Pros and cons of adding weight to the handle

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Fireball, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Fireball

    Fireball New User

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    Besides from obviously increasing the weight of the racquet, how is the performance affected when weight is added to the handle of the racquet?

    The racquet will be more HL but the head will still have the same weight and (from what I understand) the SW wont go down either so will the racquet actually be more manouverable?

    What about stability, comfort, power and racquet speed etc?

    How will the serve and ground strokes be affected?
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The PRO is that you can just try it yourself with little effort. Remove grip, add weight, replace grip, go out and hit.
    Handle weight affects different players differently. On all strokes.
     
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  3. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    Much easier than that: stick blue tack putty to butt cap, add or remove putty until you have the desired result, remove putty, open butt cap, stuff putty inside, done.
     
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  4. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Adding weight in the handle reduces the speed at which the head of the racquet comes through the arc of the swing. It can help with control and help the racquet feel more balanced, at the expense of some RHS.

    It's personal preference at the end of the day, and depends on how much you're adding, what the racquet is like to begin with etc.
     
    #4
  5. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    More stability, more maneuverable, loopier trajectory, more spin, more flex, more comfort, more dwell time, lower power. Adding weight above the hand on the handle speeds up the racquet.

    2nd serves will be curvier, flat serves will be less flat. Groundstrokes will be loopier, with more options due to more spin. This is at the cost of some power. Volleys won't require as much follow through due to higher recoil weight, but will be lower powered.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
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  6. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    How do people generally add this weight? Do they just fold it over that piece in the middle of the handle or use the cotton ball or glue method?
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lead tape, you can add it over your grip, above your hand.
    WHERE you place the handle weight is most important, as stated in the posts above.
     
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  8. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    The best way to lead the handle is to wrap it around the pallet under the grip at 7", and place lead or blue tack/silicone in the butt cap.
     
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  9. netguy

    netguy Semi-Pro

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    The WHERE part of adding lead tape was what intrigued me as mentioned here by LeeD.
    It certainly made a big difference when I placed lead tape in different places on and in the handle. Finally, I settled by adding it above the handle just underneath the rubber band to compensate for what I added at 10 and 2.
    You really have to play around until you find what works for you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
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  10. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Just LOL x10.
     
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  11. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I'm not really interested in lead at the top of the handle since I'm really just looking to counter balance the weight I'm putting in the hoop. TW suggests cotton to hold lead in place. Anyone tried it?
     
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  12. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    Torres, I respect your posts on strings...but you just dont have the experinence to be commenting about this. I simply do.
     
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  13. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    I've added about .6oz of weight in my handles, but only because I bought a lighter racquet so I could customize it. Important thing for me was to make it more headlight
     
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  14. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Just for clarification, you mean if I add more lead tape in the hoop, that speeds up the racquet? I agree with your finding about adding extra weight in the handle but I find that adding weight above the throat in the hoop, for me, slows my swing speed. It does add power and stability though.
     
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  15. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    No, I mean adding weight in the hoop slows the swing speed. Adding weight at the top of the handle though speeds up the swing speed. Agreed?
     
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  16. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    So if i add lead weight to a handle, let's say where my 2nd hand goes, it will increase swing speed?
     
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  17. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Yup :). How many grams of lead tape would you recommend? I currently using the PSTGT and have actually put silicon in the handle but never actually considered putting lead on the top of the handle to increase swing speed.
     
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  18. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    I 100% agree, but it depends on your technique.
     
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  19. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    Yes, Measure 7" from the butt end and wrap the lead there under the grip. It will have the max. Effect without stiffening up the impact.
     
    #19
  20. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    I'll check the specs on TW and get back to you tomorrow. It would be better of you could tell me the weight and balance how you have it now. SW would help, but if you don't know it Ill use it off the TW SPECS.
     
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  21. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    I don't think adding lead makes the racquet swing faster, no matter where you put it. The racquet will weigh more and even the handle still has to move in an arc, so adding weight will slow the swing down. Of couse adding weight to the head has a more dramatic effect, but adding weight to the handle still affects the racquet. Try adding 30g to the handle and this soon becomes obvious.

