The TT Tennista Hipsters are Wrong: Your Gear Should Fit

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by TimothyO, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    TT Tennista Hipsters love to dismiss choice of tennis racquet as being important to one's development as a tennis player. Leaving aside the fact that these same individuals (you know who you are) constantly post on TT about their own hardware choices and often list their modded specs, their advice isn't just wrong, it makes NO SENSE if one is actually interested in developing decent technique and understands tennis fundamentals.

    Let me repeat that to be perfectly clear: if you DON'T pay attention to the fit between you and your tennis gear you CAN'T develop to your full potential as a player. And anyone who says you can ignore the fit of your gear while developing your tennis skills fundamentally doesn't understand how to play consistent, accurate tennis.

    TENNIS FOUNDATION = CONSISTENCY + ACCURACY
    The foundation of good tennis is consistency and accuracy. You need to be able to place the ball on your intended target point stroke after stroke after stroke under the pressure of a match. Winners are sexy but until you can hit consistently and accurately hitting hard winners is a pipe dream.

    CONSISTENT, SMOOTH MECHANICS = CONSISTENT, ACCURATE TENNIS
    To achieve consistency and accuracy your stroke mechanics need to be consistent and smooth. Hitting too slow, too fast, with hitches, or too much variation causes inconsistency and loss of accuracy.

    ILL-FITTING GEAR = INCONSISTENT, INACCURATE TENNIS
    Whether we're talking about your shoes, your clothes, your eye wear, or your racquet, ill-fitting gear interferes with your development as a tennis player. If you're fighting your tools then you can't focus on your technique and develop consistent, accurate stroke mechanics. Wearing the wrong size shoes, ill-fitting shirts, or foggy glasses inhibits your ability to play well. Ill-fitting gear can even cause injuries as the player forces his or her body to conform to the gear.

    WELL FITTED GEAR SUPPORTS CONSISTENT, ACCURATE TENNIS
    Well fit gear alone will NOT make you a better tennis player. You still need instruction and, most important, lots of practice and match time and the best fitting shoes, clothes, frame, and stings doesn't change that. But if your gear is well fitted to your body then not only are you free to focus on stroke mechanics and movement a good fitting racquet directly supports consistent stroke development.

    CONSISTENT, ACCURATE STROKE MECHANICS DEMAND A WELL FIT RACQUET
    This is where the TT Tennista Hipsters demonstrate their profound ignorance of tennis fundamentals. If a player has developed smooth, consistent stroke mechanics that are the same stroke after stroke and are very smooth with no hitches then there is a narrow range of frame/string setups that will produce a competitive shot for a given level. Nothing magical or weird here, just simple physics and biomechanics.

    Given an individual's height, weight, strength, flexibility, hand-eye-coordination, arm length, etc., a smooth, consistent, hitch-less groundstroke combined with a given gear setup will produce a ball with a certain launch angle, depth, and pace. If the gear is not fit well to the individual's stroke mechanics then the ball's launch angle, depth, and pace will send the ball long, into the net, or sprayed somewhere on the court. At that point, and contrary to good tennis, the player will be forced to modify his natural, smooth stroke mechanics to conform to the demands of the gear. This inhibits consistent, accurate tennis as it introduces hitches and variations in stroke mechanics and can even cause injuries.

    EVEN THE TT TENNISTA HIPSTERS HAVE BEEN THERE
    We've all been there: you try out a new frame or string, take a few swings, and one of two things usually becomes immediately clear. Either you're having to swing harder/faster to generate depth or just get the ball over the net or you're having to break your natural swing path to keep ball in the court. Even the TT playtesters note this phenomena when reviewing frames and strings. THAT MEANS THE GEAR ISN'T SUPPORTING ONE'S STROKE NATURAL, SMOOTH STROKE MECHANICS.

    Ignoring the fit of your gear means you're forcing yourself to conform to the gear's needs. That leads to bad tennis since you're unnecessarily introducing hitches and variations into your stroke mechanics and inviting injury as you try to hit harder than you need to or you're breaking your swing and straining your arm.

