Do people over-estimate their ability when selecting rackets?

mac-1210

Rookie
I've read a lot of comments about people being worried that rackets are "too powerful" or "not having enough control" from beginners and lower intermediates when selecting rackets. I'm an intermediate rec player and have tried a few different rackets and I think even at the middle intermediate level, if you make a sensible decision on the weight (280-300g) and balance...which most rackets fall into, the limiting factor is technique and not the power of the racket.

Don't get me wrong, I've see some good rec players hit with a Head Ti.6 and definitely think they would benefit from moving away from a granny stick, but beginners talking about needing a control racket to allow them to hit small targets seems counter-productive. In my opinion, if you are in the correct weight/balance bracket, you are better to pick based on the feel (steering towards rackets that will protect your arm) and paint job (you don't want to play with a racket you don't like the look of, you want to feel good about your kit).

My argument would be that if racket power and lack of control was really an issue then you wouldn't see someone like Casper Ruud playing with a 100cm 27.5 inch racket or half the WTA playing with rackets that are deemed powerful. Therefore it shouldn't be a deciding factor until you are hitting balls like tennis nerd.

Correct or talking rubbish?
 

Fairhit

Professional
I've thought about it and think you're right.

When I started I was playing with a 2016 Pure Aero and for me I was hitting very nice forehands and needed a control frame to help me "tame" my power.

The thing about tennis like with everything else is that people who is new to the sport don't know how much they don't know and with a little bit of knowledge they think they know more than they really know.

People doesn't realize that they are not hitting the most efficient strokes and what they call power is just pushing long the ball.

When people learn proper techniques they realize that the racquet is not too powerful for them but they were not getting the best of what the racquet has to offer due to begginer's techniques.

I switched to a control frame and it all worked out eventually as it suits my style now but sometimes I wonder if I wasn't such a hothead and stuck with the Aero, how would I be playing now?
 

ohplease

Professional
I think people conflate "ability" with "situation."

Most rec players can hit ok with just about anything. Maybe a few mph more or less depending on the frame. But what happens under pressure? I've personally found much better results solving for how to best neutralize offense vs. optimizing my own attacks.

Thankfully, most frames are 98-104sqin nowadays and around 285-315g. That's a very playable range for most players.

Another way to think about this - tennis players are mostly optimists. It's recreation, you're there to have fun, emulate your idol, try shots you maybe shouldn't. The next logical step to all that is a racket that is similarly aspirational.

When I look at my teammates, they mostly play with stuff in the ranges I described above. I do feel like the guys using 18x20 prestige 98s could go bigger and be ok but I don't hate it. The few using 18x20 93s though always make me feel like they're leaving points on the table, especially when they're defensive
 

BumElbow

Professional
I used to sell tennis racquets. I cannot tell you how many beginners wanted to buy racquets for advanced players in the belief that other players would see their racquet, believe they were a good player and want to play with them.

Of course, after a few balls it was obvious that racquets for advanced players do not automatically make you a good player or good enough to rally with advanced players much less challenged them to a match. Many of those beginners who bought the wrong racquet ended up with tennis elbow due to mis-hits. In the end, no one was fooled.

The best advice for beginners is to buy a racquet that's easy to play with so that the game is fun. Generally, the more often you play, the better you get.
 

Lorenn

Professional
Correct or talking rubbish?
Basically newer players tend to blame their gear over their technique. I hit long, so I need more control. They might buy a control racquet and now hit with too little power or are going all out every swing. Which is likely to cause fatigue and potential injury. I would gladly play with almost any well kept racquet. Basically I think the issue is new players think everything must be full power all the time. Then use the racquet to adjust to keeping the ball in versus adapting technique.
 
Correct. 'The day you are getting good at a sport, is the day you realise the equipment doesn't matter' is a famous quotation that's important to understand. It doesn't mean that equipment is not useful to play well, in particular committing to a set-up, rather it means that once you have achieved a certain level (technique, fitness etc) then you should be able to play well with any equipment.
 

