Swingweight - the most important spec

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Power Player, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    According to ****, swing weight is the most important spec in a racquet in today's game.

    Many people advocate using the highest SW possible. This makes sense. The question is really - how high can you go?

    The next question is - how good is your technique? Or more like - how loose is your arm? I feel like the only way to use a higher SW racquet is with a loose arm. You have to commit to this style of hitting, but it is how the best players hit. If anyone has gotten this going, they will feel it - the louder, richer crack of the ball and the effortless power you get from using your core and keeping your arms as relaxed as possible.

    Once you get to that point the final challenge is what weight is ideal for keeping your contact point consistent. By that I mean, what weight helps you make contact without flopping your wrist and losing your contact point?

    I think if that gets dialed in, you may find your ideal SW is higher than you think. Or maybe not. I am still messing with it. It is safe to say that at 331, I feel I can go higher. So I plan to hop it up to ~345 and see if I can handle that.

    The best way to figure this stuff out so far for me is to have 2 identical racquets and a go to string setup. Use the same string and tension and keep one racquet stock and the other as your experiment.

    The goal for me is to get a SW that helps me stay in control on my swing, but also does not tire me out over the match. Sometimes with lighter sticks it can be tempting to over-swing in pressure situations.

    If anyone has done this, feel free to chime in.

    My main point is that I believe most racquet makers know rec players arm the ball too much and therefore keep the SWs around 330 or less. It also is not a must, so many players with good technique simply may prefer a lower SW.

    This is all an experiment for me. What I am looking for is a heavier SW to keep my swing more relaxed and also to pull my racquet even deeper when I drop the racquet on serve.

    I have played specced out sticks with pro level SWs, and there was a lot of things I really liked about the racquets set up that way. I believe a more realistic weight for me is probably around 345/345 for weight/SW, but even that could be too heavy or too light. I will need to experiment over some time and see how it goes.
     
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  2. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Agree. Piggy backin' a bit here....

    I've noticed it's also more beneficial to gradually increase swing/static weight. Makes adjustment 10x easier and you won't lose any shots.

    It all depends on how much you play and who you play (maybe even more important). I'd rather play someone better than me, once a week, than someone equal/lesser than me five times a week.

    But, nice write-up. Good points.
     
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  3. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah man, these are all key points. If you can't get ready and hit the ball in time, then there is no point in having a higher SW.

    I know some people here advocate super high ones above 360. But when you look at pro specs for males they can vary depending on the player. Murray had a massive 400 plus SW, but I noticed he dropped it down a little and that allowed him to hit more aggressive and was when he won the USO.

    So going really high is not optimal all the time. I am going to jump ~10 SW points at a time.
     
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  4. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    I love a heavier SW ( 11.6 +) when just hitting from baseline for a workout, but being older & playing quite a bit of doubs, the maneuverability & fatigue becomes an issue. Then on the flip side, the lighter frames get knocked around on the return and nothing behind it on the groundies, also the serve it's hard to generate pace. This dilemma drives me nuts.
     
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  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Same here. In a long 3 setter, the higher swingweights become a drag on my arm.
     
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  6. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I used to play with a firmer/stiff arm/wrist when using racquets with lower swingweights but have loosened things up going to higher swingweights. I think that watching Federer has made me modify my backhand so that the wrist is looser. This is a hard transition to make because you don't know if your wrist is strong enough to handle it not being completely firm. I think that this style helps a lot of you stand relatively close to the baseline and your opponent hits fairly deep shots to your backhand.

    I've been all over the place with swingweights and have tried various Pro setups. Berdych's setup is too much for me. I got used to the 360s but acquired a set of matched frames at 386 and that's what I'm using now. I've made some adjustments at the higher swingweight. The biggest adjustment was on the serve. I can't use as much arm at that swingweight.

    I could have just taken some of the lead off those racquets to make them lighter but I like to leave matched sets as I received them.
     
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  7. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    ^taking equal amounts of weight from equal places leaves you with matched rackets.
     
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  8. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, for sure. The secret is to keep the arm really loose. I am finding when I do that, I hit a lot harder with less effort. So basically by raising the SW, I am going to see if that helps to encourage the loose arm.
     
