String Pattern vs String Density: We Need a Better Measure

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by TimothyO, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    Most of use the term string pattern when referring to string density. We call frames with 16 mains "open" and those with 18 mains "dense".

    In general that's fair description, especially when evaluating the relative string densities of frames with similar head sizes. This quick reference point provides a general context for discussion on frame power, spin potential, and control as they relate to string density.

    BUT...I'm now certain this quick reference point can be very misleading if accepted whole cloth. 16 mains means an open, spin friendly, powerful frame, right? 18 mains means a dense, control friendly, lower power frame, right?

    I had been a huge fan of frames with 16 mains in a never ending search for spin-controllable power. I started out near the upper end of the spectrum of 100" frames with 16 mains working my way down to the 90" AG 100 and 93" PB10 Mid. After trying all sorts of 16 main frames I then tried the PSLGT with 18 mains. Low power but very spin friendly and control oriented, even at 95".

    Curious about how far I could push this "dense pattern in a large frame" I tried several 100"+ frames with 18 mains settling on the Head Speed MP 18x20.

    Now here's the interesting part...

    The 100" Speed MP 18x20 has the same string density as the 16 main 93" PB10 Mid as measured across the 12 center mains. I enjoy both frames for the level of control they offer. They feel pretty darn precise. The PB10 Mid is certainly spin friendly but the MP18x20 definitely has the edge in that department. the PB10 Mid feels more powerful to me. The result is that I enjoy both frames with the PB10 Mid generating deeper, lower, faster shots and the MP 18x20 generating spinnier, safer, but somewhat slower shots for the same stroke.

    After examining the "12 Center String Density" of other frames I've used I realized that my preferred limit is about that of the "open" PB10 Mid and "dense" MP 18x20. In other words it's not really number of mains but the space occupied by the 12 center mains. As I go past that density into more open spacing I have progressively greater difficulty controlling the ball. As I move below that point I have an easier time controlling the ball (eg PSLGT and AG 100). And along that spectrum spin potential rises or falls and becomes more or less important with head size and power.

    It all makes me wonder if there isn't a better measure for string density than total number of mains. Maybe some value such as the ratio of space occupied by the 12 center mains which dominate the sweet spot. As far as I can tell it's that value plus head size and stiffness that best describes how a frame plays...16 vs 18 seems less important in light of the fact that frames with 16 mains can be as precise as those with 18 while some 18 main frames can generate more spin than their 16 main counterparts.
     
    #1
  2. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    I know what you mean. It depends on the string spacing. I'll take from a few frames of mine.

    The Wilson Pro Staff Midsize is a 16x18 but it was advertised back in 1984 as having the strings centralized to minimize the trampoline effect and thus offer more control. I can compare it to another frame of mine, the Wilson Graphite Force midsize, an 85 sq. in. head without the PWS. It's a 16x19, but the strings are relatively evenly spaced and at the center of the string bed it's more "open" than the Pro Staff Midsize. Honestly, I think that's one of the contributing factors on why I prefer the Graphite Force over the Pro Staff.

    Another frame is the Prince CTS Synergy DB 26 MP. I think it's a 16x18 on a 98 sq.in. head. There is quite a bit of space from the sides of the frame to the first mains as well as the top and bottom to the crosses. The center of the stringbed is quite dense. I think that translates to a firm response.

    The 16 main vs the 18 main is at least a starting point for looking at string pattern as a specification, but I agree with you that it's the spacing (density) of the overall stringbed that is key.
     
    #2
  3. Agent Orynge

    Agent Orynge Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,364
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    You have to take into account the 'all else being equal' clause. A mid might seem more powerful than a midplus for any number of reasons, not the least of which being that the control a mid provides really lets you swing out. The same is true for string pattern and spin potential, or stiffness, or any other variable. Basically, you can't take a generalization for granted if you're not going to do an apples-to-apples comparison.

    Hit with an RD Ti-70 mid and a KPS 88, and then tell me which one has more spin potential.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
    #3
  4. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    583
    Racquet head size (in sq in) / (number of mains + number of crosses) should be a fairly accurate measure of string density.
     
    #4
  5. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    I agree Agent that it's just one variable in how a frame plays. In fact that's central to my point.

    The traditional manner of defining string density (eg 18x20) is clearly misleading. A simple measurement of the distance covered by the 12 central main strings, perhaps in mm, would be more informative imo.

    According to conventional wisdom the PSLGT and MP 18x20 are equally "dense" string patterns while the PB10 Mid is an "open" string pattern. By that standard the PB is the odd man out. But that's not experience with these frames.

    When you measure a Twelve String Distance Value (TSDV) the results make more sense relative to how these frames play. I own all three, all are strung with gut mains and smooth poly crosses at similar tensions, and I have all modded to around 12 oz and roughly 10-11 pts HL. The TSDV below dovetails far better with how they feel to me compared to the conventional open/16 and dense/18 nomencleture.

