When not to use the sweetspot?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Dennis Anyone?, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. Dennis Anyone?

    Dennis Anyone? Rookie

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    Are there legitimate reasons to use other areas of the racquet face other than the sweetspot?

    For instance, using say the upper hoop for serves/overheads or backhand slices?
     
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  2. armsty

    armsty Hall of Fame

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    I generally try avoid the sweetspot, too predictable where the ball will go. Using the side of the frame really makes it interesting.
     
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  3. Freestyle

    Freestyle New User

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    LOL

    But on topic, I think the sweetspot is really a good place to hit most of your shots. Sadly, that is out of my power.
     
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  4. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    What "sweetspot" are you talking about? There have been many discussions of this topic in prior threads and we never seem to get anywhere. Manufacturers have used this term too "loosely" in their marketing zeal. We seem to have some thinking the sweetspot refers to the entire stringbed, or close to it, while others contend that its a very small area, about the size of an elongated tennis ball.

    One of the problems here is that the actual size does vary depending on racquet design, strings, tension and head size. Some contend that hitting off center (toward the edge of the sweetspot) feels better and can produce a better shot while others suggest that its practically impossible to consistently strike the ball toward the edge. Controlling the strike to a little higher or lower on the frame is very possible - most seem to agree on this.

    So the bottom line appears to be that the "sweetspot" has been exaggerated by manufacturers in marketing their "latest and greatest" along with others trying to expand the size to suggest/market new methods. Even the folks who look at the physics of tennis seem confused so the debate, if you want to call it that, will continue without purpose or meaning.
     
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  5. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Sweetspot

    There is a possible definition of a sweetspot via power zones
    see
    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/contours.php
     
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  6. SuperFly

    SuperFly Semi-Pro

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    Drop volley maybe?
     
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  7. prattle128

    prattle128 Semi-Pro

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    1. Frame the ball on a forehand to produce such a spin that the ball becomes something of a kick/twist serve that screws up your opponent completely. I've performed this little happy surprise a few times.

    2. Frame the ball to get the world's greatest drop shot. A couple of times I've gotten the ball to land about a foot from the net, and die almost on the spot thanks to a massively shanked topspin forehand.
     
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  8. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Very interesting material and you might be right, maybe it is just a matter of power zones that we should be looking at. I'm not sure if I've seen this material before, at least presented in this format, and I'm assuming its based on independent testing vs manufacturers specs. However, what I find most interesting is how the "power zone" differs significantly from what we traditionally think the "sweetspot" looks like - both in shape and location.
     
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  9. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I tend to not use the sweet spot on topspin forehand lobs. Almost always goes in and almost impossible to smash, because it's unpredictable :).

    On a real note, i think you should use the sweet spot in every shot..
     
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  10. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    A possible definition of a sweetspot-I apologize for a brief message

    You may produce a following definition:
    A sweetspot is an area that returns at least 40% of an incoming power.
    If one agrees to this definition you may compare different rackets which
    I do for coaching.

    So for me a sweetspot is a special kind of a power zone.
    For example TODAY I compared Prince EX003 Black with Prince Speedport Black.
    I may share some conclusions if of interest.
    I understand completely that I am NOT addressing 100% your original question.
    I may reverse positions and asked you : what is a definition of a sweetspot
    if you have any.
    I apologize for a brief message-I have to go back to my club
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    One thing I like about the older smaller rackets, even some around 90sq's....
    I like to hit my first flat serve full out. Oftentimes, my opponents get the timing down pat, and crush it back almost as fast as I can serve. Almost every time, when the opponent has the timing figured out, I hit a off center serve, and the slowness just confounds the opponent into a netted ball....:shock::twisted:
    Now that I play with 95's, this happens less often, and I have to CHOOSE to hit various pace first flat serves.
     
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  12. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, my answer would be that area on the stringbed that produces the least amount of vibration yet delivers max power and control. Maximum power would actually be closer to the throat but consider "power and control" as one factor - at least in this discussion.
     
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  13. Jaewonnie

    Jaewonnie Professional

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    I'd actually say I'd try and hit with the sweetspot more on the drop.
     
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  14. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    The shank lob.... A weapon of a good friend of mine who happens to shank alot....
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    When picking balls up off the court, I'll often not use the sweetspot.:twisted:


    Didn't you start a similar thread a year or two back?

    I am most aware of going for the "sweetspot" on volleys. For groundies, I'm nor really focused a whole lot on the sweetspot at even tho' I'm trying to hit the ball cleanly, usually with spin (and power).

