Weight and strength

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by babar, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

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    I'm not a very big person. My arms and overall muscle tone is fairly average, if not below average. I'm about 5'8" and 160lbs and 39 yrs old. I feel that smaller/less strong players can benefit from heavy frames which help them compensate for the lack of physical power they can generate in their swings. Stronger players can play with lighter frames since they can grip and swing the frame with more muscle so as to negate the lack of stabiilty of lighter frames. I like playing with heavy frames, but I can't manage against heavy hitters very well with light frames. Overall, my biggest problem is putting the ball away. I can hit it hard, but just not enough to get it past many folks. I've tried power frames to help, but the lightness always seems to get in the way.

    Should I just get a heavy frame and play with it and try to get stronger or resign myself to lighter frames in the hopes of learning to like them and harness their power? Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I would go with the heavier frames. Ive used light rackets and they are more maneuvarable but the lack of mass makes one's game vulnerable in match play and against big hitters. I just got a Yonex VCORE Tour 97, 330 version. It will be rough and tough to get used to the weight maybe but then I will appreciate the stability, mass and plowthrough of this racket.
     
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  3. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Change string and tinker with lower tensions or higher powered string like gut before you make a radical racket adjustment.
     
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  4. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Try a Dunlop m3.0 and Dunlop f3.0. They are not too heavy - not too light, have sufficient weight in stock form to do damage and play high quality game, and you can add lead tape to turn it into a beast if you move up to higher levels. 22mm beam is sufficient for power and feel.
     
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  5. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Look at swingweight as a key number relating to power. Try to get something around 320 gram swing weight give or take 5 grams. That should give you adequate boom. And, it isn't too heavy for you. My wife is mid-50s and 120 lbs and plays swingweight 330 grams.
     
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  6. BalboaNoah

    BalboaNoah New User

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    Hi,

    i love heavy frames (around 13 oz) and am smaller sized (5'6" and 140lbs dripping wet). some of the put-away issue is the frame and some of it technique. you're probably actually swinging too hard with the heavy frame, and possibly giving too much topspin. i've done both, but have learned to relax the swing and let the frame mass do its thing. you'll get a faster swing, too. also, sometimes you have to flatten the put-away ball, especially if you play fast extremely mobile opponents.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Never used the Blade, but some racketholics say that it is a light frame that has the stability and plowthrough of a heavier frame.
     
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  8. lstewart

    lstewart Rookie

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    At 160 lbs you certainly have the strength to use whatever you want. You body will get used to what you play with, and it will feel natural. I find that I need a little extra power to be competitive at my level than what I can get from a classic heavy frame. I'm taking a thin beam light weight flexible 102 frame, and then adding weight to get to 12 ounces. Gives me power, but still have some mass behind my shots.
     
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  9. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    I'm 5'5 105lbs (Disclaimer: I eat 3500 calories a day) and I'm 14 yrs old. I use a >12oz racket. Weight is a preference thing. If you can handle it, go for it.
     
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  10. kopfan

    kopfan Rookie

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    Rallying with heavy hitter does not means to out hitting them with all your power. Power can come from softer string, lower tension, lower ball arc and most effectively... SWEETSPOT. When a heavy shot hit to you, you can make contact with the dead center sweetspot with a more flat return shot, the ball will be even more heavy that your opponent's shot.
     
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  11. sunof tennis

    sunof tennis Professional

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    That disclaimer made all us old farts very jealous. Lol.
     
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  12. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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    You don't need a ton of strength to hit the ball hard in tennis.

    So far you only seem to be considering physical strength and racket weight. You've left out a lot of things, such as how fast your swing is, racket swingweight, strings, power of the actual frame, and plain & simple lead tape.

    I don't want to get into the more complicated areas of technique which I'm sure someone will bring up. You can try adding some lead tape to a lighter, more powerful frame to boost the weight & swingweight.