    So TT Tennista Hipsters, stop dispensing insane advice and go learn about tennis fundamentals which include consistency and accuracy.

    Solid stroke mechanics are about consistent, smooth, accurate, hitch-less strokes. Based on an individual's body his or her stroke will produce a given shot with a given gear setup. That given consistent stroke will naturally produce a shot over the net and deep inside the baseline, into the net, or long based on its biomechanical and physical relationship between the gear and player in question. For any given individual's stroke mechanics there are many good gear options but there are MANY MORE really bad options that will force the player to adopt BAD tennis technique.

    Nobody would suggest wearing shoes that don't fit well (well, maybe the TT Tennista Hipsters would). Nobody should suggest using an ill-fitting racquet either since doing so inhibits technique development and can cause injury.
     
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  2. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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  3. tennixpl

    tennixpl Rookie

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    You are correct. However so are the' hipsters' in general; but since we are on an internet board we can’t actually see how people play. We are just opining as is the whole point of the board. And you are talking to what is a opinionated sample of tennis players/fans anyway or else they would be on the board

    Maybe all other things being equal one should switch to a different layup of a racquet and they’ll get better results...that would be great. but more often than not we also change our game when we use different equipment, so for some of us we think oh if my racquet just was a little more head light or had a more open pattern or had a bit more stiffness or....etc that it will drastically change the game or u but it won’t. but are people really thinking that….. I don’t think so.

    Some people are self-professed racquetholics and other things, I find changing string to be an interesting experiment right now. For me it’s part of the fun of the game and the "hipsters" forget that some people know it’s not the racquet but they want to see how the new racquet feels and plays and changes their game and maybe turns a close loss into a close win.

    It’s their money and there times do what you will with what is yours.
     
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  4. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    I agree. For my height, strength, age, I know what range of frames I can hit consistently with, without over hitting or under hitting. Give me something too light or too heavy from that range and I have to over swing or under swing to have control.

    I think people should demo and see what seems to work for them. Take a few of each...light frames, mid weight, and heavy frames. Then narrow down the head size. Finally, you can fine tune them with the strings that work best for you.

    I see people here with over leaded frames that Federer couldn't swing. Amazes me.

    For me a 100 headsize is perfect. 110 just seems huge, under 95, way too small for me. Weight is 11oz-11.5. I can play with anything in that range.
     
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  5. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    This reminds me of the 30-lb. overweight cycling hobbyists that obsess over finding components are a few grams lighter. While it's not a bad thing, it isn't the low-hanging-fruit when it comes to developing your abilities.
     
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  6. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    The hipsters died out in the late 2000s
     
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  7. HackersRUs

    HackersRUs Rookie

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    Hmmmnn.

    I think the OP is 100% correct.

    Of course, the problem is finding out what the right 'gear' for your own game actually is.

    I've always been a head light heavy frame kind of a guy but I had the pleasure of watching an amazing league match the other night featuring one former touring pro, a young man signed to a DI college in Texas for next year, the State open number 1 and a certain TTW member who perennially underrates himself around here, and I noticed something interesting.

    All of these seriously high level players were using 'tweeners'!

    There was a Juice Pro, a Pure Drive, a Blade 98 (only just a tweener I grant you) and a Donnay Formula 100 of all things..

    I wouldn't say their stroke mechanics were significantly impeded!

    So now I am questioning myself and my whole idea of what a'player's frame' really is..

    anyway, I still agree with the OP, it matters, it really does!
     
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  8. purple-n-gold

    purple-n-gold Professional

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    L3 at 12 to 12.5 oz, feels right quess it's the right fit:)
     
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  9. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Hall of Fame

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    Right on man, was in my LBS recently and thought I would get a cool new specialized water bottle cage to go on my sweet specialized road bike ride.

    Shop owner says that will be $80. I babbled saying ahhh thought it was $8.

    He said no $80 it's titanium. I replied who buys an $80 water bottle cage....he said can't keep em in stock they fly off the rack (it was actually the last one)Saved less than 10 grams over a regular cage.