    With overheads at the net and with serves, particularly with flat serves, the optimal location on the stringbed is somewhat higher than the sweetspot. I spoke of this in another thread last summer:

    tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=3777706

    Check out the slow motion video of Roddick hitting serves on the 1st link below. Also, take a look at the very high speed footage of Oliver Akli hitting serves in the 2nd link below (at about 2:12)

    fuzzyyellowballs.com/pro-stroke-library/andy-roddick

    fuzzyyellowballs.com/video-tennis-lessons/serve/serve-fundamentals/swing-to-contact
    .
     
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  16. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, if you take the time to look at racquets that have been used by top players you'll see more wear on the sweet spot area than anywhere else on the stringbed. Thats not to say they don't use other areas but IMO, the "majority" of shots are hit very near the center or sweet spot area of the racquet.
     
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  17. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Definition of sweet spots

    You may try to analyze your definition vs
    "ITF biomechanics of Advanced Tennis" Page of 182
     
    #17
  18. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    Have you ever done this on purpose? It really is interesting and fun. Instead of hitting with the strings turn the racquet and try to hit using the outside of the frame. When friends and I do this it usually starts off with whiffs, then we connect but the balls go anywhere and then once we get used to it we actually gain a bit of control, but just a bit. It's a great workout because you never know where the ball is going to go. :D
     
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  19. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK, tell me what it says. Not sure I have a publication with that title, and if I have it, I wouldn't have in Florida where we live half the year. I do have about 40 tennis related books of one variety or another but seldom bring them because of the weight - bring couple of the new ones each year but that's about it. I know I've seen, and probably have at home, the "Physics of Tennis" which I refer to once a decade - don't think I'm smart enough to understand most of it.

    My understanding of the "sweetspot concept" is more from personal experience and most likely influenced by, to some degree anyway, by racquet company material (Prince) - don't get me wrong here, my opinions DO differ somewhat from Prince and Wilson. I also am familiar with Oscars views to some extent and I would not be so generous with its size.
     
    #19
  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Which racquets do you recommend for the biggest sweetspot?
     
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  21. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Oversize racquets have larger sweetspots. However, I do not find those large sweatspots on 110 racquets to be very "sweet" -- not crisp. Looser stringing tensions will also produce larger sweetspots. According to the TW Learning Center, several other factors will also have an effect on the sweetspot:

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/LC/BasicFacts.html
    .
     
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  22. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    I will do what you wish but ...

    1.It defines 3 sweet spots which are POINTS.
    One of them maximum power point located close to a throat.
    2.if we draw some elipses centered at those points we will have shapes called by YOU sweetspots
    3.The latest generation of Prince rackets do have those areas reduced a bit
    4.I am NOT sure whether a sweetspot for baseline strokes is the same as for a serve
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
    #22
  23. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    #23
  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    #24
  25. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    I am very happy

    I am very happy to hear that.
    See however item #3 of my post #22 above.
    PS I do NOT work for Prince.However I recommend Prince rackets to my students
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
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  26. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    drop shot, I used to not use the sweet spot. Actually, 95% of my drop shots hit both string bed and rim, creating a very soft drop.

    On the downside, this completely warped my racket by playing against power players, and now it is half-normal, half completely bent.
     
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  27. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    First of all, I want it understood that I don't work for Prince either but I've been a racquet tester for them. They have never tried to influence my opinions in any manner but have merely asked for what I and others think about a new product. I don't do it now but have played with quite a few racquets now on the market. Generally, as you probably know, racquets are tested primarily before they go into final production or introduced to the public. I have nothing but positive things to say about Prince and think they employ very talented people and deliver a well made product.

    The subject of "sweetspots" has been around for a long time in tennis, its not something brand new. Everyone seems to have a little bit different definition of the term which, like many other tennis terms, leads/can lead to a great deal of confusion. Often it seems, were all using the same terms but actually talking about different things which does lead to confusion. A good example just recently is a "closed stance" which many refer to which is actually a neutral "stance stance".

    However, I believe most believe that a "sweetspot" is the "ideal" striking zone on the stringbed which produces the best shot with the least amount of shock. This area has "generally" been thought of, as you mentioned, an elongated area primarily in the middle part of the racquet. I actually believe this area does change from individual to individual depending on how the racquet is held, how its strung, the shot and the ability/skill level of the individual.
     
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  28. defrule

    defrule Professional

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    I'm actually thinking, maybe Mids feel so much better when you hit the "sweet spot" compared to granny sticks is because the 3 points someone talked about early are close together.