Crocodile

Legend
It would be interesting to examine what decision making processes recreational players adopt to purchase their tennis equipment. Many may search reviews on the internet and there are plenty to choose from and are very good. Others may get recommendations from their local pro or club and right now, price would be a determining factor as well. There is also brand familiarity at play. Brands like Babolat, Head, Wilson and now Yonex will sell just from their name alone. I wonder how many recreational players would seek out a Pro Kennex, Dunlop, Volkl or Angell for their next racquet. I would say that the Wilson Clash in all its variations would be the top seller for beginner intermediate recreational players provided they can afford it. The main thing that many recreational players look for is ease of playability snd power. If you put a pure drive up against a prestige I would imagine that 9 out of 10 times it’s the pure drive they would pick and they wouldn’t even touch a pro Kennex, even though it’s probably a better option fir many people.
 

Vicious49

Hall of Fame
Yes, people do overestimate their abilities or more accurately don't know that they are missing technique, etc. They don't know they are missing technique that can be used to correct whatever shortcomings a frame may have. Even on these boards when you see the play test results 'frame was too powerful, not enough control, etc.'. Rafa can tame the power and hit lines with with PA but the rest of us can't. Real race car drivers don't want ABS, AWD, etc on their cars because they can control all that themselves without the extra assistance. The rest of us need that extra help.

It would be interesting to examine what decision making processes recreational players adopt to purchase their tennis equipment. Many may search reviews on the internet and there are plenty to choose from and are very good. Others may get recommendations from their local pro or club and right now, price would be a determining factor as well. There is also brand familiarity at play. Brands like Babolat, Head, Wilson and now Yonex will sell just from their name alone. I wonder how many recreational players would seek out a Pro Kennex, Dunlop, Volkl or Angell for their next racquet. I would say that the Wilson Clash in all its variations would be the top seller for beginner intermediate recreational players provided they can afford it. The main thing that many recreational players look for is ease of playability snd power. If you put a pure drive up against a prestige I would imagine that 9 out of 10 times it’s the pure drive they would pick and they wouldn’t even touch a pro Kennex, even though it’s probably a better option fir many people.
My very 1st nice racquet that I bought back in 10th grade - I went in to a big sporting goods store and chose the racquet because of the color and I had heard of the name Prince. Wilson was really big back then and I wanted a Hammer or Pro Staff but my mom wasn't going to shell out the money for that. Even those I didn't know anything about except I had heard the name so they must be good. I played with that racquet off and on for the next 20ish years not knowing any better.

About 6 years ago I decided to demo a handful or two of racquets. I'm at about a 3.0 level at this point and chose the RF97. I didn't know about RHS and technique and looking back on it now I realize I was relying on the mass of the racquet to essentially block back anything. All I knew was I didn't want something oversized as I wanted the racquet to force me to improve and I didn't want anything stiff or light as I didn't want to end up with TE issues. I ended up on the opposite extreme and went with the heaviest racquet available as I knew that mass would also absorb any vibrations and not lead to arm issues.

About 2 or so years ago as I improved I realized that the RF97 wasn't for me. I went on a journey and tried and owned dozens of racquets. I'm 4.0ish now and settling in to the VC95 as it's a good blend of control and power. The problem now is that I can play pretty well with quite a few frames so it's hard to decide on just one. I still can't tame a PA type frame as they still feel too powerful for me. I can use them when rallying and warming up but when pressure is on I want to be able to swing out so need something not quite as powerful. Not to mention I still hit more flat compared to the more modern TS techniques.
 

philxor

Rookie
There is something to comfort level in a racquet, but is it going to make a tremendous difference to most rec players? No unless you are using a racquet that is way too heavy or causing you pain. There are a lot more issues with our games than the racquet. Any higher level player could pick up a wooden frame and trounce most rec players. Any equipment driven sport is the same, like golf for instance.
 

GummiiBear

Semi-Pro
I often worry I chose a racquet too advanced for me. Like, why did I choose to make things more difficult for myself? :notworthy:
 

socallefty

Legend
You can tune a racquet’s power, control, spin, feel, comfort etc. significantly by changing strings and tensions. Yet, most people try a racquet with the same string job they always play with, decide they know how it plays and switch racquets as a solution to get more/less of what they want.

As long as the racquet is in a comfortable swing weight range, anyone can pretty much develop their game with any racquet as long as they experiment with string jobs till they find something that works well. As they develop, they can change the string job to keep liking how the racquet plays. Racquet science is not rocket science, but you have to somewhat be familiar with string science to optimize how your racquet plays.
 

