In defense of Babolat and the "Modern Game"....

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by El Zed, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    I think you have again taken my comments incorrectly. I'm simply trying to understand - what exactly - we're trying to discuss/debate. The ground has apparently shifted a bit since your initial posts.

    I hope you are ok with open criticism of points that don't necessarily make sense on a practical level. Again, these are not ad hominems against you. If I look like a fool for making them, I'll learn and move on, but hopefully the points I make will help us get to an accurate answer.
     
  2. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    Thanks, Lilguy, I appreciate it. Not sure which side of the fence I sit on either, just want to improve as a player and if its through "modern" technology, well vorsprung durch technik.
     
  3. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,270
    Yeah man, Fair nuff. I will try to hammer out as much as I can in the time that I have.

    1. Nothing has shifted. I started with the suggestion that there is very little incremental gain in racquet power to be had by careful racquet selection, and that is where it will end.

    2. This is not to imply that racquet selection is not important. I suggest that when you really study the power side of the Power Vs Comfort choice intimately, it becomes clear that it's a false premise to suggest that we must make this terribly difficult choice btwn power and comfort, with huge sacrifices at either end. Since the most important contribution to racquet power is swingweight, the name of the game is to find a racquet that feels good to hit with at a swingweight that suits your technique and your game. Yes you get an incremental boost in juice with a stiffer frame. And since a stiffer frame isn't any harder to swing than a softer one It's "free" power. But this difference is nothing like the additional 5 to 10 miles per hour most people visualize, and the additional juice occurs only in the top 10% of the hoop, giving you zero bennies everywhere else.

    3. The TW power comparison tool is useful to visualize where incremental gains in power can occur, such as at the tip with stiff frames, and at 3-9 with large headed frames. These distinctions in themselves are not the whole story. If you see x frame has 17% at the tip and Y frame has 20% at the tip, that makes it seem like frame Y is 3% more powerful, and that seems like a really big deal.

    4. But there is a real on court context for that 3% difference in the tip. And that context is precisely this. There is a limit to how much additional MPHs one can add to a serve by careful racquet selection. That limitation is about 2-4 miles per hour. So the incremental gain we are talking about here (in the tip) is 3 percent of 4 miles per hour. This is incredibly minute.

    5. I understand that point four will raise many eyebrows. I understand this will be debated. I am completely 100% confident that I can explain this in a way that people will understand. There is also the issue that the same limitation in racquet power that exists in a serve does not exist in the same way on ground strokes. This is because the racquet is moving slower, and unlike the serve, the speed of the incoming ball matters. You've got much more room for power improvement there. It's a deep topic. I've said 5% of what there is to say. More will follow, but please play nice, and have some patience with my schedule.

    6. Do you remember my riddle? It was my very first post here on day one. The question was this. How fast does the tip of the racquet have to be traveling to create a 100 mph serve? Here is the answer, and it is the context for this whole conversation.

    Quote 4 : "In order to serve a ball 100 mph, a player must swing the racquet at a relatively high speed. Most people would guess the racquet needs to be swung about 60 mph or so depending upon the power of the racquet. In fact, the tip of the racquet needs to be swung at about 100 mph, give or take a few mph, depending upon the weight and the weight distribution of the racquet. There is a surprising lesson in this result. That is, the power of the racquet, and the power of the strings has only a small effect on serve speed. The serve speed is just about the same as the tip, regardless of the strings or the racquet. A different string or different frame will change the serve speed by a few mph, but almost all of the power comes directly from the players arm." -- [6]Rod Cross, And Howard Brody, Chapter 20, Serving Speed, The Physics and Technology of Tennis.

    Link [6] The Physics And Technology Of Tennis
    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/The_Physics_and_Technology_of_Tennis/descpage-PHYSICS.html

    Do me a big favor, just btwn buds. Just take some time, read, digest, relax. This will take some real thinking, and an open mind. And don't say anything inflammatory that drags me back here for tonight because I have 3 hours of work to do before bed !!

    -Jack
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  4. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    While I wish I could afford this post some deep "real" thinking, I don't believe it's really necessary. I'll respond to your post in kind, however.

