Originally Posted by JackB1
I agree. What a great write up about these different weight setups. Thanks for all that great info "XFull.".
So to summarize......added weight at 12 oclock and low on the handle (near the buttcap) is a polarized setup and Added more weight lower and in the middle of the racquet is a depolarized setup? You do polarized if you want to increase sw with the least amount of weight possible and you do depolarized if you want to add more weight overall in order to reach the same sw? Am I right so far?
Yes you have the general idea right.
Originally Posted by JackB1
So if we have 2 racquets of identical swingweight, but one has more mass near the top and the other has more mass in the handle and is more HL......which will have more power and plowthru? Wont the one with more weight near the top have more power amnd plow? It seems like if you had more weight in the handle and a very HL balance, you would need to provide more of your own power, since the hoop will feel very light and whippy. But with the polarised racquet, there will be more mass higher up and behind the contact point, so wont that translate into more power and plow?
The depolarized racket doesn't put all of the weight in the handle. It actually has most of the weight in the head at 3&9. This will add the power and overall plow through we are looking for in out groundstrokes. As counterbalance, we add some (or a lot, depending on what you feel works best) weight around the throat or the top of the handle. Someone suggested 7 inches above the buttcap, which works extremely well in my opinion. There is also an equation to find the "perfect counterbalance point" somewhere on this forum is you look up "How to depolarize your racket". I've added 20 grams at 3&9 and 14 grams at 7 inches above the buttcap on one of my K90s and it plays very well and has tremendous plow through with only maybe 10-15 more SW units compared to my polarized 12.5 ounce Yonex RDS 003.
If anything, a depolarized racket and a polarized racket can have the exact same balance and swingweight, while the depolarized racket can have far more mass.
Given two light rackets, I can easily produce two rackets with the same swingweight and balance, but the mass on the depolarized racket can be higher by about a full ounce, if not higher! One will produce noticeably more spin, while the other more power, stability, and plow through.
When making a depolarized racket, we're looking to increase swingweight as well, just in a far more conservative matter so we can add more effective mass without raising swingweight too rapidly, which will limit the amount of mass we can place on the racket. If you put all the weight in the handle, the center of mass will be so low that you might as well hit the ball with the handle instead of the strings. There really is no point to having an excessively headlight racket. Power comes from having weight in the head, and maneuverability comes from having weight in the top of the handle as counterbalance (how far up or down depends on the player).
You more or less have two basic options when adding 15 grams of lead to the head. You can put it under the bumper guard around the top of the hoop, or layer it at 3&9. Layering it at 3&9 will produce more power, while having it under the bumper gets it moving around faster (which is why I said it's more erratic overall, especially since to hit a good shot you need a loose arm). If you layered the lead at 3&9, the swingweight will be a little lower, and the racket will be more maneuverable, so you can add more weight (either at 3&9 again, or around the throat or handle as counterbalance) until the swingweights are matched. At this point, from the physics equations of F=MA and Momentum=MV^2, we can tell the new racket has far more power, stability, and plow through (it can more easily drive through the ball because it's more stable and has more power through contact). Also, since the weight is lower and closer to your hand, you can more easily control and direct the weight of the racket during the swing, allowing for better control and a more consistent contact (whereas the polarized racket can get all whippy and out of control sometimes).
When adding lead tape to the frame, you must always add lead to the head. There is no point to adding lead in the buttcap alone. It does nothing. It raises the swingweight (slightly), lowers the center of mass, raises mass in the most pointless manner, and it's biggest effects are mostly mental, where since you think your racket is more headlight, it will be more maneuverable. It will give you more heft in your hand when holding it, but it won't translate into power into the ball. To do that, you need the lead to be placed farther up and away from your hand. This is why I feel that adding weight to a head heavy frame is pointless. You can counterbalance it all you want by adding lead at the top of the handle, but you're better off finding a new racket that's headlight. You want to be able to add more weight to the head than to the buttcap/handle/throat. It's not always going to happen, but if you want the biggest power boost, that's how it's going to have to be.
When you add weight to the hoop, the mass isn't behind the ball. When you add it to 3&9, it's right on the center of the strings, allowing the weight to most effectively respond and react to the ball and push through it more effectively. This is where plow through comes from. Adding it to the top merely increases racket head speed due to a whippy feeling you get during the swing similar to a ball at the end of the string. The best description would be comparing a stick with a ball of mass at the very far end of the stick. To accurately control the stick with precision while swinging full force, more focus and strength is required. If you let it go (loosened up your arm/hand), the mass will pull the stick in the general direction your swing left it off at. Then if you swing a stick with the ball of mass in the center of the stick (or at least closer to your hand), it's easier to more precisely control the stick no matter how fast you swing, even with a loose arm and grip. This is why a depolarized racket has more plow through and stability (aside from the fact that weight at 3&9 help increase torsional stability; AKA resistance to twisting at impact), the weight is easier to precisely control and get behind the ball. This is also why (as I've said numerous times; sorry about that) a polarized racket is overall more erratic. If your swing is off by a little, the mass at the top of the frame will keep the racket going in that direction, magnifying your swing error. The spin it generates will keep it from going long most of the time, but it's still pretty inconsistent.
Headlight balance is great for intermediate players, but once you want some serious pop on your strokes, and your lightweight 11-12.5 ounce rackets don't generate enough punch anymore, you're going to have to sacrifice some of it for power. Once you reach 5.5+, balance doesn't matter, weight distribution does.
The reason people liked the K90 more than the previous Tour 90s was because of the newer weight distribution, which made it feel more maneuverable, have more pop and plow through, and go faster through the air even with the higher swingweight. And the reason people like the K88 more than the K90, is because the weight was reworked again, in such a way that power and spin are even more accessible regardless of the higher swingweight and mass! (You'll notice that even if you depolarize your racket heavily to such a degree it's meant only for flat hitters, you'll still find plenty of added spin thanks to the improved weight distribution.) The previous Tour 90s I'm guessing had most of the weight centralized near the top of the handle (right under or at where the Wilson W logo is, which could account for why the design had a longer pallet design than the PS85 and the K90). The K90 was reworked to move that weight more towards 3&9 (if not slightly higher) and maybe moving whatever's left of the mass closer to the buttcap. This explains the higher swingweight.
What really matters in making a racket the best that it can be is WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION. That and that alone is what makes a great racket what it is. Well... That and mass... But mass is useless if it's just slapped on randomly.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. Try to be as specific as possible, and I'll try to cut it down and be more concise next time I respond. >< Hopefully my English teacher will improve my writing skills by the end of the semester.
But as you can guess, there's a lot more behind rackets and their performance than just their specs (unless we got far more detailed about the specs of the rackets).