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-   -   In defense of Babolat and the "Modern Game".... (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=441864)

El Zed 10-02-2012 01:33 PM

In defense of Babolat and the "Modern Game"....
 
Although my "adventure" through various racquets has been significant, I admit it is nowhere near the extent of numerous other (if not most other) posters on here. To summarize, since the mid-to-late 90s, I have proceeded through the use of a then Head TiS6, POG Mid, PS85, Fischer Vacuum Pro 90 (MIA), Volkl C10, a litany of Head Prestiges/Pro Tours (including the Prestige Pro, Prestige Pro 600, Prestige 600, Prestige Classics, PT280s, PT630s) in addition to a few other random sticks (ESTUSA Powerbeam Braided and Microgel Radical MP). While I can appreciate the charm and/or specialty of most of those noted, I recently tried a few of the more popular Babolat sticks (i.e. the APDGT and the PDR 2012) - and things have indeed clearly changed.

Although the number of threads on Babolat are numerous, they are almost universally tainted by the comments of those with an inexplicable distaste/bias towards the company. While I appreciate that certain aspects of analyzing racquets are subjective, others clearly are not. In the more objective sense, and after accounting for the time needed to "dial in" as to the control of the racquet, the difference in HP between "modern" sticks and their 20th century brethren is stark - that's before accounting for things such as the added impact of more accessible spin.

This leads me to the following set of questions. First, if I can hit the same corner with an APDGT at +5/10 mph over a PC600 at a relative consistency, why in the world would I opt for the more "mature" and "powerless" stick? If I can do so, with added spin - why wouldn't I? If the claim is that you have to adjust for "accuracy" for the Babolat, don't you also "adjust" for power with the others? To this end, and IMHO, it's much (err, infinitely) easier to adjust for control with the APDGT than it is to adjust for power with, say, the Fischer Pro Vacuum. Yet, the Vacuum is fabled and the APDGT is reviled...

Not to offend, but perhaps this speaks directly to the nostalgia associated with some of the more "classic" sticks held by certain people (if not a significant number above a certain age). Again, while there is indeed a charm associated with these sticks, perhaps some of the posters here are doing a disservice to those truly looking to improve their game or to even commence their path along the route of tennis. To apply a different analogy, I don't think anyone would recommend Ayrton Senna's McLaren MP4/4 to a modern F1 driver, regardless of how "classic" that particular car was. Then again, perhaps the goal isn't necessarily to remain competitive/relevant in a modern sense...

ollinger 10-02-2012 02:09 PM

Babolats, simply stated, are bad for you. The stiffness will likely shorten your tennis career due to traumatic arthritis -- this is obviously not true for everyone, but certainly the risk is increased with such stiff racquets. Is the alternative "powerless" sticks? No. There are plenty of medium stiffness racquets with ample power that will allow you to have a longer playing career.

HEADfamilydynasty 10-02-2012 02:12 PM

I'm someone who uses the more "mature" and "powerless" sticks. For me their not so powerless and the feel is sublime. When i use my Speed Pro as opposed to my Redondo mid the only improvement is forgiveness which i don't necessarily need as i've never yet played someone who consistently gets the ball above my shoulders with pace and i'm 5'11. My brother had an epiphany of sorts. He changed from a Redondo MP to a YouTek Mojo and now, with his newly discovered serve, his level is higher than ever. We had our most competitive match on sunday. i won 7-6 (7-2 in the tiebreaker). He's catching up to me so i'd best not take him lightly :lol:

My point is some What you use is What YOU use. If you like Babs through and through and play well with them, then by all means use it. If you like "Players" rackets through and through and play well with them, then by all means use it.

El Zed 10-02-2012 02:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ollinger (Post 6931829)
Babolats, simply stated, are bad for you. The stiffness will likely shorten your tennis career due to traumatic arthritis -- this is obviously not true for everyone, but certainly the risk is increased with such stiff racquets. Is the alternative "powerless" sticks? No. There are plenty of medium stiffness racquets with ample power that will allow you to have a longer playing career.

Thank you for the reply. Yes, I've heard the anecdotal claims of Babolat's stiffness giving rise to tennis elbow and other ailments. If this is a function of "stiffness" and static/dynamic weight, in your opinion, then surely this would implicate other racquets made by virtually every other current manufacturer. Further, not so quick to accept that Babolat=Health Risk without any actual data.

Rozroz 10-02-2012 02:25 PM

you also must include the crazy use of polys..
not just the racquets.

