Polarized/Non-Polarized question?

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by AJK1, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Messages:
    3,219
    Is this term an actual term used by Pro racquet customizers or is it just something that posters on these boards came up with?
     
    #1
  2. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,618
    Yes, those that are aware of the technique often use the term. If you call any of the techs at the USRSA, for instance, you'll find that most of them know it. However, if you try it on your local pro shop stringer, he may or may not know it.
     
    #2
  3. RJYU

    RJYU Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    Pro racquet customizers do not use the terms "polarized" or "non-polarized." Also, we never use the term "pallets" for handles that are molded. We have no idea why people have started doing that.
     
    #3
  4. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,336
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    yeah i always associated pallets with the handles that are attached in halves, like the Head handles, not molded handles
     
    #4
  5. [d]ragon

    [d]ragon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    2,466
    What terms do you use for where weight is concentrated? Thanks
     
    #5
  6. [d]ragon

    [d]ragon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    2,466
    Also Ron, could you please shoot me an email: deebin at gmail
    I have a question about Indian Wells. Thanks alot!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
    #6
  7. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,618
    Interesting. I'd certainly defer to Ron's opinion, as he is a much great authority in this area (pro racquet customizers) than I. However, I've been involved in conversations where the Bosworths used the polarization terms. Also, the term is used extensively in "The Physics and Technology of Tennis" by Howard Brody, Rod Cross & Crawford Lindsey. All are recognized authorities on tennis physics and not TT posters. Obviously, no such term is helpful unless you have more (and quantitative) information about how the weight is distributed.

    Ron, what terms do you use when referring to racquets with similar weights/swingweights, where the main difference has to do with whether the weight is concentrated at the throat, versus putting it at the tip and handle?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
    #7
  8. RJYU

    RJYU Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    Well, not sure what terms the Bosworth's use, but Nate worked for them for many years, and now I've worked for Nate for 10 years, and I've never heard him use the term polarized or nonpolarized in all those 10 years.

    Now going back to the original question, it was all about terms that pro customizers use. The guys that wrote the tennis physics book aren't pro customizers. They are certainly smarter than me, and could boggle my mind with all their physics knowledge, but as far as I know, they aren't "hands on" customizers by any means.

    As far as the terminology we use in the office, its all very simple. We state exactly where the weight will be concentrated or added. For example, its quite common in the office for the following sentences to be heard:

    "He wants more weight in the handle."

    "We need to put a few more grams at the tip."

    "Hmm... how about we move the lead to the sides?"

    "Should we go to Mcdonald's, Subway, or Wendy's for lunch today?"
     
    #8
  9. Mdubb23

    Mdubb23 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,695
    Location:
    Completing the point with a shoulder-high punch in
    ^^Burger King.

    On a more serious note, Ron, thanks very much for the information. Do you guys use the term "hairpin" for an uncustomized handle?
     
    #9
  10. RJYU

    RJYU Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    Yes, we use the term "hairpin" or "peg" for an unmolded or unpalleted frame.
     
    #10
  11. AJK1

    AJK1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Messages:
    3,219
    I thought so.......
     
    #11
  12. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,336
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Ron, just an off topic question, there are some photo's of federers racquets with different lengths of lead tape on each frame, are you simply accounting for the variances in each frame coming from the factory and just matching each?

    [​IMG]
     
    #12
  13. RJYU

    RJYU Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    I'm not going to go into any real details as to our methods, but to answer your question simply: Yes.
     
    #13
  14. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,336
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    no thats fine, i was just after a simple yes/no.. thanks
     
    #14
  15. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    So, then Ron....the rumors about Priority 1 using a flux capacitor are false then? ;)
     
    #15
  16. Tour90

    Tour90 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    503
    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    quick question ron, are the leather grips made by priority one available to the public? the leather grip you supply seem to have very little dye in them compared to the wilson leather that bleeds into white over grips. thanks
     
    #16
  17. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,976
    any bleeding from a leather racquet ive experienced stops after some usage
     
    #17
  18. aphex

    aphex Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    6,263
    Location:
    athens, greece
    lol, even federer can't get matched racquets from wilson...
     
    #18
  19. PED

    PED Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    5,339
    I will add that at ****, a molded handle will run you roughly $125 while a pallet based replacement (say from a Head shape to a Wilson shape) will cost you on $75. There is a difference and that's likely where the term came from.

    I would assume that most of Ron's customers can swing the extra $ for a molded one ;)
     
    #19
  20. PED

    PED Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    5,339
    You gotta have 20 slams to qualify for that program ;)
     
    #20
  21. TensProfes

    TensProfes Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Messages:
    129
    I saw an article a few years ago about racquet customization that quoted one of the Bosworths (can't remember if it was Sr. or Jr.), and they discussed "polarization". I'll see if I can dig it up.

