Originally Posted by corners
Everyone is confused about "power", with both strings and racquets. If you look at the TW racquet reviews you'll also see wild swings between players' perceptions of racquet power.
The truth is that there is very little difference in power between different racquet models. A little more difference in strings, but only when comparing completely different materials, like natural gut vs. poly or kevlar. The difference between one copoly string and another, in terms of actual speed of shot, is very small, less than 1 mph.
All this talk of power originated with the racquet and string manufacturers, who have to have something with which to lure in buyers. But it's mostly BS.
When people talk about power differences between strings or racquets they are really discussing actual power - ball speed - but also the angle at which the ball comes off the strings (which is the primary determinate of depth), as well as the feel of impact and how quickly the ball leaves the strings (dwell time).
The problem is that we're not equipped, as humans, to separate the actual from the perceptual. When someone says such and such a string is more powerful than another what they are actually saying is that such and such a string seemed more powerful to them. Another player might have the opposite experience. And neither of them really know for sure.
This forum is sustained by babbling about string "power", so you can expect some nasty responses to this post. But just pick a string that feels good and allows you to hit the shots you want and try not to get caught up in illusions of powerful equipment.
You say there is very little difference in power in different racket models? How did you determine this? By some lab tests or from seeing the difference when on the court.
When trying different rackets it sure seems like there are some pretty big differences in power levels. You maybe right that a lot of it has to do with the trajectory, but there is definitely a pretty big difference in the power levels I have experienced when trying different frames.
I was using a blx 90 asian version racket last year and am now using a prince rebel 98 and when both are strung the same there is a big difference in the power levels. The 90 if struck just right can still produce some very good power and on some shots maybe even more, but on the average rally shots there is a big difference.
The speed and trajectory is less with the 90 and if you are a little off or lazy it produces a much weaker shot. I didn't know how much until I got used to the prince and then went back to try my 90 after not using it for a month and it was amazing how much shorter and weaker my shots were after getting used to the rebel.
As far as different poly strings having a big difference in power I would say I have found that to be more true than the difference in rackets. But I would still say that there is a noticeable difference. With my new prince I have tried a lot of different full poly set ups. When I tried luxilon bb ace which is a string I really like and played very nice in my old stick it turned into a rocket launcher on the prince.
I had to go to thicker lower powered 16 gauge polys like dunlop black widow to tone the power down. Maybe lab tests don't show that big of a difference but actually hitting the ball sure does.