Any way to make a racquet feel softer?

blai212

Semi-Pro
I jus got a VCP 100 300g and leaded it up, added leather grip so now I can hit like a truck with consistency, but it still feels a bit harsh on impact. I have hyper G 16 mains, SPPP crosses at 50/46lbs so some of you might say i should switch to gut/multi but I am hard hitting aggressive baseliner that uses spin from both sides so I need poly for the durability. I jus ordered some tourna big hitter silver 7 tour to try because I need something softer but other than strings, is there a way to add some kind of softening agent in the handle to improve the feel?


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Tommy Haas

Hall of Fame
It's summer. Leave your racquet in your car with the windows closed in an unshaded spot for a couple of days to bake and accelerate the deterioration of the resins. Also restring it at high tensions for a dozen times helping break down the graphite fibers. That should knock down the RA by a couple of points.
 

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
The best softening agent you can add to the handle is a thick synthetic grip. Will feel a lot better than a hard leather grip thats for sure.....
 
I jus got a VCP 100 300g and leaded it up, added leather grip so now I can hit like a truck with consistency, but it still feels a bit harsh on impact. I have hyper G 16 mains, SPPP crosses at 50/46lbs so some of you might say i should switch to gut/multi but I am hard hitting aggressive baseliner that uses spin from both sides so I need poly for the durability. I jus ordered some tourna big hitter silver 7 tour to try because I need something softer but other than strings, is there a way to add some kind of softening agent in the handle to improve the feel?


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Try adding some weight to the butt. You can just tack on a coin or two with tape to test it out until you find the right feel.

Adding weight to the butt reduced the shock and lengthens the dwell time. It will also make the ball response off the stringbed spinnier.
 

tennisfan14

New User
The best softening agent you can add to the handle is a thick synthetic grip. Will feel a lot better than a hard leather grip thats for sure.....
+1 for a synthetic grip - I love leather but if you're purely after a softer feel at impact, a synthetic grip does that. Apart from string and tension changes, the only other thing I can think of is silicone in the handle. Some think this helps reduce harshness, but many professional customisation gurus dispute this.
 

phanker

Semi-Pro
This is what I do to all my frames to protect my elbow/shoulder:
  • Natural gut / Head Hawk Touch. Soft stringbed with great feel and spin performance.
  • Progressive cross string tension. Progressively less tension near the top and bottom of the hoop. Less shock on off center hits.
  • Wilson Shockshield replacement grip. It has a gel layer and is a big difference, relative to leather, in reducing shock.
  • Worm dampener. TW one is really good.
  • Memory foam in the butt
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I know you're looking for ideas other than string options to help with your feel - I'll get there.

I'm not a poly player, but I've sampled a few of the layouts I have to offer the locals who have me stringing for them. The first thing that occurs to me is that your mains are what looks like full 16 ga. Hyper G. If that's feeling to harsh for you, I'd say experiment with some lighter gauges in your mains. If the thinner string doesn't break down on you too quickly, I'd bet that you'd find better feel with that compared with a fatter string.

Several locals have had great success when switching into a poly when I set them up with a hybrid of a 1.20mm poly main and a 16 ga. syn. gut cross. This layout might not be "enough" for you, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it felt only about as firm as a snug bed of full 16 ga. syn. gut when I tried it in my own frames. Heavier gauges that I've tested made my racquets feel like a brick on a stick.

A couple of guys I know who hit the ball pretty huge are both really enjoying Luxilon Element. Apparently this is a poly with a much different personality than the old clunky stuff that first came along some years ago. I haven't tried it myself, but that might be one to check out down the road.

You mentioned that you've got your racquet leaded up. I've tuned a couple of my own racquets into much better than expected layouts using some lead tape and one pair of frames became significantly softer feeling for me after I added a few grams at 3 and 9 o'clock, not up at 12 o'clock. When I first started tuning them, I compared the leaded frame to the stock one (same strings/tensions) and the difference was night and day. The leaded racquet with the stable hoop had absolutely come to life with a much more plush feel through the ball.

Yaddah-yaddah... I very much prefer leading at 3/9 o'clock instead of noon when my racquet needs more weight in the head.

Adding weight to the handle can sometimes be helpful, but there is such a thing as having too much head-light balance. If a racquet's overall weight isn't too substantial, a lot of HL balance can make that frame too twitchy and unpredictable. If you don't have much HL balance in stock form, leading your handle could be worth a try, but everybody seems to have their own preference with racquet balance.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
As many have said, restring it a bunch of times.

One thing thing that might help with the harshness is some lead at 3/9 or more if you already have some there. That increases the twistweight and it could be the harshness that you're looking to eliminate.
 

jmacdaununder2

Hall of Fame
I've found using leather power pads helps soften the feel of impact somewhat; my main racquets have eight mains inside the throat, so I just use them there.
 
Hyper G is one of my go to's. Based on my experiences, 16g is my least fav... too boardy and harshest feeling of the bunch. The feel improves with 16L and higher. Just my two cents..
 

colan5934

Semi-Pro
As many have said, restring it a bunch of times.