    BTW if you are really hitting it hard it should be getting past a lot of folks, unless its all going down the middle.
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Maybe it's more a issue of style of play for your body build?
    A slow runner like myself, at 64 years old, cannot play a grinding baseline game against you youngsters, whether my racket is 12.7 oz or 10 oz strung.
    So, facing old farts similar to my age, what ball will I ever face that I need a 12.7 oz racket to get the ball back with?
    Most old farts hit at 32mph, and that's rating their first serves. Hitting a 32mh incoming ball with a 12.7 oz racket is a lesson in overkill, and inefficientcy.
     
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  14. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    It's all about personal preference and what your body can handle. At 5'5" and 135lbs, I can't effectively swing a 12.0+ oz racquet. So I have to use something lighter. So in my case, heavier is not better, because I hit a point of diminishing returns at about 11oz.
     
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  15. dreamneedle

    dreamneedle New User

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    You should consult with a tennis coach. He/she could spot all the weak areas in your technique and help you improve.
     
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  16. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    I guess I can get away with it playing everyday and then running a 5k in 22 mins... And then muscle strengthening everyday. Its more of a routine than anything else.
     
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  17. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Have you given any serious thought to getting stronger?

    A great thing for tennis players is that strength gains are quite rapid for someone who has not lifted before.

    The initial strength gains are from more muscle fibers being recruited rather than muscle hypertrophy - so there is virtually no gain in weight which could lead to loss in speed.

    Being stronger doesn't automatically mean you can hit the ball harder - you still have to train the muscles to hit harder - but being stronger lets you play more tennis with less chance of an overuse injury.
     
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  18. ryydman

    ryydman Rookie

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    Aside from improving your timing to hit the sweetspot more often and working out to be stronger, why not just lead up the 'power frames' to make them more stable?


    I've a leaded up PD, APD, AG4D500T and IG Instinct, they are all a lot more stable than in stock, i add around 15-20 grams using over grips / leather grips, lead tape and protection tape.

    Blade BLX 98 is very stable as is DPro One 97. The sweet spot in the blade is huge.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
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  19. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    I'm in no doubt that the OP is strong enough to swing and play with any racquet. I genuinely think we forget about those heavy wooden racquets that were standard back in the day.

    But getting the right feel is important. I am of average build and average strength, but I do prefer a bit of weight on my racquet. I have found that a weight of around 325g is about right to get a nice solid feeling and easy access to power on my groundies, but manouvrable enough at the net and on serve to not wear my arm out too much.

    I do like playing with a 350g racquet on occasion but after a couple of sets my serve starts to tail off a bit.

    So to the OP, try a few racquets of reasonable weight and see which feels the best to you. I would say to go as heavy as you can, but light enough to whip it around if you need to.
     
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  20. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for all the comments.

    I play with a BLX 6.1 right now strung with MSV Focus Hex 18g at 48lbs. I do swing pretty hard, but I hit a more upward stroke, so topspin is more pronounced. I can flatten the ball out, but I don't have as much depth control. I have added lead to this frame and other lighter ones, but I always seem to mess up the balance for myself. I really liked the K-Blade and did not like the BLX Blade. I haven't tried the newer blade yet. I might try that soon.

    Based on the feedback here and on the courts from guys I hit with, it seems the more salient issue seems to be my swing. I need to learn how to hit through the court more and less loopy topspin.

    The local coach here thinks my stroke is fine, just that I need to hit with better footwork so I transfer more body mass into my shot.

    I guess more work to follow. . .

    Thanks all.
     
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  21. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I like heavier rackets, and find it harder to play with lighter ones. You should try adding some weight slowly to your frame. That should help with the big hitters.

    Sometimes just a few grams at the top and bottom can transform a racket.

    Anyhow I would love to be 5'8" and 160!

    I swear I am 5'10 but the doc says I shrunk to 5'8. Now if I could get my gut to shrink too. 203 on a good day and used to be 240. But I never thought I was particularly strong. Avg or below I think. Anyhow I'd say if I can play with a heavy racket, then pretty anyone can, just go slow and make sure you keep the same balance.
     
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  22. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    I'm 6' 185 lbs, and I can swing anything you give to me. However, my strokes aren't totally consistent so a heavier racket tends to send balls flying for me sometimes if I'm not totally dialed in.

    I've played with a 10 oz OS and a 12.7 oz 350 sw radical mp.
     