Vicious49

Hall of Fame
There is something to comfort level in a racquet, but is it going to make a tremendous difference to most rec players? No unless you are using a racquet that is way too heavy or causing you pain. There are a lot more issues with our games than the racquet. Any higher level player could pick up a wooden frame and trounce most rec players. Any equipment driven sport is the same, like golf for instance.
Funny you mention that. I just finished watching this vid of a 650 ranked ATP guy who beat a rec player with a junior racquet.
 

mrravioli

Semi-Pro
Yep I once tried a 285g Yonex racquet and realized how much better I could maneuver it and how much more racquet head speed I could generate. And I won't be surprised if that's how a 330g/330sw feels in a pro's hand, if not feeling even lighter for them

That being said it doesn't mean recreational players won't benefit from the advantages of heavier racquets, like power, feel, stability. Actually when I just started playing tennis I found the RF97 working much better for me than something like a Blade, since I can't generate racquet head speed with either of them but RF97 is just much easier to block things back with good pace and spin and nearly impossible to mishit with.
 

georgeyew

Semi-Pro
It would be interesting to examine what decision making processes recreational players adopt to purchase their tennis equipment. Many may search reviews on the internet and there are plenty to choose from and are very good. Others may get recommendations from their local pro or club and right now, price would be a determining factor as well. There is also brand familiarity at play. Brands like Babolat, Head, Wilson and now Yonex will sell just from their name alone. I wonder how many recreational players would seek out a Pro Kennex, Dunlop, Volkl or Angell for their next racquet. I would say that the Wilson Clash in all its variations would be the top seller for beginner intermediate recreational players provided they can afford it. The main thing that many recreational players look for is ease of playability snd power. If you put a pure drive up against a prestige I would imagine that 9 out of 10 times it’s the pure drive they would pick and they wouldn’t even touch a pro Kennex, even though it’s probably a better option fir many people.
I love prokennex racquets!! I have some old ones 30 yrs old and still plays super solid.
 

beltsman

G.O.A.T.
I've read a lot of comments about people being worried that rackets are "too powerful" or "not having enough control" from beginners and lower intermediates when selecting rackets. I'm an intermediate rec player and have tried a few different rackets and I think even at the middle intermediate level, if you make a sensible decision on the weight (280-300g) and balance...which most rackets fall into, the limiting factor is technique and not the power of the racket.

Don't get me wrong, I've see some good rec players hit with a Head Ti.6 and definitely think they would benefit from moving away from a granny stick, but beginners talking about needing a control racket to allow them to hit small targets seems counter-productive. In my opinion, if you are in the correct weight/balance bracket, you are better to pick based on the feel (steering towards rackets that will protect your arm) and paint job (you don't want to play with a racket you don't like the look of, you want to feel good about your kit).

My argument would be that if racket power and lack of control was really an issue then you wouldn't see someone like Casper Ruud playing with a 100cm 27.5 inch racket or half the WTA playing with rackets that are deemed powerful. Therefore it shouldn't be a deciding factor until you are hitting balls like tennis nerd.

Correct or talking rubbish?
Eh. I think new players can benefit from challenging racquets if they are dedicated to improving. If they are not trying to improve and only want to have fun, then yeah they should use a "granny stick." But I learned to play with a 90 sq in Pro Staff, and it forced me to develop better technique. I now play with a 100, but the 90 really helped me to develop my game - even though my match results sucked because of it.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
I've read a lot of comments about people being worried that rackets are "too powerful" or "not having enough control" from beginners and lower intermediates when selecting rackets. I'm an intermediate rec player and have tried a few different rackets and I think even at the middle intermediate level, if you make a sensible decision on the weight (280-300g) and balance...which most rackets fall into, the limiting factor is technique and not the power of the racket.

Don't get me wrong, I've see some good rec players hit with a Head Ti.6 and definitely think they would benefit from moving away from a granny stick, but beginners talking about needing a control racket to allow them to hit small targets seems counter-productive. In my opinion, if you are in the correct weight/balance bracket, you are better to pick based on the feel (steering towards rackets that will protect your arm) and paint job (you don't want to play with a racket you don't like the look of, you want to feel good about your kit).

