(Dis)Advantages of Extended Length Racquets

McLovin

Legend
Giving this a little bump to ask if you guys could ask the playtesters anything about their experience playing with extended racquets, whatchu got?!

Thanks!
Michelle, TW
I've read here many times people advocating 'choking up' for volleys w/ extended racquets. I've used extended racquets for pretty much the last 20 years, and have never done that (it would be just one more thing to remember in the long line of "volley do's & don'ts").

Do the playtesters tend to choke up on the frame for volleys? And if so, do they really feel it helps w/ frame maneuverability? Does it eventually become 'second nature' (like changing forehand/backhand grips)?
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I've read here many times people advocating 'choking up' for volleys w/ extended racquets. I've used extended racquets for pretty much the last 20 years, and have never done that (it would be just one more thing to remember in the long line of "volley do's & don'ts").

Do the playtesters tend to choke up on the frame for volleys? And if so, do they really feel it helps w/ frame maneuverability? Does it eventually become 'second nature' (like changing forehand/backhand grips)?
I've used XLs since 2010 and don't choke up either. But the adjustment period was about a month. The major change was footwork in distance from the ball. It's quite remarkable that 3/4 of an inch can make a noticeable difference in play.

One note: the old 65 square inch racquet had a sweet zone middle about an inch higher than the large racquets of today. Making a modern racquet longer by an inch just gets you back to the 1970s.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
and is that good or not ?

What are the effects of different sweet spot location ?
A higher sweetspot can give you more leverage and the potential for better angles. I find that you can get more spin on the backhand slice as well - I think that the racquethead can move faster with the same arm and body movement. You have a bit more reach as well which might help you out with a stab volley. If you can just reach the ball and get it back over hitting the rim, that's better than it going by you.

There are advantages to shorter frames too. I think that Traverlerjm and Shroud have talked about those.

My favorite frames are my 27.75 but my 27.6 frames are more stable. I'm using my 27.75 frames these days though I will probably go back and forth depending on which set needs stringing. I doubt that I'll be able to get any more of the 27.75 inch frames - I haven't seen them for sale in years.

If Wilson made a 28 inch RF97, I'd be very interesting. I don't know that I'd play it at 28 inches but I could cut it down to 27.75. There are times when I'd like to upgrade frames because I'll never be able to get more of what I currently have.
 

iceman_dl6

Semi-Pro
For me, XL frames feel unnatural to me and I need to work harder with them than a standard one. I always feel jammed when using an XL frame especially on serve returns and volleys. Ironically, those are Roddick’s 2 weaknesses and he used a PD+ throughout his career, BUT his serve was probably one of the best of all time! For me, which is weird, I don’t serve any better with a PDT+ than say an RF97 or Gravity Pro/(weighted up) Tour. Also, I tend to spray my forehands or hit late with a XL frame. Like our fellow TW playtester, Jason, XL frames are not for me.

@TW Staff , To answer briancheng’s question, the old SV98+ would feel similar to an XL RF97A,
am I right?
 
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movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
For me, XL frames feel unnatural to me and I need to work harder with them than a standard one. I always feel jammed when using an XL frame especially on serve returns and volleys. Ironically, those are Roddick’s 2 weaknesses and he used a PD+ throughout his career, BUT his serve was probably one of the best of all time! For me, which is weird, I don’t serve any better with a PDT+ than say an RF97 or Gravity Pro/(weighted up) Tour. Also, I tend to spray my forehands or hit late with a XL frame. Like our fellow TW playtester, Jason, XL frames are not for me.

@TW Staff , To answer briancheng’s question, the old SV98+ would feel similar to an XL RF97A,
am I right?
Racquethead size is also a factor as is overall length. I'll try to post a picture of overlayed frames so that you can see the differences in the hitting zone based on racquethead size.
 

ron schaap

Hall of Fame
Not very intuitive but I believe longer racquet is more suited to taller and bigger players not shorter players. Shorter players strength is fast (high frequency) swing and longer racquet slows this down. Reach can be covered by faster feet.
Swartzman proves you wrong.
 

ron schaap

Hall of Fame
If some people doubt you can hit harder with longer racquets, then why are golfclubs gradually longer from the small pitching wedge till the longest shaft driver which is meant to cover the longest distance. Also adapting is nonsense too because during a golfcourse golfers use both the shortest clubs and longest clubs! 14 different clubs in the bag are allowed and used!
 

arteddie

New User
How do you manage prefered balance on extended racquets ? Do you still go for the same as 27inch ? For example the Yonex extended racquets have the balance changed compared to their normal versions.
You could put more weight in the buttcap or grip area to move the balance down to where you want it. If you take a racquet and o nothing but extend it, the balance will shift up; however, some extension methods add weight to the handle which counteracts the effect the extension has on balance, e.g. XTP buttcap.
 

arteddie

New User
Quite a few pros use extended lengths... most obvious successful one is Deigo Schwartzmann which I believe is 28"? I've played with extended racquets off and on... for me the two I used the longest were the AeroPro Drive + and the Dunlop CX200+.