    The real reason to add weight to the handle is if you think the racquet is just too light and swings too fast to be controllable. It becomes a trade off between racquet head spped and plowthru due to extra mass. Imagine a 10oz evenly balanced racquet with a moderate swingweight. Most intermediate players would think that is too light and swings too fast. By adding weight to the handle it would feel heavier (with added plowthru) and swing a little slower, but the loss of speed would be countered by the added mass and power would be the same or might even increase. The trick is to find the right balance of weight that slows down the racquet head speed enough to be controllable and that loss of RHS would be countered by the extra mass to yield roughly the same power in the end. Maybe it would even add more power and plowthru even though the RHS is slower? Whatever the result, this is a good experiment to do as it helps understand what RHS you need, how much mass you can tolerate to get that RHS, and even help understand what balance you like the racquet to have.
     
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  22. corners

    corners Legend

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    Numerous scientific papers have shown that in golf and baseball the static weight of the club or bat does NOT limit swingspeed, but the swingweight of those implements does. A smaller number of papers have shown the same thing in tennis.

    Swingweight is essentially a measure of how much mass is in the head of the racquet, adding mass in the handle hardly increases swingweight at all. Therefore, there is no evidence that adding mass to the handle decreases maximum swingspeed.

    But lots of players disagree with this, including some posters contributing to this thread. But the experience of handle weighting decreasing maximum RHS is not universal. Take a look at this recent poll: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=387846 About a third of respondents think that adding mass to the handle decreases RHS, a third thinks it makes no difference, and a third thinks it actually speeds up the swing. (Not many respondents though. Feel free to add your vote to the poll everyone!)

    Aside from the question of RHS, handle weight increases recoil weight, which is the swingweight about the balance point. Adding weight to the handle makes the racquet feel more solid and stable because it recoils less in the hand upon impact with the ball.

    There is also the control and maneuverability aspects that other posters have mentioned, which this article describes well: http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/articles/2006/04/racquet_handle_weighting_and_m.html In that article Rod Cross talks a little about the effect of handle mass on the beginning of the swing, where it might be easier to "whip" the racquet if there is less mass in the handle. Personally, I think this is where the differing opinions about RHS and handle mass come in. If you have a whippy swing, you might be able to swing a light-handled racquet faster than a heavy-handled one, whereas someone that doesn't jerk the handle so much might find there is little difference. I don't think that the studies done on RHS and weight/swingweight have modeled the whippy nature of the modern forehand very well, so this also might explain why those studies have not shown any reduction in swingspeed with high static weight (heavy handles). I'm just speculating though.

    The difficulty is that players don't actually known how fast they are swinging their racquet so even if someone says that adding handle mass decreases or increases their RHS, there is no way of knowing that their perception is consistent with reality. There is a lot of racquet folklore out there, and our perceptions are colored by what we've been told and read, etc. If everyone on these boards had one of these swingspeed radars these discussions would probably be much more meaningful: http://swingspeedradar.com/swingspeedradar.html

    Finally, there is the issue of sub-maximal RHS. Most of us don't swing as fast as we can on all of our shots. So if you are swinging at 70% effort on most of your groundies, even if a heavy handle does slow down your maximal swing a little, a little extra effort - maybe 73% instead of 70% - gives you the same speed of shot on the majority of the balls you hit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  23. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    Well, a stock pstgt has a 20.91 MgR/I if its on spec, meaning that it already swings almost perfectly with the arm length of a ~5'10" player.

    So a simple addition of 2g wrapped under the grip 7" from the butt cap will bump it up to 20.96, which would be too fast for me, and I'm 5'10".

    I would just wrap 1g around that area, and if you have a patient hitting partner, see what it feels like. Then try 2g, etc. You might not need even that.
     
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  24. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    Corners FTW
     
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  25. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Very informative and detailed. Do you have the swingspeedradar? It looks like it's for golf and wondering how it would measure a tennis racquet instead of a golf club which you would swing over the instrument when it is placed on the floor.

    Thanks again TaihtDuhShaat. I will give it a shot and see if it is something that is noticeable.
     
    #25
  26. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Parasailing,
    Here is a post where I give some detail about how to approach the tuning process:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=5859118&postcount=17
     
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  27. corners

    corners Legend

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    Aw shucks. :)
     
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  28. corners

    corners Legend

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    Over, under, beside, I don't think it really matters where that machine is placed. I know it's fine for tennis swingspeed - there's a video out there of someone from the company clipping it to the fence inside a court and swinging away. I've exchanged emails with the company but don't own one. The Speed Check/Track radars that you use to measure ball speed can also be used to measure racquet-head speed, but they are more expensive. You'd have to devise a protocol to give you some control and repeatability if you wanted to be confident of your results, but that shouldn't be too hard. I used my Speedcheck to check my maximum forehand swingspeed using several racquets varying between 300 and 360 swingweight. I could swing the 300 swingweight stick about 5 miles per hour faster than the 360 swingweight stick, which is consistent with the studies done on this subject (such as https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...rJmzDQ&usg=AFQjCNF3niyAGtuTaQdR-R252TD8luf5DA).