    1) Not going to argue opinion. To some, an increase of 2-4 mph is significant, to others, it is not. This is something that each person should consider in selecting a racquet, amongst other factors of course. To me, I'll take an extra 2 or 4 mph presuming the drop off in touch or feel is not too drastic.

    2) Where, exactly, are you getting this point about differences of power being manifested only at the top of the hoop? The power figures you reference indicate differences in power throughout the string bed, not just the top hoop.

    3) Again, this point appears to be based on a flawed premise; difference in power is exhibited throughout the string-bed, not just the tip.

    4) Perhaps this is where the flaw in your rationale is, or perhaps, just the disconnect. I don't recall that we were limiting our discussion in terms of racquet power to serves. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, but differences in power manifest in nearly every type of shot, notably ground strokes and returns. Apologies if I misunderstood your point, but a discussion purely in terms of serve speed is not what we were having, so it's a bit odd for it to serve as the basis of discussion. Further, even if we take what you are saying as true, it nonetheless fails because it operates under the presumption that serves are consistently and intentionally hit with the tip of the racquet? I find that hard to believe that it's really what you are saying, particularly if you want to implement any type of spin to serve. Finally, your calculation doesn't make sense - if you are saying there is a maximum 2 to 4 mph that may be gained through careful racquet selection, why would you discount it to 3% in order to determine what the actual difference was in the first place? It's 2 to 4 mph.

    5) You need to stop these comments about playing nice. Don't get upset when someone has the audacity to note some disagreement with your recitation of a book. If you're truly that sensitive to discourse, perhaps this thread just isn't for you.

    6) Your "riddle" was pages deep on a thread that has been around for months - not from day one. Further, this quote pertains explicitly to serves and serves only for all intents and purposes. What do we get from it, that the factoring effect exhibited at the top of the hoop is limited relative to certain other spots on the racquet. Hardly ground breaking stuff there, and not something you can extrapolate out to "careful racquet selection doesn't really matter in terms of general, overall power" if you want to be intellectually sincere.

    So, basically your whole point is that racquet selection doesn't make much difference in terms of serve speed. Fine, let's accept it as true. But your own quote indicates that racquet selection indeed has an impact for nearly every other shot, most notably ground strokes:

    "There is also the issue that the same limitation in racquet power that exists in a serve does not exist in the same way on ground strokes. This is because the racquet is moving slower, and unlike the serve, the speed of the incoming ball matters. You've got much more room for power improvement there."

    Frankly, nothing inflammatory has been said. You were just inarticulate in terms of how you stated your premise. Racquet selection doesn't matter for serves, but it does for power production on other strokes. Understood, now let's move on.
     
  5. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,398
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    A very nice and precise summary on a very, very long discussion.
     
  6. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,270
    Okie Dokie. I'd say that calling my comments disingenuous, is inflammatory, and it seems pretty clear you just like to argue. That's so very not interesting to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  7. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    In all seriousness, Jack, thanks for your posts and your thoughts. You truly did teach me something about the effect on serves and I appreciate it. Cheers.
     
  8. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Holland - Belgium
    Have to disagree here, I find Jack much more pleasant to read...
     
  9. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    That's fine, Jack is indeed an interesting poster. Any thoughts on the topic?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  10. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    Frankly, far too long of a discussion with little actual progress... but thank you for the kind words.
     
  11. Midguytenis

    Midguytenis New User

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    66
    Too much focus on specs, there are hundreds of professional players using 100sq rackets, 98sq, everyone has to find whatever works for them, it doesn't matter if it's 105sq 10 o, 99% here aren't hitting with pros, so heavy rackets won't make any difference rallying with 90 KM/H forehands.
     
  12. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Holland - Belgium
    I think Jack is doing an excellent job trying to explain the complex and sometimes not very intuitive physics behind racket power. Kudos for his efforts which I don't think get the credit here that they deserve. He has made clear that in terms of the inherent power that is attributable to the racket SW is by for the most inportant factor with stiffness coming a distant second. If I understand it correctly, stiffness has the most influence when you don't hit the ball in the center of the stringbed and especially at the top of the stringbed. Therefore his focus on the serve, because this is where stiffness should count the most (Jack, please correct me if I'm wrong). You are now making a big deal about 2 or 3 miles per hour extra you might get from a 'modern' stiff racket, but I bet that before reading Jack's explanation you would have thought it could easily be 5 to 10 miles per hour. You could give him credit for that.
     