    In a mid where the oval formed by these 3 points is small, hitting in it would a combination of all 3.
     
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  29. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Serve is a bit of an exception

    A FLAT serve is PROBABLY a bit of an exception.
    Some serves by some pro maybe hit off a center of a sweetspot.

    Vic Braden produced an article/video saying
    that Roddick hits a serve (with a ball touching strings) CLOSE to a throat.
    If so it would "contradict" some posts at TW at least at a first glance.An video by Vic Braden was published
    couple years ago.

    Switching gears:
    I believe that Power Zones do relate well to a notion of a sweetspot you describe.
    It is suprising that nobody started a conversation comparing Prince Speedport vs Prince Ex003.

    PS
    Just to amuse everybody reading my posts I play and teach Babolat.
    I am NOT supported by Babolat either.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
    #29
  30. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    I rarely shank, but I rarely hit the center of the sweet spot, and I say that because sometimes the ball feels really awesome coming off my racket, and it doesn't happen often.
     
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  31. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    I often shank off the bottom of my racquet. Probably due to a variety of
    reasons.
     
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  32. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, probably so. As you know there is more power toward the bottom (throat) side of the stringbed so it wouldn't surprise me the pros are using that area more frequently. Lots of tests run on racquets have the handle clamped tightly which "could", IMO, produce somewhat misleading results. My book knowledge in this area is limited (physics wise) and I have a hard time even following some of the logic involved - my background is in engineering but I was a IE and some of this stuff seems to require a ME background.

    Well, now that we are confessing things, I must tell you that I now play with Wilson racquets. Babolat makes a great product but a little too stiff for me. However, the folks at Prince are top notch and produce a quality racquet.
     
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  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sweetspots, serves.
    First flat serves.
    Hit the sweetspot or slightly ABOVE. You need the angle from a higher strikepoint to consistently get the serve IN. The 6" difference in height of strikepoint is HUGE in a flat first serve.
    That said, if you employ some spin on the first flat serve, sometimes the lower sweetspot on your racket produces more spin with lots of speed, and you can get the ball in more often using some amount of ARC on the ball.
    Which to choose?
    Your call.
     
    #33
  34. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, well said.
     
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  35. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Prince Ex003 Black review

    Papa,
    1.See below a quote from a TW of Prince Ex003 Black review

    As one may see a large sweetspot creates some problems as well

    2.One of my students is using Prince Speedport Black Team and has some problems
    with control with racket strung 61 lbs.
    He refused to go through a Babolat option
    Obviously Wilson is an option as well but my knowledge about Wilson is limited

    ----> a beginning of a quote
    Groundstrokes - Score: 78
    Video Review

    There was plenty of power to be found in the EXO3 Black when hitting from the baseline.

    "Groundstrokes are where I noticed the most improvement over the 03 Speedport Black," said Sean, taking note of the large sweetspot. "Though still a bit inconsistent, I enjoyed this racquet for its solid feel at impact, which I felt wasn't the case with the 03 Speedport Black. Shots that I hit off-center still had great feel and power. Compared to similar racquets, I was surprised that I didn't need to crush the ball to find the power I was seeking. The racquet provided a ton of power and I actually had to adjust my swing to let the racquet do some of the work."

    Jackson was happy with the comfort he found, saying, "I liked the EXO3 Black better than the 03 Speedport Black, although I still experienced some of the same downfalls. The feel of the racquet seemed dampened due to a combination of the stiffness and free-movement string design. Both the Speedport and EXO3 technologies definitely reduced vibrations from off-center shots, which was nice for my arm. I was also able to get some really good pace when I did hit the sweetspot. Flattening out the racquet to smack sitters became way too easy. I'm sure I frustrated my hitting partners when I put a sitter away after a few shots just because it felt so good. I wasn't as impressed with this stick on slice shots, though. Slice backhands just didn't really feel good, and the ball also fell short."

    Enjoying the effortless power of the racquet was Chris. He said, "I was impressed by the easy power I found off the ground. I was able to hit with depth and pace, using little effort. I was also able to completely relax and use the powerful response, which allowed me to maneuver the ball around the court and play steady tennis. That same power also came in handy when I was in a defensive position. On the flip side, I found very little in the way of feel. I normally use drop shots and angles frequently when playing, and I was having a really tough time finding my depth and placement. Basically, my touch felt very heavy handed, which is unusual for me."