    So to the OP's question, while specific customizers may or may not use the term, it certainly is not just a TT board thing. It may well be limited to "tennis geek" and sports science use, but it's not specific to these discussion boards, as LPShanet correctly pointed out. Not sure if your original purpose was to figure out whether it was a pro-specific term, or whether you were just trying to learn whether anyone with real tennis (or sports science) cred was using the terms. Between LPShanet and Ron, I'd say you've got a pretty solid answer there either way.

    Clearly, from Ron Yu's posts, not all pro customizers use the terms and they're not used in everyday work. That makes sense, as most pro customization discussions that I've been party to have been of a more mundane practical nature, and the pros themselves are often not that technical in their discussions of the terms. So while they may ask for "more weight in the head" or "heavier in the handle", they don't tend to employ the same kind of terms as physicists.

    However, It would seem that there is still room among pro customizers to investigate the general concept. In other words, what are the differences and relative benefits of adding weight in one fashion versus the other? Since many pros look to their customizers for guidance in this area, a knowledge of the CONCEPTS of polarization might prove useful, regardless of which terms they used to refer to it.
     
    #21
  22. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,618
    Thanks very much for weighing in, Ron, and providing a knowledgeable pro customizer perspective (as well as some reality check type humor!). From what I know, the whole discussion of polarization has been most active in the last 3-5 years, so it wouldn't have been on the table when Nate was working with the Bosworths. Their mentions of it that I'm aware of were more recent. And clearly the idea wouldn't come into the conversation on a daily practical basis anyway since the pros themselves don't really get into that sort of thought process. But I do think there are a number of pro customizers who are aware of the term.

    Since we have the fortune of your expertise right now, I (and I'm sure other readers) would love your perspective on the concept. As TensProfes said above, even if the term isn't used by you, you probably have an opinion on the idea. So what would you say the relative differences and benefits are of concentrating weight around middle of the impact area (i.e. the throat bridge and lower hoop), versus adding more of it at the tip of the head and under the handle, assuming that the other specs matched exactly in terms of weight, balance, and swingweight, etc.? Do you usually recommend to pros that they should go one way or another for specific outcomes? (And given the choice, which way would you usually choose to distribute the weight when getting it up to spec?)
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
    #22
  23. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Messages:
    2,566
    ^^^ Well in my line of work, the term polarized is used all the time...vertical, horizontal and cross-polarized are quite common in describing the behavior of antennas. As for its use to describe the weight distribution on a frame, I'll leave that up to the experts. As for why the term has been adopted by some to describe the weight distribution of a frame, if you study language and it's evolution this question seems somewhat silly.
     
    #23
  24. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,827
    The sad part here is that Wison can even give Federer's rackets quality control.

    Why can' they make the rackets with less variance, Yonex can do it, Fischer can do it, Head can do it (Austria), etc.
     
    #24
  25. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2005
    Messages:
    12,962
    You know practical people have words for things that are different from their theoretical elaboration, so adding weight to the tip can be construed as polarizing the racquet. Most work on racquets, either by technicians or players, seems to be what the French call bricoloage or what we call 'trial and error'.

    The reality is that the real question should be: do the terms make sense in terms of the physics of a racquet hitting a ball?
     
    #25
  26. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    The answer is yes. A more polarized frame will, by definition, have higher recoil weight than a less-polarized frame (if these two racquets share the same static weight). Recoil weight, being one of the three measurable swingweights, contributes to racquet stability.

    Of course, polarized is a relative descriptive term. There is no such thing as a polarized racquet, it's just that some racquets are more polarized than others. So when comparing racquets or setups the term is useful (for some people).
     
    #26
  27. samster

    samster Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Messages:
    5,017
    Well said, corners!
     
    #27
  28. v205

    v205 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    540
    In RF's racquets pic. Is there weight at 3 and 9 also?
     
    #28
  29. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Nope. Only at 12
     
    #29
  30. shanked_it

    shanked_it Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    271

    One thing I've been wondering, because everyime I play with a racquet, I add weight to the throat, along with either 12 or 10 2 or no other lead in head. Could it be while adding weight to 12 has it's points, which are quite straightforwards, adding to say, the throat would have it's points, maybe just a bit more complicated to see? Everything does seem to have some + and - going on.
     
    #30
  31. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Why do you add to the throat? And since you have experience with doing so, what do you think its 'points' are?
     
    #31
  32. shanked_it

    shanked_it Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
    Messages:
    271
    That's why I asked, because there is a difference, almost like the racquet feels shorter. I usually adjust so that I lead the head to vibe the ball out a bit, and after this it feels like the racquet head is dragging a bit (I would have to adjust my swingpaths), but adding weight to the throat seems to fix it, eventhough the balance still stays high.