El Zed 10-02-2012 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HEADfamilydynasty (Post 6931836)
I'm someone who uses the more "mature" and "powerless" sticks. For me their not so powerless and the feel is sublime. When i use my Speed Pro as opposed to my Redondo mid the only improvement is forgiveness which i don't necessarily need as i've never yet played someone who consistently gets the ball above my shoulders with pace and i'm 5'11. My brother had an epiphany of sorts. He changed from a Redondo MP to a YouTek Mojo and now, with his newly discovered serve, his level is higher than ever. We had our most competitive match on sunday. i won 7-6 (7-2 in the tiebreaker). He's catching up to me so i'd best not take him lightly :lol:

My point is some What you use is What YOU use. If you like Babs through and through and play well with them, then by all means use it. If you like "Players" rackets through and through and play well with them, then by all means use it.

Thank you for your reply. Totally concur with your sentiment that selection is highly subjective. Further appreciate that things such as feel may have some psychological impact during gameplay and may improve (or diminish) one's performance. To this extent, so may a racquet's cosmetics.

That being said, and perhaps this is where the problem lies for me, I don't understand the preference of "feel" over more objective qualities like "power." If you mean feel as in the confidence to locate/place shots with (relatively) consistent precision, I again see no deficiency in the APDGT relative to even a Vacuum 90 or a PC600. Each takes time to adjust, after which familiarity with their attributes take hold. If you mean "feel" as in the lack of vibration/buzzing/etc. - yes, perhaps, but if the objective is to win and to optimize performance, why would this reign supreme over power? Not to belabor the point, but a yonex vibration stopper renders the APDGT as a very acceptable performer in this regard, whereas nothing (aside from stringing at extremely low tension and/or with certain string type) can increase the power of the Vacuum Pro 90. To me, in a match setting, the APDGT therefore affords more aid in winning. Before anyone does ask, yes, I indeed use the same long stroke with all my racquets.

As to your comment on forgiveness, I read this to mean the racquet's ability to retain peak (or near peak) power over a greater span of the string bed. In the context of your reply, you phrased this as being a defense quality. In the same sense, would the presence of peak power throughout a larger portion of the string bed not allow for a greater offensive ability (i.e. to hit winners more consistently) - furthermore, isn't this a/the primary objective in tennis?

ollinger 10-02-2012 02:43 PM

El Zed
If no organized data exists (and NOBODY is paying to do studies of racquet stiffness and injury), do you ignore COUNTLESS stories on this board and elsewhere of injury from very stiff racquets (and of course this applies to other brands that make equally stiff frames, though they are few). That would be moronic. Anecdotal evidence, when it is overwhelming and repeated time and time again, is as useful as any other evidence.

BreakPoint 10-02-2012 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Zed (Post 6931752)
This leads me to the following set of questions. First, if I can hit the same corner with an APDGT at +5/10 mph over a PC600 at a relative consistency, why in the world would I opt for the more "mature" and "powerless" stick? If I can do so, with added spin - why wouldn't I?

Because you will eventually pay for it with your arm and wrist and perhaps shoulder. There's no "free lunch" when it comes to tennis racquets, i.e., you don't get something for nothing.

BreakPoint 10-02-2012 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Zed (Post 6931861)
That being said, and perhaps this is where the problem lies for me, I don't understand the preference of "feel" over more objective qualities like "power." If you mean feel as in the confidence to locate/place shots with (relatively) consistent precision, I again see no deficiency in the APDGT relative to even a Vacuum 90 or a PC600. Each takes time to adjust, after which familiarity with their attributes take hold. If you mean "feel" as in the lack of vibration/buzzing/etc. - yes, perhaps, but if the objective is to win and to optimize performance, why would this reign supreme over power?

Some people, like me, play tennis mostly for the "feel". Winning is nice but it's not the be all and end all. I'd much rather have good "feel" and lose than have bad "feel" and win. I'm not a pro so it's not like I need to win to put food on the table.

It's like sex. Do you have sex to "win" or more for the "feel"? If you have the right racquet set-up, hitting the sweetspot can sometimes "feel" better than sex. :shock:

El Zed 10-02-2012 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ollinger (Post 6931871)
El Zed
If no organized data exists (and NOBODY is paying to do studies of racquet stiffness and injury), do you ignore COUNTLESS stories on this board and elsewhere of injury from very stiff racquets (and of course this applies to other brands that make equally stiff frames, though they are few). That would be moronic. Anecdotal evidence, when it is overwhelming and repeated time and time again, is as useful as any other evidence.

Anecdotal evidence is unreliable in cases of pronounced underlying bias, which I'm sure most can agree exists against Babolat by the people here. Further, anecdotal evidence fails to take into account and/or to reflect the numerous variables involved - such as frequency of play, proper/improper form/past injuries/and the age of the player.

Nonetheless, you made your point, and we'll mark you down as being firmly in "play with Babolat, watch your arm fall off" camp. Again, not so quick to accept this as fact given the large number of people using this make - as you know 1% of 1,000,000 is greater than 1% of 100,000.

El Zed 10-02-2012 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BreakPoint (Post 6931895)
Some people, like me, play tennis mostly for the "feel". Winning is nice but it's not the be all and end all. I'd much rather have good "feel" and lose than have bad "feel" and win. I'm not a pro so it's not like I need to win to put food on the table.

