Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by davo81, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. TheRed

    TheRed Professional

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    I don't have a stance on this debate but I would disagree with your first sentence. I don't think most would be ripping winners with a smaller head. I'm a 5.0 but probably an extreme case. I've never been a very clean hitter for my level, in part because I hit with more spin than anyone I've ever played. If you have me a 90" racquet, my game would suffer against players my level. On the other hand, I have a 4.5 friend that I regularly beat 2 and 3 but he plays fine with a 90" racquet because he hits fairly flat. I'd guess that most players would play worse with a smaller head. 5" is not insignificant. It doesn't create less mishits but it makes your 50mph forehand 55, and your 25 mph stretch backhand 35 mph. That's where the big difference.
     
  2. TTech321

    TTech321 New User

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    I use what Federer uses cause he is my IDOL! haha, No seriously I use a 90" cause it's the only racquet I can use where I can keep my balls in the court, swing away, and win matches. I started out using the APD cause I wanted to hit massive topspin like Rafa, haha that didn't last long, switched to the 95" Ncode after my friend let me borrow his, but I found that one still wasn't right. Tried another guys 90, and magically all my shots were going in the court, I can hit as hard as I wanted and as long as I had good footwork, racquet face control, and a smooth swing, it was bombs away.

    I've tried hitting with my friends Pure Drive, and I can't keep more than 2 shots in the court during a warm up rally. When we play matches my friend wins most of them, but not cause of his 100" frame, he's been playing tennis since he was a kid, and was #1 singles on his HS team. I started playing after turning 20 and learned my strokes from watching TV and YouTube LOL.

    So back to the topic of why I think a lot of players use small head sizes. What I see when I go out of the courts is players buying and using racquets that help them win. Out here at the rec level, winning is all about CONTROL.

    Smaller head = More Control
    More Control = More Win
    More Win = ???

    On a side note, here is a vid where my buddy takes a shot to the head for shying away from the ball.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjYaNk62zyQ
     
  3. Hi I'm Ray

    Hi I'm Ray Hall of Fame

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  4. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    Yet to here a good answer
     
  5. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    "Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people? "

    Topic at hand. Get back on track before i derail it with talk of boobies.
     
  6. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Two reasons for prestige:
    - Achievement: The guys with the most notable successes in tennis have, for the most part, used small headed sticks.
    - Quality: Generally speaking, the smaller headed sticks are heavier and have higher swing weights, this makes them more stable and gives the player the ability to hit a more powerfull shot*. The pros use heavier sticks.

    Make a list of the top 5 greatest male tennis players of all time who use smaller head sticks (<94" ) and compare to the same list for larger head sticks (>99"). Which list is more accomplished?

    * Given the same swing speed as a lighter stick.
     
  7. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Totally Agreee

    Definitely agree! If a pro can't control such high powered racquets with cheap nylon and loose tension, what chances has average joe got?
     
  8. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Err... Because they look manly. Especially PS 85. Or even better, a baseball bat.
    Think Jim Courier.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  9. pshulam

    pshulam Hall of Fame

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    5% - is it significant? You will be the judge.

    Where do you get this stat? Is it based on your personal history, magic hat, empirical scientific studies? A difference in 5% in head size (while keeping everything else the same or constant, i.e., shape, beam width, swing weight, weight, string type, string tension, etc) can produce these results?
     
  10. TTech321

    TTech321 New User

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    The courts are in Milpitas California, we have a lot of lite outdoor courts out here in San Jose and Milpitas.

    Btw, There I've seen a guy use the Jummy Connors backhand out here too hahaha
     
  11. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Federer and Safin do OK with 90" and 93" racket heads with the modern game. Federer's spin rate is not as high as Nadal's but Federer's spin rate is higher than most other pros. Federer also has the best touch and precision I have ever, ever seen.
     
  12. TheRed

    TheRed Professional

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    It's obviously not a stat because everyone's speed on their strokes is different. I'm trying to make the point that the 5" gives an extra bit of oomph on some shots, and that's where the benefits are.
     
  13. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Power is a function of momentum (weght x velocity), racket flex and ball deformation on impact, not really the head size.

    Although longer mains and more open string patters associated with bigger racket heads will give you a higher launch angle, so the ball may fly further given same velocity.
     
