Moving from tweener to player's racquet = surprising!

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by bkpr, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

    Feb 24, 2012
    Houston, Texas
    I'm a ~3.0 player, and sought advice for a spare second racquet in this other thread. The advice I received prompted me to buy a players racquet instead of a similar feeling spare tweener racquet; a wilson BLX Blade 98, at ~$110 with a negotiated free stringing on Wilson [K] Gut (one of the benefits to living in Malaysia: everything's bargain-able :)

    Initial thoughts
    Over the last two days, I've had 45mins of serving practice, 2hrs doubles, and 2hrs singles time. I can report that I love this racquet! It's much heavier than my built up Volkl Organix 4, which after overgrip and lead tape weighed in at 309g. The Blade 98 is 340g with overgrip.

    I find it a bit tougher to hit a good shot, but not as tough as I thought it would be (maybe I have better technique :). When I don't setup properly or swing well, it results in a terrible shot. It's so much less forgiving.

    This is actually fantastic: I can really sense what went wrong when I don't hit a good shot. For example, I didn't prepare well, or hit it too late, or didn't rollover to the correct grip for my 1HBH, etc. Many of my shots probably would've been 'ok' had I used the larger racquet with more forgiveness. I'm actually really excited about this (has anyone been excited about poor shots before?). This instant feedback gives me motivation to work on my strokes and positioning.

    This post doesn't need any responses, I just wanted to share my experience. I'm super-keen to get back out on the court again to practice and improve!
  2. Deodorant

    Deodorant Rookie

    Nov 18, 2009
    Sacramento California
    Congratulations. Welcome to the players club.
  3. blipblop

    blipblop Rookie

    Jul 9, 2010
    Very nice, I'm glad you took the advice of those of us who promote learning players to use player's rackets. You describe the exact benefits of using a heavier stick throughout the learning curve: you are more or less forced to use proper technique, and the feedback you get is much more useful. Plus, by the time you are NTRP 7.0, you will already be used to a suitable racket. All the pics I see of young Fed he was already using a Pro Staff 6.0. I'm sure he used a junior racket when younger, but I never saw him with a 9.0 oz oversized adult frame.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't recommend a 90sqin 18X20 for beginners, but I firmly believe every serious tennis player should use the heaviest frame they can wield for several hours.
  4. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Nov 30, 2011
    In the future
    LOL, BLX blade 98 is a player's racket ? I guess it does kind of fit the bill. It does have pretty good SW so it should give you good weight on your shots. Only thing is if you have long drawn out 2 hour or more battle then the SW might become an issue.
  5. canadad

    canadad Semi-Pro

    Aug 7, 2010
    Awesome! Good to hear things are working out for you. The Blade line is excellent.
  6. bkpr

    bkpr Rookie

    Feb 24, 2012
    Houston, Texas
    Ha, yeah, I wasn't sure about the 'player's racquet' title. It's under 100sq head size and a whole bunch heavier so it seems like a player's racquet to me :)

    I played a 2hr match yesterday and I did lose steam towards the end, but not specifically in my arm. I'm not additionally sore today. Hope I can keep it up.
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Played 3 doubles sets today with my heaviest 12.4 oz Dunlop.
    Used 10 oz Aero500''s exclusively for the last 15 months.
    A few late shots, better depth on volleys and stronger groundies, much bigger overhead, same first serve, weaker second serves, stronger returns of serve, a huge problem with touch angles and sharp angles, but overall, nobody noticed any difference.
    Gaining 2.4 oz of racket weight, SW from 308 to 345 is probably a big difference.
  8. aceroberts13

    aceroberts13 Professional

    Jan 28, 2008
    100 Miles Away; Ready to Strike
    My first serious racket was a Babolat Pure Drive +. Way back in 2004-5. Ever since then, I've used "players" frames. I struggle at times and I've had a few layoffs that have hampered my ability to advance my game, but nothing feels the same as a frame of this type to me.
  9. gloumar

    gloumar Rookie

    Mar 30, 2010
    Well, I answer anyway to tell you I had exactly the same experience, as I am a self-learner and I really improved by switching to a more demanding racquet.
    Players racquets have a huge quality in stability, that helps alot on defensive shots, even rec players...
    And there is a "u get what u give" postulate that makes u understand your errors and make you improve way more quickly imo !
    Great move :)
  10. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

    Sep 23, 2011
    I wouldn't call the X4 a tweener.

    What I find plays best is a Player weighted Tweener, basically a leaded up tweener that is near the weight of a players.
  11. jk816

    jk816 Rookie

    Sep 23, 2010
    Your experience with a player’s racquet is similar to mine; I switched over 1.5 years back after extensive play testing looking for a more flexible yet effective racquet. My current stick won all play tests easily and repeatedly (I also bought the runner up as a backup, a tweener that felt closest to the winner but was a bit lighter).