    PSLGT (18x20, 95", stiffness 59)
    TSDV: 112mm

    PB10 Mid (16x19, 93", stiffness 59)
    TSDV: 124mm

    Speed MP (18x20, 100", stiffness 65)
    TSDV: 123mm
     
    #5
  6. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    Funny you should mention this because I was looking at a Dunlop Maxply Fort recently with it's 66si frame and 18x20 string pattern. Oddly, the spacing between strings didn't look much, if any, smaller than the 18x20 pattern on my Dunlop 4D 300Tour, or the new Bio 200.
     
    #6
  7. ben123

    ben123 Professional

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,172
    isnt it kind of easy if u know what u like? there are 3 factors which influence the string density: head size, string pattern and string gauge.
    so if u have a favorite setup of string density it should be easy to change racquets without changing string density too much
     
    #7
  8. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    Nope. I used to think that too. Then I went on a sustained demo binge and learned that string pattern is NOT the same thing as string density! :)
     
    #8
  9. ben123

    ben123 Professional

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,172
    i didnt only say string pattern. i said head size string pattern and string gauge.
    if u keep them equal theres not a huge difference between most frames at all
     
    #9
  10. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    9,251
    Location:
    Silvis, IL
    but even this isnt true. even similar headsizes and string patterns dont always yield the same results. I've hit with the Redondo MP and currently use the MG Radical MP, both are 18x20 and 98" heads, but the Redondo feels much denser, and gives much less spin. at first glance, it has the denser string spacing in the sweetspot, as well. So I also agree with the OP, and it has been my experience as well.

    The spinniest frame I've ever used was the BLX90, which has a very evenly distributed 16x19 frame. It's almost as open in the sweetspot as a 16x19 POGOS.
     
    #10
  11. OneMoreShot

    OneMoreShot Rookie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    115
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    All 16 main 100 inch frames are not spaced the same. Some can be more evenly distributed across the entire 16 mains while others can be tighter in the middle and significantly wider on the edges.
     
    #11
  12. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    12,743
    Location:
    Bierlandt
    I've been wondering if manufacturers cound not provide us with the spacing of the four central stings (mains and crosses) measured in centimeters, or something like that as a better indicator of spin potential.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
    #12
  13. tennisnoob3

    tennisnoob3 Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2010
    Messages:
    1,359
    this. drill patterns can be very different. wouldnt the exo3 port and hole grommets have different spacings with each grommet type?
     
    #13
  14. BLiND

    BLiND Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Messages:
    1,615
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I think this is a great idea, and does explain why different racqets with the same number of strings and different head sizes play different.

    e.g.
    Vantage 95" 18x20 = TSDV 113mm
    Vantage 95" 16x19 = TSDV 123mm
    Vantage 100" 16x19 = TSDV 134mm
    Head Speed Pro 98" 16x19 = TSDV 118mm
    Head Speed MP 100" 18x20 = TSDV 123mm

    I would say the control of each racquet directly correlates with the lower TSDV value.

    TimothyO well done on coming up with what seems to be a good way to measure density rather than the stupid number of strings.

    Incidentally I'd love to know what the TSDV is for a Wilson PS 85" which is always described as open but I think its not as open as most new racquets.
     
    #14
  15. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    813
    Location:
    Out of the comfort zone
    The final answer to fully characterizing string density for a particular string gauge is to manually measure the dimensions of each square in the bed and give an average along with some indication of the variance such as standard deviation. Period.
     
    #15
  16. thug the bunny

    thug the bunny Professional

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    813
    Location:
    Out of the comfort zone
    Or....# mains + # crosses / total string area (top cross to bottom cross x left main to right main)
     
    #16
  17. BLiND

    BLiND Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Messages:
    1,615
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Thug that still doesn't work because all racquets have varying spaces between the strings along the length and more importantly the width of the racquet head. e.g. they are smaller in the centre, where you hit more shots.
     
    #17
  18. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    You're dead right about control correlating to this value. It also has a huge impact on stinging choice.

    I just went through four attempts at getting my Speed MP 18x20 strung right. At first I was approaching it as a "dense" 18x20 with respect to string choice. I then switched from 17g Team (used in my truly dense PSLGT) to 18g Touch (used in my more open PB10 Mid.). I was simply stuck in the 18=dense mindset.

    WOW! Huge improvement! As one friend noted the Speed MP now plays like a much spinnier version of the Pb10 Mid after some tweaks to the weight and balance. Stringing it as an "open" pattern was the answer...it needed it's power dampened a bit with slightly thicker and stiffer mains. Stringing it as a dense pattern with a thinner main resulted in too much power.

    Just as we all have preferred weights and balances we probably have preferred TSDVs. After lots of recent demoing And measuring I find too little control and too much power over 123mm or so.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
    #18
  19. Darkhors

    Darkhors Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    The D
    So how do you calculate this TSDV? Do you just take the 6 mains and 6 crosses (going center out) and measure the diagonal?

