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-   -   Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=441007)

davo81 09-24-2012 05:11 AM

Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people?
 
The title states my question: Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people?

Out of the current ATP top 10, 6 use a 100 sq in racquet and only 1 uses a racquet with less than 95 sq in. Yet there are so many recreational players who swear by 85 and 90 sq in racquets and who won't touch anything with more than 95 sq in. So why is that the case? Is it mainly an old guys' thing? Is it an attempt to prove something ("Yes, with your Babolat you can win, but only when you can win with an ancient underpowered 85 sq in racquet are you a real tennis player")? Or can there be a genuine benefit of a small head size for recreational players that doesn't matter for tour pros?

I'd be curious to read your answers!

T.P3D0R 09-24-2012 05:20 AM

Well, I'm a young guy - and the smaller headsize frames feel awesome. However, I don't actually play with them, nor own any, I just enjoy hitting with them when the opportunity arises.

The ATP trend appears to be moving towards the 98-100 sqi frame size, and then customizing to get some serious swingweight. Just my perspective.

NickJ 09-24-2012 05:27 AM

Ove the years I have owned & played with a PS85, A Donnay Pro One Oversize and currently use a Pure Storm 95. I am equally bad with all of them so head size makes no difference. Scientific fact!

TimothyO 09-24-2012 05:29 AM

I've played with 90", 95", and 100" frames.

I believe smaller heads are probably better for rec players, especially low level rec players for the following reasons:

1. Our shots tend to be lower velocity so any "sweet spot" advantage of larger frames doesn't matter much

2. Our games are won with consistency and placement rather than power and smaller heads support that objective better

3. Depth control is difficult for noobs made even more difficult for powerful, larger head frames...small, lower power frames make it easier to comtrol depth.

To control the power of larger heads you need to have great timing and precision in your strokes since any error gets amplified. Pros have that, we rec players don't.

The problem? Nadal and his likes hit amazing spinny shots with their 100" heads and the industry wants to market similar frames to adoring fans eager to buy "Nadal's" frame.

Recently I did a demo for my boys to teach them the importance of placement vs power as a new player. Using an AG 4D 100 and 4D 200 I played with them with my arms and hands down at my sides. We hit balls back and forth in a rally with my hands essentially tied to my sides. Even with these low powered frames I could hit the ball to the opposite baseline with ease. Even low powered modern frames provide enough power that with a flick of the wrist and a little spin of the body "no armed man" can knock a shot to the opposite fence.

Meanwhile, at low-mid level men's rec tennis, you have guys trying to smash the ball with their Nadal-wannabe-frames far beyond their skill resulting in tons of UEs.

Imo smaller heads is not about being elite. Quite the opposite. It's a recognition that I can't consistently hit amazingly hard top spin shots off any ball like Nadal et al. I can do so off a floater but otherwise I need to focus on placement rather than power and smaller heads are far superior to larger heads in that department.

Nikae 09-24-2012 05:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davo81 (Post 6915894)
The title states my question: Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people?

Out of the current ATP top 10, 6 use a 100 sq in racquet and only 1 uses a racquet with less than 95 sq in. Yet there are so many recreational players who swear by 85 and 90 sq in racquets and who won't touch anything with more than 95 sq in. So why is that the case? Is it mainly an old guys' thing? Is it an attempt to prove something ("Yes, with your Babolat you can win, but only when you can win with an ancient underpowered 85 sq in racquet are you a real tennis player")? Or can there be a genuine benefit of a small head size for recreational players that doesn't matter for tour pros?

I'd be curious to read your answers!

I am one of those 3.5-4.0 who plays with 95 inch head size racket, and the reason is because when I play with, say, 100 head size racket I lose SO MUCH control.
With 95 head size I can swing pretty hard and ball still doesn't go out, BUT, there's a chance that there's something wrong with my swing mechanics.

