Racquet going dead-how long to replace?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Japanese Maple, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. Japanese Maple

    Japanese Maple Semi-Pro

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    To ensure optimal racquet playability what breaks down the fibers of the racquet most, making the racquet play dead-# of string jobs, hours of hitting ect. If I play 4 times per week throughout the year and string the racquet 1 x per month when should I think about getting fresh new racquets for optimal playability-six months, after 1 year ect. Thanks for your input.
     
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  2. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Good question

    JM,

    This is a difficult question to answer as it changes from person to person. However what you started with is a very good start.

    The number of times a racquet is strung will put stress on the frame depending on what machine it was strung on (drop weight; lockout; contant pull), strings and tension used and the stringer him/herself. Newer stringing machines have better clamping systems that better support the racquet during stringing which helps. The proper racquet stringing technique for the specific racquet also matters. If any or all of these things are not done correctly, it can prematurely damage or break a frame.

    I believe the thing that has the most wear on a frame is hitting with it. The life you will get out of the frame is dependent on your playing style, how often you play and how long, string and tension used and whether or not you have more than one frame to rotate. Pros can go through 30 to 100 frames a year with the time they spend on court. Most players don't play anywhere near that much so they can have 2 frames last they a few years if they are only weekend warriors.

    Bottom line is that it all comes down to you and how you feel the racquet is responding. If you get the racquet freshly strung and it does not feel right, it may be time for a new one. What I do is keep 4 to 6 frames but I but them in six month intervals so I have a fresh frame to compare to an older one.

    Hope this helps and best of luck.

    TennezSport :cool:
     
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  3. Dave M

    Dave M Hall of Fame

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    I've got a tennis mag from the mid 90s that shows a yonnex experiment with rios and i think hingis and one other pro.They could feel a dufference after 12 months or so but not according to the survey enough to make a difference to where they wouldn't play with them.I would imagine you'd be ok for a couple of years at least but it depends on how long do you play for at a time?
     
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  4. Japanese Maple

    Japanese Maple Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the input. I know there are many variables but I would think that the key issues for racquet life would be tension, how often you play, how hard you hit the ball , and how often you string the racquet. I read an article a fews years ago that if you held a stethescope up to a racquet while its being strung, you would'nt believe how loud the sound was as the racquet fibers/apoxy broke down. I am just looking for general guidelines for a 5.0 player who rotates two racquets, plays 4x/wk, hits the ball hard, and strings1x/m. at mid-range tension. I just demoed the new wilson frame and could'nt believe how solid and firm the racquet felt compared to my head i-prestige with similar specs.
     
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  5. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    If you like rackets fresh and poppy, I'd say 2 rackets with that much play/restringing would be obviously softer in a year, and "dead" in two - on the high side. I'd even believe 6 months to a year in some cases. If you like 'em dead feeling, then you might not consider those sticks broken-in at that point.

    That said, I wouldn't be the least surprised if stiffer frames or newer frames with improved epoxies (aerogel/microgel/ncode/k-factor/etc.) kept that poppy feeling longer.

    Additionally, in my own experience, I've found flexible frames to go dead noticeably more quickly than stiffer frames.

    Amortizing the cost of two frames ($300-400) for someone who plays a lot - you're looking at maybe $0.50 to $2 per hour played. Chump change in the grand scheme of things.

    Life's too short to play with either dead sticks or dead strings.
     
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  6. Japanese Maple

    Japanese Maple Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the input. How long do you think flexible players racquets last before they are soft and close to being dead. I think with my level of racquet use new sticks each year would be ideal. There is nothing worse than playing with dead racquets, flat balls, and dead strings which happens on occasion for me. Also, as a side note I figured out a long time ago that tennis shoes mid support break down long before the sole is worn out. The way I tell if the mid sole is shot is if one day your playing and for no reason your feet and ankles hurt-usually in six months and time to replace them but I guarantee you most players don't know this and wait to replace their shoes only when the soles are worn out-and they wonder why their hips,back, and knees hurt.
     