    DH
     
    #19
  20. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    I didn't measure the crosses, only the mains straight across from number 6 on the left to number 6 on the right (in fact you can simply run your ruler along a cross). I came up with the 12 after observing where the ball fuzz peters out on my frames and the relative size of the ball vs string pattern. There might be a better measure but the 12 center mains seem to get a lot of play. One could argue for a smaller value such as 6 or 8 mains but that's too small imo.

    I sort of like the idea of the diagonal since it considers both mains and crosses. On the other hand, since mains provide the vast majority of the feel and spin, maybe only using the mains is more accurate.

    In any case, after talking to some other players and stringers locally, they too agree that string density isn't really represented well by "string pattern". But like all of us they never really thought about it before. Conventional wisdom is 16 = open and 18 = dense. I think we're learning that it really isn't the case. The Dunlop AG 100 has 16 mains but could never be described as "open". And many 104"-107" heads might have 18 mains but they're far from "dense" in terms of control!
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
    #20
  21. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,416
    I started collecting data for stringbed density. I was curious about this because I had discovered recently that my O3 Red seems to have a ridiculously open pattern, requiring very high tensions if I want to volley decently.

    I used the distance between the 8 center mains (call it "ESDV"), because I discovered that the 12-string distance could be misleading (for example, the Diablo mid is dense in the center and plays with a lot of control, but it's not very dense beyond the 8 center mains.

    To take measurements on few models of interest for comparison, I simply pulled up the "Plan View" of a racquet model on the TW site, and measured the ESDV in cm with a ruler on my computer screen, then also measured the length in cm on the screen. I then used the specified length to scale the result into an ESDV in mm. I also included a column for "Stringbed Control Factor", which is simply 100000/[(ESDV)^2], since the square of the linear density should give a better indicator of relative stringbed control. So ignore the columns with cm units - the last 2 columns are the important ones to compare.

    Here is the data I've collected so far. One interesting thing - TW fudges their Plan View photos by photoshopping the stringbed most of the time. I've updated the table since my original post to include only racquets where I could measure the actual stringbed photo.


    [​IMG]
    Edit: After further review, I've come to the conclusion that measuring only the mains spacing is insufficient to define string spacing.
    I came home and measured my ESDV on my Diablo Tour mid (great control on volleys) and my RDS001mp (relatively ball-spraying feel on volleys). They both had ESDV of 78mm.
    Then I compared the distance between the 8 center crosses: Diablo was 79mm, and RDS was 88mm. I think this might account for the more control feel.

    So given this finding, I think a measure of the product of the distances between 8 center mains and 8 center crosses might be a good reference number.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
    #21
  22. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,416
    Using the average opening area of the 8 x 8 center rectangle (8 center main distance x 8 center cross distance / 64), here are values for a few of my frames in my collection (in sq. mm), ranked from most dense to most open:

    Weed Aluminum 22x29: 89
    Diablo Mid 16x20: 96
    EXO3 Graph Mid 16x18: 102
    Prostaff 4.7 EB OS 18x20: 107
    RDS001MP 16x19: 107
    NXG OS 16x19: 109
    O3 Tour OS 16x19: 111
    POG Longbody 16x18: 113
    O3 Red 16x19: 120

    So quite a spread: My O3 Red is 25% more open than my Diablo - quite a difference, considering the pattens are almost the same. I string my Diablo at 47 lbs, my Red at 73 lbs. This explains why.

    These values correlate reasonably well with my perceived relative directional control on volleys. Except that my Prostaff 4.7 gives considerably more directional volley control than the RDS001MP (at equal stringbed density), but perhaps that can be attributed to the much higher twistweight from the much wider head (115 sq.in.), or to the more torsionally rigid design? The 4.7 is the one frame of mine that seems to "play denser" than the pattern.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
    #22
  23. DEH

    DEH Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Arvada CO
    I have one for you. The ProKennex Ki5x or any on that line. It is a 16x20 pattern and I measured the center 8 strings like you said and I get 94.5.
     
    #23
  24. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    Great idea! I'm going to apply this to my collection and see how it goes.
     
    #24
  25. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Timothy...you aren't hitting the ball with the same stroke. If everything else is equal, frames will not make this big a difference. The only equipment factor that would ultimately make this kind of difference is stringbed tension.

    HOWEVER, setting that aside for the moment, let's pretend that you did hit it exactly the same way as you say. Totally different shots were produced. Yet the string density is the same. String density would not be the important differentiating factor then would it?

    Now, indeed, you have made an observation that has held....well just about forever....differing string patterns, will yield different densities in the middle of the racquet. And indeed, if you're hitting it outside the middle 12, it's not going to be a high quality shot anyways. So, from a purely academic standpoint, I agree 100% that if somebody wanted to know about string density, a measure of the inner strings would be more valuable, but the reason you probably haven't seen a big fuss about this is because the vast vast vast majority of highly accomplished players, couldn't give a bucket of snakes about this.

