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ChadW 01-18-2013 12:12 PM

Marketing: Power vs. Control
 
As someone who is shopping for a new racquet, I'm so frustrated by the commitment of each brand's marketing department to insist that EVERY racquet is the 'perfect combination of power and control.'

How does this help the consumer find a racquet that will actually affect their game?

I want a control-oriented stick, so I search for heavier racquets, but all of them talk about the great power generated from it in the summary blurbs.

Can anyone decipher the summaries, or are they intentionally trying to attract every buyer to every racquet?

**Sorry for the rant!**

Rabbit 01-18-2013 12:24 PM

Truth be told, it ain't the wand, it's the magician. You can buy racquets all you want, but it's the player who gets the results.

Folks on these boards want Roger Federer's racquets. They think there's something mystical about them. What they fail to consider is that once upon a time, Roger beat all his contemporaries playing with racquets that were off the shelf. As he progressed and made more money, he eliminated variables; one of which was his equipment.

Roger Federer could still beat 99% of the players in this world with sticks off the shelf.

It's the player.

Larrysümmers 01-18-2013 12:29 PM

well the thing is, if you play right, every racket has great power and control. if you swing the small heavy racket right then you will get great power. if you swing the big stiff light racket right then youre going to get great control. its about finding the specs that suit your game.

OHBH 01-18-2013 12:29 PM

The goal of marketing is to get you to buy a new racket, not the racket you want. They actually prefer you buy as many wrong ones as possible so you keep buying. If everyone knew the best racket for them, they could simply buy a couple and be good for 10+ years. Industry requires you to be constantly consuming new products.

Looking at the actual specs and understanding them is really the only way to get an accurate picture of how a stick plays. Even then, factors such as feel can only be figured out by demoing.

Overdrive 01-18-2013 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rabbit (Post 7132797)
Truth be told, it ain't the wand, it's the magician. You can buy racquets all you want, but it's the player who gets the results.

Folks on these boards want Roger Federer's racquets. They think there's something mystical about them. What they fail to consider is that once upon a time, Roger beat all his contemporaries playing with racquets that were off the shelf. As he progressed and made more money, he eliminated variables; one of which was his equipment.

Roger Federer could still beat 99% of the players in this world with sticks off the shelf.

It's the player.

Best comment I've ever read on tennis.

I wish there were more folks like you around where I live. There's a shortage of tennis common sense here....

JRstriker12 01-18-2013 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChadW (Post 7132764)
As someone who is shopping for a new racquet, I'm so frustrated by the commitment of each brand's marketing department to insist that EVERY racquet is the 'perfect combination of power and control.'

How does this help the consumer find a racquet that will actually affect their game?

I want a control-oriented stick, so I search for heavier racquets, but all of them talk about the great power generated from it in the summary blurbs.

Can anyone decipher the summaries, or are they intentionally trying to attract every buyer to every racquet?

**Sorry for the rant!**

What do you expect? No racket maker is going to come out and say, our racket has enough power to put a hole in the court, but you couldn't hit the broad side of the barn with it. All marketing is BS on some level.

So, if you need a starting point, you can check out this TW article on selecting a racket here: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/lc/s...ngracquet.html

They also have a racket selectors here: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/racf...code=RACFINDER

and here: http://www.racquetfinder.com/

The TW staff also does review of most of the rackets on the site with reviewers with different levels and tastes, so it may give you a better feel for how they may play or what you may like.

Also, demo, demo, demo and demo some more once you have a small list.

I'd recommend to try to get a feel for what you want in terms of weight, headsize, stiffness, string pattern, balance, and swing weight - do a little online research, then demo, demo, demo.

fuzz nation 01-18-2013 02:01 PM

My recommendation is to pay attention to the static weight, flex rating, and balance in every racquet you either sample (demo) or use for a longer stretch. I believe that these three spec's can predict any racquet's personality rather well once you develop an idea of what you prefer.

The weight will give a feeling of relative "oomph" and stability, but I find that the racquet's balance MUST be right for that weight to be manageable (or at least familiar). When we refer to maneuverability in any frame, that usually results from the combo of weight and balance. You're trying heavier racquets, but some of those may feel too sluggish without enough head-light balance to feel good for you - yes, this is a rather subjective issue.

I usually think of the degree of control in a racquet as being directly related to the racquet's flex. For me, a stiff racquet with a flex rating up near 70 or more will usually have a rather hot response, but my go-to frames are more mellow with a rating of 63. They let me take a full swing with much more control over my shots compared with some stiffer alternatives.

String type and tension can also affect the response you get with any racquet, so that's something to keep in mind. I do fine with simple synthetic gut, but there are softer string options with more liveliness as well as less resilient strings that can seem more spin-friendly. Some of these strings (poly or kevlar) can be harder on the arm for some, but a number of players enjoy them.