I hope you understand my not-so-good english :)

shaneno 09-24-2012 05:36 AM

hello! :D
 
i play with the wilson BLX prostaff 90, and i try other head size from other brands and hated them. the reason i play with 90 is not because federer play with it. it because i love the feel and maneuverability of this racket and bigger headsize lack that to me. personally opinion here! SO!

Yes! Federer the only one who play with 90 head size but if you look t the other top 9 there sponsored by babolat,prince,head and yonex basically. Those brands don't have under 95 but for the head prestige mid 93 and the yonex tour 89. So player who get sponsored by those brands have to chose a racket that suitting to there game, but if there isn't one the company will customize it. plus most players today play with semi-western or western bigger head size for them is better. 100 head best for western i find.

Quote:

Originally Posted by davo81 (Post 6915894)
The title states my question: Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people?
Out of the current ATP top 10, 6 use a 100 sq in racquet and only 1 uses a racquet with less than 95 sq in. Yet there are so many recreational players who swear by 85 and 90 sq in racquets and who won't touch anything with more than 95 sq in. So why is that the case? Is it mainly an old guys' thing? Is it an attempt to prove something ("Yes, with your Babolat you can win, but only when you can win with an ancient underpowered 85 sq in racquet are you a real tennis player")? Or can there be a genuine benefit of a small head size for recreational players that doesn't matter for tour pros?
I'd be curious to read your answers!


Nikae 09-24-2012 05:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimothyO (Post 6915914)
I've played with 90", 95", and 100" frames.

I believe smaller heads are probably better for rec players, especially low level rec players for the following reasons:

1. Our shots tend to be lower velocity so any "sweet spot" advantage of larger frames doesn't matter much

2. Our games are won with consistency and placement rather than power and smaller heads support that objective better

3. Depth control is difficult for noobs made even more difficult for powerful, larger head frames...small, lower power frames make it easier to comtrol depth.

To control the power of larger heads you need to have great timing and precision in your strokes since any error gets amplified. Pros have that, we rec players don't.

The problem? Nadal and his likes hit amazing spinny shots with their 100" heads and the industry wants to market similar frames to adoring fans eager to buy "Nadal's" frame.

Recently I did a demo for my boys to teach them the importance of placement vs power as a new player. Using an AG 4D 100 and 4D 200 I played with them with my arms and hands down at my sides. We hit balls back and forth in a rally with my hands essentially tied to my sides. Even with these low powered frames I could hit the ball to the opposite baseline with ease. Even low powered modern frames provide enough power that with a flick of the wrist and a little spin of the body "no armed man" can knock a shot to the opposite fence.

Meanwhile, at low-mid level men's rec tennis, you have guys trying to smash the ball with their Nadal-wannabe-frames far beyond their skill resulting in tons of UEs.

Imo smaller heads is not about being elite. Quite the opposite. It's a recognition that I can't consistently hit amazingly hard top spin shots off any ball like Nadal et al. I can do so off a floater but otherwise I need to focus on placement rather than power and smaller heads are far superior to larger heads in that department.

Great post!! Very interesting!!

PrincessAdam 09-24-2012 06:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NickJ (Post 6915909)
Ove the years I have owned & played with a PS85, A Donnay Pro One Oversize and currently use a Pure Storm 95. I am equally bad with all of them so head size makes no difference. Scientific fact!

There's your answer.

mlnsdj 09-24-2012 06:23 AM

I think that the right string, and more specifically tension, affects control more than head size. Also, the bigger the head size (apart from Rad OS), generally the stiffer the racquet. Smaller head sizes result in smaller sweet spots. If someone is having control problems with a "bigger" head size it's more than likely a string and tension issue. You can't string a larger racquet exactly like you string a smaller one and get the same results.

Even with an increase in head size, the increase is generally a very small percentage, though. At the end of the day, it's about what you personally like to hit with.

