Racquet advice sought

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by woodmo, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    I am returning to playing tennis after a 20+ year layoff. I grew up playing with wooden racquets and my last racquet was a metal, red Head, which I liked very much. The joints are a little older but I am still in good shape at about 6'4" and 225#. I know very little about modern racquet technology and would appreciate some suggestions on a new one. When I quit I was a decent intermediate player. I recently bought a Head Liquidmetal Radical MP because of the price and the size and feel of the racquet, but I didn't like how it played. It felt that there was very little "spring" with the ball coming off of the racquet. I don't know if that is because of the string tension or lack of flex in the racquet or both. I know my technique is very rusty and accounts for some of the problem, but my initial impression was not very favorable. Any suggestions on other racquets to try would be appreciated. I would like to stick to more less expensive ones until I see how much I start playing. Thanks.
     
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  2. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    you might want to give the wilson ntour 95 a try. it has about the same headsize as the head racquet but has a 16 mains stringpattern and is a little bit more powerfull as a frame. that's currently also selling for some 80-90 usd.
     
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  3. mclee025

    mclee025 Rookie

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    The LM Radical is a very good racquet. Because it's a player's racquet, you're going to have to provide decent technique before you get much power behind your shots. That's going to be the case for just about any player's type racquet which is geared more for control. If you have the patience to work through it, it might be good to get some leasons to get your form back.

    If you want the racquet to do more of the work for you, you might want to get a tweener type racquet. If you want something super light weight, easy to swing with decent racquet provided power, something like a Head Titanium Ti.S6 might fit the bill. I have a variation of that, the Intelligence i.S6 that is no longer sold by TW. It was a nice hitting racquet that was amazing light with a lot of power and still feels good. You should be able to get a lot of "spring" with this type of racquet.
     
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  4. dr_punk

    dr_punk Professional

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    i agree, the nTour is highly recommended for general purposes. Its really solid, and i'm selling one :p
     
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  5. Thomas Bird-Itch

    Thomas Bird-Itch Semi-Pro

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    Keep in mind the strings will have a lot to do with how the racquet feels.

    If you need something with more power, try a tweener -typically bigger head and stiffer.
     
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  6. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    Interesting you brought up the Head Ti.S6 because that is the racquet my son plays when I play with him. It feels very light to me and it didn't seem as responsive when the ball came off the strings, but I am basing my feel off technology that is 20+ yrs. old. I know my technique is part of the problem, but most modern racquets feel light with nothing behind them when I hit.
     
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  7. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    woodmo,
    that ti6 is light - it has a strung weight of 250g. that's a toy (don't mean any offense) and when there is a little bit of pace behind a ball it will twist your racquet around and your wrist with it.
    the liquidmetal radical is indeed a good racquet, it's some 320g strung weight, which by today's standards is midrange in terms of weight. of course it doesn't compare with those 400g woodsticks we have grown up with, but due to material advancements and the fact that tennis is quite a lot quicker nowadays, you'd need some lighter racquet to be able to set up for a stroke in time. once you will get your timing setup again, you will also get some pace into those shots.
    i don't know how your son plays, but i would recommend you go and have some lessons with an instructor, so you can get to some rallying situations in order to get that timing issue right.
     
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  8. mclee025

    mclee025 Rookie

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    Compared with the racquets from the wood days, most racquets these days are lightweights. It sounds like that you are missing the mass that those old woodies had. As such, you may consider "leading" up your Radical before giving up on it.

    My stock LM Radicals weigh in around 11.1 ounces. I think woodies weigh in at the 12 to the 13+ ounce range. In the past, I've enjoyed "beefing" my racquets up by adding an ounce of weight at the top of the handle at the last two inches of the grip.

    There's all kinds of theories on where to best put the weight (search the forum for more ideas), but this setup gave me the extra heft on the Radicals I wanted while maintaining good balance so that they were still easy to swing.

    If and when you do this, if you don't have lead handy, you can just substitute four quarters (which equals about 1 ounce). Mount them by wrapping them against the grip with a Wilson overgrip (you can find these on TW or a sportings goods store). This only works if you don't use the whole grip (e.g., you do not use a double handed backhand). Anyway, it makes for an easy swinging 12.1 ounce racquet that is about 6 points headlight. With some luck, it may bring you back to the good old days.
     
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  9. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    Thanks to all who have replied. FGS & Mclee, do you think that the Head LM is just not the right racquet for me? Is the lack of spring off the racquet due to me, the strings, or the racquet itself?
     
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  10. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    woodmo,
    what strings are in that racquet and at what tension?
    with the medium flex of the racquet and the 18mains stringpattern i'd go with a soft multi like the wilson nxt or nxt tour gauge 16L strung at 55lbs. that should give you the pop. the racquet is a low powered racquet though and you need to have a full and fast swing on your strokes. given the fact that you have played tennis some time ago and that you are quite athletical developing a full swing motion should not be the problem.
     
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  11. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    To be honest with you, I don't know what strings or what tension since it was prestrung when I bought it. All it says is Head Synthetic Gut on the strings. To my feel the string tension feels very tight.
     
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  12. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    it is probably around 57-58lbs, since prestrung racquets use to come at the mid tension of the suggested tension range. for a 18mains string pattern that could be quite stiff. i don't know the string, but if that is one of the stiffer syngut strings, than it is easy to understand why you don't get a kick off it. i think that the racquet is o.k. and you shouldn't be looking for anything else, unless you could demo some without having to spend too much money. i'd rather go for a new stringjob sometime soon, and ask for a soft multi to be strung at 55lbs.
     
