PV Audio's Playtest Thread

Discussion in 'Strings' started by pvaudio, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Another 5.0 I used to play had the exact same game style. On days were I was on, I could get close to taking sets off him.
     
  2. Up&comer

    Up&comer Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, then the difference between a 5.0 and a 5.5 is that the latter has some weapon that makes it tougher to dictate play. One you get past 5.0, it's te little things that make a big difference.

    By weapon, I mean something that others don't have, wether it be speed (me), a huge serve, or a blazing forehand, it's just one thing that can put you up a level.
     
  3. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    My experience is a bit different. I played a lot competitively as a 4.5. When I played 5.0's, the thing that always got me was the weight of shot, that and the added pop or kick on serves. I would find myself getting pushed around as points unfolded.

    Of course, I am an oldtimer and had consistency drilled into me. Now, every 4.5 is probably trying to hit the cover off the ball. When they learn to keep it in play most of the time, they become 5.0's.
     
  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    If you look at the definition for 5.5, it is as follows:

    This player has developed power and/or consistency as a major weapon. This player can vary strategies and styles of play in a competitive situation and hits dependable shots in a stress situation.

    I think to some degree that is true with the 5.0 as well except I would remove the "and" part. They usually seem to have a heavy power game that is difficult to handle or incredible consistency.
     
  5. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I hate the NTRP rating descriptions because they're so vague. The interesting thing, however, is that with very few exceptions, a 30 yr old 5.0 player will easily handle even the best of the junior players. Why? I don't know exactly, but having hit against my former coach who was a top 5 D1 college player and is now in his 30s and my current coach who was a former professional, it's not the same league as even hitting against an incoming D1 player. In a match, the young gun will likely have the stamina to win, but the years of wisdom just create an extra....edge.

    Perfect example: a kid who I used to play with as a junior (he was very good for his age, so he played with us older kids) is now a 4 star (maybe 5, not sure as I don't really care because he's a pompous ***** with even worse parents). He's coached by the guy who runs where I used to play (aka, said former coach's boss). He was a former ATP player, top 300 maybe. Played in some majors nonetheless. Anyway, he's now in his 40s, doesn't play competitively in the slightest, and spends most of the day doing administrative work or teaching classes to 3.0 ladies. He and his student decided to play three practice matches. The first two were against my former coach, and the last against his own. The first match went something like 7-6, 6-4 to my old coach. This was actually surprising because he stays in shape and can still do serious damage even to the best juniors he coaches.

    Next match, 6-1, 6-1. Turns out, the first match was a complete learning experience only. In other words, he was just given opportunities to work on shots, but purposely not allowed to win. The second go around was legitimate. When he played his current coach "all-out", it was bagels and breadsticks in an order I can't remember. Regardless, these guys are old, used to be great, and yet can still toy with nationally ranked juniors. It's amazing to watch that ability: go from making a 3.5 player look good by keeping rallies going during a lesson to making a great junior look amateurish by doing the same thing: just keeping rallies going. It's that ability, I think, that separates you from being a junior to being a senior player.
     
  6. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    But consistency in the sense of consistently and constantly putting you under pressure throughout the match more than what you can consistently do to them.

    I hit with the top guys at my club and everything they hit is a pressuring ball - and I mean everything - serves, returns, groundstrokes are 'big' all of the time. I can serve big but I can't "get to them" enough of the time with the rest of my game. There's nothing to tee off on as I'm on the defensive too much of the time. And they move so well, and never seem to tire.

    Even playing against the #1 women's singles player at my club, every groundstroke she hits results in a pressuring ball. Consistently heavy, consistently deep. Her forehand is superb and yet she's skinnier than me and plays with a light stick than me. Just goes to show how much of a difference a lifetime of technique development and grooved mecahnics makes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  7. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    Just goes to show you we spend WAY TOO MUCH time, money, energy, etc. on equipment such as rackets, strings, shoes, dampeners instead of working on the fundamentals. I, for one, am completely guilty.
     
  8. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Blah! Broke a string today playing against someone clearly better. It was illuminating though, as it showed just how offensive gut/co focus is. On defensive shots, the control just isn't as great.
     
  9. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    Never thought about it this way, but i can relate. When using Scorpion i would laugh at the net man. With co-focus i feel pressured to pass. Not that i don't mind, but it's not the same invincible feeling that Scorpion provides.

    I almost want to say - Scorpion allows you to aim for the lines, Co-Focus allows you to "aim" your power.
     
  10. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Spot on. What hybrid were you using? I've converted too many people locally to WhisperTouch, so it's becoming a bit of an issue for me to use it myself aka pure money lost. I think I'm going to have to switch back to poly and multis.
     
  11. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    One of the great things about this sport is that there are so many styles. Obviously, your style is based on consistency and your barrier to moving up is power.