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  7. lethalfang

    lethalfang Professional

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    If THEY could feel a difference after 12 months, MAYBE I'll feel a difference after 12 years. ;)
     
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  8. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

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    im with you haha. i have not had any racquets "soften" up on me. i think it would take a few years before anything noticeable started happening. and even then it would not be a big deal. i wouldn't worry about it because by the time your racquets go "dead" they will probably be beat up and scratched all over and out of style anyways!
     
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  9. Ssanti

    Ssanti Guest

    Tennis racket will lose its strcutural/dymanic properties gradually due to fatigue degradation of the composite structure (debonding of epoxy/fiber interface and breaking of fibers). As you can imagine, there are tons of various factors such as build quality including fiber/epoxy material properties, and stress environment (due to ball impact, stringing frequency and tension, etc..). Stringing certainly causes more significant stress on the frame, but it is in-plane stress, while hitting the ball causes out-of-plane bending. In short, there are so many variables to estinate how long should a racket last. Your experiene of less life ofr a flexable racket makes scientific sense, since more flexable rackets bend more upon swinging, which will result in shorter fatigue life.
     
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  10. tennismx

    tennismx New User

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    Haha, are you an accountant by any chance?
     
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  11. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Another thing.........

    Japanese Maple,

    Another thing that you could try is to take your new racquet to a shop that has an Babolat RDC or Alpha Accuswing machine and get the racquet stiffness tested. Use this number as your reference, then as the racquets age, have them tested periodically and see how much stiffness you have lost. Once the racquet get too far away from your reference stiffness, time for a new one.

    TennezSport :cool:
     
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  12. Alafter

    Alafter Hall of Fame

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    i bet for most players, this wont really matter.
     
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  13. keithchircop

    keithchircop Professional

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    i have 2 new PT600s that feel exactly like a used mid 90s PT600 i own. you should change a racquet when you feel it has gone dead, not periodically.
     
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  14. Dave M

    Dave M Hall of Fame

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    Thats kinda what i thought too!
     
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  15. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Yup......

    Most recreational players never really feel this difference as they don't play enough and they get used to the feel as the racquet ages. We have players here that are still using racquets that are 10 years old and they are still happy with them.

    The players that do notice the change are the ones who play every day(mostly college and tourney players), have several racquets that are customized.

    TennezSport :cool:
     
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  16. jxs653

    jxs653 Rookie

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    I'm afraid but the notion that racquets go dead, have certain life span came from racquet company to sell racquets. Feel of racquet changes over use but it is not necessarily bad to me. I like my old racquets that have become pleasantly flexible. Sure there is a point that a tennis racquet is dead. I have fractured two racquets in my tennis life, one fell from the furniture to hit the floor, and the other in the middle of stringing.
     
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  17. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Well.........

    JXS653,

    While I agree with your sentiment, racquets actually do break down over time from various reasons mentioned above. However, most people fit into your feelings about racquets. We also have customers here that don't care what string we put in, just make it cheap.

    However, players who play for a living or for amateur points do actually notice the racquet breakdown. They are dependent on a certain racquet and string response, so it's really important to them. You have to play and string a lot to break down a frame quickly. Agassi used to go through 100 frames a year, but most rec players don't come anywhere near the court time of an Agassi or any other pro player for that matter.

    So while the manuf's do use this as a selling point, the frames actually do break down. Best thing to do is buy when you feel the need.

    TennezSport :cool:
     
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  18. keithchircop

    keithchircop Professional

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    Would an RDC notice difference in flex of a dead racquet?
     
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  19. TennezSport

    TennezSport Hall of Fame

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    Well.............

    keithchircop,

    I am not sure the term of dead racquet is accurate, however the RDC will measure the changes in flex in a racquet.

    As I mentioned earlier, take a racquet that is brand new and measure the flex on the RDC. This will be your reference, and as the racquet ages, periodically meaure and note any changes in flex. At some point in time the racquet will feel mushy or whippy at contact. Measure the flex and see how far the racquet has deteriorated.

    As stated before most players will never know this because they adjust to the racquet as they play over time. They may only feel this when they go to get a new stick and it feels different than their original one.

    Hope that answers your question.

    TennezSport :cool:
     
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