    TimothyO, I will get a lot of flack for being a gear-headed party-pooper here....and believe me, I get it. It's fun, even addictive to play with your equipment and look for magical solutions. Heck, that's really what the equipment forums are all about....making up new laws of physics...ridiculous weighting theories unfounded in science or real-world experience etc...

    ...and to each their own. Micro-tinkering with equipment, and fantasy theories are a hobby unto themselves, and if one wants to engage in it, and they enjoy it, well there are a lot of worse things to do!

    But I say this to you knowing you are relatively new to tennis...and obviously have an avid interest in playing it....this is all BS. You have almost 700 posts, devoted largely to strings, racquets, etc. You were even so worried about a .2 oz difference in a frame, you were worried TW ripped you off. I say this altruistically, though take it as you will: the single biggest thing that will hold back your game, is your focus on equipment. Especially at the level you're showing here, and is commonly seen on these boards. At your level...though really, at ALL levels, it's completely trivial. Get a decent racquet that feels OK to you. Stick with it, and stop thinking about it. Play.

    Yes, pretty unsexy advice for gearheads, but it is the real truth.

    I will say again, that is only if improving your game is your primary concern....if hanging out on the string forum, and/or tinkering with your gear, and dreaming of the next big string/racquet "score" is how you have fun...by all means, go for it!
     
    #25
  26. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    Decipher,

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    I'm just curious, what are the specs for this generic, "perfect", "one-frame-for-everyone" racquet of yours?

    It's a brilliant idea! You could save vast sums in R&D and manufacturing.

    All those pros who don't care about specs (according to you) would be able to play with this one frame. There'd be no more of this misleading "Nadal's racquet of choice" marketing-speak.

    As for a focus on equipment holding one back, you are 100%, absolutely, positively, wrong. A frame is a tool. The right tool helps, the wrong one hinders.

    Based on individual physique, style, skill, and experience one tool will be more helpful than another. I disagree with your assertion that a frame designed for a 75-year old rec player new to the sport will be the same as that designed for a 19 year old who just turned pro. You may think they're the same but I think they would be vary different.

    I went down your route of "whatever frame will work" when I started playing and bought the first racquet I found at Sports Authority that seemed to be discounted the most (ie high initial price but low sale price). The frame was stiff, super light, and very head heavy, a perfect recipe for tennis elbow. If I tried a full swing I hit long. I couldn't develop a proper stroke because anything more than a badminton "push" sent the ball over the fence. By Thanksgiving I couldn't lift a dinner plate due to arm pain.

    That experience it not unlike the TW testing team. Read their reviews and based on frame characteristics you'll see constant references such as "I felt like I could swing hard without fear of over-hitting" or "I needed to restrain my stroke to avoid over-hitting". If what you say is true then there should be no such comments in the TW reviews. Their experienced strokes should be the same for all racquets, right?

    So your advice isn't just wrong it's down right dangerous. It's the sort of advice that condemns noobs to the risk of injury and inhibits their skill development. And I have a perfect example for you.

    A guy I met recently and who is now a friend recently took up tennis. He started out with a big box noob racquet just like I did. He came to an open session at our club to hit with us. His rocket launcher was impossible to control. It caused arm pain even though he's muscular and cut better than Nadal. He's a natural athlete but was just couldn't hit worth a darn with his rocket launcher.

    I let him use my Pure Storm AND talked to him about the need to hit smoothly/loosely rather than just "hard" and he immediately improved. In just a few sessions with our group of friends over 2-3 weeks he went from total 100% noob to winning 2 of his first 3 matches in a local singles league (Peach Tennis) at 3.0 (not 2.5 or -3.0...solid 3.0). He went from tapping the ball tentatively with his rocket launcher to long, smooth strokes with the Pure Storm. His arm pain is gone. He's beating guys with years of experience even though he has just weeks of experience.

    And there's no freakin way he could have developed so rapidly, so well, and so safely with that rocket launcher and even he figured that out.

    Now I will grant one thing. This IS all matters of degrees. For some it's closer to "whatever racquet will work". At the other end of the spectrum are those of us who enjoy the fine details. What's that to you? Why does it make you so angry?

    Finally, and most importantly, I (je, me, moi, etc.) use this forum primarily for information on tennis hardware. I spend far, far more time on the courts than on the forum. I hit just about every day. Serves at the very least, causal/practice sessions with friends/wife 1-2 times per week, and a league match once a week when in season.

    While I've also received outstanding advice on technique here I prefer real-world hitting and lessons for skill development. Just because YOU are not involved with my on court activities doesn't mean they're not happening. It's really quite rude and arrogant of you to draw the conclusion that because I'm posting technical questions here I'm not developing skills on the court. WOW!!!
     
    #26
  27. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    I am guessing you are being purposely obtuse here? I proposed no such thing.
    Ah....quite the sarcasm...

