Originally Posted by TimothyO
I think frames are getting worse over time. It seems that the manufacturers are trying to make frames ever lighter, stiffer, and more powerful. Lighter and stiffer means more shock on impact with the ball. More power means that if you take a full swing at the ball it goes long, so rec players tend to use bad form and tap the ball like they're playing backyard badminton...all wrist and elbow.
The steady increase in head size also means less control for rec players (pros have the technique to tame this power). This too contributes to poor form and arm injuries.
Look at Wilson's new Ampli Feel technology. It's deliberately designed to transmit more impact feel/vibration to the arm using stiff, brittle materials such as basalt and metal in the handle. The irony is that Wilson also makes a great replacement grip, the Shock Shield, which includes soft, rubbery materials designed to DAMPEN vibrations.
Even Dunlop has jumped on the stiffer/lighter/power bandwagon. Read between the lines of TW's recent reciews of Biomimetic frames and you'll see they've abandoned a softer/Lower power approach to frame design.
When a consumer picks up a frame manufactuers believe they can sell more if the reaction is, "Oooohhh, it's so light and fast!". And on court they can sell more when players perceive that it's super easy to knock the ball over the net without proper form. They use their wrist and elbow and shoulder to swing that 10.5 oz frame into contact. Soon their tendons are inflamed and sore.
In reaction to the lighter, stiffer, power frames some players string with stiffer strings which transmits yet MORE shock to the arm. And the cult of topspin demands faster RHS speed At a more extreme swing path which puts more strain on the body.
I agree 100% with your post.
New racquets keep getting worse and worse. The newer racquets use less graphite, worse quality graphite, and are hollow and tinny, all to increase profit margins. That's why racquet companies can continue to sell graphite racquets for about the same price as 35 years ago despite all the inflation over all those years. The older racquets feel so much more solid because they used much more and higher quality graphite and so didn't feel hollow and tinny like today's new racquets do.