weights feel completely different. The heavier frame really does have a higher actual SW to do better in the collision with a tennis ball. Light HH frames provide the minimum amount of mass in the head to handle that collision while reducing the actual, real-world SW so folks with less muscle mass and/or poor form can swing the frame more easily (they can arm the frame, often leading to TE.) Unfortunately, the lighter static weight will also recoil more resulting in more shock to the arm and less accuracy.

    Now, accelerating the heavier frame to the same speed as the lighter frame is also a challenge. At some point there's a tradeoff in power since the heavier frame can't be accelerated beyond a certain point given one's physique. So yes, you still need to swing the frame. But assuming you have the technique and strength to accelerate two frames of different swing weights at the same rate then the heavier can produce a lot more power.

    Here's a really good example: when I first tried the AG 4D 200 Tour in stock form I was shocked at it's power. With time to prepare and using a full swing I can swing that sucker just fine and it produces a massive ball. Meanwhile, I've demo'd some light, very low SW frames in the hopes of generating more RHS for more spin and was very disappointed with the results. Against weak shots, sure, the extra RHS generated decent RPMs. Otherwise the really light frames seem to generate less RPMs against medium-heavy shots for some reason (shorter dwell time?) and wimpy balls all around.

    This is also why mfgs also stiffen frames. Stiffer frames return more energy to the ball. So, if you're producing light, heady heavy frames and want to provide a little boost in power you produce a thick, stiff frame.

    All of this is also why I personally prefer slightly heavier, softer, thinner frames: the power comes from the mass and the frame absorbs more of the shock instead of my arm. And where stiff frames augment mass's inherent power my soft gut mains do the same thing by returning more energy to the ball (frames and strings work in opposite directions...soft strings return power while stiff ones absorb it...soft frames absorb power while stiff ones return it...thus the common configuration of stiff frame with stiff strings and soft frames with soft strings).
     
  9. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yes it adds power, and the 305 would be able to get modded up pretty big, as it is a great platform racquet. You want the swingweight higher for that power and plow.

    Try 2 grams at 12 and also in the buttcap for starters.
     
  10. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    Lead doesn't add as much power as we hope because more mass makes overcoming the moment of inertia harder, and then that mass has to be accelerated (and decelerated) hundreds of times throughout a match. A few grams might add a little more power, but too much actually becomes counterproductive.

    Realistically, the best way to add power is to develop better technique and a stronger body.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  11. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    Beef up your fitness (if you're not already fit) before adding lead.
     
  12. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    if you add lead and are not fit you most probably will have more power in your shots for some 10 minutes. then you'd need some help to lift that darn stick above shoulder height and maybe go as the inventor of the twohanded serve.:)
     
  13. Gasolina

    Gasolina Professional

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    Actually hit the nail right in the head there. While a few grams might not mean much, over time the constant swinging does takes it toll on a shoulder-used-to-sub-11-ounces.

    Same thing for power, a few ounces goes a very long way
     
  14. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I experimented with a 14+ oz leaded up frame once..I hit some massive shots in the first set, the power seemed to come "effortlessly".

    By the third set, I was huffing and puffing like I was 10 years older than I am.

    My normal raquet is close to 13 ounces, strung with overgrips and dampner, so it's not like I'm too wimpy to swing a stick with some decent mass. An ounce makes a huge difference..

    It's a trade off. It's best to use lead to make minor adjustments..if you want a little more power or a little more torsional stability, or to just change your balance slightly. If you start adding 15 grams of lead to the top of your frame, it's probably not the right frame.
     
  15. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

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    Very nicely stated, TimothyO.

    For my understanding, how do you believe the Dunlop 200 Tour would compare to something like the Youtek Radical Pro. Given that the YTRP has virtually the same swing-weight yet is almost an ounce lighter, safe to say it would produce a more consistent, heavier ball compared to the 200T? Or is this offset by the reduction in stiffness and change in balance? Finally, given what you're saying, adding lead to the hoop could feasibly result in a swingweight approaching 400 while remaining near only about 12.5 oz (conceptually speaking - haven't made any calculations)?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  16. corners

    corners Legend

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    10 extra swingweight units (3 grams at 12 or 5 grams at 3&9) will add about 1 mph to your shots, if you swing at the same speed as before.