    I didn't say the pros didn't "care about specs." Again...you are either making things up in an emotional knee-jerk reaction, or purposely making up words that I said. In future, if you wish to have actual discourse, please quote specifically what you are replying to.

    Correct. That's why I advocate finding a racquet you are comfortable with. There are likely any number quite suitable, and in fact, generally, players begin to "like" what they become accustomed to.

    OK, it's obvious you're being purposely obtuse. Of course, I made no such assertion.

    Actually, that's not a "perfect recipe" for tennis elbow. The causes of tennis elbow are the subject of a GREAT deal of controversy. Over the last 20 years, theories have been presented suggesting too light, too heavy, too stiff, too flexible, head heavy, head light, all are causes of tennis elbow. All those theories actually developed some followers. I feel the truth is that, tennis elbow has a multitude of causes. This of course, makes sense being a catch-all phrase for tendon pain, and given the variances in human anatomy. First and foremost is technique, but indeed, anecdotal experience suggest certain racquets seem to trigger the condition in players. Of course, ironically, for just about every single racquet-caused experience, there is almost always counter experiences. eg. the prostaff 6.1 classic gave me tennis elbow, it's a killer!!! The prostaff 6.1 classic cured my tennis elbow!!! My old coach Vic Braden once interviewed a surgeon who had operated on cases of tennis elbow many times before, and his take on the situation seemed to be similar...the variety of causes made any isolating any particular cause problematic.

    In any case, you were just waxing on about R&D, if you are sure you have the "perfect recipe" for tennis elbow, I urge you to present your data to the manufacturers, and indeed to the tennis world at large!

    Well, there are a number of problems with this assertion (eg. are the TW testing team truly advanced players? Are they over-hitting not because the racquet is no "good" for them, or simply because it's more powerful than the one they usually use? etc etc) HOWEVER, first and foremost, this is why I SAID: find a racquet that is generally comfortable for you. It need not be "perfect" (whatever that is)...and in fact, if I give any of the most advanced TW testers say: any model radical, any model volkl 10, any model pro staff 6.1, any model, a Prince Response, a Prince Graphite, a Pro tour 280, a Rossignol f40, a CTS precision, Mad Raq Boston, and a few weeks of practice, and a 100,000 dollar match to play, they'll reach the same level with any of them.


    First, as discussed above, most of the "advice" you are claiming I gave, did not occur. Second, no, though you seem to strongly believe that a "noob" racquet is the "perfect recipe" for tennis elbow, and/or will absolutely prevent improvement, this is untrue. Again, my only advice was to find a racquet that you find comfortable and then play with it.


    Seriously? Ugh. Did you know Agassi won a tournament with a 31mm. Donnay widebody? Then ended up switching mid-match to his 19mm Donnay Pro one? Several pros, including a number of male pros played with the Wilson Profile 2.7 at that time. There are countless examples. A good player can adjust to anything. Is it ideal? Well they thought it was at the time, but as I said, I recommend finding something comfortable for each player, one that seems to have about the right level of power. Come on....I promise you Nadal would whip the court clean with that big box noob racquet. Would he prefer it? Probably not, it's probably very different than what he usually uses.

    You seem to misunderstand, even though I repeatedly tried to emphasize that it's no skin off my back. I am telling you, the honest truth about your problem, but if you choose to ignore the advice, or just enjoy excessive thought about your equipment, as I said, by all means. IN FACT, I specifically said that if tinkering like this makes one happy, they should continue. It is a relatively benign hobby, except that it may well hold back their actual playing development. I don't know what let you to think there was any anger. Even now, though your repeated claims (ie lies) about what I have allegedly "said" are annoying, I don't feel angry. Just sad. Obviously though, I will not convince you, so I'm only posting this to correct the lies you said about me.

    Again, I didn't say they weren't happening. If you really want to be honest, maybe you should go back, take a deep breath, and reread my post. I am telling you that this focus is a waste of time and energy, in regards to improving your game. That has nothing to do with your on-court efforts. If improvement is your primary goal, then I certainly hope you are doing those, and I hope this does not come at the expense of the other. You are asserting it does not. That is good.

    All the things I have delineated above, which you claimed I said, I did not. If you wish to continue claiming I did, then please just quote the original post, and I will be happy to address or clarify your concerns. Since I doubt you will do that (it's not possible since you were lying when you said that I made those claims). It's probably best to simply acknowledge that you don't think what I said was true.

    That is fine. You can think it's total BS, nobody can stop you from thinking that. I any case, it's obvious that my post made you very angry. I was worried about that which is why I kept trying to say in my OP, that if you choose to spend time on this, it's your decision, and that if it makes you happy: "go for it".

    I think that if you continue to be as avid a player as you claim, you will eventually improve, and 5, 10, 15 years down the road, you might remember this post. You might also see some wisdom in what I'm saying. If that day ever comes for you, and some way to contact me still exists, please drop me a line. We will probably have a good laugh about it. I wish you well in your efforts.