One thing thing that might help with the harshness is some lead at 3/9 or more if you already have some there. That increases the twistweight and it could be the harshness that you're looking to eliminate.
This is worth a try for sure. Some folks seem to feel that a racquet softens up with lead at 6 o'clock too. For me, it depends on the stick and where it needs weight. Especially because Yonex head shapes are smidge (or more) less wide than some others, lead at 3/9 can be a great solution.
 

Crocodile

Hall of Fame
All good ideas here. I guess once you have used up all your options and things still don't achieve the outcome you want then another frame is your next option.
Players like yourself, as you explained, if I have it right will break strings a lot and even ore so if you go to a soft multi filament or gut hybrid.
In this case the options are:
1. Buy a stringing machine and lots of sets of comfortable string and keep stringing it. A machine will be expensive at first but at Least then you can use the racquet you want and string it how you like. No doubt lowering tension is the easiest option but will it suit your game ?
2. Get a racquet that is more comfortable. Probably cheaper than using a racquet too stiff them injuring yourself and having Physio bills and time out. Lots of new models out there now with good comfort.
 

Nick777

Semi-Pro
I agree with all the above, dont forget also to exercise and strengthen your forearm, shoulder etc that would prevent injuries and you ll be more stronger plus dont play every day...
 

MixedMaster

Semi-Pro
Fuzz Nation gave you the most through and accurate answer IMHO. I've been using gut/poly for a few years now and I can't find a better combo for myself. I'm getting older and I also like a softer feel for my rackets. I know I've said this on quite a few threads on here, but one of my favorite poly's to use in a gut/poly combo is Gamma iO soft. I use it in a 17g and for me it works well. When it comes to gut/poly combos I think you just have to try a bunch to see what works for you. I also agree with the 3 and 9 positioning. Again it works for me.
 

avocadoz

Semi-Pro
First, get rid of the leather grip. I know lots of people rave about leather grips on this forum, but I’ve never been much of a fan cuz it’s not comfortable to play with and makes the racquet feel stiffer. Second, get rid of Hyper G. That’s how I developed golfers elbow. It’s a stiff string with crappy playability. It feels great for the first few sessions and then all of a sudden, you feel like you’re hitting with a board.
 

Red Hood

New User
Remove the leather grip, go back to to the regular syn. grip and inject silicone in the handle.

I found this somewhere on the forum.
1 - Get a reel of cheap synthetic gut.
2 - String the frame at 75lbs
3 - Cut string out,
4 - Repeat steps 1-3 until reel is finished.
 

grhcan99

Semi-Pro
I jus got a VCP 100 300g and leaded it up, added leather grip so now I can hit like a truck with consistency, but it still feels a bit harsh on impact. I have hyper G 16 mains, SPPP crosses at 50/46lbs so some of you might say i should switch to gut/multi but I am hard hitting aggressive baseliner that uses spin from both sides so I need poly for the durability. I jus ordered some tourna big hitter silver 7 tour to try because I need something softer but other than strings, is there a way to add some kind of softening agent in the handle to improve the feel?


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Was it softer before you leaded it up? Where and how much lead did you put in?
 
Softer string, thinner string gauge, lower tension, vibe damp, lead tape, synthetic replacement grip, thicker overgrip, silicone handle injection.
 
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anfield

Semi-Pro
Instead of adding silicone in the handle, try shoving some saran wrap up one of the tubes. It's not as messy and very easy to remove.
 
If you just don't like the feel of the frame, i.e. too crisp, then all of the above. If you enjoy the response of your stick but am worried about tennis elbow, get a Thera-band Flexbar and perform Tyler Twist exercises. Worked wonders for me. Now I play with a flexible racquet though; I just enjoy that plush feeling and feedback.
 

jxs653

Semi-Pro
Keep using it. Mileage will make racquet softer. I love my well used frames.

Sorry that it is not a useful answer but I can't help.
 
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Boubi

Rookie
I don't play with one, but they do seem to stop that pinging sound. How are they not good for sensitive arms?
Indeed that's what they do, they dont really dampen the vibrations
For sensitive arms, see above, plenty of good advices
 
Once again, thinner gauge will vibrate at higher frequencies and feel less comfortable
That's not necessarily true. There are varying factors such as string material, string construction, string tension, string setup, etc. Thinner strings generally have a lower stiffness rating because they have more elasticity (all factors being equal). That being said, "feeling comfortable" is mostly a subjective experience.
 
Once again, thinner gauge will vibrate at higher frequencies and feel less comfortable
The extent to which string vibration contributes to arm discomfort is debatable, but I think it’s minuscule compared to the contributions of shock and higher force amplitude frame vibrations. Honestly if the concern is injury prevention, I’d stay away from stiff frames altogether. If you have a stiff frame, there’s only so much you can do to make it more comfortable; the inherent stiffness means the racquet will recoil faster (more power but also more initial shock to the arm) and there’s nothing you can do to change that behavior. If you really want to keep playing with a stiff racquet, stringing at lower tensions will help; the strings stretch more on impact, increasing the dwell time of the ball to reduce shock. If you go with a thinner gauge, that will also help stretch out the strings and increase dwell time, BUT make sure to reduce the tension a tiny bit to account for the smaller string cross section. A detail a lot of ppl miss is that thinner strings will actually be slightly tighter than thicker gauges when strung at the same tension.
 
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