Thoughts on changing rackets for more pace

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Coach Chad, May 27, 2013.

  1. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    I am a 3.5 baseline grinding lefty who uses a Prince EXO Tour 100 16/18. I was hitting well, using "smart target" strategy, and hanging with 4.0 players. I wanted to hit w/more pace, especially on my forehand, so I went from 56 lbs. of string tension down to 53lbs. I cannot keep my shots in with this tension; they are always 1-3 feet out. I am thinking of perhaps going to a Head racket with the same head size and length, but much stiffer; for more power. What are your thoughts? Return to 56 lbs. or try a stiffer racket? Thanks.
     
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  2. mrmike

    mrmike Rookie

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    What type of string are you using? Tweaking string type, gauge, and tension also may help to achieve your goal before going to a new frame. Never hit an EXO3 but I know that my C10 pros are very string sensitive also.
     
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  3. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    currently using prince beast
     
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  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I use the same frame, if you insist on using poly as a 3.5 then try Solinco Tour Bite Soft.
     
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  5. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Great to hear from you Mikeler! Give it to me straight....what do you use? Do you use the same for crosses and mains? What tension? Here's the deal....I have developed a good kick serve to the ad court, and a very good cross-court backhand....have much better court awareness, but I want to beat the 4.0 guys; not just hang. A good friend says that I have enough pace, but that I should try to stop hitting winners from the baseline...I told him I was not a pusher....he said that's not what he meant; he said I should work on "set-up" shots where I would get "sitters" to hit for winners. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
     
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  6. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    Aim higher over the net and let the topspin bring it down.

    Odds are with a lower tension, the ball is coming off the racket at a slightly higher trajectory. I notice this, especially with polys, when they lose tension and go dead.
     
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  7. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Why not experimenting with some lead on the frame? Just did this, just 3 grams @ 2 and 10 o'clock. Feels nice, you have to take the habit of the slightly higher SW on serves though, but on groundies it was pretty good.
     
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  8. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Cc, why not try 55? Or 54? That might be the ticket.

    I get what your friend meant. Construct some points. You dont need blistering pace to win and pace and overhitting can be a barrier to the next level especially from 3.5 to 4. Not every punch is a knock out. Besides you have enough pace anyhow he says.

    Watch the 88 us open final between lendl and wilander for instance. They dont crush every shot, just the ones that are setup right.

    Power is over rated. For instance i have a tennis buddy who hits some great winners and has alot of power. But his game is pretty one dimensional. One highlight reel shot and 5 errors. I always mention how great the winners are and encourage him to go for more :twisted:
     
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  9. loosegroove

    loosegroove Professional

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    Really I can't believe that a 3lb decrease in tension would make all that much difference. You've probably experienced more difference in playability in the past between when your racket was freshly strung verses when you've hit with it for a few sessions. You just never had the difference quantified and weren't so actively aware of it.

    In my opinion, if you want more easy power, then maybe you should consider demoing a few more powerful frames. But if you are only considering a new frame because you're hitting the ball long with the slight tension drop, then I say keep the racket and the tension at 53 and you'll dial it in.
     
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  10. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Some misconceptions to clear up:

    Unless you are using Kevlar, 53lbs after a few hours of tennis is at a much higher tension than a 2 month old, or older, string job at 56lbs. Particularly with poly, where it drops under 40lbs within a few weeks if I remember correctly. Unless you are breaking strings every few hours, then it is unlikely you have actually dropped tension all that much.

    Stiffness is not the main determining factor when considering racquet power. My more flexible IG Prestige MP hits a much more penetrating shot than my stiffer Youtek Speed MP. Personally I find beam width a much better indicator of racquet power, mechanically, unless you are using a wood racquet with a stiffness of 20 or so, the stiffness of the frame is much less important than the type of string used and the weight distribution of the frame.

    Before changing the racquet, ask yourself 'Why are you missing?'. The usual problem at any level is over swinging, due to the pressure of trying to pull of a fantastic shot. Then you need to work out what is causing you to over swing. It *could* be because you lack natural power in your shots, in which case you need to look into your technique and strength. However it is much more likely to be that you are prioritising power over control. This doesn't mean that you have to be a pusher, however there is no point trying to hit a winner if you haven't got the basics of the shot set up.

    Order of importance:
    -Consistency (you lose if you miss, there is nothing more dangerous in Tennis than a player who can consistently attack without missing - this is Federer's biggest strength, he can hit those fantastic shots all day)
    -Placement (a well placed shot of any speed can neutralise the best players attack, and even at slow speeds a well placed shot can be a clean winner)
    -Depth (if you can push your opponent out of the court you open up the angles to attack)

    THEN:
    -Spin/Power (if you have the other parts in check then you can focus on getting a good amount of spin and power on your shots)

    Ironically most lower level players have the opposite priorities.
     