  13. Lilguy1456

    Lilguy1456 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Messages:
    782
    To be honest guys, arguing about what style of racquet is best (an inherantly subjective conversation) is about as hopeless as arguing over what food is best or what music is best. Everyone is perfectly capable with finding REASONS for liking a racquet style more than another, but they are all specific to that individual's preference...
     
  14. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,342
    Better than sex ? You got to be kidding > " Breakpoint " lol - but then again, you're mid age right :) Seriously, I get the point, even though I'm hitting with a PD now, to hit the sweetspot on a ' Prestige" racquet is ever so sweet, my problem is playing once a week in the winter, I can't find the %$$%$ thing.:oops:
     
  15. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    Well your response is interesting, as I was a bit surprised how termed Jack's comments comparatively more "pleasant" when he was the only one who actually engaged in personal attacks (despite his actual claims).

    You are right, Jack did a very nice job reciting various passages from a book. Kudos to him. What Jack didn't do very well, despite his efforts, is answer the particular question before him. I don't quite think you understand what the point of the thread was, before getting derailed by Jack. Further, I think you fail to recognize that his latter points directly contradict his own earlier posts - hence my effort to glean exactly what he was trying to say. To summarize, the thread was intended to discuss the following premises:

    1) That there is some performance gain from "modern" racquets (such as Babolats) versus the "classics";

    2) These "classics" are largely revered, whereas a fair portion of modern racquets are viewed as necessary evils that should be discarded if we ever return to the golden days of 1980-90s graphite use and design;

    Those are the points of the thread and what was discussed a few months back. Once this thread was revived, Jack joined the fray with his "riddle" - thereby stumping us plebeians - with the anticipated knowledge of why the careful selection of a racquet doesn't matter when it comes to an increases in power. Admittedly fascinating, and something I couldn't wait to understand. What we got instead was reference to a power table (provided by TW) that in fact clearly showed that despite differences in numerous variables, distinctions in power indeed existed (albeit in terms of dropping a ball onto a stationary racquet...). I still believe that this is disingenuous figure as an end-all-be-all if you're trying to extrapolate the ultimate power potential of racquet (as you yourself said, it fails to apply "the most important fact" - SW). Jack took offense to this, notwithstanding the fact that this was a tepid comment and on its face not even directed to him (just the worth of the measurement itself).

    After pages of recitation, we eventually get to the point where he admits that there is a difference of power (2 to 4 mph), but in terms of serve speed and when hit at the tip of the frame. While an interesting fact, and again explicitly proving that a difference in power exists, the practical worth of this point is questionable as it presumes that consistently hitting with the tip of a racquet is desirable. More importantly, however, is the admission that power increases are more manifest elsewhere on the frame. If you can't see how this directly contradicts his initial thoughts and the supposed answer to his "riddle," I don't know what to say. Finally, I think it holds that if you gain 2-4 mph at the tip, and the power differences are more pronounced elsewhere on the racquet, then yes it could feasibly reach 5 to 10 mph. Apologies if a 2 to 4 mph gain isn't much for you, perhaps 5 to 10 may be, but then again it doesn't really matter because to others even a 1 mph gain is significant.

    I'm not really sure if I care if there are any further posts on this thread, and frankly i'm tired and disappointed for spending so much time and energy on responding to Jack (or even typing this post). The main premise of nostalgia versus technology is what I was really interested in, and something that I believe most others are interested in (rather than a hyper technical discussion of specs). What I definitely don't want is pages worth of citations concerning a straw-man argument, exhibiting a flawed understanding of the material or an inaccurate application.
     
  16. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    298
    Hi Jack, I do agree that Sw is what makes the difference.
    The tool however, works better when comparing sticks with the same head size.
     
  17. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,270
    1. Please provide a post number or quote, where I engaged in a personal attack against you, or anybody else in this thread. I've doubled back thru the whole enchilada, and can't find anything that would support this claim.