My argument would be that if racket power and lack of control was really an issue then you wouldn't see someone like Casper Ruud playing with a 100cm 27.5 inch racket or half the WTA playing with rackets that are deemed powerful. Therefore it shouldn't be a deciding factor until you are hitting balls like tennis nerd.

Correct or talking rubbish?
When playing on clay, you greatly benefit from generating a lot of top spin, as well as playing deep with depth and great consistency (higher net clearance) more so than on hc. This has to implications for the choice of racket: you need a racket that is easy to generate spin with (offense) and is forgiving (defence). This favors spin-oriented rackets like PA, Ezone/VCore 100 asf.

When people refer to heavy wooden rackets, it's important to keep in mind this is from a period where the players used continental or slightly eastern grips and played predominantly flat or with very little spin. If you tried playing with a 65 sq in frame against a heavy TS player you'd immediately experience why this setup is impossible to stay competitive with, esp. on clay.

A lot of players like heavy rackets for different reasons: comfort, stability (esp on volleys), how the weight helps keeping the swing in sync aso. More than often though, when I see older players with heavy frames, they have slow, big swings. Modern tennis requires extreme acceleration of the lower and upper body, and if you manage this, you don't need a heavy racket, esp. at a recreational level (even a high level). None of the high level veterans (around 40) I've seen or played with have much or any modifications to their frames. They play stock frames in the 300-315g range.

There's nothing wrong with using a heavy frame, but ime it is rarely the matter you should focus on. That being said, issues like low SW or low TW is something that all players should be aware of.
 

graycrait

Legend
@mac-1210 , between your own initial OP and @socallefty 's you two have probably covered it well. Just in the past decade or so I have tried hundreds of rackets just because I could. I quit that this spring and have winnowed my playing sticks to 4 "families" of sticks: Head Rad OSs, Volkl Tour 10 Mid, Prince X97 and APDs. They run the gamut from 93" - 107".That seems to be quite a variance but I enjoy hitting with any of them. I do like to use different kinds of strings in them at different tensions to get the most fun out of them for me.
 

ewiewp

Hall of Fame
In my opinion, if you are in the correct weight/balance bracket, you are better to pick based on the feel (steering towards rackets that will protect your arm) and paint job (you don't want to play with a racket you don't like the look of, you want to feel good about your kit).
My philosophy exactly.
I don't care what others say. :)
 

ewiewp

Hall of Fame
I used to sell tennis racquets. I cannot tell you how many beginners wanted to buy racquets for advanced players in the belief that other players would see their racquet, believe they were a good player and want to play with them.
How did you come to this conclusion?
Have you asked each of them why they are buying advanced player's frame?
 

Kevo

Legend
The things that matter most in tennis aren't dependent on your racquet.

I almost always advise people to pick a frame that feels good to them. I really don't think it matters much what frame you play with until you get to the point where you are playing for money. Then it might be worth a ton of time and effort trying different frames and strings to eek out a couple more points over the course of a match.

However, if you have a lot of fun geeking out on equipment and tinkering and trying new things, then why not have some fun? :)
 

janelgreo

Professional
For beginners, you're not talking rubbish. Many beginners do look into their racquets too much but honestly, I also believe many beginners buy racquets that they think look cool or that their favorite players use not knowing much about the racquets specs or how it may affect their game. Which is fine, as long as they stick with it and continue to improve.

I believe that once you get to the intermediate level where you have solid technique and have found a playstyle you enjoy, there is nothing wrong, well actually I believe it's important to try out different racquets. Different weights, SW's, balances, etc... can affect your game big time. I know we all preach about technique allows you to play with every racquet, that's true, but for example myself I prefer heavier (335g-350g), higher swingweight (335-345), and head light balance (6-9pts) racquets when strung. I tried using a lighter racquet and was actually having way too much racquet head speed where I was a lot of times having a break in my technique, causing me to mishit especially during returns, hit short due to too much top spin, and even swing too hard where it actually tired me out more than having a heavier/higher SW racquet where I can swing fluidly and effortlessly. Can I still play a good game with the lighter racquet, yeah of course, but I won't be as effective and definitely won't be playing the type of game I enjoy playing.