    Finally, let me re-emphasize: I'll be happy to address/discuss/clarify any of the points I have made in this post or the OP, if you would quote them, and then discuss the quote directly! :)


     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
    #27
  28. 0d1n

    0d1n Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    3,693
    Location:
    Cluj-Napoca, Romania
    I don't agree with Datacipher on many things (especially some "pro players or former pro players opinions), but I do like the fact that he usually has reasons for his likes/dislikes and he can provide arguments (albeit sometimes biased ones...) which show he has thought things through before making statements.
    That's much more than most do on this forum.
    Now...with regards to this specific topic...I think you are both "right" and I do think it's a question of degrees.
    I do NOT think he said Big Bubba's and Prestige Mids play the same...but he said that obsessing over every minute difference in equipment is detrimental to one's game.
    I have been a "tinkerer" and I'm now slowly going towards the trend of thought that most "reasonable" racquets will work and other things affect my performance WAY more.
    2 hours less sleep in the night before the match will affect me much more than 5 grams difference between racquets.
    I am starting to believe that if somebody is being reasonable with their choices ... the limiting factor won't be the racquet.
    I don't believe there's much difference between how one will play long term with a Prestige MP or with a Fischer Pro no 1 or with a Pure Storm Tour (3 racquets with similar specs who are not "rocket launchers").
    Same thing with regards to Head Radical's - Dunlop 300's or Pure Storm (non tour).
    The minor differences in "power/control" ratios between such similar racquets can be tweaked with strings...and after finding a good string/tension combo for each and getting used to each ... our hypothetical player will play the same with all 3 racquets in my example.
     
    #28
  29. Pneumated1

    Pneumated1 Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,231
    I know that when I picked the game up in 04, I didn't have a clue what I was looking for in a racquet. I picked up a new, cheap, soon to be updated Dunlop 300G. Ignorance is bliss, and I didn't think about my racquet, besides customizing it some according to my preferences, for the better part of four years. I simply bought several 300G's. My rating jumped a full "point" within a few years. Although the 300G was perhaps not the best racquet for me, I knew exactly how it would perform in every situation, and I won a lot with it.

    Until around 07-08, I had never considered that there may a better racquet out there for me. I've tinkered here and there since that time: 1 year with a Blade and 2 years with a 300 Tour, always on the lookout for the "perfect" racquet. On the plus side, I've definitely determined the type of stick with which I can perform best. On the negative side, such speculation can lead to a perpetual odyssey: a search which most likely will not terminate with Excalibur. In fact, the epic journey will likely not end, if not awakened from the spell.

    I currently hit the most appropriate stick that I've found for my game and playing style. And even knowing this, I've spent too much of the past half a year wondering if there just might be that "special stick" that's even better than my current racquet. I've just realized recently, on my own and through the advice of some reputable posters on these boards, that it has to end, if I am to continue improving my game.

    As good as these boards are for tennis helps, I think that they can be an obstacle to experiencing improvement on the court. I couldn't agree more with your post, although I've been guilty of that which you speak.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
    #29
  30. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    I'm "asserting" that it does not? How do you know so much about me?

    You're describing my interest in certain details as a "problem". Just how the heck would YOU know if it's inhibiting my development? Have I hit with you enough times for YOU to make that assertion? Do you have amazing powers of telepathy which allow you to see my development from afar?

    How exactly did you determine it was a waste of time? Are you stalking me? That's pretty creepy.

    Your OP and this massive explanation just drips with arrogant assumptions on your part. You've only seen my posts on a forum dedicated to tennis hardware. From that you assume that's ALL I'm focused on. You have no idea how wrong you are.

    Last summer I had no idea there were different ways to grip a racquet! Over the last year, with research, lessons, practice, and court time, I developed a solid continental grip for serves and volleys, something of a moderate western for forehands, and standard one handed backhand.

    I played racquet ball in college and went from a wristy/arm-y swing to using my legs and core for power. I'm dealing with an ankle injury and to my delight now realize just how much I use my legs now when swinging since I can't swing with this injury!!!

    I went from being terrified to serve in matches to now having a solid and consistent serve with better form than my 3.0/3.5 friends. I don't dink serve or "waiter serve". I have a proper first serve and kick serve.

    Can excessive racquet changing cause problems? YES! Precisely because they're different. Changing too often messes with your strokes.

    But it took a lot of rapid experimentation to find what I enjoy. And being a technical type I really enjoyed that process! I've enjoyed exploring different types of frames and strings and learning how they work. I've also enjoyed settling on a specific set of specs that really work for me. Now it's just a matter of tiny adjustments and refinements but why does that matter to YOU?

    Here's what I've learned about racquets: the better the fit I've achieved between the racquet and my mind/body the better I've played because, at some point, the racquet no longer exists in my mind. There's just my will and the ball and I can put it where I want. Currently the PSLGT does that for me.