    But will you swing at the same speed as before? And can you? Depends on the stroke:

    On strokes where you are swinging at your maximum speed, like on serve, those 10 swingweight units will cost you about 1/2mph in swingspeed because a higher swingweight is more difficult to accelerate. That loss of swingspeed will roughly cancel out the boost in inherent power from the lead, and your serve will be about the same speed as before.

    On groundstrokes, where you are typically not swinging at your maximum speed, you will most likely adjust to the greater swingweight and swing just as fast as you did before putting the lead on. But this is not a given. But if you can manage it, you'll get an extra 1 mph on your shots, plus more stability and greater ease in changing the direction of the ball in rallies (which is probably one of the main reasons the pros play with high swingweight).

    On low-velocity strokes, like volleys and returns of fast serves, you'll get maximum benefit, maybe a little more than 1 extra mph. In addition to the extra speed, stability will be greatly enhanced on these strokes because the inherent stability of a racquet to twisting becomes more important the slower your swingspeed. (If you swing fast enough the stability and inherent power of your racquet hardly matter at all.) Of course, you'll lose a little maneuverability at net, which may or may not be important. Some great serve and volleyers played with high swingweight, like Sampras, Becker and McEnroe, others, like Edberg, played with low swingweight.

    Ultimately, as many people have said on these boards, it's the archer, not the bow.
     
  17. hoot56

    hoot56 New User

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    physics of the swing...

    As far as the physics go, kinetic energy is equal to 1/2 mass times velocity squared. Speeding up your swing has a much greater effect on the energy than does the mass. if for instance your swing speed is 2 whatevers, 2 squared is 4. If you increase your speed by 1 unit to 3 whatevers, 3 squared is 9. For most people, you want the heaviest racquet that you can swing the fastest to get power but still keep control.
     
  18. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    Serves are faster with lead. No contest. With polyester strings, tennis elbow pain is amplified with lead. No contest. You choose your poison. You can add lead up to a point.
     
  19. netguy

    netguy Semi-Pro

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    Add as much lead as you can handle. You have to think on a long match at a high temperature in the summer. That is your limit.
     
  20. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    Not "how much power" it will increase but stick 4-6 grams of lead at 3 & 9 & you will get a good idea of what it adds.
     
  21. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    What about balance?

    If you're only adding lead/weight to the head then you will make your racquet more head heavy (less headlight) than it is. On serves, it may feel good, like a golf club, but it will be less maneuverable during rallies and especially at the net since you need to be able to change directions quickly there.

    Aren't most heavy pro racquets relatively head light? I'm sure someone here knows.
     
  22. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    Balance is more about feel IMO than actual numbers. I've felt fine with frames with anywhere from 3pts HH to 12pts+ HL, and awkward with frames in my usual sweetspot of 4-6pts HL. I generally don't agree that counter balancing a frame while increasing the static weight, with the swingweight remaining the same or even increasing, is going to help manuverability. SW, static weight, and weight distribution are all more important than the actual balance number, IMO.
     
  23. mxmx

    mxmx Semi-Pro

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    I had problems with generating power on the Prince exo tour 100's.
    They are head light. All i can say is that lead definitely helps. I have tried lead at 12....and also 3&9. To me, lead at 3&9 is by far the better setup. It does not make the racket as head heavy as lead at 12 would....which would mean one would need to place extra lead at 12 if that was your setup. At 3&9 there is a significant increase in stability and power with even the smallest amount of lead. You really don't need much. If you want the racket to remain head light as much as possible, try and prevent lead at 12 and rather go for lead at 3&9. I believe lead at 3&9 distributes the balance/power better and makes the 12 section more stable than with no lead at all, whereas, lead at 12 only, does not make the racket more "twist" stable, but only gives it more plough through. Summary: Lead at 12 to me, is not worth the additional weight. At 3&9 it makes much more sense and is easier to swing with better results.

    ps. You can make your racket more headlight by adding lead in the handle, either under the grip at its farthest end, or in the but cap. So lead at either 12 or 3&9 can be countered...but is often not needed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

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