    I'm the opposite. Against a top 4.5, I'm usually the agressor but I'll lose by inconsistency and mistakes. Most 5.0's don't hit any harder than I do, but they keep it in and generally place it where they want.

    Against certain types of players, I'll have a better chance of winning if I just keep the ball in, but playing that way won't really help me improve. I've been telling myself to avoid the temptation of taking short-term wins and just play the kind of game that will take me to the next level.
     
  12. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    I played in this advanced league a year ago and there were 2 guys who could bomb their 1st serves, kicked the 2nd over opponents' heads, blast away FH's and BH's with heavy topspin. They were killing legit 4.5's by 6-1, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2. I found out one of them was ranked in the state and the other is ex-D1. However neither of them could beat this one guy who didn't have any mass destruction weapons except that he would return EVERYTHING and place the shots in uncomfortable places. (Un)fortunately, I never got to play him but I understand that he used to play on the tour, mostly on clay.
     
  13. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Two things have always impressed me about the rating system. One, you can watch someone hit a couple of balls and have a pretty accurate idea of their rating. I know PV may disagreee with this, since he sees the rating system as a bit vague, but to me it seems pretty clear cut. You watch a guy's swing, his footwork, his preparation, etc and you just know. There is a qualitative difference in the way the ball leaves a 5.0's stick compared to a 4.5. With a 5.5 and above, you don't even need to watch. You can hear the difference.

    The other thing that impresses me is how vast the gulf between levels is. You wouldn't think there would be that big a difference between a 4.0 and a 4.5, for example. Both are decent club-level players, but the 4.5 can beat the 4.0 without ever breaking a sweat or really even going for a shot.
     
  14. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    No no, you misunderstand me. I am talking about the physical descriptions, not the system itself. It's very easy, I agree, to tell what level a player is by watching (up to 5.0 at least, beyond that, I just call them open level). However, the description of a 5.0 player just doesn't correlate to what you see on the court:

    My serve is my best asset, and I construct my game around it. Therefore, I say I have an outstanding shot which my game is based around. I do regularly hit winners and can force errors by changing up the spin on the ball, or the depth. Easy. I can also lob, smash and drop shot quite effectively. Half-volley is a very special/rare shot, so I'm not sure how to comment there. I also think I have excellent depth and spin on all of my second serves. In fact, while the ace count is lower, I tend to draw a lot of UEs off my second serve because it comes in with good pace, but so much action that it moves around. When I play against older players or in doubles, I only hit second serves and just move it around the box. The power of my 1st isn't necessary to get a short reply or pop up a ball that my partner can put away.

    I can sit here and write that description of my game easily without any intended arrogance. Yet, I am a 4.0 player who can hang with a 4.5 if need be. I'm not even within rational thought of playing against a 5.0, much less winning more than a game or few on my serve. That's my beef: I can rationalize my game to the description, but in reality, what they mean is that the player has pretty much mastered all of his shots and all that's missing is extra consistency or power.

    This is the most vague of them all. At 5.5, they've got it all. From there on up, it just depends on how much greater you are than the next guy with your weapon, consistency, footwork, etc. Make no doubt: in any given category, you're still going to wipe the floor with 95% of people. It's just differentiating between those last 5% which lets you decide what to call yourself. Let me put it like this: I don't consider anyone at 5.0 or higher an amateur or club player. They're either a teaching pro, former pro or former college player. Whether or not they're working in the tennis "industry" is irrelevant.
     
  15. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    The NTRP descriptions are meaningless. The self-rate stuff is a complete waste of time. The only way you can properly discern your NTRP rating is to work your way through the USTA leagues.
     
  16. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think this is true in all cases. I've seen 2 guys warm up where I'd swear one was definitely going to win only to get crushed.
     
  17. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I have also noticed that the best players show the least "ability" in warm up. I think it's because they've become so finely honed that it literally is a warm up for them rather than a stroke practice session like it is for the lesser opponent. Classic examples: players who bomb overheads during warm up vs those who simply work on their footwork, positioning and controlling the shot to return it directly to their opponent for them to pop up another easy practice lob. The other is the player who bombs their serve during warm up while the other player will simply warm up at 35-50% or practice their second serve instead.
     
  18. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    And I agree about the "gulf". The step between a 3.5 anda 4.0 really is just consistency and nothing more. 4.0 to 4.5 is being able to actually set up points rather than just play them as they occur. 4.5 to 5.0 is years of experience. You don't see players moving up from 4.5 to 5.0 because by the time you're at that level, you simply do not have the time, skills or age to improve to open level play.
     
  19. Up&comer

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    Completely the case in junior tennis.
     
  20. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    Tonic 16 / Co-Focus 1.18 58/52
    Tonic 16 / Scorpion 1.22 56/50
    Tough Gut / Scorpion 1.22 54/50

    I'll probably up the Co-Focus to 54 next time around.
     