    Chris was not the only one left looking for feel. "Though the power in this stick was evident from the first hit, it took awhile to get used to the feel," said Spencer. "It offered a large sweetspot, but I felt the ball seemed to get a little lost in the stringbed. In match situations, I found myself often hitting tentatively from the baseline to avoid hitting balls deep. 'Hitting out' was always a gamble for me. On backhands, I was more consistent coming over the top of the ball. The results when slicing the ball were very inconsistent. I couldn't seem to get a feel for that particular shot, which was unfortunate as I usually hit about half of my backhands with slice."

    Tiffani was in agreement, saying, "Off the ground, the first thing I noticed was the power. I could either flatten out my shots, which is typical of my playing style, or easily add some topspin. I felt a little less comfortable with slice. The ball didn't float on me, but I didn't feel that knifing sensation. Speaking of feel, the muted feel from the EXO3 Black was difficult to get used to. I didn't mind it when hitting through the ball, but I struggled when it came to touch shots."
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
    #35
  36. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Some of the newer Prince racquets have extremely high power ratings - quite a few in the 1300 range. The O 3's series and now all the hybrid, all claim high power ratings and in my opinion they are correct. But, we have to be a little careful not getting "power" and "sweet spot" confused. There is somewhat of a relationship but not a direct one. As most probably realize, higher rated power racquets generally are designed/marketed for slower swings.

    Also head size, racquet design, racquet material, strings, tension, etc. effect sweet spot size, so its pretty hard to use one term - its just not that easy.

    One of the difficulties is that if you combine some of these higher power rated racquets with strings like Luxilon, you produce power that can be very difficult to control for the average player.
     
    #36
  37. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Strings

    Thank you for your quick response.

    I impose some discipline in the case of strings.
    My students use ONLY Wilson NXT Tour 61 pounds 17 gauge.
    I used to believe that Wilson NXT Tour pockets a ball.
    I have currently four students using Prince Sppedport Black or Prince Speedport Black Team.
    Therefore I tried to put an issue of "Power Strings" aside.

    As I indicated above it is possible that I went a wrong direction.
    demoing these two Prince racket.I am the first person to admit that I am human.
    I am a pretty well educated person but somehow it does NOT help very much here.
    Probably 88 is my number :).
    My students will demo EX003 series and I will decide whether it is a right path to go.

    If you have more thoughts on this subject please let me know.
    I have tried to compare rackets via a combo of sweetspot and swingweight
    but it looks like I am NOT doing great in this department either.
    Maybe eating some fish would help :)

    I have a ZERO knowledge of the expression "POWER RATING".
    I will try to do some digging on this subject.

    PS
    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-PEXOBK.html says "POWER LEVEL" low-medium
    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-PXOBKT.html says "POWER LEVEL" medium.
    How your your number translates vs 1300 ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010
    #37
  38. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    #38
  39. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Not sure you goofed at all, I was just responding to your post that was in quotes. Based on your posts, there has never been a time that I didn't think you were well educated. I was merely trying to point out the many differences in the discussion(s) of sweet spots, power rating, etc. I happen to think/believe so much of this is subjective and there are numerous combinations of variables that its very difficult to even have a meaningful discussion. Then there is the marketing hype from both the string and racquet people with confuse the issue more.

    There are data bases that actually claim to have power ratings and graphics indicating "zones" of stringbeds of most racquets. How they have assembled the information, whether it is accurate or even measurable probably would open up an entire new can of worms that "probably" means little to nothing to most of us.
     
    #39
  40. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    I was trying 2 be a bit funny

    I was trying 2 be a bit funny but my questions about demoes for students
    are real
     
    #40
  41. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK.

    Racquet demo programs are obliviously designs by manufacturers to help them sell racquets through dealers - sporting goods stores, stringers, clubs, internet sites like TW and so forth. As you know, it helps them introduce or let players try different frames hoping that when people try these products, they will purchase them - racquets are very expensive (can be anyway) these days so letting players check out the new or current models for a small fee (generally covers shipping and handling) is a sound business process. If you have an ongoing steady demand for these products then racquet companies would probably accommodate your requests - most of us would not provide enough business to make it worth their while.

    Racquet manufacturers also provide equipment and clothing to high profile players - actually they pay these players to use the stuff in the professional ranks but at lower levels they just provide a limited amount of product and it varies from company to company.

    My suggestion would be to write the various manufacturers and TW to outline your ideas, whatever they may be and see if they are interested. Although probably a long shot, you never can tell.

    Places like TW sell thousands of racquets every year so its important for them and the manufacturers to let players "test play" the product.

    Good luck.
     
    #41
  42. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Only when you want to lose.
     
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