    But those racquets all had fairly similar weight distribution - they all had fairly heavy handles, in the Players' style. None of them were Team versions, for example, which usually are similar to the Players' versions but lack an ounce in the handle.

    I really do think that if we all had good radars or some other device to measure swingspeed we'd understand racquets a lot better than we do.
     
    #28
  29. Fireball

    Fireball New User

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    Thanks for all replies!

    I recently had to borrow a racquet and was kind of puzzled that serving (especially the kickers) was a lot better with the borrowed BLX Blade 98 than with my own BLX Six.One (16x18). Besides serving I definitly prefer the feeling of my own heavier and more HL racquet but I couldn't avoid wondering about how the Blade would feel/perform if the weight would be increased by adding some more mass to the handle.
    Any idea why the blade serves better than the six.one?
    Their SW are very similar and according to "common wisdon" it should be easier to generate spin with the open string pattern.
    Could it be that the mass of the head actually is more important than the string pattern when it comes to grabbing the ball?
     
    #29
  30. corners

    corners Legend

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    One thing to consider: The 6.1 95 is notorious for varying quite a lot, stick to stick, in swingweight. So your frame may have a swingweight 10 or more units higher than the Blade. That could explain why you were getting more RHS and spin with the Blade.

    Another thing to consider: The Blade is lacking about an ounce from the handle as compared to the 6.1 95. You may find this gives you better RHS on serve. There is a good physics argument for why handleweight would reduce RHS on serve more than on groundstrokes. So that might be what you experienced. To find out, just add an ounce of lead to the handle of the Blade and try those kickers again.

    Finally, did the two racquets have the same string strung at similar tension? If not, then string effects could be at play, which can be significant.
     
    #30
  31. Fireball

    Fireball New User

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    Thanks for your reply Corners!

    The racquet did have the same kind of string as I'm using (not sure about the tension but I don't think there was any major difference).
    Do you think it would be possible to add lead to the handle and then remove it without any "damage" done? I have never done any lead customization previously :-?
    Since I'm playing 1hb I might be able to put it on top of the overgrip fixed with some duct tape and after the experiment remove the lead/tape and replace the overgrip. Do you think that will do or how would you add the lead on a borrowed racquet?
     
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  32. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I've found that adding mass in the handles doesn't effect ground strokes very much other than making the frame feel more stable.

    But on serves I have noticed that a significant increase in handle weight slows me down. Maybe it's the effort needed to boost the beast upward into the ball, even with a proper core and shoulder turn?

    After much experimentation I've found that I do better at different strokes based on different mass distributions. For example, on serve some extra mass in the right spots feels like the frame is grabbinf the ball and flinging it with amazing topspin down and into the court. In the wrong places it feels like it's just whacking the ball flat and stiff. In yet other configurations the stroke can feel sluggish.

    Meanwhile, with forehand and backhands, some configurations can feel wimpy against heavy balls or I can crush them with others.

    The challenge is that each configuration works better for different strokes so I tune my frames to the point they feel as good as possible across all the different strokes.
     
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  33. corners

    corners Legend

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    You observations are pretty consistent with mine. For me the big dilemma is that 11.5 ounces works great on serve and forehand, 12 ounces is great for topspin backhand, 12.5 ounces best for slice, volleys, return serve. :)
     
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  34. corners

    corners Legend

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    Yeah, you can totally put it on over the overgrip as an experiment and I'd put it just above your hand as you're thinking. The only problem is: do you have enough lead tape? One ounce is about 30 grams, which is 120 inches of 1/4" lead tape! And once you've wrapped the lead around the overgrip at least part of the lead tape won't be useable again.

    A cheaper and simpler way would be to buy some lead fishing weights, weigh out 30 grams of them, and then use athletic tape or similar tape to strap them tightly to the overgrip just above your hand. It will be ugly and ungainly but since you are just experimenting it would work fine. If you don't have a scale you might be able to buy fishing weights with a specific weight listed on the package. I can't remember if the last pack of weights I bought listed the weight or not.

