Originally Posted by Pneumated1
I know that when I picked the game up in 04, I didn't have a clue what I was looking for in a racquet. I picked up a new, cheap, soon to be updated Dunlop 300G. Ignorance is bliss, and I didn't think about my racquet, besides customizing it some according to my preferences, for the better part of four years. I simply bought several 300G's. My rating jumped a full "point" within a few years. Although the 300G was perhaps not the best racquet for me, I knew exactly how it would perform in every situation, and I won a lot with it.
Until around 07-08, I had never considered that there may a better racquet out there for me. I've tinkered here and there since that time: 1 year with a Blade and 2 years with a 300 Tour, always on the lookout for the "perfect" racquet. On the plus side, I've definitely determined the type of stick with which I can perform best. On the negative side, such speculation can lead to a perpetual odyssey: a search which most likely will not terminate with Excalibur. In fact, the epic journey will likely not end, if not awakened from the spell.
I currently hit the most appropriate stick that I've found for my game and playing style. And even knowing this, I've spent too much of the past half a year wondering if there just might be that "special stick" that's even better than my current racquet. I've just realized recently, on my own and through the advice of some reputable posters on these boards, that it has to end, if I am to continue improving my game.
As good as these boards are for tennis helps, I think that they can be an obstacle to experiencing improvement on the court. I couldn't agree more with your post, although I've been guilty of that which you speak.
This is a great post. Very honest, and self-aware. I'm sure many can relate to it (even if it is not reflective of the majority that read this forum).
I agree with all you said, and bear in mind, I used to work with world class juniors, they, and most pros, did not do some endless analysis and tinkering to get where they are now. Actually, most just played with "whatever" growing up....that probably where their main taste came from....once they were older and more advancing...sure...most are open to some experimentation with strings/racquets etc...but most keep it really light, compared to what you see on here. Most also know, that all they can really hope for is what feels "best" to them...pretty simple and instinctive.
Back even 10 years ago, the upcoming juniors were much less worried about such things in general, nowadays, with the internet chatter, even some of them are affected more by micro-tinkering with gear, though again, most aren't anywhere near as extreme as you see most here. It still doesn't stop many of the juniors I've worked with from switching racquets based solely on sponsorship. Nor is it particularly hard for the young ones. Last time it happened, I had a ranked 12 yr old kid go from one model of yonex, which he "loved" to the newer model yonex (the rep wanted this badly), and then over to Wilson, all in the blink of an eye. He's fine...mainly because he didn't worry about it!
Reminds me of an old story about Edberg...who stuck with his prostaff despite a couple attempts at a paintjobs, and one real attempt at a switch. The new racquet purportedly caused him elbow pain, but even Edberg later admitted it was largely psychological. He said "the new racquet feels good, but then you miss a couple shots and start thinking "I wouldn't have missed those with the old racquet" LOL....it's all downhill from there. He also mentioned that even the elbow pain was just twinges, and he wasn't sure it was the racquet (though of course, switching racquets can definitely trigger TE, as your body is suddenly subjected to slightly different vibrations, grips, etc).
Anyways, nothing wrong with any player experimenting a bit, but as you seem to know, if you have a racquet you're reasonably happy with, chances are high that you'd be better off just forgetting about it. Any concentration at all you devote to "is this racquet better??? What about on my slice? Hmmm....." is a practice you could have been focusing on your actual game. If on the other hand, one just enjoys experimenting and switching all the time as ends themselves, go for it!
But of course, some take it very far...."hmmm....when I used super blast 17 string, with poly mains, in the PBDM 10, I get a lot of spin on my slice serve, but not my kick serve....and my backhand keeps going long....but when I use the same setup in my rd 291, my backhand goes in, but my forehand is sailing....if I play my 291 with full poly though, I find I can get spin on dropshots, but not down the line BH drives...
....so I'm thinking, maybe super blast but in a SIXTEEN gauge, in the 291, to keep the slice serve, and hopefully my forehand spin, BUT I'm going to reweight it to the same balance as my PBDM to solve the slice down the line problem....and go with full poly for the wicked drop shots. What do you guys think? Damn, if only somebody made a racquet with the balance of the PBDM, but the plush feel of the 291....and if I could use superblast while I'm serving, but full poly when returning.....
Anyways, I could go on and on...but all I wanted to say was: good post. LOL