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  13. IT WAS IN!!!

    IT WAS IN!!! Semi-Pro

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    you definitely should get it restrung try some Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17 gauge at 56 lbs.
     
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  14. IT WAS IN!!!

    IT WAS IN!!! Semi-Pro

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    if you really do want a new racquet (always demo first*) here are some suggestions:
    Fischer Magnetic Tour
    Prince Graphite Classic OS
    Dunlop M-Fil 300
    Babolat Pure Storm Team
    Prince o3 Tour OS
     
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  15. mclee025

    mclee025 Rookie

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    It would probably help me understand the issue better if you could elaborate as to what you mean by "lack of spring off the racquet". What events are you observing to cause you to describe the racquet like this? For example, are your groundstrokes weak when you hit them from the baseline -- as in just barely clearing the net?
     
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  16. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    woodmo - sounds like u need a racquet with a bit more mass to it. i'm in the same camp. ur a stocky guy so i would look at 12+ oz head light racquets. i'm using the Volkl T10V Mid which is a bit more of a player's racquet and very comfortable to swing. tho if ur coming from the old red Head u're probably not that far behind me.

    good luck and glad to have u playing again.
     
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  17. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I find quite a bit of spring with the LM Radical actually. Maybe try the Head Extreme? Maybe even a Pure Drive?

    String is of utmost importance.
     
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  18. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    What I mean is that the ball feels like it has little rebound off of the racquet. Combine that with all of my rust and the ball seems to have little zip. I used my old red Head metal the other day and could definitely feel the ball come off the racquet hotter. Groundstrokes and serves both lack punch and shots that are not hit in the middle seem to feel like weak mishits. Pardon my lack of a clear description in tennis terms.
     
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  19. TourTenor

    TourTenor Professional

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    Demo and then Demo Some More!

    I agree with IT WAS IN!, that you need to demo ... and then, demo some more.

    I was in a similar situation to you when I came back to tennis (I played on high school and college teams but only played 1 year out of 27 years after that). It took a while to see where my game was at and what the new racquet technology could do for it. The racquet I started with when I came back is a far cry from the ones that I have found to be the best for my game today, four years later. best of luck, TourTenor
     
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  20. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    woodmo,
    i think that that liquidmetal radical mp needs another string - a soft and powerfull multi would be my option, strung at 55lbs. that should get you probably to somewhere around 30-35 usd including stringing. if you still don't get the desired result, than you could start looking for another racquet.

    i would suggest a frame with 95-100 headsize, stiffness around 63-64, 16 mains stringpattern, 320g approx. strung weight, 4-6pts headlight balance. run that on racquet-finder and you'll get some options, but i'd try that new stringjob before, because in my opinion that racquet has some good things to it.
     
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  21. mclee025

    mclee025 Rookie

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    Oooooo, the red headed metal! That's an VERY OLD classic! If you can feel good hitting with that, it's probably not you even if you've been off for two decades. LOL!

    As mentioned by others above, the Radical's a very good racquet. From what you described, it sounds like yours is strung too tight for you. That results in a smaller sweet spot, less power, etc. I concur with the folks recommending you try restringing the racquet.

    If it was me, I'd try a middle to lower tension in the recommended tension range (as printed on the racquet). As a general rule, the lower tension will give you more power (and more spring!). As for string, I would avoid kevlar and the polys since they are a lot less lively. If you want to spring for better string as suggested by the folks above, that's great. However, I've had good luck with Prince Synthetic Gut on my Radical. It feels great to me and it's relatively cheap.

    So, my guess is that both you and the Radical can be a fine match. It's just a matter of finding some strings that suit you two. Also, if you feel it lacking in mass from your old school racquets, the Radical is tunable in that regard. Good luck.
     
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  22. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    Thanks to everyone that has responded. I am strongly considering restringing as has been suggested. If I do restring, will this racquet have adequate power? I read the reviews and it states that this racquet is a low power racquet. As I get older, a little extra help is welcomed.
     
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  23. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    woodmo,
    if you want a "rocket launcher", than this racquet is the wrong choice. this is a control oriented racquet that gets as much power to the ball as you put into it by means of a clean long full and fast swing. if you want an "amplification device" you should be looking towards headsizes of 115-130 sq.inches. but i can tell you, you won't have fun with those, you'll be hitting the fences - you know too much about tennis to have fun with what i've learned is called a "granny stick".:D

    you might not get the desired result with the restringing (90% chances you do in my opinion), than you can still look for a racquet i have described in an earlier post, with a 16mains stringpattern.
     
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  24. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Hey, wood.

    If I'm reading you right, you're fresh out of a time capsule and basically horrified with all the light and stiff flyswatters around that pass as racquets these days. I've always used heavier frames (over 12 oz), but I took up with that Radical last year for some reason and our honeymoon was rather short. The idea of restringing is a reasonable one - I'd follow that course first.

    I hope you find success, but if you don't, the demo program at TW is really great and I highly recommend it for you. Among the heftier frames out there, the Dunlop M-Fil 200 has a following and may be one you want to try along with the nTour, etc. You only know what works when you try it and a lot of racquets today have not too much in common with the ones around when we were younger guns. Keep track of specs like weight, balance, and flex rating and you'll get a handle on what you like. Welcome back.
     
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  25. woodmo

    woodmo New User

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    Boy, you hit the nail on the head. I was thinking that I would be killing these things since they are so light and instead I have less power. Maybe those old racquets covered up my faults a lot more. Of course, I'm still stuck in time when one pair of tennis shoes was all you needed for every sport:lol: This is a great board and I appreciate all of the suggestions.
     
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