    When I've tried racquets that don't fit me I'm fully aware of the racquet's presence, it's weight, it's balance, it's string behavior, and it distracts from my playing experience.

    In fact, a better player COULD play with anything and not be distracted since they have the skill and experience to play with anything. What I've been doing is finding a seamless link with a racquet that "fits me like a glove" so, as a new player, I can focus 100% on technique and skill development rather than fighting the racquet.

    It's like trying to learn how to ride a bike that's stuck in 10th gear or too large or too small or too heavy. Could one learn how to ride such a bike? Yes. But what's the point in making it HARDER with ill-fitting equipment?
     
    #30
  31. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    Yes, thank you. I have no problem at all with disagreement, that's what discussion and opinion are all about. What isn't so good, is when the other person just gets emotion and decides to "attack" with lies about what I said, and/or illlogic/insults. Obviously, we won't get anything productive done then.

    If people read the very first sentence of my OP, they'll know that I KNEW what I posted wouldn't be popular here. IF I really wanted to be flamed ever day, I'd post that opinion, every day...it applies in almost every thread here...but I don't. In this case, I randomly figured "what the heck, this guy is a beginner to tennis...maybe he'll be in a place where he is open to hearing this, if I word it gently." eg. Not, "you stupid newb tech monkey! Take some freakin lessons!!!"

    It turns out the post instead made him very very angry...that's fine. I stand by what I ACTUALLY said...but I know most who are active in this forum will disagree...enough said.
     
    #31
  32. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    You bolded/colored/underlined the following quotes, which I believed this was you "asserting" that your equipment related activities was not coming "at the expense" of your "on-court" activities.
    :
    You bolded, colored, and underlined the following:




    Quotes please; actually, I don't have amazing telepathic powers, which again, is why I prefer direct quotes. Without them, the rhetoric will go on endlessly.

    TimothyO, this kind of stuff is just embarrassing coming from an adult. Come on.

    This kind of stuff just has no content, and isn't helpful TimothyO.

    Actually, this is a good point, the mental obstacles can be difficult to overcome, but you certainly do not have to be an advanced player to prevent this mental block from happening. That's largely the point of my first post. Obviously if the racquet is too heavy by far, or too light by far, etc. then it can be a factor, but then, that wouldn't be a "comfortable" racquet for you, would it? In fact, though, I think as time goes by, you'll be amazed the variances one can actually be very comfortable with, if one doesn't dwell on it mentally. It's similar to the studies showing that most players can't feel less than an 11lb difference in string tension.

    I suspect even diehard gear tinkerers will agree that much of what you "like" is just based on what you're used to, and a psychological effect. If we stick some lead tape on your racquet, and you don't want it, you'll probably say "wow, that's way too heavy, feels terrible!! can't play!"...on the other hand, had we just given you the racquet to begin with, then after a few months stripped the tape you'd probably say "wow, that's way too light, feelts terrible!!! can't play!!"

    One interesting drill we used to do with top juniors, is randomly make them play with different frames....as extreme a variety as we could find. The point being that they needed to be mentally flexible. They learned quickly to adapt to the circumstance. That too, is an interesting thing about your gear tinkering.

    Bear in mind that conditions will NEVER be the same. In fact, depending on where you play, variances in temperature, humdity, your own strings stretching, your opponent, the balls, will probably account for FAR more day to day variability than the micro-gear factors you're thinking about. Don't start thinking about them!! ;-) LOL

    No. The analogy is not good. As I said, I advocate finding a racquet that is "comfortable" for you. That is not a particularly long or involved process. It is akin to finding a reasonable quality bike, that fits the task, and is the right size. What you are describing is more akin to a defective racquet, and/or one the wrong "size" eg. for juniors, or a grip size 3 sizes too big.

    What you are doing, is more akin to buying and trying multiple bikes, worrying about and comparing the number of teeth on the chain. The type of oil you're using, the tread patterns on the tires....and worrying that without perfecting this, learning to ride a bike will be more difficult. I think that if you wanted to learn to ride a bike, my advice would apply best there as well. Do a little research, determine some bikes that are roughly suited to you, try some, pick one that feels comfortable, go ride.

    In any case, this kind of "discussion" is all very unsubstantiated analogy rhetoric though.

    If you are brave, try this. Print out your OP in this thread....print out some of your other threads....like the one where you suspected TW was ripping you off, and some of the other string threads. Print off my OP in this thread. Go seek out the most advanced open players in your area. Say the 5.5+ players. Ask them what they think of my post. Now I have no idea who these people are. Maybe they will say I'm full of BS. That will make you feel good! Maybe they won't be honest, considering you're right in their face. Who knows? Something interesting for you to try though, since you are interested in getting feedback and info.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
    #32
  33. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    4,611
    This is a great post. Very honest, and self-aware. I'm sure many can relate to it (even if it is not reflective of the majority that read this forum).