    The heavier player’s frame is great from the baseline, nicely handling the toughest of rally balls, as long as the footwork, timing and form are clean; it is unforgiving of form breaks, and you must let the racquet to the work; if you try to work the racquet (i.e.: whip it or too much arm), the consistency and results suffer. It is also great at the net; being headlight it is maneuverable and extremely solid and stable. Serves are also good and strong as long as you use the kinetic chain well enough (again, too much arm or whippiness and it becomes less effective). Returns are good as well; much the same as the volleys, the weight and stability help turn around hard hit serves pretty well. My opponents have generally noted that the balls coming off my racquet are extremely jarring to hit; they seem to be very heavy, not just in spin but in their penetration. The plow through of the racquet really keeps the ball from losing much momentum in flight and it then requires my opponents to work harder to counter or be aggressive against them. It also leaves me with a lot of short balls to hit.

    And in that I find my problem, which LeeD alluded to; touch shots or sharp angles in the mid-court. Can’t use a full stroke on those or they’ll go long; whippy spinny shots that I’d normally use I can’t seem to master (is it the weight? The smaller head?). Shortened strokes turn into sitters if I don’t place them carefully. I haven’t managed to master the midcourt with the player’s racquet. The best answer has been to trust my strokes and be more aggressive in attacking behind my groundstrokes; get in quicker or volley from the midcourt, the weight will punch deep from anywhere on the court and take away opponents time. I just need to tune my game that way; I was never really an all-courter before.

    Unfortunately, injuries have disrupted my game and getting back with the players stick has been tough, as timing and form are off (for which my player’s racquet is very unsympathetic). I’ve tried going to my tweener, but the “good” from the players stick is so seductive I’ve stubbornly tried to work my way into form, despite the unforgiving nature of the player’s racquet. Probably not smart, but hey, I was there once, right?

    But that’s been my experience. YMMV
  12. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    This is what I do - use a leaded up tweener. With a poly in the mains it's easy to control the tweener power and it's easier to play with than my old RDS 001 90s, especially later in a match when I need some extra stick on shots.
    It's still got that player racket stability for handling pace and heavy topspin shots; the best of both worlds.
    I wouldn't recommend full poly in a stiff tweener however! Mine are rated at 66
  13. syke

    syke Professional

    Jan 4, 2012
    Agree.. Works well for me too.
  14. Supermange

    Supermange Rookie

    Mar 9, 2012
    Interesting reading this thread. I'm a bit tired but hope I make sense.

    I'm somewhere around 3.5 and been playing with a 6.1 95 and that was a little bit to demanding. I'm now playing with a dunlop 300tour and that feels just fine. My question is if a aero storm tour will be the perfect middle ground between these two racquets. It says 4.0 on the specs on TW.

    What other racquets is easier than a 6.1 95 but a little more players racquet than a 300tour? I liked that you bring the force opposed that you let the racquet do more of the work.
  15. ciocc

    ciocc Rookie

    Apr 14, 2010
    La Verne, CA
    My racket history of my 2+ years of serious tennis:
    Head MG Extreme (stock) --> Babolat APD Cortex (stock) --> Head MG Radical MP (leather grip) --> Dunlop 4D 300T (stock) --> Dunlop 4D 300 (leather grip) --> Dunlop 4D 300T (leaded) --> ProKennex Black Ace 93 (stock).

    In my opinion, this BA 93, a so-called player racquet, is better than my leaded-up 300T in all respects: more stable, better plow thru, softer on arm, more control, more feel, and the great on my 1H backhand. I do not find its 330SW sluggish at all.

    Give BA a try. The 98 version plays quite similar to my leaded up 300T, but with a higher sweet spot towards the hood (is a plus for me as I tend to hit a bit higher on the string bed).

    My 2 cents.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  16. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Jul 23, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    My reaction as well. Many on this board (not me to make that clear) would consider 98/100 a tweener regardless of the fact they are now preferred by the majority of touring pros and many exceed 12 oz with players' mods. I guess the tennis elite now prefer tweeners... ROFL!

    Historically, on this board, a players racquet was 90/93 sq. in. or less (mid-size) with a minimum mass of 12 oz.

    I predict the tweener terminology will go the way of the dinosaur within the next few years or will be shifted upward once again to perhaps 110 sq. in frames and larger.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  17. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Semi-Pro

    Jan 9, 2012
    Carrollton, GA
    I feel you. I went from using a apdgt to a k95. It helped improve my game a lot. And the best thing about playing with heavier racquets is that they force you to have better footwork, better technique. Builds your stamina as well
  18. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

    Jul 14, 2008
    For e majority of players a 100 sq in tweeter stick is bout all they can handle effectively. Hitting w a 90 Fed stick may feel gd initially but eventually it becomes too demanding.

    It is gd to be able to hit w a player's stick but if it's detrimental to one's game... Forget it n go get a bigger head size stick.

    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  19. wendersfan

    wendersfan New User

    Jan 9, 2012
    Columbus OH
    When I started playing tennis (as a teen) I don't remember any talk about "player's racquets" or "tweener's sticks." I started out with a Wilson Jack Kramer and then moved to a Dunlop Maxply Fort. I know times have changed but personally I'm glad I learned to play with what would now be considered extremely unforgiving racquets.

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