    2. Your recent posts contain quite few inaccuracies regarding the information I've presented. Some of your comments contain such egregious misinterpretations, and are so contrived, they almost seem to be deliberate misrepresentations. I hope this isn't the case. I will get to those items directly, but would like to address this issue first.

    Kaiser - I appreciate your comments on 158, 162, Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  18. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    Get a life, Jack. At this point, it's evident you're the one that wants to argue - I'm simply not going to the engage. No further responses from me to you on this point, or thread - the past posts are all here (presuming of course that you don't edit your responses, as you have done previously).
     
  19. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,270
    1. The commentary above is a misinterpretation of a quote, so epic in scale, and so contorted in it's meaning, the thought has occurred to me it might be intentional misrepresentation. I hope this is not the case. I actually prefer the notion that this is a genuine misunderstanding. If that is what is going on here, it might offer some insight as to why you've been so unsatisfied with my contributions.

    2. I did not "admit to a difference of 2-4 MPH" You only arrived at that number because I threw that out as a table scrap in the course of a larger conversation. Before my arrival here you posed the idea of 5-10 mph difference btwn the old classics and a modern Babolat. (ElZed posts 1, 33) When I questioned your frame of reference, this was quickly re-drafted to " I'm not sure, could be .1 or could be 10 MPH". (post 129) Now that I have provided you with a credible frame of reference, you want to beat me over the head with it and do a little victory dance. What you fail to comprehend, because I have not discussed it with you, is that there are many layers to this onion. That 2-4 mph (and 4 is a generous number) represents the spread between specs of frames with wildly differing weight distributions, and overall specs.

    2. The quote I provided, does not concern the ball velocity in the instance when the ball hits the tip of the frame during a serve. The speed of the tip of the frame is mentioned because during the service motion, the tip is traveling much faster than the center of the strings, and the bottom of the string bed is traveling slower than the middle and the tip. Thus, it's an expression of racquet head speed in an uber precise way. Here is the original quote in its entirety:

    Quote 2 : "In order to serve a ball 100 mph, a player must swing the racquet at a relatively high speed. Most people would guess the racquet needs to be swung about 60 mph or so depending upon the power of the racquet. In fact, the tip of the racquet needs to be swung at about 100 mph, give or take a few mph, depending upon the weight and the weight distribution of the racquet. There is a surprising lesson in this result. That is, the power of the racquet, and the power of the strings has only a small effect on serve speed. The serve speed is just about the same as the tip, regardless of the strings or the racquet. A different string or different frame will change the serve speed by a few mph, but almost all of the power comes directly from the players arm."
    -- Rod Cross, And Howard Brody, Chapter 20, Serving Speed, The Physics and Technology of Tennis.

    3. One last informational side note, the fact that the tip is traveling faster than the center of the strings is an important concept. Stiffer frames offer incrementally more power, most noticeably in the top 10% of the string bed. The stiffness helps the frame to overcome the dead spot (see post 135) that exists in all frames near the tip. But during the service motion, the tip is traveling very fast, so the dead spot deficiency gets a big fat boost of juice from the racquet head speed. This goes a long way to explain why racquet stiffness is a much bigger contributor to power on a volley (the racquet head is moving slowly), and not such a big deal for a serve. This is one example demonstrating the value of understanding racquet-ball impacts which have nothing to do with player technique. These fundamental building blocks I have been discussing have real world, on court implications.

    4. The speed of the tip of the frame, coupled with the high sw of wooden racquets also explains the following event. In 1997, in a comparative test done by Tennis magazine, [7] Mark Philippoussis, the six-foot-five, 217-pound Australian renowned for his powerful serve, averaged 124 mph when serving with his own composite racket. With a classic wooden racket, (where the stiffness ratings average in the low 30's) he averaged 122 mph. Now, here is the punchline. To somebody that understands the fundamental building blocks of ball-racquet collisions, (which I have posted in 133-134-135) this tale would not be difficult to figure out, the clues are there for anybody to observe. To somebody who understands the basics intimately, the tale makes perfect sense upon first mention. Yet you've consistently floated the idea that my presentation of the finer points of these fundamental building blocks is not only pointless, it is disingenuous. (posts 146,165) This could not be further from the truth.


