Power Pads really do provide more power

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by Hessam, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    Just tried power pads for first time in my raquet. I asked my stringer why they call them power pads, instead of just leather pads, and he said that since the pads actually provide a little more give on the main strings that they are used on (which basically consists of the main strings in the sweetspot of the racquet), this increases the string bowing effect, which increases dwell time and ultimately does provide the sense of having more power in the racquet.

    He said that is why they fold them several times, because they provide slightly more "give" than just one layer. he said also because it slightly lengthens the strings in the sweetspot, and that makes sense too, as oversized racquets have much more power than mid and Midsize frames.

    Any thoughts on this.... Seemed to make sense to me. and I can definitely feel the difference in my PC600.

    by the way he said that they should be replaced at each striniging because as leather gets worn down, it looses it's "give" to the main strings which reduces the extra "bowing", or "cupping" effect, which is why natural gut is known as the ultimate power string, because of the extreme bowing or cupping effect of the ball.
     
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  2. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Play some more for a week or so and come back and tell us what the difference is, I have never heard from any posters that actually use them, rather just tried them like and and dismised them right away.

    Thanks for you post, you helped bring something very important into perspective for me.
     
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  3. Ash Doyle

    Ash Doyle Professional

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    No offense, but I've never heard that explanation from someone "in the know". I've always heard they just increase the angle of the string as it loops back around from hole to hole and can therefore decrease string breakage in those spots. Especially for people that string quite tight.
     
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  4. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    I've never experienced the sensation that Power Pads provide more power and I learned with wood...we used to both tube and power pad the mains in the throat of certain frames, and players like Andres Gomez used to power pad the mains at the head of his frames as well. the purpose of the power pads is to soften the sharp angles that strings would sometimes have around the throat area of certain frames to help keep the strings from stressing and breaking at those points. Later they came out with hard plastic power pads which were a lot easier than cutting up old leather grips into these little squares and then folding them.
     
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  5. RMB

    RMB Rookie

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  6. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    Just because you've never heard that from anyone in the "know" doesn't mean that the theory makes no sense. I think the effect is not that noticeble in stiffer frames perhaps, but in more flexible frames, that explanation makes quite a lot of sense. I have definitely felt the difference in my frames.
     
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  7. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    The question if not would be why would Roger use them then?

    Or even other pros that have 10 rackets and have them strung when ever they want.

    Also I would think that how you aply the leather, ie how you fold and how many times is going to make a big difference.

    ie there is a difference between an amature stringer and a pro string, an amature could potentialy make any string suck.
     
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  8. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    the stringer by me, who strings at grand slams, said that power pads are only for decreasing the angle of gut to avoid kinking and/or breaking - as others have already posted.

    every gut job he does he uses power pads. anything to keep $35 gut (plus labor) in the frame without it breaking prematurely.
     
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  9. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Really I have had gut 3 times so far with no power pads and have had no problems at all, and if it was just about the angle then why are the power pads just at the bottom?

    And then we see more pros that use gut or hybrid that don't have powerpads than those that do.

    The only male pros that I can think of are Roger and Haas
     
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  10. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I use them, and have been using them since the mid 80's. They make the string more muted. I have never noticed an increase in power-EVER.
     
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  11. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Have you noticed more spin also what is you string pattern, string type and tension?
     
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  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    No, I have never noticed more spin either. I use a PS 85 so 16x18 string pattern.

    String: Ashaway Kevlar Crossfire II, 16 gauge, strung at 70 lbs.
     
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  13. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    Safin uses them, depending on what strings he is playing with.
    Pete Sampras always used them.

    Henri Leconte had them in the head and the throat (with no head gaurd).
    Cedric Pioline used them also.

    Of course, Fed and Haas use them as well.

    also Mary Pierce said on Tennis Channel that she was told to use them, and tried it and loved it and has used it ever since. Her's looked huge though compared to most others I've seen.

    I think there's a big difference in the way they are applied as well.

    those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.
    I'm sure there are more pro's who use them, than the ones I noted above.

    as the other post said. i do think the quality (thickness, and moisture/oil content) of the leather, as well as the number of folds would dramatically affect the feel one way or the other.
     
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  14. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    wondering if the type of racquet has anything to do with it? some of the older racquets don't have grommets with a more pronounced curve at the bottom part of the frame that the newer racquets have.

    when i strung my own racquet with gut i didn't use power pads and it was fine. that being said if i had them i would have used them - just a mental thing
     
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  15. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    They did start out on wood rackets, and yes, the bottom holes for the first few holes had different angles around the outer edge of the frame. The top holes were grooved out, so power pads would really be useless there. Martina Navratilova used power pads at the top of her frame, but I think it was mostly for protection of the strings. When they didn't have bumperguards, the string could sink into the power pad and you'd still have leather surrounding the top of the string, so when you scraped it, you'd just scrape leather. The aluminum Prince rackets were another group of rackets (aluminum) that could benefit from at least 1 power pad between the bottom 2 holes. The spacing was very tiny.