    He said I was wondering what you were doing ( he sold me my bike and I am a regular customer - roubaix expert probably around 20 # ) you got a nice bike but not quite worthy of a titanium w/b cage.

    You were gonna take my money tho weren't you? He laughed.

    Amazing! Peeps do love there gear and it is at times ridiculous. My bike fits me as good as my gamer racquets BTW. Don't quite need an $80 wb cage tho...
     
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  10. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    Damn dirty hipsters
     
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  11. srimes

    srimes New User

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    Didn't think hipsters played tennis. If they did they'd use a wood or metal frame. And play in tight jeans or short 70s style shorts from the thrift shop.
     
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  12. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    #12
  13. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Ladies and gentlemen, we have have our first Tennista Hipster contestant for the TT Hipster Gear Challenge.

    Here's how it works. Sundaypunch provides us with his real name, area of play, etc. I send him a frame of my choice. Let's say a 26" junior's frame from Walmart strung with kevlar at 65# or maybe a cheap multi at 30#. He then plays a full season of USTA singles and uploads each match to YouTube. We then verify the results with the local USTA.

    Sundaypunch sounds so confident I'm absolutely certain he'll happily play a full season of singles with a Walmart "My Pet Pony" frame strung with kevlar at 65#.

    Then again, like all Tennista Hipsters, he's probably all talk, no action.

    ;)
     
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  14. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    I would like you to chart one of my matches and coach me on a trial basis.

    what is your fee?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2013
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  15. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Hall of Fame

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    Ha ha, that is better.

    Still don't need it tho.....I usually ride road with mountain bike shorts.

    The exact precise amount of lead tape on my racquets matching exactly the weight added to my handles with leather grip while factoring in the weight of the o ring dampener whilst considering the sliver of head tape I apply to keep my frames in the utmost pristine condition all balanced and court tested to agonizing perfection based on ball flight observation in all types of conditions....etc etc etc. All my 18x20 frames except the pro stock frame carefully weighted to just about 12 oz....all produce the same depth pace and spin of shot even under pressure....

    That I need and got. Take the lead off the hoop where I have installed it and I'll be hooking balls into the bleachers.....

    Which means I completely agree with the OP.
     
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  16. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    All talk? I change racquets about as often as I do pants. I just don't have any illusions about the importance of the perfect racquet for the average recreational player.
     
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  17. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    I actually don't mind the ignorance of people who don't care about changing their rec level strokes to advanced level, and instead just try to find a racquet and string that they think will make them a tennis god. It keeps me at the top of the pecking order when I can just hit a heavy high level ball up the middle and it spins off their new Pro Staff 9000 XT Special Sampras Edition strung with gut 200 and sythetic polylax cross at 62.1 pounds with lead at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, modded handle, djokovic limited edition smiley face dampener. Keep at it guys, don't bother improving your technique ;).

    I guess I'm a "tennis barista hipster" because I like to play at a high level with good technique and don't care too much about which racquet I'm using.
     
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  18. dosu

    dosu New User

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    +1

    although I have much more tennis to play to provide a definitive contribution to this thread, I do think there is merit in the last part, where solid techniques are a necessary primer to have before proceeding to type of racquet- moreover, i can see a player who develops solid technique all court playing style from a young age etc eventually having more "wiggle room" to play successfully with a wider variety of racquets. now i intentionally did not initially include the idea of the very racquet the developing player is using in the 1st place-and to that, yes it certainly depends on the individuals physiological response and "fit" towards the racquet. but that said, (and i'm no coach here) there may be value in promoting developing players to intentionally adapt to a variety of racquets while keeping with the same progression with the same techniques and play.

    lastly, i think the relationship between player and racquet can also be loosely applied in similar fashion with player and playing style--i think a player who focuses too much on 1 particular playing style-albeit being his/her strength- will be at a disadvantage when playing against a player who has an all-around/court game. just my 2 cents.
     
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  19. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I must admit to some disappointment as I came to this thread rather hoping the previous poster would be advocating the 'human racquet' and all manner of other cool things.