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  11. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I can't comment on the technical string discussion here, but I will say changing racquets is not without its own risks. I'd only do it if you have outgrown your racquet (i.e. it doesn't suit the way you play anymore or is a beginner stick etc). Otherwise it's likely fools gold awaiting you.
     
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  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Try Ashaway MonoGut ZX. Great powerful and soft string for our particular frame.
     
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  13. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    You see, the problem is that the 4.0s that you're hitting with have no trouble generating pace by themselves. Your problem is you're assuming that you have to give it back to them with interest -- but that's not necessarily true. When you're given a bunch of pace, it's much easier to give it back with equal pace.

    If you find that you simply cannot return their shots with the same pace, then you are somehow slowing the rally down, which is most likely producing short balls which are easy sitters for a 4.0 to just kill and be done with it.

    Lowering your tension will have the opposite effect of what you're looking for. When someone gives you a high pace rally, you want a slightly tighter string bed in order to maintain control. You use your footwork, bent knees and proper balance to point the ball in the direction you'd like it to go.

    If you loosen the tension, that will increase the trajectory of the ball off the string bed, causing you to not be able to keep the ball in play.

    This has the unfortunate side effect of "falsifying the data": you notice the shot goes out and you assume you hit with too much pace -- but that's not true. You couldn't maintain control of the ball because the string bed was too loose. The pace wasn't the problem.

    Tighten the string bed to 58 lbs and take a full cut at the ball. Focus on returning the shot with the same pace that was given to you. I almost guarantee that you'll be able to hang with the pace the 4.0's gave to you.
     
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  14. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Thank you all very much. Gonna stick with my Prince and I am going to try the Ashaway MonoGut....thx mikeler.
    The ball is def. coming off the racket at a higher tradjectory; GoudX....you nailed it; my priorities are off; I am prioritizing power over control. Def. will work on this!
    anubis, so true! I expected so much by lowering the tension...I expected the ball to fly off, and with just a few hours of practice life would be great! Heck, I might even hit the pro tour! Lol, lesson learned! Thanks again everyone....Gonna get some new string, tighten it up to my comfortable 56lbs. and take full swings at the ball like I used to. Thx again for your help.
     
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  15. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    Why not add a little bit of lead tape at the 12 o'clock position? And like many other posters mentioned, play with the tension.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If you hit too long all the time, AIM LOWER over the net.
    NOBODY can hit 2' over the net all the time and hit long all the time.
    Stop hitting moonballs with a flat fast swing!
     
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  17. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Great advice.
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    At a level of 3.5, you don't have grooved or correct strokes right now.
    Doesn't DavidFerrer use a version of that racket? Does he hit hard enough?
    You cannot judge a racket's performance at a 3.5 playing level. You are not good enough, you are not trained, you are not developed, and you WILL change your strokes soon, or stay at 3.5.
     
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  19. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Yes, Ferrer uses this racket; and even though I am a lefty I imitate Ferrer's playing style. I agree that at my level I cannot judge a racket's performance; but I also know that unless you try different equipment you will not know what is best for you. I enjoy this forum because of the ideas you can get; example:why not add lead and try that? Hey, it may be what I need. I love tennis, and am not afraid to try things; even at my 3.5 level.
     
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  20. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    I'm a little above 3.5 I guess (still in high school but I can win 3-4 games off of division 1 college players), and my coach still tells me it's not the racket or the strings, it's me.

    I agree with LeeD to work on strokes first then think about adding lead or getting a new racket.
     
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  21. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    I understand your point...and I agree...but would you really want to play a match with a walmart Wilson racket that you can buy for twenty bucks...or your Head? There does come a day and a level of play where equipment does make a difference....maybe not as much as I would like to think; but it does.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    :):)
    I read one of TW's reviews of how a certain racket was GREAT for serving, me needing help in that department. So, I bought one, strung it around 50 lbs., Ice17, and went out to conquer the world ...of tennis.
    It's serve rating was "85".
    Compared to my previous racket, a serve rating of "75", it serves ..........
    about the same. I serve hard, or I serve weak, not the racket.
    So, grabbed an old Mfil200, adding 2 full oz and softening the frame down to 57. Serves about the same.
    So, grabbed a HeadMicroGelOS, full BIG granny stick..... serve maybe 3 mph slower.
    Not much of a difference.:):)
     
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  23. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Wow...interesting Lee...you string at 54 for cheap strings, correct?
     