It's like sex. Do you have sex to "win" or more for the "feel"? If you have the right racquet set-up, hitting the sweetspot can sometimes "feel" better than sex. :shock:

That's precisely my point - the "feel" of crushing a shot in the sweet spot and seeing is drive with more pace and spin is infinitely (in my opinion) more preferable to the "feel" of hitting a comparably dead-on shot with a highly detached/muted racquet with notably less pace (which I have had ample experience with). Is it as simple as that?

BreakPoint 10-02-2012 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Zed (Post 6931897)
Anecdotal evidence is unreliable in cases of pronounced underlying bias, which I'm sure most can agree exists against Babolat by the people here. Further, anecdotal evidence fails to take into account and/or to reflect the numerous variables involved - such as frequency of play, proper/improper form/past injuries/and the age of the player.

Nonetheless, you made your point, and we'll mark you down as being firmly in "play with Babolat, watch your arm fall off" camp. Again, not so quick to accept this as fact given the large number of people using this make - as you know 1% of 1,000,000 is greater than 1% of 100,000.

It's well known that most Babolats are stiff and cause arm injuries. Most of the guys at my club that use Babolats either have to play with a strap or other contraption on their arm/elbow/wrist or are always out with arm injuries.

BreakPoint 10-02-2012 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Zed (Post 6931902)
That's precisely my point - the "feel" of crushing a shot in the sweet spot and seeing is drive with more pace and spin is infinitely (in my opinion) more preferable to the "feel" of hitting a comparably dead-on shot with a highly detached/muted racquet with notably less pace (which I have had ample experience with). Is it as simple as that?

No, I'm not talking about what happens to the ball after it leaves your racquet at all. I'm talking about the tactile sensation that your hand/arm feels when the ball hits your strings that pretty much only heavy, flexible racquets can produce. Even if you hit the ball into the net, it still "feels" incredible. :)

HEADfamilydynasty 10-02-2012 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Zed (Post 6931861)
Thank you for your reply. Totally concur with your sentiment that selection is highly subjective. Further appreciate that things such as feel may have some psychological impact during gameplay and may improve (or diminish) one's performance. To this extent, so may a racquet's cosmetics.

That being said, and perhaps this is where the problem lies for me, I don't understand the preference of "feel" over more objective qualities like "power." If you mean feel as in the confidence to locate/place shots with (relatively) consistent precision, I again see no deficiency in the APDGT relative to even a Vacuum 90 or a PC600. Each takes time to adjust, after which familiarity with their attributes take hold. If you mean "feel" as in the lack of vibration/buzzing/etc. - yes, perhaps, but if the objective is to win and to optimize performance, why would this reign supreme over power? Not to belabor the point, but a yonex vibration stopper renders the APDGT as a very acceptable performer in this regard, whereas nothing (aside from stringing at extremely low tension and/or with certain string type) can increase the power of the Vacuum Pro 90. To me, in a match setting, the APDGT therefore affords more aid in winning. Before anyone does ask, yes, I indeed use the same long stroke with all my racquets.

As to your comment on forgiveness, I read this to mean the racquet's ability to retain peak (or near peak) power over a greater span of the string bed. In the context of your reply, you phrased this as being a defense quality. In the same sense, would the presence of peak power throughout a larger portion of the string bed not allow for a greater offensive ability (i.e. to hit winners more consistently) - furthermore, isn't this a/the primary objective in tennis?

For me there is no real increase in power or consistency when switching for something like an APDGT to my Redondo mid. I don't play tournament but once or twice in august. Also i'm not a poly user so a "Powerless" stick becomes a bazooka if you string it right. So since i'm only playing for fun 334/365 days i prefer feel over function, but luckily for me i get both. There are some people who can't says that. As for forgiveness, what i meant was room-for-error when it come to topspin. I use a hybrid of federer-like swing with Djkovic-like swing so i'm driving the ball more often than not so i don't need the forgiveness as, while i can use modern technique for topspin, i prefer using it to drive the ball.
Besides i love the trajectory of a TS drive. Low over the net then jumps up 5ft up & forward to most people's shoulders.:twisted::twisted:

Readers 10-02-2012 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BreakPoint (Post 6931874)
Because you will eventually pay for it with your arm and wrist and perhaps shoulder. There's no "free lunch" when it comes to tennis racquets, i.e., you don't get something for nothing.

Not the shoulder, the heavier frames are bad for your shoulder not the stiffer ones.