    Timbo's reading comprehension = fail ('s' and 'z' are not the same :( )
     
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  20. loosegroove

    loosegroove Professional

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    Yeah, this is exactly in line with what Sunday Punch was talking about. I guess not obsessing over equipment equals not caring at all what you play with. Obviously no gray area exists.

    I'm a gear head in every hobby I have that involves gear. But I'm aware that once you get in the ballpark of things, scrutinizing and obsessing over gear won't make you better. A 1965 Strat with a perfect setup isn't going to make me play like Clapton, just like there's no racket that's going to make me play like Djocovic.
     
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  21. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I see your point and probably agree. However I think this really over stated, and in a way a "cart before the horse" argument. These "natural, smooth stroke mechanics" arose in combination with certain gear, so I dont think there really is a natural motion per se, just a natural motion with that equipment. Said another way, if we all started with a totally different racket, we would still have a smooth natural stroke, it would just be a bit different. The human body is amazing at noticing a change, but not the best at determining if it is a change for the better...

    I tend to hit hard and need control and was using kevlar/ gut at 63/65. Now I am playing with a racket that is over 100g heavier with tensions in the 30s. Recently I went from 14x18 to 14x9. The launch angle was dramatically different. I adapted. Strokes are still smooth though different. Especially the Western forehand.

    I guess I am saying that the goal is to get a fit, and IMHO it doesnt really matter WHAT changes as long as there is a fit.
     
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  22. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I was using a flexible player's stick back in the 90's. Now everyone is doing it.

    So played out.

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Hipsters are definitely wrong. But, what about the gen Xers, the old hippies, the gen Yers. Is anyone right about anything?
     
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  24. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    No kidding.
     
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  25. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    The OP has a grain of truth to it, namely that your shoes should fit.
     
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  26. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    Most inportant thing of all is that youy build a good relationship with your racket: when you bounce with, smack it or other abuse it's gonna backfire at you. This relationship cannot be neglected: so take your racket(s) to the movies and tickle their sweet spots once in a while: i tell you it's gonna pay off.
     
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  27. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Ha! Great analogy. A friend of mine just started playing guitar (with no prior musical background) and was looking at some pricey acoustic guitars and discussing specific details (e.g. tonal qualities of different types of wood) before he even took his first lesson.
     
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  28. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have been playing pretty much my whole life and still record with a an old $300 acoustic on certain tracks. While a Martin would be nice, it's all about your hands. Just like tennis.
     
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  29. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    The genXers are right
     
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  30. mattavery24

    mattavery24 Rookie

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    A Taylor Guitar makes a huge difference. There's no doubt that I am sure you are an amazing guitarist, but if you try out a high end Taylor, the sound is so pure and they have the best wood hands down. In my opinion Taylor>Martin
     
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  31. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I don't want to start a guitar derail, but I was Taylor endorsed and used them for years, so yeah I know :) I just like the tone of old Martins and Gibsons, but if I get Taylors again I will not complain.
     
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  32. mattavery24

    mattavery24 Rookie

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    That's awesome you were endorsed!! And thy are a great set up and I know what you mean about the martins and gibsons each having their unique tone. And I agree guitar obsession is much worse than tennis since a good one costs over 2 grand haha.
     
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  33. Tennis00

    Tennis00 Guest

    Im 13 and got fully sponsored by a company. The clothes are only for men and they dont fit. I dont know what to do since it is in my contract to wear it
     
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  34. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Nice Thread...You mean a 70 year old 3.0 with poor footwork, no muscle mass, bad eyes and slow hands should not be using Feds frame??? :)

    I love some of the leaded up specs on TT. 90 sq inch, 13.5 oz, 10 points HL, SW 360.. etc

    Funny since none of the pros even play those specs. 99 percent of the mens tour players use a 95 to 100.

    Yes.. the frame and strings should match your game, skill level.. ie.. the equipment that helps you play the best. The frame and string should not be hurting your ability to play tennis..
     
    #34
  35. RiggensAuroraHO

    RiggensAuroraHO Rookie

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    "Hahahahahahahahahaha!"
     
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