IV) Common Solutions to Specific Problems (A.K.A. the F.A.Q.)
) I want to improve maneuverability on my racket (and nothing else).
---1) You can add lead to the handle to create a more headlight balance or
---2) You can add lead in the buttcap to create a more headlight balance or
---3) You can replace your synthetic grip with a stretched leather grip (stretched only enough to make it a little thinner, don't decrease the width too much), and place a Wilson Pro Overgrip (or the Yonex equivalent) over it to prevent blisters. This adds about 16 grams if I'm not mistaken... Adds at least 10 for sure. From there, you can add more weight as necessary.
) I have/had problems with injury. What can I do to help make my racket better for my arm?
---1) Add lead at 3&9 to improve stability (to decrease twisting in your hand, which causes injury) then counterbalance it to make it very headlight. You can follow the suggestions posted above to make the racket more headlight. I suggest weight at 7 inches above the buttcap for counterbalancing, but you can combine that with the leather grip replacement suggestion as well.
---2) You want to make the racket a solid weight so that the weight will absorb most of the vibrations.
---3) You want to make sure your grip size is perfectly suited to you. If it's too small, then the racket will twist in your hand, requiring a tighter grip to control the racket face. So perhaps try adding an overgrip or two on top of whatever you are using. Also, there is such a thing as too big a grip as well. The good thing about some of the thinner overgrips is that they only change the grip size by half a size, giving you the opportunity to more accurately control your grip size.
---4) You want to make sure the racket isn't too stiff for you.
---5) Most importantly, go to a good coach and check if there isn't some massively major flaw in your technique that could lead to injury.
) I'm an all court player. Which setup should I use?
---1) What's your strength? You should probably decide based on that. For me, it's my forehand and serve. The polarized setup benefits my forehand the most because I use a lot of spin off my forehand. And if I add some lead at 3&9 to that, I can still volley well. It adds some power to my serve (not as much as a depolarized setup), but it adds a lot of spin to my kick serve, my best serve. So overall, playing the way I currently do, I play slightly better with a polarized racket because I don't serve and volley all the time anymore.
) I want to improve my consistency. Which setup should I use?
---1) Depends on how you play. If you use heavy spin, go with the polarized setup because if you get it right, your balls won't go long except if you shank it or your form was way off. You can also use added margin over the net because you hit with more spin. If you don't use heavy spin, go with the depolarized setup. The added power will allow you to use less on your strokes and still keep your opponent back. Because of that, you can focus more on stroke production and controlling the ball, which the depolarized racket will assist in.
) Should I start off right away with a SW2 racket?
---1) No! Haha. You should start off with a racket in the SW1 range. SW2 rackets are great and all (especially for polarized racket), but you require a full stroke to use it and they will tire you out more than other rackets because more force is required to accelerate the racket. If you feel that you are fit enough (or advanced enough) to use it, then by all means go for it. But your average club player shouldn't mess with it prematurely.
) I want more power. What do I do?
---1) The obvious solution is lead at 12. However, if you don't like the feeling of the sweetspot being dragged up, then try lead at 3&9 instead. Counterbalancing is optional. But counterbalancing the lead at 12 should bring the sweetspot back down.
) I want the benefits of both. Can't I just combine the two setups?
1) God no! Haha. I've thought the same thing myself once and tried it. It doesn't work out too great. It's better to optimize performance towards one direction, then add a little extra lead as needed to tailor the racket perfectly to you. Like I said, polarized racket with a little lead at 3&9 for stability. You can do the reverse as well (depolarized racket with a little lead at 12 for added power). Pick one setup you feel is most comfortable to you then add lead to where ever you feel is necessary. That's the closest you can really get to combining both.
: Once you create your perfect racket, write down the specs, not the placement locations
! The reason for this is to match rackets. The general placement locations will be similar, but you want to match the specs (swingweight, static weight, balance). The specific amount required at each position will vary (hopefully only slightly) and the counterbalance location will also vary in addition to how much is needed. The problem is that unless you have a Babolat RDC machine, you can't do this perfectly. In that scenario, just get a balance board and a digital scale and match the balance and mass to your ideal racket (the location(s) on the head should be the same). You can't match what you can't measure, so just make do with what you can.
Any questions? Did I miss anything?