  14. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    OK, here's the answer:

    --Small head size racquets have such high prestige because they were the most common racquets amongst many of our own tennis heros from the 80s and 90s. They were the tools of the "professionals" and so therefore they have this mystique about them.

    That's all. They're not "better racquets", they aren't even the "best" racquet. They are the "classic" racquets from a long time ago when the game was different than it is now. They were the standard frame for a long time and they were the tools that so many top ATP pros won millions of dollars and numerous awards with.

    So the question remains: is it right for me? Is it right for you? My answer is: depends on your game. Same answer as a lot of folks here have given.

    But in my opinion, I think that heavy, low powered, small head size frames can actually make it harder for amateur players to consistently perform well for 2 or 3 hour long matches in the hot sun -- and keep your UE's low. I think they can cause more harm than good and in some cases actually keep players from performing their best. These classic frames take a lot of skill to use properly.

    So yes, it is sexy to use Federer's frame, and yes you may or may not play any better than with a Pure Drive -- but you may be making it harder for yourself to succeed in the long run. These classic racquets require:
    --more stamina to wield
    --greater hand/eye coordination to really connect with the sweet spot
    --excellent footwork and timing
    --better anticipation of where the ball is going
    --better stroke/technique in order to keep the ball in play
    --significantly faster swing speed to generate the same velocity as you can with a Pure Drive with a slower swing

    Of course, ATP pros have all of these requirements in spades. That's why they can wield them and make magic happen.

    But for the rest of us mere mortals, perhaps we need to acknowledge that we are not pros and we are playing for fun, not millions of dollars. Sometimes playing with a "tweener" can make life a whole lot easier.
     
  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Small head size, superior vision.
     
  16. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    -- more stamina to wieldNot really, you need mass to play good tennis. Nadal's tweener has roughly the same SWINGWEIGHT as Federer's player's racket. Same swingweight requires same effort resulting in same level of fatigue. This is false.
    --greater hand/eye coordination to really connect with the sweet spotCan be false - The sweetspot is bigger on a stock blx 90 than a stock APD due to blx's higher swingweight
    --excellent footwork and timing False again, you need excellent footwork and timing to play good tennis regardless of racket type. The belief that a lighter, wider, bigger racket allows you to magically recover with a flip of the wrist is a myth. With either type racket, you need a smooth, acelerating controlled stroke. For me, I can make a defensive shot when out of position with a heavy racket - much easier with a heavy thin beam control racket than a tweener as the tweener tends to launch the ball
    --better anticipation of where the ball is going False. Are you saying the heavier classic racket is going to slow down your court speed? No way unless a few grams makes you slower. To me, this is like saying playing without underwear will make you faster. This is silly. Lighter may be more manueverable but most pros playing 98-100 are playing HEAVY rackets that most here could not manuever well.
    --better stroke/technique in order to keep the ball in play Why, 99% of us can learn to make a smooth swing with a heavier racket with a wee bit of practice. A 100" head sprays the ball more than a 90 or 93" head and is harder to control - it requires better technique to control the livelier stringbed and most end up stringing the 100" head tighter to control it which isn't that good for you health. Rafa uses medium tension super thick all poly for control and many of the other 98"-100" pros even string poly >55lbs

    I think the main reason more pros are playing in the 95-100" zone now is simply because that's what they grew up with.

    Also, you can get just as much power from a 90-93" if you lower your tension a bit and still maintain excellent control. Power is a function of racket mass, swing speed, string type, string tension, and string length. I hate the feeling of power from string length and string tighter with 98" heads to overcome this trampoline effect.

    Really, it is just preference. You can play modern tennis with a 90" or 100" or anything in between.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  17. Captain Karma

    Captain Karma Rookie

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    Exactly... I have a 93 and 95 Prince Exo3 and I warm up with the 95 ...once I move onto the 93 , the accuracy and power turns up a notch.
     
  18. Dark_Angel85

    Dark_Angel85 Rookie

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    Smaller headsize has a higher prestige among tennis players? Why? Just because a lot of players like a certain type of racquet does not automatically make the other racquets with different headsizes/string pattern/weight to be less prestigious eh?