Keep in mind with your racquet choices that weight and flex are sort of co-dependent. A frame with a lot of flex will seem rather dead unless it's also "heavy enough" to thump the ball, but a racquet with extra heft (maybe above 12 oz. or so) may seem too powerful unless it has significant flex to bring that degree of contol.

I've enjoyed mids with 90" hoops as well as 100" mid-plus frames, and these racquets have had both dense and open string patterns. Regardless of these other features, it's easy for me to spot a racquet I might like now that I know the combo of static weight, balance, and flex that work for me. Some of our pals also like to use swing-weights for reference, but I don't, just because I've found that spec to be misleading on too many occasions.

corners 01-18-2013 03:21 PM

This article by TW's own professor pretty much says it all regarding "power": http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/lear...csandspeed.php

Basically, if two racquets have the same swingweight...

...the stiffer one will produce a little faster shots when the ball rebounds off the strings near the tip and a tiny amount faster when rebounding left or right of center, but will not produce a significantly faster shot if struck in center of the strings.

...and one has an open string pattern and the other a closed string pattern, but the former has been strung a bit tighter so that both have equivalent stringbed stiffness, both will have the same power.

...ditto for a large headsize and small headsize

...but one is substantially lighter and/or more headlight than the other, then that racquet could be swung faster. Swingspeed is the most important thing to producing fast shots, so if this raquet can be swung faster it will be more powerful.

Control?

Racquets with high swingweight make it easier to change The direction of the ball.

Racquets with high swingweight are more stable at low swingspeeds, enhancing control on volleys and 1st serve returns.

Racquets with high swingweight pack more punch, so can be swung a little slower for the same result as a lighter frame. Most people find slower swings easier to control.

Racquets that have low swingweight and/or static weight can be swung a little faster, if the player is trying to swing all out. Faster swings generate more spin, granting control over depth and net clearance.

Racquets with a lot of weight in the handle are more stable, which seems to improve control on some shots, particularly volleys and OHBH. Weight in the handle also seems to improve feel on touch shots. In addition, weight in the handle gives some players more comtrol over their swing. These people find racquets that have light handles to feel too whippy and wild.

Racquets with open string patterns tend to generate more spin, giving the same benefits as mentioned above.

Racquets with closed string patterns make hitting flat with control easier.

Racquets with large headsizes give a player greater control in avoiding accidental mishits, especially when swinging fast to produce topspin. They also tend to twist less on off -center hits, and those hits therefore travel a little faster than they would with a smaller frame.

Racquets with small headsizes offer better directional accuracy, according to many players.

Racquets with smaller headsizes are regarded by some as offering better 'feel' for the ball, which improves a player's ability to control the ball.

Flexible racquets offer longer dwell time, helping some players generate spin and giving them more 'feel'. Others find flexible racquets difficult to control because the ball, staying on the strings longer, is pointing in a different direction when it leaves the strings than it was when it arrived at the strings.

With stiff racquets, the ball is pointing closer to its original direction as it leaves the strings because a stiff racquet 'carries' the ball for a shorter time and distance. Some people like this kind of control.


Rabbit's right though, a good player can play with anything and there are good players in the world right now playing with everything.

slowfox 01-18-2013 04:17 PM

Very informative post Corners. I wish I had read that when I got back into tennis a few years ago. Shopping for racquets was a nightmare of marketing mumbo-jumbo.

And as others have said, learn to read and understand specs.

UCSF2012 01-18-2013 07:43 PM

It's more about the strings than the racquets. Stiff strings provide killer control, while lively strings give super pop. You adjust the string combo/tension to get the power vs control you want.

UCSF2012 01-18-2013 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChadW (Post 7132764)
As someone who is shopping for a new racquet, I'm so frustrated by the commitment of each brand's marketing department to insist that EVERY racquet is the 'perfect combination of power and control.'

How does this help the consumer find a racquet that will actually affect their game?

I want a control-oriented stick, so I search for heavier racquets, but all of them talk about the great power generated from it in the summary blurbs.

Can anyone decipher the summaries, or are they intentionally trying to attract every buyer to every racquet?

**Sorry for the rant!**

They're all similar, so just get one and stick with it. Go with the major frames:

Head Prestige Pro/MP
Head Speed MP
Wilson 6.1 95
Wilson Blade Tour
Dunlop 200
Prince Rebel 98
Yonex VCore 95
And if you want to side with the devil, Babolat Pure Control

These are the major players in control frames. They're all fairly similar, so just ask the magic 8 ball and get something.

mctennis 01-18-2013 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rabbit (Post 7132797)
Truth be told, it ain't the wand, it's the magician. You can buy racquets all you want, but it's the player who gets the results.