Trying to figure out what pros hit with is pointless for a couple of reasons:

1. They're usually playing with a highly modified version of whatever the claim is.

2. They play so much more tennis than anyone you know, and they are so much stronger than most people you know, that they can weild much heavier swingweights effectively. They also need the mass to absorb the massive pace that's being sent their way. (there are, of course, exceptions to this and every rule).

I think sometimes people do like to claim to love smaller and heavier racquets because it makes them feel like they are a better player. I've played with the PS 85 all the way to a 100 inch Babolat, and many in between. I currently play a BLX Blade 98...a happy marriage between the old school feel and new technology helping me generate pace with some control. It's what I like. My opinion.

Stick with your opinion...and more importantly what makes you play great, and you'll be just fine.

shogun90 09-24-2012 07:02 AM

I'm only a 3.0 bordering on 3.5 and have played with racquets from 90 sq in to 107 sq in. I predominantly play doubles and have come to find that I like using the PSBLX90. I enjoy the stability and maneuverability that the racquet has. I play a 1HBH and it just feels better with a smaller head racquet. I have long loppy swings so a heavier racquet feels better. When I play with 100 sq in racquets, I feel like I have to play with much more topspin which causes me to mis-hit my shots more because of the extreme brushing up on the ball. Also, as someone said above, at my level I've come to realize that control is much more important than power, but the heavy smaller head racquet still gives plenty of power on regular rallying due to it's weight.

Rabbit 09-24-2012 07:49 AM

The head size designation on frames is really more of a number than an actual measurement. If you hold a 90 up to a 95, there is very little difference. If you hold a 95 up to a 98, there is very little difference. And, if you hold a 95 up to a 100, you won't see much difference.

The real focus then shouldn't be on head size, rather what you play best with. Generally, there is the pro-90 square inch camp and the anti-90 square inch camp. The pro-90 camp generally feels they can only play with a 90 and the anti-90 camp generally think the pro-90 camp are all wannabes. :)

Historically speaking, the first OS racquet was the Prince. Before it was the Prince Classic (the introduction of the Pro gave it a name), it was just the Prince. It was 110 sq inches and everyone laughed at it.

Then folks started buying it. Prince had a patent on 110 sq inch frames so the other guys started making smaller head sizes. At first, they made wood mid sizes which ran 80 square inches.

The first iteration of non-standard tennis racquets were 80 square inches. The 85's came into play around '84. Since then, there has been a gradual progression to a larger "standard" size. Today, the 95 is becoming rarer and rarer and the market is dominated by 100 sq inch frames. The reason for this is two fold. First, manufacturers have learned to tame the power on a frame and build a modern frame which bears no resemblance in weight and balance to its wood ancestor. They are easier to swing, easier to play with, and can be tailored for virtually any level player. Second, the younger set of players typically play with a bigger racquet as kids. They may change a little, but not a lot as they get older and get used to larger head sizes.

Personally, I've fought the urge to play a 90. Most of it is nostalgia on my part (I think). I will say this, when last I played a 90, the Dunlop 100, it was a blast to play with, but truth be told, you had to be playing a lot to play well with it. I developed Achilles tendinitis and had to get off court for a couple of months. When I came back, I found I needed more room for error and I broke out the C10s.

For the last couple of years, I've been playing with a 100. Upside is it's easier to hit with, down side for me is just the serve.

jorel 09-24-2012 08:13 AM

feel for me
string up a 6.0 85 with 18g gut and you will feel nirvana

UCSF2012 09-24-2012 10:24 AM

They also use ultra stiff strings like ALU Power and lots of lead. In a small racket, this would lead to arm destruction. In a large racket, it's not so bad. (Fed avoids this problem by stringing ALU at 44lbs.)