Having a racquet that you feel confident in and most importantly that you love to play with is important, very important.
 

tomkowy

Rookie
I've read a lot of comments about people being worried that rackets are "too powerful" or "not having enough control" from beginners and lower intermediates when selecting rackets.
(…)
My argument would be that if racket power and lack of control was really an issue then you wouldn't see someone like Casper Ruud playing with a 100cm 27.5 inch racket or half the WTA playing with rackets that are deemed powerful.
You are right. Just remember that people on this forum are a small small percentage of tennis population and they are not an average buyer. Most of the people test 0 - 3 racquets before buying and they are perfectly happy with their choice.

When I go to play, I see mostly Pure Drives, Pure Aero, Speeds, Radicals, Ezones. And that’s it. Everything else is an exception, not a rule.
 
I realized, after looking at racquet reviews, that I’d focus on things like how the newest iteration of a racquet corrected deficiencies of the last one, conveniently forgetting how capable the last one was, in the opinions of the same reviewers. I stopped shopping.

I need to work on technique and understanding string choices and tensions to raise my level. Note to self: learn more, wear out old stick, shop for new stick.
 

nov

Professional
Im 3.5-4.0 and i believe that racquets can improve your game if you choose racquet which fits your game. There isnt best racquet, but there is best racquet for YOU. Many people claim that its the player playing the game not the racquet and i agree, atleast for most. But looking from my perspective with some racquets i have good feel and can make good dropshots, lobs and all touch shots and with other racquets i just cant even my technique and skills same whatever racquet im playing. Im gone through bunch of racquets and have different results with all of them. Some racquets give me good results, some bad and some awesome. It also depends on your fitness. Some people are stronger, but you can improve your fitness if you work on it. I was kind of weak, played with 270gr unstrung and 300SW racquet. Now my preference around 300-310gr unstrung and 325-330 SW.
 

oh_ yuzzz

Rookie
I sense that some people consider racquets to be some magic item that a player has to "earn" or "unlock" as they improve. Those people feel insulted that a brand-new player can just whip out their credit card and buy an RF97 without "earning" the right to do so by hitting some NTRP/UTR. Gatekeeping sporting equipment is pathetic and weird. I'm saying this as someone that acknowledges the fact that certain racquets are very difficult to play with and going way too heavy can make the game harder. However, you can't just assume that someone's goal is to get better. Some just want to have fun and hit around - not everyone's trying to win. No one's forcing you to play with that 2.5 that bought an RF97 because Roger endorses it so who cares how they decided to spend their money?
 

janelgreo

Professional
I sense that some people consider racquets to be some magic item that a player has to "earn" or "unlock" as they improve. Those people feel insulted that a brand-new player can just whip out their credit card and buy an RF97 without "earning" the right to do so by hitting some NTRP/UTR. Gatekeeping sporting equipment is pathetic and weird. I'm saying this as someone that acknowledges the fact that certain racquets are very difficult to play with and going way too heavy can make the game harder. However, you can't just assume that someone's goal is to get better. Some just want to have fun and hit around - not everyone's trying to win. No one's forcing you to play with that 2.5 that bought an RF97 because Roger endorses it so who cares how they decided to spend their money?
I agree with you 100%. I do not think OP's post/question was intended for those people that just want to have fun and hit around. I have an inkling that if you're on this forum and questioning your racquets ability, you are somewhat competitive and want to improve or are looking for that slight edge to make your game better. Whether it's competing in tournaments or just between friends, many have that human instinct to be the best especially around our peers.

If anything if I see someone who's not very good technically rocking an RF97, good on you wielding around Feds hammer!
 

jonestim

Hall of Fame
Most of my first year (2011) I played with a POG Mid strung with poly. I had no racquet head speed so the balls all stayed in. I was playing against people that couldn't volley, so me dropping things short all the time didn't matter. I did ok, until I started playing against people that loved putting away short balls.

Man, that was dumb.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
As a 3.5 USTA captain who captains 3.5 and 4.0 teams (I wanted a home for my 3.5 guys when they get bumped. There is no hope for me to get there!) I can't tell you how many guys reach out saying... "Hey I am really a 4.0 but will play on your 3.5 team if I have to.". I then have them hit with a few of my middle of road 3.5 guys and they are barely 3.0.