    I have this old fischer racquet, it's quite HH, or should I say little HL, weighs 408grams, and it has this same "short" feeling to it, or so I've noticed. Could be that I am making it up. Anyway, as long as my racquet feels comfy, I'm ok with it! :)
     
    #32
  33. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    OK, I know exactly what you're talking about. I first noticed this when I started to fool around with wood racquets that were heavier, had higher swingweight and were less headlight than the modern racquet I play with. All of these factors are considered to slow down racquet head speed. But I found that the wood racquets were quite easy to swing and I was able to get good spin, meaning my swing was not slowed down very much, despite the extra weight and swingweight. This is probably similar to your 408g Fischer.

    I've never used the word "short" to describe the feeling of swinging a woody or similarly weighted frame before, but I would agree that that is how it feels.

    But, the trend in racquet design and customization is toward polarization, where weight added, either in the design or afterward with lead, is at the poles - the tip and the butt. This allows for a racquet with high swingweight and thus plowthrough, but low overall weight and with reasonably headlight balance. Many people see this as a way to have your cake (plowthrough and power) and eat it too (low overall weight & high maneuverability but good stability).

    However, as you and I have found, racquets with weight in the middle (and woodies by necessity had lots of weight in the throat/bridge) may be heavier and less headlight, but they swing strangely easily, quickly and 'short'.

    A couple years ago there was a guy named John Cauthen who became infamous on this forum by espousing a customization method: add lead at 12 o'clock until you find a swingweight that gives you the power and spin you want. Then, add lead at 7" from the butt (top of the handle) until the racquet swings easily. He used lead sheeting carefully shaped to put at 7", claiming that the racquet would swing almost magically "light" if it was "tuned" with this lead weight in the perfect way. A lot of people bought into his method and many others thought he was simply nuts (and there were many reasons for thinking that that had nothing to do with the method just described). In essence, John believed you could have a "heavy racquet that swings light" if you put just the right amount of weight at 7".


    Recently, the poster Travlerajm revealed his theory of how the speed of the hand/handle relates to the speed of the racquet head in a groundstroke. He believes the forehand, for example, can be modeled as a double pendulum system, where the arm ending at the wrist is one pendulum and the hand+racquet is the other. Using the equation for the natural frequency of a pendulum he's come up with a simple equation that seems to predict the way in which a racquet will swing. The equation:

    MgR/I

    where,
    M = mass in kg
    g = 981
    R = balance in cm
    I = swingweight of racquet at the wrist axis

    I'd like to refer you to one of Travlerajm's threads, and really should do to properly credit him for this info, but I don't have time. I suggest you search under "MgR/I" - you'll find his posts explaining this equation and how to find the swingweight at the wrist axis.

    According to his theory, the higher the value of MgR/I the faster the racquet head moves, relative to the hand.

    As you can see by looking at the formula, all else being equal, a racquet with a longer (less headlight) balance will have a higher MgR/I, and thus "come around" quicker. This feeling of coming around quickly is what I think you are describing as feeling "short".

    Where Travlerajm's theory and Cauthen's madness appear to have converged is at MgR/I. It seems that Travlerajm has figured out why a racquet that is heavy can feel light, if tuned just right. Trav believes, and some anecdotal evidence from others on the board appears to support, that each person seems to have a value for MgR/I where the racquet seems to feel and swing just right, increasing accuracy and reducing effort. For him it's 21, for me it's 21.2+.

    Having a formula turns the madness into science, as now, instead of insanely trying to carve a piece of lead into just the right shape, you can simply take some lead tape and add it at 7" from the butt, bit by bit, until the racquet swings most comfortably for you. Then you can measure weight and balance, determine swingweight and calculate MgR/I. People seem to find that once they know their optimum MgR/I they can set up other racquets to swing the same or very similar, even if the weight and swingweight of the other racquets are very different.

    Rules:

    1) Adding weight at 12 decreases MgR/I and slows down the head, but it also increases swingweight/plowthrough and power

    2) Adding weight at 3&9 decreases MgR/I half as much, gram per gram, as at 12. It also increases swingweight/plowthrough/power and twistweight.

    3) Adding weight in the bridge/throat increases MgR/I, speeding up the head and slowing down the handle, but also reduces recoil weight and lowers the sweetspot

    4) Adding weight around 7" increases MgR/I the most, speeding up the head most efficiently.