    5. Regarding the effort to characterize me as thread Hijacker: Prior to my arrival in the thread, one of the major issues was racquet power (see ElZed posts 1, 6, 11, 16, 17, 30, 33, 41, 44, 52, 66, 70, 87, 91, 93) Everything I've posted is on topic and relevant. In fact, my participation here was born from an invitation I extended, and which ElZed accepted, to discuss the basics of racquet power. (see posts 117, 119.)

    6. I have no idea where this thread is going, but I will be sure to respond to any future posts that contain the slightest levels of revisionist history, misunderstanding, misrepresentations, or falsehoods directed at me. It's a tedious exercise, but I find those kinds of comments exceptionally motivating.

    References

    Link [1] Basic Facts about Frames and Strings,
    -The United States Racquet Stringers Association
    http://www.racquettech.com/top/basic_facts.html
    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/lc/basicfacts.html

    Link [2] Raw Racquet Power
    By Rod Cross
    http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/articles/2006/02/raw_racquet_power.html

    Link [4] The Inch That Changed Tennis Forever
    By Rod Cross
    http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/articles/2006/01/the_inch_that_changed_tennis_f.html

    Link [5] Racquet Power Comparison Tool
    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi-bin/comparepower.cgi

    Link [7] Mark Philippoussis Serve Test, Wood Vs Graphite
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1899876,00.html

    -Jack
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  20. tlm

    tlm Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,526
    I don't think you have enough references, not enough detailed information.
     
  21. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331

    Your commentary has been very persuasive, and I have no other option than to agree with your position that 2 to 4 mph of additional power is not actually additional power. :-?

    In all seriousness, Jack, you're embarrassing yourself. Does your ego really prevent you from just moving on? Do you have nothing better to do than attempt to argue a point that you yourself conceded? Let me try to explain this to you one final time - even a 1 mph gain in shot velocity is a gain in power. Whether 1 mph is significant (much less the 2 to 4 mph you yourself indicated) is a subjective question, and something that needs to be decided by each player. Nonetheless, that is still a performance benefit (in addition to some other factors cutting in favor of modern racquets). Not sure where the dispute is on this point, and why you are so hell-bent to argue questions of degree.

    I'm no longer going to engage in a substantive discussion with someone who edits their comments ex-poste to reflect the tenor of the instant discussion. So, consider this discussion between us concluded. I'm sure the others on this board would appreciate it...
     
  22. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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

    Thank you very much to taking the time to write these insightful posts.

    I found your posts on this topic useful in understanding a bit of the science behind racquet power and what specs matter, what specs don't and to what extent.

    I would love to read more if you feel like starting your own thread about it in order to avoid arguments with "El Zed" that might derail you from getting your point across.
     
  23. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Michigan
    El Zed needs to get a life and stop being egotistical. You always start crap with random people.

    Chicago jack- excellent job
     
  24. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    Who is starting crap with whom, Mike? Thanks for your opinion - by the way, you're welcome for my responses to you on racquet suggestions months back. I guess that was me starting crap with you right?
     
  25. El Zed

    El Zed Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    331
    You know what, guys, my intent wasn't to argue with anyone or to offend. So, Jack, again thanks for your input and if I offended you, I do apologize.
     
  26. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Holland - Belgium
    Finally you're talking some sense.
     
  27. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    I respect this.
     
  28. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,454
    Location:
    Michigan
    I appreciate your suggestions. I suppose I shouldn't use the word "everyone."

    Thanks for apologizing. We can now move on lol.
     
  29. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,398
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    There are endless reviews and ratings by various institutions for practically all products and services, such as movies, music, schools, colleges, cars, electronics, mutual funds, software, doctors, lawyers, contractors, etc. Most people, I think, will look at the reviews or ask someone before buying.

    while it's true that one should select a racquet based on individual preference, a lots of people may not know their preference and are heavily influenced by reviews, ratings and comments.
     
  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,770
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    How do you "win" at sex?
     

Share This Page