    Edit: I forgot coins! A dime weighs 2.3 grams, a nickel 5.0 grams. So you could tape 6 nickels to the handle for a total of 30 grams. I would put 3 on either side of the handle on the widest bevels and tape them to the overgrip really tight so they don't shift around while you're hitting. I've done this before and it works fine. I wouldn't stack them though but align them in single-file from just above your hand up toward the top of the grip.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
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  35. Fireball

    Fireball New User

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    Awesome, I will certainly go for the coin mod then the try out will only cost me the price of an overgrip :)
    I hope I will be able to give it a go soon.
    Thanks!
     
    #35
  36. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I used to have this problem. But after getting more comfortable with the tuning process, and then trying everything from 11 oz. to 15 oz., I've found that 13.5 oz. (with properly tuned balance and SW in the 360s) seems to be about ideal for everything.

    I can't seem to return very well against huge servers if I drop the SW below 360. And my serve feels sweetest and with nastiest spin with SW in the 360s (when I use a frame with sweetspot standard length from my hand). And volleys definitely benefit with more depth control when I use a 13.5 oz. frame vs. a lighter one - I believe this is why most doubles specialists on tour use 13-oz.+ frames.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #36
  37. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    I have found the same results with around 13.5 oz. Although I admittedly side stepped a lot of other experiments due to the work laid down by Travlerajm. 13.5 oz. with a SW in the mid 360's feels sweet on every shot with enough spin to keep it in.

    Another thing I will add is at these high weights and SW's with their high power levels, the kevlar hybrids do well to control everything, and I seem to play better the denser the pattern I try, since there is already great bite and spin from the strings and high SW. I do best on the radical mp 18x20's with thin strings at these specs. Even with the kevalr, I can lose control when I use a 16x19. Maybe since the low tension hybrids are so bitey, that the launch angle becomes too high unless the pattern is dense.

    I'm curious to try out the prestige mid 18x20 with these specs. That seems like it would have ultimate control.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    #37
  38. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Agree with the comment about denser patterns working better with the Kevlar/poly setups - with open patterns the stringbed softens up too fast and there is just too much spin and too high a launch angle.
     
    #38
  39. Fireball

    Fireball New User

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    Coins on the handle

    Okay, so now I have play tested th BLX Blade 98 with 28 gram added to the handle in form of 4 coins placed on top of the overgrip. I must say I was suprised that it was actually playable :) and better than my expectations. I had no options to measure balance point or sw but obviously much closer to my six one than it was stock. Still very nice to serve with and better juice than the six.one so maybe a modified BLX Blade actually would be a better fit for my game than my current racket. I hope I get the chance to playtest it a little more before I decide if I should go ahead and buy one or not.
     
    #39
  40. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    I started by wrapping lead 3 times around the handle and it felt a bit sluggish so I removed a little and find that 2 times around the handle provides a more solid feel especially returning heavy serves. Thanks to all for helping educate me on lead customization.
     
    #40
  41. AlpineCadet

    AlpineCadet Hall of Fame

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    If you are ever in SoCal, please let me hit with you sometime. I'll pay for the courts/balls, and lunch/dinner.
     
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  42. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I have an MW 200G 95 and an AG 200. I've been trying to make the AG play more like the MW, without adding too much weight. I added .1 oz. of lead tape 1" up the grip to try to shift the balance down. Then, to soften the AG's flex, I added .02 oz. of lead tape inside the bottom of the throat. I found that also helped to center the addition of the weight on the handle.

    It still doesn't feel even close to the manuverability of the MW. Will continueing to add weight to the handle of the AG achieve this? It already feels overall heavier than the MW.

    I was thinking today that I might remove the .1 oz. of lead from the handle of the AG and see how it plays with just the mod at the throat. What direction do you all think I should go with this?

    Thank you
     
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  43. PrinceMoron

    PrinceMoron Hall of Fame

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    Pbmid 10 - used two slightly trimmed gamma shrink wraps so adding 36g spread evenly over the handle, plus a tournagrip at 7g

    Then lead at 3 9 12 to get the balance back to original spec

    Still felt very head light and comfortable to play with. Was 397g and I could have gone higher

    My impression was that weight on the handle once you get the racket moving carries the head round with the momentum

    I found weight placed evenly on handle was better for serving than weight added to the top of the handle
     
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