Advantages
Better reach, can really help on defensive shots
Better power and stability
Serves... better power and higher percentage in

Disadvantages
Return of serve when ball coming into the body
Net play... less maneuverable and body shots are tougher
On servers it can be harder to get as much spin or angle that with std length
Tend to get less spin on groundies and serve... just more to get around, higher swing weight, etc.

Most of the disadvantages can be minimized or fixed simply by choking up on the handle. Point is that you have the option to have it play more like a standard length racquet in certain situations that you might find challenging, etc. For the most part, I enjoy extended length racquets... but they do sometimes play a little harder on the arm.
I disagree on the spin point. My experience with extended frames is MORE spin not less. But it might depend on the new swingweight and whether you are able to get it around as fast as the standard length
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
I currently have around 12 extended length rackets. I don't have any anymore that are longer than 28". I have given away or traded at least another dozen XL rackets.

I've tried everything from 29" (ITF legal max length) down to 27.25." I have cut rackets down to 26.5 in increments of .25" just to see what happens. I am 5'10.5" with 33" arms. I was career public school freestyle wrestler, later a weight room gym rat, and career special operations military. I coached baseball, softball and volleyball. I even spent 7 yrs working with expandable batons and made canes/staffs for some some years. I get sticks.

I really think my personal sweet spot is 27.3." However, the right frame for me trumps the extra length. I have done quite a few different things to add extra length and nothing works as well as cutting an XL down to 27.3" Adding an XTP buttcap is not the answer for me, I have tried at least 8 of those. Trying to add spacers doesn't work so well because stock buttcaps don't have enough room for that bottle cap, balsa wood disc, to securely attach the buttcap. If I were a high roller I would just send all my rackets to R N P Y and have custom grips installed. Why do all these Chinese made rackets have to be just 27" long? Is it a communist conformity thing or has the world of tennis racket manufacturers told the Chinese that rackets must be 27" or has the Chinese manufacturers told the racket brands that all rackets must be 27"?

Would it cost that much more to sell rackets with 29" hairpins, a butt cap and a base grip and let the buyer adjust the racket to their own preferred length? Pro shops could make a fortune helping folks sort that out and us DIY folks could have their dream racket "kits." Every racket then becomes "pro stock."
I might have a solution to your problem.

Some butt caps are longer than others. For example, the newer green Prince butt caps are about 0.2" longer than the older black or gray Prince butt caps and many other butt caps around.

So one way to easily add length to an older Prince racquet is to replace the butt cap with a new green one.

You said butt caps are not secure when spacers are added, but I argue spacers can be added very securely up to an extension of 0.25". With the green Prince butt cap, a spacer can be used securely for up to 0.3" extension.

So with the green Prince butt caps (I guess other butt caps compatible with Sony sensor gadget would also be longer), I get an inherent 0.2 inch extension and an additional 0.3 inch extension with the use of a spacer, perfect for extending a standard length to 27.5".

One downside is that since all the newer Prince racquets come with these longer green butt caps, their hairpins are shorter than those found in older Princes.

At any rate, I hope this helps you and perhaps some other members of the board.
 

Dansan

Rookie
I currently have around 12 extended length rackets. I don't have any anymore that are longer than 28". I have given away or traded at least another dozen XL rackets.

I've tried everything from 29" (ITF legal max length) down to 27.25." I have cut rackets down to 26.5 in increments of .25" just to see what happens. I am 5'10.5" with 33" arms. I was career public school freestyle wrestler, later a weight room gym rat, and career special operations military. I coached baseball, softball and volleyball. I even spent 7 yrs working with expandable batons and made canes/staffs for some some years. I get sticks.

I really think my personal sweet spot is 27.3." However, the right frame for me trumps the extra length. I have done quite a few different things to add extra length and nothing works as well as cutting an XL down to 27.3" Adding an XTP buttcap is not the answer for me, I have tried at least 8 of those. Trying to add spacers doesn't work so well because stock buttcaps don't have enough room for that bottle cap, balsa wood disc, to securely attach the buttcap. If I were a high roller I would just send all my rackets to R N P Y and have custom grips installed. Why do all these Chinese made rackets have to be just 27" long? Is it a communist conformity thing or has the world of tennis racket manufacturers told the Chinese that rackets must be 27" or has the Chinese manufacturers told the racket brands that all rackets must be 27"?

Would it cost that much more to sell rackets with 29" hairpins, a butt cap and a base grip and let the buyer adjust the racket to their own preferred length? Pro shops could make a fortune helping folks sort that out and us DIY folks could have their dream racket "kits." Every racket then becomes "pro stock."
Angell.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
@scotus , @Dansan , I will be getting some Prince buttcaps, even though I have a couple of dozen older Prince rackets. I haven't really looked at the length of OEM buttcaps but you have given me something to do this covid season/winter while waiting for outdoor tennis weather. Also, I would like to try an Angell, especially a lower RA version just to get the feel, but I am not going to order one for the time being. I have a couple other hobbies requiring me to prioritize my resource expenditures:)
 

AceyMan

Rookie
Why do all these Chinese made rackets have to be just 27" long? Is it a communist conformity thing or has the world of tennis racket manufacturers told the Chinese that rackets must be 27" or has the Chinese manufacturers told the racket brands that all rackets must be 27"?
I'll ask one better—

This is 2021. You can get a solid 3D printer for < $500USD.