    As far as adding power or spin, I don't think they really did anything that dropping the tension a pound or 2 wouldn't have done. It just gave a soft surface that would "seat", so as it did, it would loosen slightly (just as new grommets seat and loose a couple of pounds). Some grommetless graphites used them to decrease the sharp angle going around the edge of a hole, but most grommets had raised areas to guide the string and decrease the angle.
     
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  16. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    I use them and I all feel is sort of a dampening effect.
     
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  17. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    "Everything old is new again".

    I remember using strips of old leather grips (Fairway leather was the nicest) to cushion the main strings at the throat of my wood rackets back in the day.

    We did this because the leather was much more reliable than the cheap plastic spacer things that were also available, and sometimes broke. Wood rackets, you see, had no grommet system built in, and if you didn't cushion those strings with something, they'd dig right into the frame. Most "standard" string jobs had one pair, on the holes closest to the throat. Those of us that were more advanced had 2, sometimes even 3 pairs.

    Boy, were we ahead of our time. We were using power pads!

    play well,
    Andrew
     
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  18. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    You guys were ahead of the curve indeed.

    Also was wondering if there would be a slight tension difference in main strings that they are used on.... since the leather pads provide a little more give on those strings, it would essentially drop the tension by a pound or two on the main strings where the power pads are used.

    and lower tension equals more cupping/bowing/power.

    I have notices a slight difference in my frames with power pads.
    the sweet spot seems slightly more springy and responsive.
     
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  19. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Very very good points and you give us something to really think about, thank you

    I will strat using PP, hey Roger can't be wrong can he?LOL
     
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  20. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    Nevermind - can't post a link to that site - saw an auction for an old-school stick (Wilson Stan Smith Authograph) that had power pads on it :)

    play well,
    Andrew
     
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  21. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    also as a poster mentioned earlier in the thread, how flexible your frame is, would make a big difference in the effectiveness of the power pads.

    I think this theory makes more sense in more flexible frames, which is why you see players with flexy frames use them more (i.e Pete PS 6.0, Fed PS 6.0/Ncode Tour, Safin PC 600),

    As I said the extra liveliness/power I feel is definitely only when I hit the ball right in the sweetspot, not across the entire string bed.

    I had one other racquet strung with same string, same tension, for a baseline at the same time, I had the one strung with Power Pads, and I can definitely tell that the sweet spot in the one with power pads is at least 5-10% more lively/powerful than the one without power pads.

    Both raquets have the same exact swing weight, balance, set up, with extra long volkl leather grips and two rolls of XL tourna grip on each on top of the leather grip. 18 grams of lead in the 3 and 9 oclock positions, and 9 grams right above the handle.
     
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  22. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    Did Sampras use power-pads?
    Does Roddick?
    Does Safin?
     
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  23. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    Could somebody post a picture of power pads?
     
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  24. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, she is a well-endowed lady.;)
     
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  25. Noveson

    Noveson Hall of Fame

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    Lol not exactly what I was looking for^
     
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  26. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    Here you go...

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  27. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Nice pics edberg.
     
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  28. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    this was covered earlier in the thread.
    All of the players you mentioned with exception of Roddick, uses them.

    Safin uses them, depending on what strings he is playing with.
    Pete Sampras always used them.

    Henri Leconte had them in the head and the throat (with no head gaurd).
    Cedric Pioline used them also.

    Of course, Federer and Haas use them as well.

    also Mary Pierce said on Tennis Channel that she was told to use them, and tried it and loved it and has used it ever since. Her's looked huge though compared to most others I've seen.


    those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.
    I'm sure there are more pro's who use them, than the ones I noted above.
     
    #28
  29. edberg505

    edberg505 Legend

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    Grazie, drakulie. This camera that I have has a really good setting for close ups.
     
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  30. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    My personal opinion is that the use of leather pads is entirely for the protection/longevity of the string.

    I used leather pads on my rackets with thin gut (17 and 18 guage) for years, and when you take them out, the part of the leather that the string has compressed is so hard that it would be almost impossible for it to be contributing any sort of "springiness".

    Now, perhaps a slightly lower string tension, etc, is theoretically caused - but in that case, why not just string the main strings at 1/2 pound lower?

    play well,
    Andrew
     
    #30
  31. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    so...all these power pad things are is just little bitty square cut pieces of leather?

    is it any different than a regular dampener?
     
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  32. tennis-skater

    tennis-skater Semi-Pro

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    wear would you go to get the leather to cut it, is their any dimensions that they're supposed to be?
     
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  33. andrew_b

    andrew_b Rookie

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    The best power pads are made from previously used Fairway leather grips. For optimal performance, they must be cut on the diagonal to the grain of the leather, and at a width so that they can be folded once and fit with exactly 1/8" of the pad exposed on each side of the string.