Folks on these boards want Roger Federer's racquets. They think there's something mystical about them. What they fail to consider is that once upon a time, Roger beat all his contemporaries playing with racquets that were off the shelf. As he progressed and made more money, he eliminated variables; one of which was his equipment.

Roger Federer could still beat 99% of the players in this world with sticks off the shelf.

It's the player.

EXCELLENT post. All statements true.
I see guys obsessing about what this player and that player uses. Demo some racquets, find a racquet that feels good to you and practice, practice, practice.

UCSF2012 01-19-2013 11:20 PM

Go out serving with the 6.1 95 and the BLX90. You'll learn that it's also the wand.

KenC 01-19-2013 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rabbit (Post 7132797)
Truth be told, it ain't the wand, it's the magician. You can buy racquets all you want, but it's the player who gets the results.

I've been trying to get this across for years here. But that doesn't stop people from buying the APDGT just because Rafa uses it, meaning it must be the best racquet out there, the most spinniest, etc.

I think the other posters who say strings are more important are on the right track. You can get any racquet that gets you in the ballpark and then dial it in with the right strings and tension. A powerful racquet with a stiff poly at high tensions is going to be much less powerful. A control racquet with gut at low tensions is going to be a rocket launcher.

JRstriker12 01-20-2013 03:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KenC (Post 7137590)
I've been trying to get this across for years here. But that doesn't stop people from buying the APDGT just because Rafa uses it, meaning it must be the best racquet out there, the most spinniest, etc.

I think the other posters who say strings are more important are on the right track. You can get any racquet that gets you in the ballpark and then dial it in with the right strings and tension. A powerful racquet with a stiff poly at high tensions is going to be much less powerful. A control racquet with gut at low tensions is going to be a rocket launcher.

Strings are very important, but I have to disagree with anyone who says that you can make a high power tweener stick equivalent to a player's stick just with string.

My Prestige strung with gut or a multi on the low end is still not as rocket-launchy as my PDR was. It also says a lot that I had to string my PDR in the 60's with poly to get the sort of control that I could get with my prestige strung with a multi in the mid 50's.

That's not even mentioning the possibility that the need to string a stiff racket with a stiff string at high tensions could be detrimental for someone with a sensitive elbow.

The is no single magic stick, but there will be rackets that are better suited for each player depending on skill level, the type of game they play and preferences.

tennisnut09 01-20-2013 04:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChadW (Post 7132764)
As someone who is shopping for a new racquet, I'm so frustrated by the commitment of each brand's marketing department to insist that EVERY racquet is the 'perfect combination of power and control.'

How does this help the consumer find a racquet that will actually affect their game?

I want a control-oriented stick, so I search for heavier racquets, but all of them talk about the great power generated from it in the summary blurbs.

Can anyone decipher the summaries, or are they intentionally trying to attract every buyer to every racquet?

**Sorry for the rant!**

Totally agreed! try to find one with the spec that you can play with effectively. That is the key in my opinion.

corners 01-20-2013 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRstriker12 (Post 7138449)
Strings are very important, but I have to disagree with anyone who says that you can make a high power tweener stick equivalent to a player's stick just with string.

My Prestige strung with gut or a multi on the low end is still not as rocket-launchy as my PDR was. It also says a lot that I had to string my PDR in the 60's with poly to get the sort of control that I could get with my prestige strung with a multi in the mid 50's.

I wonder why Roddick was able to make a players' stick out of the PDR and you were not.

corners 01-20-2013 07:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UCSF2012 (Post 7133806)
It's more about the strings than the racquets. Stiff strings provide killer control, while lively strings give super pop. You adjust the string combo/tension to get the power vs control you want.

I agree with this. Just look at the pro game. Nadal, Tsonga, Jerzy, tons of players using stiff, "powerful" tweeners toned down with stiff, spinny, lower-powered copoly strings.

So to sum up this thread: The player is most important; good players can play with anything. Strings are a distant second, but can provide extra power, spin and control if a player needs those things. Racquets are last. Differences in actual "power" are minor - Sampras only serves 3 mph slower with a wooden racquet! Pick a frame that complements your game and feels good in the hand, during the swing, and on impact.

JRstriker12 01-20-2013 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by corners (Post 7139993)
I wonder why Roddick was able to make a players' stick out of the PDR and you were not.


I wonder why Fed and Pete were able to win more grand slams with a real player's sticks?

netguy 01-20-2013 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larrysümmers (Post 7132809)
well the thing is, if you play right, every racket has great power and control. if you swing the small heavy racket right then you will get great power. if you swing the big stiff light racket right then youre going to get great control. its about finding the specs that suit your game.

This sounds right to me...in the end, it's up to your skill level


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