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  23. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I'm around that 6'0 mark, and at roughly 175lbs. (I've lost quite a bit of weight,) and I can use virtually any weight of frame. It just depends on whatever I feel maximizes my abilities as a player as I get better.

    Size really isn't an issue when using a frame, proper technique provides way more power than any extra (unwieldy) weight will. :)

    -Fuji
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
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  24. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

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    So, how much of power is racquet head speed and how much is the weight of the frame?

    Can I use, say a Blade, and get the power I can from the 6.1? I should be able to swing the Blade faster, but I don't feel like I swing the lighter frames any faster. Of course, "feel" is a very subjective term here.
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    We should adjust our play based on our skills, height, weight, strength, mental makeup, and a host of other factors. But let's focus on weight and strength.
    If you were in the Army, they wouldn't hand you a SAW and 3 boxes of ammo, they'd give you a CAR and a radio, based on your size. Medium small people have to reason to slug it out with big people, so you use your size to your advantage, not your disadvantage.
    Tennis? The big guys are using 12 oz rackets to slug the ball. If you are really dumb, you would use exactly their rackets and try to outslug them.
    If you were smart, you'd use a lighter, easier to wield racket to out fox them with spins, placements, movements, and changes of depth and speed.
    Just my opinion.
    We don't give you ArnoldSwartzeneggars battle sword for a fight.
    Maybe an epee at the max, or a short Katana.
     
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  26. babar

    babar Semi-Pro

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    Interesting anaology LeeD.
    However, my experience has been that I'm not getting out-powered. The heavy hitters I play against don't hit with more speed of shot or power, just a heavier ball. My rationale in using the heavier racquet has always been subjective in that it "feels" better to me and helps me to handle the heavy feel of some of my opponents.
    As I stated earlier, my biggest problem is hitting with enough speed of shot/power to get the ball by my opponents who all seem to be faster than me and have more stamina.
    I've played with lighter frames like the Rad OS, Instinct, 300G, Pro Open, KBlade, etc. these frames all played fine, but they never held up against heavy hitters. I did not "feel" the control of shot with these frames. I felt the ball would tell these frames what to do and not the frame dictate to the ball.
     
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  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Muscular strength has pretty much zero effect on how hard you can hit the ball - it is all about technique.
     
    #27
  28. prjacobs

    prjacobs Professional

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    One thing you might want to work on is hitting the ball earlier. I know it sounds like I'm stating the obvious, but it will cut down your opponent's time to react.
    You also may not be moving efficiently on the court. For example, one thing I was taught is - never return to the center of the court after a shot. If you hit a crosscourt shot with good depth, stay 3 feet or more on the crosscourt side. Conversely, it you hit a shot with not enough depth, moves 3 feet past the center line. Know the quality of your shot as soon as you hit is and cover the high percentage part of the court.
    Also - get yourself into better shape. You can't teach speed, but you can increase your stamina. And when you're in great shape, you always feel you can get another shot back.
    I know it's another one of those obvious responses, but getting some good coaching might really help. I think we've all seen 11 year old skinny kids killing the ball.
    Good luck...
     
    #28
  29. azrael201

    azrael201 Rookie

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    i agree with what you mean. i've learned using a LM prestige mid for the past 8 years and now i'm trying to switch to a new stick but can't decide on the specs. i think the new lighter frames let you swing faster but against heavy hitters i see my ball landing shorter. with the new tech it's all about controllable power and how you achieve the power is either lower tension, bigger headsize, or heavier racquet.

    i just demo'd a couple sticks and against a big topspin player i like a bigger headsize but against a heavy hitter i like the heavier stick.
     
    #29
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    My problem is that I play the full spectrum of rec players, from the rabbit 3.0's on up to NorCal winning A/Open players.
    A heavy racket works wonders against a fast incoming ball.
    For me, a light racket pummels a soft weak ball.
    So I settled for a 11 oz, 320 SW racket with a 60 flex to play the whole spectrum of competitors I face.
    YOU might be ATP level, and need to counter hard hit balls, but I never see anything stronger than Div1 singles players.
     
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