    5) Adding weight to the butt does not change MgR/I, but has other beneficial effects on racquet performance, such as increasing recoil weight, improving maneuverability and raising the sweetspot.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
    #33
  34. GPB

    GPB Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,187
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Wow. Thank you so much, for this detailed recap! I was aware of Cauthen's and Travlerajm's threads, but I've never seen them so succinctly combined as you just did.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
    #34
  35. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,271
    What's with the polarized/non-polarized thing? none of the pro customizers use these terms. Plus the logic is flawed - polarized locations means less static weight more swingweight and depolarized means the weight and SW go up gradually. And at the same times Federer's racquet which has a 362g weight and 338 SW seems depolarized but actually he adds lead at 12. And Murray's racquet, which is labeled "depolarized" on this forum, has a static weight of 345g and a SW of around 380. This is clearly heavily "polarized"
     
    #35
  36. Funbun

    Funbun Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    901
    I know I'm reviving an old thread. Sorry.

    Pioneer, I think Murray's SW is now around 350 or 345ish, right? I believe he's still rather depolarized.
     
    #36
  37. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,271
    Probably because adding lead at 12 gets your MgR/I too far from 21.0 (which is when on your forehand your wrist and racquet head move with the same velocity or something like that). But when you add lead at the throat which adds to the static weight of the frame but changes swingweight very little you get back to close to 21.0


     
    #37
  38. Marcus

    Marcus Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2009
    Messages:
    440
    Location:
    UK

    I got 3 KPS 88's all purchased seperately all weigh 372g (with OG) and balance to within a couple of mm !!

    I won't hear of Wilson QC issues :)
     
    #38
  39. pyrokid

    pyrokid Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,768
    You got incredibly lucky.
    At one point I had 6 K90s, and the variance in weight between two of them was almost 20 grams, and the variance in balance was 3 pts.
     
    #39
  40. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    No, it's probably because Wilson delivers the frames sans any weight and the weight is customed onto the hairpin.
     
    #40
  41. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,776
    I believe the term was invented by one poster on this board - travelerajm.
     
    #41
  42. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,174
    Interesting that I should come upon this thread right after looking at the TW review for the Prince Ignite. I was thinking about how a racket with a 340 SW and 11 points head light would feel slow (even compared to other rackets around 340 SW) to the testers - it is an exceptionally head light racket. I was thinking of balance point (function of (wt x distance) vs. inertia (function of wt x distance squared). Then I came upon the post about travelerjam's theory, which squares completely with what I had been thinking about that racket.
    Serendipitous, I suppose.
     
    #42
  43. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    838
    Yes, and the fact that the world's leading racquet customizing firm that counts Federer and Murray among its many top ATP clients (Priority 1) is unaware of the term speaks volumes about its importance, or to be more precise, its lack thereof.
     
    #43
  44. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,271
    Physics professors > all.
     
    #44
  45. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    He may have been the first to use the term on these boards, but the concept of racquet polarization (as the ratio of recoil weight to static weight) was written about in "The Physics and Technology of Tennis" by Rod Cross, Howard Brody and Crawford Lindsey prior to that. There's also an interesting article on the USRSA site about Prince's Triple Threat concept from a while back - essentially polarization top to bottom and side to side.
     
    #45
  46. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,827
    Did you even look at the pictures? Wilson QC is one of the worst out of all racket companies.
     
    #46
  47. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,623
    "Polarization" is a general term, found in any dictionary, for the degree to which something (like mass) is distributed away from the middle and toward the ends. It can apply to concepts (i.e., the polarization of opinions) as well as physical objects. It was not invented by a TT poster as a way to disguise theoretical flaws with terminology.

    That professional customizers don't use the term on the job is a commentary on what their daily work entails, not on whether the term describes a meaningful characteristic of tennis racquets. They might also say "lead tape" instead of "mass", but that doesn't make the term "mass" irrelevant to the physics of racquet-ball interaction.

    By analogy, it is also likely that automobile designers, and those amateurs who enjoy talking about automobile design, use terms that NASCAR pit crews have no need to use.
     
    #47
  48. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    4,628
    I recently got rid of my "polarized" setup on my YT Prestige Pros. I had 5g at 12'oclock and 5g at the buttcap. The frame feels heavier without that setup, but my serves have increased in consistency (because of the huge drop in static weight.) IMO, the quick snap from the polarized setup should help those with timing issues. Other than that, it's just tinkering with the equipment. Nothing will change how bad my footwork/strokes can be. My SW limit is def. below 340.
     
    #48
  49. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    Yep, I did look at them. I also know that a hairpin might not have any weight added at all. Adding weight is what gets a frame within tolerance. If Federer's racquets are delivered without any weight added, they could be all over the place. Adding weight at the factory, you see, is what brings a racquet into tolerance. Ergo, this would have zero to do with Wilson's QC.
     
    #49
  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,776
    Of course, polarization is used a lot, like water is a polar molecule (oxygen side is negatively charged, the hydrogens side is positively charged) and in describing electrical properties of dielectrics. Question is the use of the term in tennis racquets.
     
    #50

Share This Page