So—why do we even have *grip sizes*, let alone fixed racquet lengths.

If the manufactures sold frames with hairpin handles and provided the 3D printer files to make the pallets, we could all have the length AND exact grip size we prefer. I'm an L2.5, same as Thiem, so my grip is always a compromise. And I like the same length DJ reportedly plays, "27 inches plus 1 centimeter" (which has a certain elegance, I must admit.)

For a price even a small time racquet tech can afford we can do away with all this nonsense.

Can I get a "heck, yeah" from the TT braintrust?

/Acey
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Can I get a "heck, yeah" from the TT braintrust?
I had a young, 39 yr old friend of mine tell me if I had an issue with filling out a specific government form I could just Facetime him and he can go step by step with me. WTF is Facetime? $500 3D printer to print a $5.00 buttcap? But it intrigues me how it could cross over to my other hobbies:)
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
I'll ask one better—

This is 2021. You can get a solid 3D printer for < $500USD.

So—why do we even have *grip sizes*, let alone fixed racquet lengths.

If the manufactures sold frames with hairpin handles and provided the 3D printer files to make the pallets, we could all have the length AND exact grip size we prefer. I'm an L2.5, same as Thiem, so my grip is always a compromise. And I like the same length DJ reportedly plays, "27 inches plus 1 centimeter" (which has a certain elegance, I must admit.)

For a price even a small time racquet tech can afford we can do away with all this nonsense.

Can I get a "heck, yeah" from the TT braintrust?

/Acey
I have never used a 3D printer, so I do not know what sort of material is available for printing, but I paid money for some 3D printed extended butt caps made by one of the members here.

While the idea is good, the material is not suitable for tennis. The 3D-printed plastic was brittle and had no give to it, which means that a grip size 3 is not guaranteed to fit all brands of racquets with the same grip size. With OEM butt caps, the plastic material has some give to it, and you can make it fit many different brands with varying grip shapes and size tolerances.

Another problem. The 3D plastic did not last very long. It was fairly weak against compression and cracked. Unless there is a spool of material that is stronger and more resilient and more flexible, I don't think I would go down that road again.

Of course, I speak as one who knows nothing about 3D printing.
 

AceyMan

Rookie
I paid money for some 3D printed extended butt caps
Everyone does realize the pallet body and buttcap would be one piece? Ok, now that that is cleared up.


The 3D-printed plastic was brittle and had no give to it
Turns out ' if one gets a hardened hotend, one can print with a carbon fiber material'. The price for the right setup is less than five hundred. If you needed more speed and quantity, you might end up doubling that.

All that said, there's no NEED for this to be a retailer fitment. Babolat/HEAD could just offer sliders if you want to wait 10 days for a spec fit pallet, I'd pay a bump to get a handle that's right. Then they'd do the printer and materials industry grade, and all your questions are answered.

Viva la revolution!

/Acey
 

arteddie

New User
Ring and Roll (in Germany) will extend any racquet you want to the length you specify up to 29". The cost is not high except for the shipping. Is there a similar tuning / customization service in the US?
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
Ring and Roll (in Germany) will extend any racquet you want to the length you specify up to 29". The cost is not high except for the shipping. Is there a similar tuning / customization service in the US?
R P N Y does 1/2 inch extensions.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Ring and Roll (in Germany) will extend any racquet you want to the length you specify up to 29". The cost is not high except for the shipping. Is there a similar tuning / customization service in the US?
I think that you're always better off just starting off with a longer hairpin. The hard part is finding the base model racquet to start off with and then making modifications to it to get to where you want to be. Getting extensions which may or may not work or not hold up over time has to be fairly frustrating.
 

arteddie

New User
I think that you're always better off just starting off with a longer hairpin. The hard part is finding the base model racquet to start off with and then making modifications to it to get to where you want to be. Getting extensions which may or may not work or not hold up over time has to be fairly frustrating.
For 1/2” extensions the XTP buttcap works rather well; but it increases grip size by one; so you have to buy a racquet that’s one size too small.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
For 1/2” extensions the XTP buttcap works rather well; but it increases grip size by one; so you have to buy a racquet that’s one size too small.
If you just get a longer racquet in the first place, you never have to worry about a problem with the extension. Peace of mind on your frames. That said, you can't get XLs in the vast majority of frames.
 

esgee48

Legend
I had a young, 39 yr old friend of mine tell me if I had an issue with filling out a specific government form I could just Facetime him and he can go step by step with me. WTF is Facetime? $500 3D printer to print a $5.00 buttcap? But it intrigues me how it could cross over to my other hobbies:)
Facetime is Apples' terminology for a video phone call or conference. It is point-to-point. Better to use a web base conference service like ZOOM where you only need a computer rather than an Apple device.
 
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