Is the holy grail a half inch away?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by slowfox, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    I reduced the length of my racquet from 27 to 26.5 inches. Let me say that this tiny half inch has made a huge difference. Playtested today. Control and overall consistency was better for all strokes. The racquet still felt solid despite losing 10g of weight. Power was perhaps lower, but not much. All in all, what I like best about the shorter stick is the way it feels when I swing it. Something about the leverage now seems *more natural*. That's the best way I can describe it. The phrase "extension of the arm" suddenly takes on a more real meaning.

    Now perhaps I simply play better with a lower swingweight, as cutting down the handle 0.5-in will reduce the SW by ~24 or so. (Thank you corners and travlerajm for all your useful info on the topic of shortening racquets. I searched the heck out many posts in the TT archives.) Before my SW was in the 330s, now probably low 300s. So maybe it is just an issue of swingweight. But here's the thing. I shortened a different racquet which has an alleged 310 SW, and tested this stick at 26.5-in also (new SW in the 280s). And I'm liking this one better as well. Same benefits (control, consistency, etc).

    Also perhaps it might just be a placebo thing. I changed my racquet so maybe I merely think I'm playing better. But get this. Originally I cut my racquet down more than a half inch. It was about 26 & 1/8 inches. At this length control was great, but power was noticeably reduced, and serving was not good (I found it hard to time, and was shanking and netting the ball more than usual). So I built the handle back up, and at 26.5 inches the racquet serves fine.

    I do miss the 10g weight loss, so maybe I'll tinker with some lead. More testing is definitely needed. And I still have a same model but uncut racquet, so I can compare the shorty to the regular 27 inch length soon.

    So... maybe we all have the holy grail in our hands already. If you like your racquet, but sometimes wish it was a little more *this* or a tad *that*. Perhaps that ineffable something is just a half inch away.
     
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  2. Lilguy1456

    Lilguy1456 Semi-Pro

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    You should spec another stick out with the identical specs as the shorter one...if you STILL play better with the shorter stick, then you KNOW it's the length that it making your play improve...
     
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  3. fattsoo

    fattsoo Semi-Pro

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    sorry...had to do this in regards to your title of this thread

    THATS WHAT SHE SAID!!!

    ok...now back to your thread...it's probably the honeymoon effect...keep playing it for a few weeks then you will find out whether or not this suits you better...i am intrigue in trying this out too as i like to experiment different specs with weight/string/headsize...but never length...sounds interesting
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I used to play doubles with a former No.4 for SanDiegoState who choked up about 2" off the buttcap on all his strokes, even his serves. He was 6'1" and long armed.
    Just Thurday, was hitting serves with my 11oz 320 SW racket and tried a few choking up an inch. Major boost in RHSpeed and control, and they seemed to bounce HIGHER against the back wall. More snap, of course.
    Tried same with my 10oz., 308 rackets and it was a downer, as the ball went slower and lower, and more mishits.
    So, today went out for a couple of easy doubles sets trying my 12.2 oz., 227 SW racket first. Choking up was a major boost in easy power, bouncing maybe 30" high at the backwall.
    Played with a new to me Bio300T, 11 oz and 304 SW. Holding well down on the buttcap produced the most power on first serves. Choking up totally choked off any chance for power.
    Maybe it's related to swing strength. I"m old, injured, weak, out of shape, and the lighter rackets can be swung full length, while the heavier rackets need a little help from choking up.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sorry, the 12.2 oz was 337 SW, my bad, as usual...
     
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  6. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Sampras used to choke up or down for defense/neutral or offense shots, respectively. I think lots of players, including me, seem to get better results (at least for shots other than the serve) getting to whatever swing weight they can handle with actual mass in the head rather than with extra length. Easier on the arm, too.

    OP, you might enjoy this article on the topic.
     
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  7. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    some people choke up more when they go to the net for more control/feel. Others choke up latter in the match when they're tired.

    i prefer having a consistent grip, that way i always know where the sweetspot is.
     
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  8. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    What if I lead up and increase the swingweight of the short one to match its specs before the cut? Would that give me the same idea? I figure it is my racquet, I know this thing, plus I still have a regular 27in version unmodified to use as a comparison.

    Also, today I hit a very solid backhand overhead with the shorty. I never hit that shot solid before...
     
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  9. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    You can achieve the same effect by just building the butt cap up so that your hand naturally resides a half inch further up the handle. I do this with my NXG OS's. I have some left over overgrip that I wrap just above the bottom of the racquet, and then put the new overgrip on top of that. This naturally pushes my hand up the handle.

    This gives me the best of both worlds..I can serve with the full length of my racquet...it's actually conducive to a very loose grip on the serve with the big butt-end ( :) ) of the racquet. Then, I have MUCH more control on my forehand, and I can still hit my 2 hander with my bottom hand wherever I want it.

    This is part of why I struggle so badly when I demo new racquets..I'm so used to being able to swing out fully on my forehand, when I play a racquet without my butt cap mod, I cannot keep my forehand in the court because it's really a major increase in power, even with a racquet with a lower spec-ed swingweight. Then I have to consciously choke up, and that throws off timing having to think too much.

    I realize now I have to put something on the handle to force me to choke up naturally. I found I was able to do this with 2 of the little rubber thingies at the top of the racquet handle stacked on top of each other also, in lieu of not being able to build up the butt cap.
     
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