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  9. drak

    drak Professional

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    good topic, I have recently bought the new Wilson 99S and my surgically repaired shoulder (full rotator cuff tear 3-4 yrs ago) is starting to bother me. I do not believe it is a stiffness issues at all, but a swingweight/balance one. The racket feels very plush and I have had this issue with a few other heavier (swingweight) frames the past few years as my shoulder is very sensitive to this. I am in very good shape for am old guy (57) and lift weights as well, so it is not a strength issue. I am not sure I can play with this frame.
     
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  10. jjs891

    jjs891 Semi-Pro

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    My issue has been that I like higher sw on my bh than I do on my fh, relatively speaking. So it feels like I'm always making a compromise, but I tend to favor lower sw ~330-335 ish to maximize my strength in fh.
     
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  11. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    On swingweight.

    I've been experimenting heavily with customizing various frames. I got a hold of Mantis PRO 295 and I did a polarized setup and added a lot of weight at the base and top loop of the frame for around 12oz total.

    The result was ridiculous head speeds at almost zero effort. I just start the stroke and the racket just flies from there, given I relax my arm and let it. In match I can just relax and let the racket fly instead of trying to add something right before the impact. I've done polarization setups before but nothing swung quite like this. I couldn't tame PRO's open stringbed, but that's a second issue.

    I've tried to replicate this in some of my other rackets, Ezone xi98 and Bio 300 and what I find is getting result like this requires VERY careful weight adjustments - a gram too much and the load up gets a bit slow, a gram too little and the racket doesn't carry through the stroke optimally.

    So I find that swingweight is not really the defining factor, but rather swing weight for particular weight distribution.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    #11
  12. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    > taking equal amounts of weight from equal places leaves you
    > with matched rackets.

    Well, the lead is under the Cap Grommets so it would mean replacing those and the lead under the grommets isn't the cleanest job in the world so taking off one strip from each racquet wouldn't necessarily result in the same results. The racquets as they are are matched for weight, sw, and balance and I'd like to leave them that way. I spent a lot of time trying to decide on whether or not to buy them because the SW was so high. There are many that bought these that returned them or sold them again because they were too heavy. They are know as the "Stein" frames.

    > I've done polarization setups before but nothing swung quite
    > like this. I couldn't tame this open stringed, but that's a
    > second issue.

    Polarized is definitely the way to go on the heavier stuff if you want to do the relaxed arm/wrist thing. It feels easier to brush the head up than having the mass more evenly distributed.
     
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  13. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Agree. I think polarized is the secret. That is why I prefer a stick like the Blade that already has a pretty high SW and a lower static weight.
     
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  14. corners

    corners Legend

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    What were the final specs of that polarized setup?
     
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  15. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Swingweight is a very personal issue and there is no black and white here. You need to find your personal "cues" as too when a racquets's sw is too high or too low...

    For me...

    Too high: hard to snap through serves, late a lot on groundstrokes, get tired prematurely in long matches, late on overheads.

    Too light: Have to swing faster than comfortable with, too easy to yank racquet off course, no plowthru, lots of twisting on slight mishits, timing is harder.

    But yes I agree PP...it IS the most important racquet spec for sure.
     
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  16. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    345g/12.2oz total, 7 points hl.

    Not sure about swing weight, but assuming I started out at 300sw, it should be around 340.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    #16
  17. ugly duck

    ugly duck New User

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    @PP
    Interesting thread PP, I'm eager to read about your results and conclusions. I found similar exceptional results if I manage to stay relaxed with my arm...but that's quite dificult when you play against someone who's mixing it up - just as you're saying!

    @Anton
    I'm also following travlerjams threads about his MGR/I thing and for that it would be very nice to check this value for your modded Mantis, if this doesn't bother you too much - interested if it is pro or contra his theory in your case...