El Zed 10-02-2012 03:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BreakPoint (Post 6931914)
No, I'm not talking about what happens to the ball after it leaves your racquet at all. I'm talking about the tactile sensation that your hand/arm feels when the ball hits your strings that pretty much only heavy, flexible racquets can produce. Even if you hit the ball into the net, it still "feels" incredible. :)

Ha! How can you say anything feels incredible if the shot goes into the net? :)

El Zed 10-02-2012 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HEADfamilydynasty (Post 6931920)
For me there is no real increase in power or consistency when switching for something like an APDGT to my Redondo mid. I don't play tournament but once or twice in august. Also i'm not a poly user so a "Powerless" stick becomes a bazooka if you string it right. So since i'm only playing for fun 334/365 days i prefer feel over function, but luckily for me i get both. There are some people who can't says that. As for forgiveness, what i meant was room-for-error when it come to topspin. I use a hybrid of federer-like swing with Djkovic-like swing so i'm driving the ball more often than not so i don't need the forgiveness as, while i can use modern technique for topspin, i prefer using it to drive the ball.
Besides i love the trajectory of a TS drive. Low over the net then jumps up 5ft up & forward to most people's shoulders.:twisted::twisted:

Thanks for the reply. See, I thought the APDGT out powers even a Prestige 600 with full natural gut - with comparable consistency when dialed into both (which itself, takes relatively the same amount of time).

Funny enough, I believe we both have the same forehand style (at least in terms of judging the end product). Thought the APDGT just had more bit in delivery than pretty much everything that I've used. Perhaps I'm recouping from the ultimate disappointment of the Pro Vacuum 90 - that was the smoothest, most effortless racquet to swing, amazing BH slices, but a total dud (pace wise) in terms of the forehand. Just came across as so "technically" perfect, yet utterly soulless.

lynnbart 10-02-2012 03:47 PM

I started playing with a "red" Head Professional back in the 80's, moved on to a Pro Staff, then came back to 2 different Head Radicals. I thought I would probably stick with those 2brands from now on.

My son started playing and ended up demo'ing a Pure Drive at a country club,,,,we ended up buying 2 of them and his game has improved quickly with them. After convincing me to try one for an extended time, I've just purchased a Pure Drive Roddick.

It may be the best thing that has happened to my game. Shots that I was losing a grip on with age have come back and the modern swings are just fantastic with a Bab. The frames play well with multis, polys, hybrids, gut, etc....

Really wish folks wouldn't talk the brand down. They are very good.

sunof tennis 10-02-2012 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Zed (Post 6931973)
Thanks for the reply. See, I thought the APDGT out powers even a Prestige 600 with full natural gut - with comparable consistency when dialed into both (which itself, takes relatively the same amount of time).

Funny enough, I believe we both have the same forehand style (at least in terms of judging the end product). Thought the APDGT just had more bit in delivery than pretty much everything that I've used. Perhaps I'm recouping from the ultimate disappointment of the Pro Vacuum 90 - that was the smoothest, most effortless racquet to swing, amazing BH slices, but a total dud (pace wise) in terms of the forehand. Just came across as so "technically" perfect, yet utterly soulless.

First, glad you like your racquet and I am not going to try and change your mind. "Out powers" in this context is a complex thing. I believe that your racquet has more inherent power per se. However, the Prestige is heavier and has a higher swingwieght. If one can swing both racquets with equal speed/velocity, because the Prestige has more mass it will generally impart more force all other things being equal. But, they are not. Bottomline, it truly is a matter of preference and swing styles. Some people can hit just as hard (or hit just as heavy a ball) with a Prestige as they can with a Bab. I further would agree that its is generally eaisier to create more spin with the Bab especially over a closed patterned Prestige.
As it relates to injuries-some people do fine with the Pure Drive or AeroPro, otherhs have problems. Racquet stiffness is just one factor in injury causation.

El Zed 10-02-2012 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lynnbart (Post 6931976)
I started playing with a "red" Head Professional back in the 80's, moved on to a Pro Staff, then came back to 2 different Head Radicals. I thought I would probably stick with those 2brands from now on.

My son started playing and ended up demo'ing a Pure Drive at a country club,,,,we ended up buying 2 of them and his game has improved quickly with them. After convincing me to try one for an extended time, I've just purchased a Pure Drive Roddick.

It may be the best thing that has happened to my game. Shots that I was losing a grip on with age have come back and the modern swings are just fantastic with a Bab. The frames play well with multis, polys, hybrids, gut, etc....

Really wish folks wouldn't talk the brand down. They are very good.

Thank you for the reply, and the affirmation of my exact sentiment. Unfortunately, it appears as though Babolat is viewed as being an iconoclast with respect to something held very near & dear to the hearts of a number of posters - the feel of a racquet in the post-wood era. Unfortunately, it's this apparent aversion to change that has given rise to a lot of misinformation (either purposeful or misguided). Of course, this isn't meant with respect to those that have tried the racquet and earnestly prefer other sticks.

No, Babolat isn't a "magic" stick, but it's also not evil incarnate. To those that like it, it is very hard to beat.


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