    The leather must be folded with the outside of the grip to the outside, with the "raw" side of the leather on the inside. This enables the string to easily "slide" over the pad, creating the power effect, especially on mis-hit shots.

    :mrgreen:

    They're pieces of leather, cut so they fit under the string. If the leather's not thick, fold it. That easy.

    People, really, there's NO MAGIC about these things. It's a hunk of leather to keep thin gut from breaking prematurely in a stress area. That's all.

    play well,
    Andrew
     
    #33
  34. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    Andrew, that was the best instructions given for how to make/use powerpads.

    Mods, that should be put in the Racquet FAQs.
     
    #34
  35. foetz

    foetz Rookie

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    nice theory and right BUT it doesn't matter. if you don't string around something like 10kp the pads get crunched down to their very mass after pulling the related string so not much left for some kinda buffer effect.
    also e.g. they don't replace the vibrastop cause they're placed outside the frame.

    actually they have 2 effects: widen angle and prohibiting frame contact.

    everything else is myth. they're just relics from the old days.
     
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  36. Hessam

    Hessam Rookie

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    Myth or not..I have had them on two of my racquets for about 2 weeks now ( 1 racquet without), and they are all setup exactly alike, and I can definitely tell a difference between the power padded racquets, specially when I hit the ball dead in the center of the sweet spot. The sweet spot (note only the sweet spot, not the entire stringbed of the racquet) feels 5-10% livelier and springier than my base racquet (same racquet, string, tension, etc...)...

    They do definitely lengthen the strings which they are used on, which does produce more power.

    as far as lower tension on entire string bed, I don't think that, that would prodcue the same effect, as the power pads are only decreasing tension on the main strings in the sweet spot, where they are used on.

    When the ball is hit dead on in the swee spot, the little give of the leather pads on the those strings + the slightly enlongated string length on the main strings in the sweet spot, definitely produce more cupping/bowing, and an overall livelier sweet spot.

    Everyone should try it to see if it's right for them, their frame, and their set-up.

    I would imagine, that with some frames, strings and tensions, it wouldn't make as much a difference as a base set up.

    but, Pete, Roger, marat and the hundreds of other pros who insist on them can't be all wrong.

    I don't think they use them only to lengthen their string life. although I don't dispute that they do lengthen string life speicallly on Nat Gut.
     
    #36
  37. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    Can't see any evidence of dampening or power-pads on this photo:
    [​IMG]
     
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  38. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    But go back one year and:
    [​IMG]
     
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  39. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    The reason you see them and then don't is due to type of string used, as said above some stringers always string gut with power pads to be sure of no premature breakage.

    Others demand power pads no matter what string they are using as they think it feels better and has a better effect.

    The facts are is that it does indeed increase the length of the mains, so you end up with with a larger sweeter sweetspot.
     
    #39
  40. foetz

    foetz Rookie

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    well i use them (again) for, eh, 3 years?
    you're sure the 2 both sticks are EXACTLY the same?
    anyway if you think you feel something - great, keep using them.

    sure but how much more length? 1cm? and you can feel that?

    agreed.

    wow, you asked all of them why they're using pads?
    and they even told you they'd be insisting on them?
    especially marat ...

    well that's the point, thinking is not knowing.
    i could also think of that it depends on how big serena's butt is at the moment :mrgreen:
     
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  41. War Safin!

    War Safin! Professional

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    No power-pads being used:
    [​IMG]
     
    #41
  42. mgm

    mgm New User

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    No, power pads just soften the stringbed, the only reason they put on old wooden racquet was to stop the strings from sawing or digging into the wooden frames Today pros are using power pads to soften the stringbed due to the harshness of poly string.
     
    #42
  43. foetz

    foetz Rookie

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    exactly
     
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  44. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    You are correct that powerpads widen angle, and prohibit frame contact.

    However, they do soften the string bed, and give it a more muted feel.
     
    #44
  45. foetz

    foetz Rookie

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    of course they do. anyhow i doubt that many players are able to feel that cause one needs a very fine touch to do so.
    i dare to say that the majority does it cause they think it's cool or so ... :D
     
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  46. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Regardless if it is cool or not, it is not a myth. Furthermore, it is really not that hard to tell when one has them installed vs, unistalled. The feel is very different.
     
    #46
  47. foetz

    foetz Rookie

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    well 'very different' is going from 32kp to 20kp :D
    anyway i bet 7 out of 10 players wouldn't notice it if they couldn't see them.
     
    #47
  48. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    They may not be able to notice there are pads on the racquet, but I'm certain most people who regularly have their racquets strung would notice a difference if pads were installed without their knowledge.
     
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  49. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    i would know, even if i was blindfolded.
     
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  50. Robbie_1988

    Robbie_1988 Semi-Pro

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    Wait. You have to hit the ball first to know. It's a bit hard with blindfolds on LOL.
     
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