    Further info:
    I for myself play a PB10mid with about 1g at 9/3 and about 2g at 12. I need the modification because it helps with my elbow (frame is vibrating too much otherwise, no money for a change :-( ). I didn't play around with counterbalancing but felt that I had better timing in stock form. A few days ago I took the spreadsheet of another TTer and found that PB10mid stock is near the by travlerjam suggested value - so I will try counterbalancing when I return to court in April (out due to shoulder problems).

    in fact my elbow would like more lead in the hoop but it's getting too slow to stay competitive for my league matches especially against topspinners that throw my timing a little off
     
    #17
  18. corners

    corners Legend

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    Just for fun, going with your swingweight estimate of 340, some geeky numbers:

    MgR/I = 20.6 (Are you a tall player? Do you use a wristband :) ?)
    Polarization index ([SW - M(R - 10)^2] / [(M/6)(6RL - L^2) - MR^2] = 1.30

    For comparison, some stock racquets (higher is more polarized):

    radical 1,30
    wilson ktour 1,25
    exo red 1,20
    aerpro team gt 1,33
    pure storm gt team 1,22
    pure storm gt 1,27
    pure drive gt 1,34
    bio 500 1,25
    bio 500t 1,17
    bio 300 1,18
    speed 300 1,23
    extreme mp 1,18
    speed elite 1,13 1,07
    rebel team 95 1,18
    295 vo2max 1,24
    290vo2max 1,26 1,19
    six one team 1,24
    blx pro open 1,22
    blx six one tour 1,24
    YOUTEK IG Speed 18x20 1,18
    2013 BLX Blade 1,23
    Rebel 95 w/ stringholes 1,28
    Yonex Rdis 200 1,30
    Fed's stick 1,24
    2013 Head Graphene Speed Pro 1.34

    Polarization index formula and most of the above figures for stock racquets from this thread: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=398044
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
    #18
  19. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    That's the problem with heavy stock rackets - no room to customize. With over grip you are already at 12.3 oz, assuming spec like TWs average.

    I'd try going for lower tension with softer string to improve stability and see if a gram or two at 12 helps anything.

    If not then do not despair, PBMID is still a good racket and there is always the absolutely last resort - work on improving your foot work to buy you the time you need for your strokes. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    #19
  20. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    No rubber band, 175 lbs 5'11"

    Interesting exercise but I think it gives a guesstamation at best because everyone has different bio-mechanics (and rubber bands).

    At the end of the day you gotta swing it to find out if it works for you.
     
    #20
  21. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    Yep, this is what I find as well. Perfect timing for me as I am demoing the Head Graphene Speed Line right now & finding I am late with the heaviest speed pro & my arms are falling off after 1.5 hours... not sure if I need to change my grip and prepare earlier (probably both) or if I am taking on too much of a weight change from my last racquet. 285 grams to 332 grams is a pretty big jump.

    What weight adjustments do you guys recommend at one time & is it better to go with a lighter racquet & lead it up as you go or force yourself to go with a heavier racquet & add/adjust from there (also therefore keeping the specs of the original design/balance at the same time).

    Thanks ;-)
     
    #21
  22. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^

    You need to have good technique. I have no idea what yours is like, but the higher SW is better suited to people who have been playing a long time and can serve and hit groundies with a loose arm. Meaning, the kinetic chain is being used properly. If this applies to you, then I'd suggest a racquet above 11 ounces with a higher, but comfortable SW to start.

    It has taken me a long time to get back to hitting real relaxed on serve and groundies like I did as a kid.
     
    #22
  23. ugly duck

    ugly duck New User

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    Thanx for your suggestions. Yeah the racket is great but I´m already down to about 33 lbs and did exactly that adding at 12 (as much as I could effectively use) :), great spin with poly hybrid ... never thought that you can control your shots but it works if you can get used to the launch angle. It really seems that there is something to the wobbling of this racket which is mentioned in the special threads. for me at last it seems to kill my elbow as a few grams at 10 to 12 make my elbow feel much better...

    fitness is the cure for everything :) but right now not my best asset ;)
     
    #23
  24. ugly duck

    ugly duck New User

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    thanx for the nice and quick write-up. I just find this MgR/I theory interesting and if it works then everybody has a special value depending on playing style, technique (and of course rubber bands, wristbands, humidity etc ;) )

    but this if would really be a great starting point for modding a new racket...

    sorry for the hijack PP - back on topic: out of your older posts I know that you have already tried very high swingweights - good luck with your experiment!
     