    I agree with all you said, and bear in mind, I used to work with world class juniors, they, and most pros, did not do some endless analysis and tinkering to get where they are now. Actually, most just played with "whatever" growing up....that probably where their main taste came from....once they were older and more advancing...sure...most are open to some experimentation with strings/racquets etc...but most keep it really light, compared to what you see on here. Most also know, that all they can really hope for is what feels "best" to them...pretty simple and instinctive.

    Back even 10 years ago, the upcoming juniors were much less worried about such things in general, nowadays, with the internet chatter, even some of them are affected more by micro-tinkering with gear, though again, most aren't anywhere near as extreme as you see most here. It still doesn't stop many of the juniors I've worked with from switching racquets based solely on sponsorship. Nor is it particularly hard for the young ones. Last time it happened, I had a ranked 12 yr old kid go from one model of yonex, which he "loved" to the newer model yonex (the rep wanted this badly), and then over to Wilson, all in the blink of an eye. He's fine...mainly because he didn't worry about it!

    Reminds me of an old story about Edberg...who stuck with his prostaff despite a couple attempts at a paintjobs, and one real attempt at a switch. The new racquet purportedly caused him elbow pain, but even Edberg later admitted it was largely psychological. He said "the new racquet feels good, but then you miss a couple shots and start thinking "I wouldn't have missed those with the old racquet" LOL....it's all downhill from there. He also mentioned that even the elbow pain was just twinges, and he wasn't sure it was the racquet (though of course, switching racquets can definitely trigger TE, as your body is suddenly subjected to slightly different vibrations, grips, etc).

    Anyways, nothing wrong with any player experimenting a bit, but as you seem to know, if you have a racquet you're reasonably happy with, chances are high that you'd be better off just forgetting about it. Any concentration at all you devote to "is this racquet better??? What about on my slice? Hmmm....." is a practice you could have been focusing on your actual game. If on the other hand, one just enjoys experimenting and switching all the time as ends themselves, go for it!

    But of course, some take it very far...."hmmm....when I used super blast 17 string, with poly mains, in the PBDM 10, I get a lot of spin on my slice serve, but not my kick serve....and my backhand keeps going long....but when I use the same setup in my rd 291, my backhand goes in, but my forehand is sailing....if I play my 291 with full poly though, I find I can get spin on dropshots, but not down the line BH drives...

    ....so I'm thinking, maybe super blast but in a SIXTEEN gauge, in the 291, to keep the slice serve, and hopefully my forehand spin, BUT I'm going to reweight it to the same balance as my PBDM to solve the slice down the line problem....and go with full poly for the wicked drop shots. What do you guys think? Damn, if only somebody made a racquet with the balance of the PBDM, but the plush feel of the 291....and if I could use superblast while I'm serving, but full poly when returning.....


    Anyways, I could go on and on...but all I wanted to say was: good post. LOL
     
    #33
  34. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    8,631
    Howdy gang... Hey, nice love-fest going on above ^^^ there. You two should get a room together for the weekend in Vegas and let us know how it goes for yuz.

    Not interested in either agreeing or disagreeing with anyone concerning the string pattern density deal. I've noticed myself how much patterns can vary depending on the hoop size and string hole locations - 18 mains isn't just 18 mains, etc.

    I gave up on worrying about string patterns after I got myself a Prince NXG mid. That frame is reeeeeally soft, has an 18x20 pattern, and a 92" hoop, but it's easily one of the nastiest spin factories I've ever used on the courts. It took any assumptions I had about dense vs. open patterns and threw 'em right out the window.

    Now I just encourage our pals here to try racquets instead of assuming anything about their performance because of the string layout. I'm convinced that it's only a mild contributor to any racquet's personality.
     
    #34
  35. HEADfamilydynasty

    HEADfamilydynasty Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Messages:
    225
    Location:
    S.I., New York
    this is probably the reason why my last racket just felt wrong. compared to the density of my strings now the density on my last racket was way too open.
     
    #35
  36. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,592
    Location:
    Baseline
    Based on your first post I suspect you've spent more time in the lab than on the court. ;-) You clearly can't discern the difference between discussion of tech and technique. They're two different things and, steady yourself as this may shock you, this section of the forum is dedicated to tech. There's another section dedicated to technique. Perhaps with more court time and, by your own admission, less forum trolling, you'll learn how to tell the difference.

    Moving away from the creepy stalker troll and back OT, the MG Radical OS arrived yesterday and I immediately noticed something very interesting. Its 18x19 string pattern on its 107" head is DENSER than the 18x20 pattern on the 100" Speed MP. Won't be able to test it until Sunday or Tuesday but reports from other users indicate a high level of control. The difference in area on the OS seems to be concentrated on the edges. Effecticely Head took an 18x19 pattern, condensed it, and suspended it in a 107" head.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
    #36
  37. realplayer

    realplayer Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    504
    Does anyone know the string density of the pro staff classic 18x20?
     
    #37

Share This Page