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Old 01-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #7
fuzz nation
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,569

My recommendation is to pay attention to the static weight, flex rating, and balance in every racquet you either sample (demo) or use for a longer stretch. I believe that these three spec's can predict any racquet's personality rather well once you develop an idea of what you prefer.

The weight will give a feeling of relative "oomph" and stability, but I find that the racquet's balance MUST be right for that weight to be manageable (or at least familiar). When we refer to maneuverability in any frame, that usually results from the combo of weight and balance. You're trying heavier racquets, but some of those may feel too sluggish without enough head-light balance to feel good for you - yes, this is a rather subjective issue.

I usually think of the degree of control in a racquet as being directly related to the racquet's flex. For me, a stiff racquet with a flex rating up near 70 or more will usually have a rather hot response, but my go-to frames are more mellow with a rating of 63. They let me take a full swing with much more control over my shots compared with some stiffer alternatives.

String type and tension can also affect the response you get with any racquet, so that's something to keep in mind. I do fine with simple synthetic gut, but there are softer string options with more liveliness as well as less resilient strings that can seem more spin-friendly. Some of these strings (poly or kevlar) can be harder on the arm for some, but a number of players enjoy them.

Keep in mind with your racquet choices that weight and flex are sort of co-dependent. A frame with a lot of flex will seem rather dead unless it's also "heavy enough" to thump the ball, but a racquet with extra heft (maybe above 12 oz. or so) may seem too powerful unless it has significant flex to bring that degree of contol.

I've enjoyed mids with 90" hoops as well as 100" mid-plus frames, and these racquets have had both dense and open string patterns. Regardless of these other features, it's easy for me to spot a racquet I might like now that I know the combo of static weight, balance, and flex that work for me. Some of our pals also like to use swing-weights for reference, but I don't, just because I've found that spec to be misleading on too many occasions.
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