    Anyway, does TW posters count as the MAJORITY of tennis players in the world? I think not right? I know a LOT of the people I play with everyday who do not post on TW (mix of rec and tournament players). Maybe a lot of them surf and view TW or browse through TT forums, but i'm sure only a small pitiful handful of them are active posters here.. (including myself)

    So don't let these few people who are actively posting their adorations about certain sticks to mislead our conceptions of global racquet preference.
     
  19. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Safin's "93" is actually a ~89.5. All Prestige Mids are ~89.5.
     
  20. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Wait, all Prestige Mids are 89.5?

    [​IMG]
     
  21. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    i'm guessing it all has more to do with the feel of an older style racket.

    many of the same folks would also likely praise the POG, even in OS form for similar reasons.
     
  22. lima

    lima New User

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    Hi guys,
    I play tennis for 3 years now, and I must say that i like low powered racquets more than powerful ones. I stared with Head Youtek Ig Extreme Elite, than i bought Prince EXO3 Tour Team 100, and my current one is Yonex VCore 97 (310g). Actually i bought Yonex few days ago so i haven't hit with it yet, and it was a blind buy, based on specs.

    After I have demoed Head Youtek Ig Prestige MP, which I fell in love btw, i decided to buy something similar but little lighter, little more forgiving, but at similar swingweight, and similar balance. I hope I havent made a bad decision, we will see.

    I have tried a few "powerfull" racquets, and most of them I just couldn't control, so my confidence was not high. I fell much more comfortable with low powered racquets so I don't have to worry that balls wouldn't fly long all the time. I am much more comfortable that way.
     
  23. BLX_Andy

    BLX_Andy Professional

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    I think the prestige comes from the good players that use them. Sampras, Federer, Edberg, etc. I think the popularity also comes from the fact that they hit so well. The feel is amazing.
     
  24. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    The precision and feel of the sweet spot is why those users swear by them.
     
  25. lima

    lima New User

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    The Prestige is the first racquet that I have tried that gave me WOW effect. I apsolutely love to hit groundstrokes with it, especially forhend because I don't have to worry that I would hit to long.
     
  26. Big John

    Big John Rookie

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    Isn't this debate similar to the blade golf club versus cavity back one at golf? After years of blades being the norm for pros, now relatively few use them. It seems across many sports that a smaller, often heavier head with the weight concentrated closer to the middle of the head produces a small but wonderful feeling sweet spot and is fairly harsh on mishits. They are also extremely accurate.

    A larger headed racquet/cavity back golf club produces a larger sweet spot that isn't quite a sweet but is more forgiving on mishits. Given the use of poly strings and heavy spin, mishits are more common in the modern game (I'm talking balls that aren't 'flushed' here) and hence the larger headed racquet/cavity backed golf club has increased in popularity over the traditional smaller heads. Not as accurate as the smaller head but more accurate in terms of the distance penalty on the ball struck slightly out of the middle than perhaps the smaller heads.

    The other factor here I guess is wind. This also increases the likelihood of a mishit and as many recreational courts are not well protected from the wind, it would make sense to use a more forgiving racquet that is less harsh on poor ball striking.

    I personally love the feel of St Vincents 90's etc but find them too demanding to be playing three sets in the heat against juniors whilst trying to belt serves and rip groundies. I think the modern game is just more physically demanding and the sheer weight of these older style 90's makes them impractical for a few who are exceptionally strong, skilled and smooth players. For players like me that need some forgiveness and easy power, it is just easier to do with a slightly lighter, more forgiving frame.

    I wish this was not the case but for me at least, that's the way it seems. I am full of admiration for those able to play well with the older racquets and hope that there continues to be these types of players moving forward, its not that easy to do when the blokes we are up against play the way they do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  27. MauricioDias

    MauricioDias Rookie

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    Stability is the main question for me. Big heads are less stable and I just cant get used to them
     
  28. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    Yes. Plus maybe a bit more ease of swinging?