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  24. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    That's true. Most important equipments are a racket you just feel comfortable with really... and a shoe you like. Strings, dampners, overgrips... really aren't that important unless you are that advanced.

    Just demo some rackets that you can feel good with that you can also grow with (like the new Head instinct or APD for power and spin).. but really, it's going to be up to you to find something that fits your game.

    As far as lead, you can experiment with it like I did, and find an amount to add that's just "right."
     
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  25. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Even though this is a super flexible racket and one might think it need lower tensions to add power, I think the open pattern makes everything come off the racket high. So I'm finding that higher tensions work better in this racket to lower the trajectory over the net. Make sure you get the 1.27 mm version of the Monogut ZX. The 1.22 mm version is getting average reviews in the playtest thread.
     
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  26. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Thnxs mikeler...do they have it at The Plaza; or do you order it? Thnx everyone for the tips and tennis talk! Onward to 4.0.
     
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  27. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    No, buy the string from TW. Call them and ask for the cheaper USPS shipping which is not available online.
     
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  28. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Usually, I play with my APDGT. The minimum tension they advise is 55 and I use 53 pounds. Furthermore, I string with the cheapest strings I can find which means I play with nylon strings 99% of the time. From what I can think about, it's probably one of the worst set-up you can find to hit softer shots that requires a bit of touch, just as it should be bothersome to hit accurate ground strokes with it. However, it's not the case.

    I used to play with a tension around 58-59 pounds and I do prefer softer, more flexible sticks -- I bought a Wilson BLX Blade 98 recently and it does feel better. But I got used to hitting with something different and it works very well... I got so used to it that my BLX is strung at 52 pounds with cheap strings.

    I wouldn't think about raising my tension, unless I played against someone who serves really big or a guy with flat, fast and deep strokes.

    So, if you want an advice, try to get used to your lower tension. If you send your balls out all the time, close your racket face a bit more... after all, you get more energy than usual with your lower tension, so you can afford to spend more of it producing spin than you normally did. If you do it right, you'll hit just as fast as before, except your balls will kick higher.
     
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  29. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    If you want more pace, don't use poly. Poly is for players that generate their own pace and want to control it with spin.
     
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  30. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Hey! I like to act like a pompous Hollywood star!:cool:
     
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  31. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Usually, there's an advice saying you should think about reducing your tension of about 10% to get a similar recoil from your string bed as you do with other strings. But, you know, people also usually do not read about these details.

    The stiffer your strings, the lower the tension needs to be to produce a similar response.
     
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  32. corners

    corners Legend

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    I agree with the approach suggested by others - look to your strings for pace. If two racquets share the same static weight, swingweight and balance, any difference in power between them will be very small. Sure, you can get some more power by choosing a lighter racquet, or one with lower swingweight, but that kind of power comes from how fast those frames allow you to swing, not the racquet itself.

    Or you could go the other direction - a heavier racquet, or one with higher swingweight. This will slow your swing down a tad, so you'll have less spin. Less spin will mean your shots tend to go long, which most players interpret as "more power."

    But changing strings or lowering string tension can actually give you significantly more pace on your shots. You're not going to get 10 more mph, as some will claim, but you'll notice the extra pace if you switch from a stiff poly to something like Monogut ZX or a soft multi. A couple extra mphs on court can seem like a lot.

    Regarding your racquet, consider the best player in the world who uses it. David Ferrer is the smallest and least powerful of any player in the top 10. If this was such a "low power" racquet, why would he be using it? If he could really get a significant power boost by switching to something stiffer, like a Pure Drive or Exo Black, why wouldn't he? Knocking so painfully on the door for some many years, wouldn't he have the sense to switch to a "more powerful" racquet to unlock a grandslam for himself? He doesn't, I think, because he knows what the physicists know - that racquets barely differ in "power." The racquet manufacturers know this too, but won't let on, unless you happen to be a pro. In which case, if you were Ferrer, for instance, you might hear: "David, play with whatever Prince frame feels best to you. We sell racquets based on "power," but that's just marketing BS. Unfortunately, there's nothing in our line that's going to give you significantly faster shots once it's been customized to your preferred specs. If you like the Exo Tour 100, use that. "
     
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  33. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    Very good point about Ferrer.
     
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  34. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    I am going to get the Ashaway Monogut...and also get some Solinco Tour Bite Soft...Thx! I really like my racket, and after reading the responces on this thread I realize that going to a different frame is not the way I want to go at this time. I still intend to try new string and new tensions (can't wait to try the Ashaway)...but I am going to refocus on consistency, and play smarter tennis; not just strive for more pace.
     
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