Most of us poly users use soft strings, and very few of us use ALU (due to cost, mostly). This facilitates the use of smaller rackets.

sureshs 09-24-2012 10:54 AM

Head size is more than just about the extra square inches which one may or may not be able to see with the naked eye. The few extra square inches have a lot of impact on string bed vibrations and transfer more energy to the ball (which may or may not be good for you). Also, for modern closed-face topspin with a Western grip, the ball is often hit close to the lowest part of the (horizontally-aligned) frame and those extra square inches make a huge difference. It would be impossible for Nadal to hit his topspin with a 90 sq inch head.

jonestim 09-24-2012 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 6916398)
Also, for modern closed-face topspin with a Western grip, the ball is often hit close to the lowest part of the (horizontally-aligned) frame and those extra square inches make a huge difference. It would be impossible for Nadal to hit his topspin with a 90 sq inch head.

That also depends on the width of the racquet face and the beam width. Not all racquets are shaped the same - some are wide and short while others are narrow and long. Thinner beamed racquets allow the ball to get closer to the edge of the stringbed while not clipping it. The TWU Professor has a comparison called "Spin Window" to look at these things. http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi-...tory_maker.cgi. Nadal's racquet is a thick beamed racquet. While not a 90, take a look at the spin window of the 93" Prince Diablo Mid. Depending on the angle of swing it may have a bigger spin window than the 100" APDGT

Jakesteroni 09-24-2012 11:40 AM

Smaller head size have a smaller sweet spot, but if you can hit that spot consistently the feeling is better than that of the larger head sizes for some. Same with golf sticks. Blades are less forgiving and have a small sweet spot, but if you can consistently hit the sweet spot it's a much better feel overall. I use to play with 95 and less in 18x20only and now play with a 98 pure storm tour which is a 16x20. I find the smaller sqin gave more feel and moves through the air quicker. Some may use it cause it looks cool to be able to hit with such a small head size and some like it because the sweet spot feels so good. Smaller is less power in some cases and big swings and hitters are more drawn to that IMO.

sureshs 09-24-2012 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jonestim (Post 6916483)
That also depends on the width of the racquet face and the beam width. Not all racquets are shaped the same - some are wide and short while others are narrow and long. Thinner beamed racquets allow the ball to get closer to the edge of the stringbed while not clipping it. The TWU Professor has a comparison called "Spin Window" to look at these things. http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi-...tory_maker.cgi. Nadal's racquet is a thick beamed racquet. While not a 90, take a look at the spin window of the 93" Prince Diablo Mid. Depending on the angle of swing it may have a bigger spin window than the 100" APDGT

Yes, the width is very important for topspin. The length is more important for power as it is the length of the mains.

SixBladeKnife 09-24-2012 01:20 PM

I find the smaller head size forces me to pay more attention to correct technique, foot work, and timing which helps me improve my game. It's unforgiving at times if you get lazy but also rewarding when you are on it. I feel in control and if you can swing big there is more then enough power. If I miss hit it's my error and not because I have 15sq inches less.

floydcouncil 09-24-2012 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by davo81 (Post 6915894)
The title states my question: Why do racquets with a small head size have such high prestige among some people?

Out of the current ATP top 10, 6 use a 100 sq in racquet and only 1 uses a racquet with less than 95 sq in. Yet there are so many recreational players who swear by 85 and 90 sq in racquets and who won't touch anything with more than 95 sq in. So why is that the case? Is it mainly an old guys' thing? Is it an attempt to prove something ("Yes, with your Babolat you can win, but only when you can win with an ancient underpowered 85 sq in racquet are you a real tennis player")? Or can there be a genuine benefit of a small head size for recreational players that doesn't matter for tour pros?

I'd be curious to read your answers!

You are right... if the pros play better with a MP head size, then who are we weekend hackers think we are trying to play with a small/heavy midsize frames. There are LOTS of folks who are only fooling themselves. It can also be an ego thing too!!!!!!!!!!

I love it when a 4.5 rated poser shows up on the court with a N/K/BLX90, PS85, AG100, Prestige Mid, etc... They can't fully play with these frames.

UCSF2012 09-24-2012 01:31 PM

Play the 90 without a vibration dampener and a 100 with a dampener. See how much more lively the 90 is....


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