Thanks for all the replies guys. Lots to think about. Here are my thoughts/more info:
- Swing: I'm pretty sure my swing isn't 100% yet (esp the forehand, the backhand is pretty good, maybe i'm attacking sooner on backhand).
- Strings: I'd rather stay away from poly as it might be too stiff on my arm. I'll try a higher tension/thinner gauge multi (currently mid 50s lbs, will try 60+ lbs).
- Spin: I had fewer long balls on Clay. Paradoxically I felt the faster i would swing the easier it was to control the distance (spin or better form?). Maybe I just haven't found my hardcourt timing and am opening up the racquet face to compensate.
- Racquet: I don't have the long-ball issue with my old Prince racquet from my teen years. It's smaller and heavier, but I do tend to hit pretty flat with that unless I'm slicing/volleying.
- Balls: I find that I hit longer when I receive pace-less shots (why?) or low-topspin moonballs (might be opening up the racquet too much during takeback). On clay I used to step back and hit the moonballs while waist height. My hitting partners on clay were more advanced and hit harder i think.
I'll try out some of your recommendations this week and will report back. I don't want to give up on the Steam yet as it is great at the net, for slices/drop-shots and for overheads. I also feel that if I can master this I will become a better player overall even if I end up moving to more of a "player's" racquet in a couple of months. Or maybe it's an ego thing!
Last edited by Relinquis; 12-30-2012 at 01:16 PM.