    But as I get older( toward 50 now ), I am increasingly annoyed by Babolat
    Pure Drive crowds pushing me around from baseline. :mad:
     
  29. Fedinkum

    Fedinkum Hall of Fame

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    Tennis is unique in that for once, a smaller head means you are a tougher man.:lol::lol::lol:
     
  30. pistolero

    pistolero Rookie

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    Consider who the pros grew up playing with and who the average recreational player consistently hits against. Of all the 5.0+ players I have come across, only one used a 90" frame or lower. All the others prefer larger and lighter racquets... And lower string tension! They want consistent hitting (mainly from baseline) with good power and spin for the 2+ hours they are on court.
     
  31. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    I agree with the stuff you said. IMO beginners stay away from mids because they are all heavy. Every time I show my friends my K90 or PS85, trying to tell them how good they are, the first reaction from my friends are always "too damn heavy".

    The second reason I hear the most is a psychological one. They think they will miss the ball if they play with a smaller head. But in fact if we are playing slow pace 3.0 tennis and keep an eye on the ball more, there is little reason to hit an air ball more than playing with a 100.

     
  32. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

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    OK, after reading all 12 pages of this thread, learned a little, but can explain and teach more, I hope (and could we have left out that silly and pointless issue of the string dampener out of this thread, what a total waste!!)

    The simple fact of small frames verses larger ones is actually the string LENGTH. So, if one were to play with a 135 sq. inch frame that my 70 year old buddy plays with, well, the problem here is if he doesn't hit it exactly in the center, the ball can deflect at multiple bad angles off the racket, and produce a not consistent response.

    However, on my ps85, both the short mains and crosses are almost the same length, and the much shorter strings are more consistent at just about any part of the string bed, except when I hit very near the frame! This is what the posters have talked about when they say smaller racket faces are more consistent(because they are, by design). So, it really feels, and basically is, that the whole racket is just one big "sweet spot".

    Gut, which is too pricey for me to put in a racket, has a special ability when it deforms to only deform the, say, 3 strings that the ball hits, and thus sends the ball back in more of a linear fashion. Synthetic gut allows all the strings to deform, and, again, if not hit in the center, chaos ensues.

    So, yes, this is the science behind why smaller rackets are in general better for accuracy. And, yes, on top of it, they are usually heavier, so they are then more stable, allowing that off center hit to feel less off center(the larger heads also will twist more in ones hand, as the axis is wider thus putting more twisting force against the hand/arm/elbow). So the only downside for using a smaller racket, well, is having less square inches to stab at a ball at the net (but if you do hit the racket, it will go straighter and thus be more accurate). Volleying with the ps85, is the only thing i really really have to concentrate on, as with a 100 sq. inch frame, i can just stab it out there, and it will probably make contact with the ball and have the ball not hit the frame.

    I use the ps85, and have been thinking about going back to at least a 95, and I also have a pure drive gt. I have set up the pure drive weight to be super head light like my 85, and it now is a rocket launcher with tons of power and spin!.. However, only against a former D1 player so far has this seemed to be of any advantage, and we both agree I hit harder with more spin than i do with my ps85, but also make much more errors.

    I have been for the last week or so trying to switch against random players I hit with, switching back and forth, and I end up going back to the ps85, every time. I think for fun, ball bashing, the pure drive 100 is the way to go. But, for precision serving, accurate approach shots, angle accuracy on ground strokes, the smaller head size rackets just crush the larger sq. inch frames.

    With that said, still thinking of the "happy medium" between utter feel and control, and thumping power may be found in a 95, so I have a blx six. one 95 16 x 18 now waiting tomorrow to demo.

    Oh, also, yes, winning a match with a 85 is kind of like a "I'm much better than you" moment, because of course mere mortals can't possibly use that for x amount of time without getting tired(yet children used to use wood rackets weighing 12 ounces) or even hit it in that tiny 'sweet spot'.

    But now u know that with a nearly unlimited sweet spot its way, way easier. I let my buddy hit with my custom spin string ps85 once and he said, "It's automatic, it hits the ball for you!".. Then never let him hit with it again.. haha

    Oh, and one final thought is i realized that off balance or if I am late to a ball, the 100 sq inch is better because i have more power to get the ball back deep(can get away with a shorter swing), verses I need more time to swing the ps85 to get the same length of shot when rushed or late. But if i have time to get to the ball, the power issue is really not that much between the 85 and 100. I hope this helps.
     

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