    #24
  25. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yes I have indeed. Technique has improved, but we shall see if that matters. my theory is maybe the 340s to 350s is all you need.
     
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  26. Gee

    Gee Professional

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    What is the swingweight of my racquet?

    I customized my Head IG Prestige MP to the following specs:
    - 350 grams (strung)
    - 32 cm balance

    How high do you estimate the swingweight?

    BTW Do racquets with the same static weight and balance a similar swingweight?
     
    #26
  27. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    It matters where you put the lead, how much, and what the SW was before you added the lead.
     
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  28. Gee

    Gee Professional

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    The swingweight was 354 and the balance was at 32,7 cm with my former setup.

    I removed about 7 grams from 11-1 because I thought the balance too high. I prefer a balance point of about 32 cm.

    So I have now one layer of 1/4" from 9-3 all around the tip and counterbalanced with some silicone gel into the handle and a Gamma leather grip.
     
    #28
  29. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I'm guessing that is 2 14 inch strips of lead ( 1 per side) ?

    If so, that is 7 grams. I would guess you added around 16-18 SW points doing that.
     
    #29
  30. PED

    PED Legend

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    Wasn't **** quoted as saying that sw was the most important factor in matching two sticks as opposed to simply sw is the most important characteristic?
     
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  31. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    It is the most important spec. Wish I could find the link, but regardless, the SW is everything to modern players nowadays.
     
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  32. PED

    PED Legend

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    I found the quote you were right, I misread it :oops:

    The blade should be a good platform for this.

    Any idea What will your balance be after adding the lead. I
    noticed that while the pros almost all use high sw, their balance is typically still quite HL.

    however, IIRC, baby fed may be close to even with his Wilson custom 93 at roughly 34cm balance. That would be a beastly setup.

    Interested to follow your progress on this one.
     
    #32
  33. Gee

    Gee Professional

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    Thanks, PP. So I decreased the swingweight to about 337 (354-17). I 'll see how that plays.
     
    #33
  34. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    ^ leaded up the yy200 at 12 a while back and have yet to give it hit since being sidelined.
     
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  35. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    If you put lead at 12 try leaving a 1 to 1.5 inch gap of no lead right at 12. This will increase the feel. Try it.
     
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  36. Gee

    Gee Professional

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    Might you explain that?
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    SW is the most important for me also.
    I"m 5'11" and a porky 158 now, but usually play at around 145.
    No excess of muscle, I like the SW of 310 on my 500's, can handle the 320 SW of McroGOS, but get sore wrists and shoulder's from 337-350 SW's.
    My LMRadMids are fine at 325, but the stiff top of the head kills my arm.
    Since your're stronger, you should be fine with about a 340 SW, especially since your game is more baseline oriented and also more rally oriented.
     
    #37
  38. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    My theory is to play with the stick for three sets (2 hrs) & if no fatigue sets in & you like the stick, then go for it, IOW, keep it simple stupid.:)
     
    #38
  39. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    In going to a heavier racquet, I usually need to slow my swing speed down a little, prepare a bit earlier and use the larger muscles more than the arm. Using more arm, which is the tendency with lighter racquets, tires you out really fast with a heavy racquet.
     
    #39
  40. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I don't understand this whole "arm getting tired" thing. Your legs and your back should be tired.

    Arm is not supposed to be using much muscle to swing the racket. Yea sometimes you get jammed up and don't have time for a full take back but that shouldn't happen on most strokes.
     
    #40
  41. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    > Arm is not supposed to be using much muscle to swing the racket.

    That's true with higher SW racquets but I think that those using lighter racquets are using arm swingspeed to generate power and spin. It's an adjustment both ways. When I first used the PDR, I was wondering where the power was because I was used to plowthrough and a relatively slow swing which doesn't work that well with a PDR.
     
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  42. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I agree. My Blade only started feeling light to me once I consistently involved my torso in every shot and used my offhand properly on my forehand. And to be honest, I may prefer that weight - who knows.