  21. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    It's sad; I will miss the days of natural gut, but alas, it's too expensive with customers using my string of choice. I'm thinking B5E/ThunderBlast to start with since mikeler knows his stuff. :)
     
  22. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Yes, the descriptions are somewhat subjective, but you know it when you see it.
     
  23. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Did you prefer the Co-Focus or the Scorpion? And for what reasons? Just curious.
     
  24. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    (Tonic16/poly)

    Co-Focus - I can hit the crap out of the ball and for some reason it stays in. It takes me to a whole new level. Best feel so far for poly crosses. Consistent behavior. My current fave.

    Scorpion - Makes me the best at my current level. I can aim for the lines. Sick accuracy. Not the best feel, but who cares when you can paint the lines.

    B5E - hated the feel, but loved the results. Almost as accurate as Scorpion. I can't miss with this string, but it feels just alien in my hand.
     
  25. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I would live for you to try it and tell us about it. My B5E/gut setup is about to go (I think). Probably will go back to full multi mode for this winter to make sure the old elbow stays healthy. Next few days highs in the 80s.
     
  26. Up&comer

    Up&comer Hall of Fame

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    You'll be surprised how long it lasts compared to a multi.
     
  27. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    2.5 more sets today and it looks terrible but is still hanging in there.
     
  28. Up&comer

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    Has it outlasted a multi cross for you?
     
  29. TaihtDuhShaat

    TaihtDuhShaat Semi-Pro

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    Agree about the B5E, I had to change the way I like to play to be successful on it. I had to back off the swing speed on offensive and swing harder on defense. I like to play the opposite.

    I'm still loving the silverstring crosses, and am looking forward to trying scorpion.
     
  30. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Hard to say, I mostly used that setup against the softer hitters. I think I had about 12 hours of match play on it. The gut was in seriously bad shape but perhaps it could have held on longer. When I cut it out, I applied hardly any pressure and it just snapped. Full Genesis Thunder Blast up next.
     
  31. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    51.5/55. B5E / Thunderblast 16g. Strung up. Ready to go for tomorrow. :D
     
  32. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah baby!
     
  33. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    They're like exactly the same color. Looks like stealth strings :D
     
  34. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    All black looks good in most sticks. You'll notice the black ball marks from the Thunder Blast after your first few hits.
     
  35. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I don't have a camera at the moment, so I'll have to do my pictures once I post the actual review. Nonetheless, the strings just look sinister. Thunderblast has this nice sheen to it that I've not seen before. It's a very rich color, much unlike RPM or any other black string I own/have strung.
     
  36. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Maybe the setup should be called "Lethal Weapon". It is nice when your opponent brings the balls, you beat them and they are left with your black marks over their defeated balls. :)
     
  37. Agent Orynge

    Agent Orynge Professional

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    This might be my next sig.
     
  38. Up&comer

    Up&comer Hall of Fame

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    Beat you to it.
     
  39. Up&comer

    Up&comer Hall of Fame

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    Also waiting for your review, PV.
     
  40. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I need to play again before giving my assessment. I only played one match with it. Keep in mind that my reference is B5E/natural gut. Once I hit with it one or two more times (feels slightly boardy, but feels like it just needs to settle in because when you hit the sweetspot dead on, it's wonderful), I'll post my review. Durability, however, doesn't seem to be a strong point as the crosses are fraying already. The black marks are definitely true hah!
     
  41. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The crosses go a long time for me. The black coating wears off quickly and tells you where you hit the ball most, a cool side benefit. The sweet spot is smaller than with Unifibre natty. For me, serves/overheads were better with Unifibre natty crosses but volleys were worse. Ground strokes I did not notice a huge difference or on touch shots. This setup does feel like $$$ when you hit the sweet spot though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2011
  42. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I thought I'd get a reaction with that line, but a double signature! Wow! Proof that miracles can happen on Xmas. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2011
  43. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Round 2 in half an hour. Lets see if it settles in!
     
  44. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Tasty, tasty stuff. I think mikeler is on to something here. It indeed did need to break in. Once I can get my camera to take my pics, I'll post a full review.
     
  45. Posture Guy

    Posture Guy Professional

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    who makes Thunderblast?
     
  46. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    After hitting with full Thunder Blast now, I realize it is mostly responsible for that wonderful feeling when you hit the ball in the sweet spot. Glad you are enjoying the setup. Any of your hitting partners mention the black marks yet? :)


    Genesis.
     
  47. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    "What the hell did you do to the balls?"
    "Jeez you served so hard it left a mark!"
     
  48. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    That's funny. One opponent of mine took a picture of the balls after I beat him and texted to another mutual friend/player "That's not dirt".
     
  49. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    Mikeler i expect a review soon.
     
  50. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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