    But my first foray back into 12oz land was really fun with this stick. I did not have any issues with the weight, and my serve seemed to move the same. I just focused on hitting the ball with my body and everything was fine. It takes a while to figure out ideal weights, so I am still messing around.

    One thing is that the higher SW makes tennis easier in a way. It just ensures you will hit a ball back that is deep. With a stock blade, it takes more rotation and effort to not cough up a short ball on my backhand side if Im pulled wide. The high SW version gives me a lot more pop for my effort. I hit a pretty compact and flat backhand, and it was very easy to crack it deep even if pulled wide.

    Forehand is where I question my lead placement. I have it at 12, and since the Blade is already polarized in stock form, I felt it twisting on my forehand sometimes. I also felt like the lead at 12 lent itself more towards brushing the ball, and I like to hit through it. I still was able to adjust and hit my forehand, but I am thinking lead at 3 and 9 suit me better.

    Either way, I will have it set up so my SW is around 345, which I feel is pretty high, but not insane.
     
    #42
  43. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    power player,

    there are also other options like 11 and 1 o'clock! that was what i liked most back in the time of my nblades. adds up a bit on torsional stability without giving too much in in respect to polarization.
     
    #43
  44. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    Hey PP, interesting experiment! I was actually on the verge of starting a similar experiment in the other direction, towards lower swing weight. For the past three years I have been playing with my 4D200 Tours with SW probably in the high 340s. I totally understand what you're saying about being able to play with a totally relaxed swing using your core and a loose arm. It's a magical feeling, especially at the end of a session with my coach as we play some points and I'm completely in the zone. However... when I play a singles match, which I don't do very often these days, I tend to get tight and my swing is liable to break down. This is, of course, primarily me, but I would like to rule out the possibility that my current rackets are limiting me, so I would like to try out something slightly more forgiving with a slightly lower SW. I'm trying to get my hands on a Donnay Gold 99 which I could easily lead up to SW between 320 and mid 340s. In the mean time, I will be following your experiment with great interest... :)
     
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  45. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Kaiser you bring up great points. Only way I can tell is over time. I will say that I have 2 Blades strung the same at the same tension. One is stock and one is 355 grams, Sw of 343. Basically a very nice weighting that is not overkill.

    I think the only way to find ideal weighting is to start with a lighter stick with a decent SW and play with it for a while until it just gets to where you know the racquet and have an established string setup and tension.

    there are a ton of advantages to heavy sticks, but if I am late or fatigued, they are not available to me.

    Also, I have to factor in the hot summers here.

    One thing I do notice is that with lighter sticks, I have to swing harder. It drains me of energy faster. With the heavier stick I can swing more relaxed and still hit a deep ball. The challenge is to maintain good head speed to keep the ball in the lines.

    We shall see how it goes.
     
    #45
  46. Sreeram

    Sreeram Professional

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    I don't think if the arm gets tired means we are arming the ball. The arm swings the racquet as well in a FH else why is the arm finishing windshield wiper flow when the torso has finished turning? The weight behind the short should not be supplied by the arm but the whole torso swinging with the arm. Hence arm can get tired as well.

    The probability of a payer arming the ball is higher with a lighter racquet than a heavier one.
     
    #46
  47. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Again....no black/white answer when it comes to heaviness. As you add more and more weight, there will always be a point you hit where there will be diminishing returns. The trick is figuring out where that point is for your own self.
     
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  48. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    that may be true, but the weight of a racquet will not fix someone's techinque. If you "arm the ball" with a light racquet, you will do the same thing with a heavier one, but it will have more magnified consequences.
     
    #48
  49. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,118
    Location:
    DcMdVa
    Been thinking about this, come to some conclusions.

    Personally, I either need a
    1- high swing weight, low static weight stick

    or

    2- low'sh swing weight, high static weight stick

    I don't know. Not playing as much as I'd like to these days, so the mind starts to over think certain things. Guess I gotta move to florida.
     
    #49
  50. naturallight

    naturallight Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Messages:
    366
    Sorry if this is already been covered, but what is a good rule of thumb for how much additional static weight impacts swingweight? For example if I add 0.2 ounces (5.7 g) at 3 or 9 o'clock, how much will swingweight increase? 10 pts?
     
    #50

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