It happens every year and 9 out of 10 guys do this. It wouldn't shock me at all if the same thing happens with racquets.

My only comment on level and racquet is age is a factor and if one still has decent strokes and are still making good contact but aren't moving like they used to their "rating" may not be what it was but they will still benefit from a more advanced racquet.
 

Kevo

Legend
My only comment on level and racquet is age is a factor and if one still has decent strokes and are still making good contact but aren't moving like they used to their "rating" may not be what it was but they will still benefit from a more advanced racquet.
But what is an advanced racquet? I think it's mostly a head game. I've never seen anyone switch sticks and then suddenly start winning and get bumped up a level. As a 4.5 I hit with a couple of 4.0s using an old Bancroft wood frame I got for like $10. I was still easily outhitting them with probably the "worst" frame I've ever used. I hit some aces with that thing too which I was a little surprised by.

I just don't buy that the frame actually matters that much in terms of performance except at the margins. If I were to play another 4.5 with that wood frame I'd probably be in a bit of trouble. With any average modern frame that I could use for a few weeks and string up the way I like I don't think I am handicapped any longer. Too many people use their frame as an excuse. They need something lighter or heavier or something with more spin or more power or less power. Just a bunch of excuses. What really matters is the fundamentals.

I rarely see people working on their service toss, but I see a lot of people with toss problems. I rarely see people working on footwork running lines and such. Everyone could use better footwork. How many people actually practice hitting spots on the court. I see it occasionally, but not too many of the people I played leagues with worked on it. Lots of people, probably a significant majority show up with a new frame every year or two and can tell you several things they think it's better at than their old frame, but you hit with them and it's the same ball they hit before. BTW, I was guilty of that for quite some time.

How about play a match with 0 double faults and 0 unforced errors and if you're still losing then you can give yourself permission to buy a new frame. At least you earn it then. :-D
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I sense that some people consider racquets to be some magic item that a player has to "earn" or "unlock" as they improve. Those people feel insulted that a brand-new player can just whip out their credit card and buy an RF97 without "earning" the right to do so by hitting some NTRP/UTR. Gatekeeping sporting equipment is pathetic and weird. I'm saying this as someone that acknowledges the fact that certain racquets are very difficult to play with and going way too heavy can make the game harder. However, you can't just assume that someone's goal is to get better. Some just want to have fun and hit around - not everyone's trying to win. No one's forcing you to play with that 2.5 that bought an RF97 because Roger endorses it so who cares how they decided to spend their money?
No rec player should use a RF97 :), but for sure you don't need to be advanced to unlock it. The best national 4.5 and 5.0 players aren't using it, they are trotting around with Vcores, Ezones, Blades, Pure Aeros, Pure Drives, Pure Strikes, few Heads etc. In general that's the top of the rec player crop. For sure there are some 2.5s (I didn't even know that existed until I started running around tennis outside of Texas, which is strange enough in itself, every beginner down there started at 3.0 as far as I knew), anyway, do people who by the RF97 really not want to win or improve. It's not something we can debate, I believe you, I just imagine a 3.5 level RF97 user as buying it because Roger wins and they want to block things back with heavy weight, to help them win. They just don't know any better, I'd promise them they could win more points with a more sensible racket and improve their ability faster. I doubt anyone would want to "not improve", but people come in all kinds of varieties.
But what is an advanced racquet? I think it's mostly a head game. I've never seen anyone switch sticks and then suddenly start winning and get bumped up a level. As a 4.5 I hit with a couple of 4.0s using an old Bancroft wood frame I got for like $10. I was still easily outhitting them with probably the "worst" frame I've ever used. I hit some aces with that thing too which I was a little surprised by.

I just don't buy that the frame actually matters that much in terms of performance except at the margins. If I were to play another 4.5 with that wood frame I'd probably be in a bit of trouble. With any average modern frame that I could use for a few weeks and string up the way I like I don't think I am handicapped any longer. Too many people use their frame as an excuse. They need something lighter or heavier or something with more spin or more power or less power. Just a bunch of excuses. What really matters is the fundamentals.

I rarely see people working on their service toss, but I see a lot of people with toss problems. I rarely see people working on footwork running lines and such. Everyone could use better footwork. How many people actually practice hitting spots on the court. I see it occasionally, but not too many of the people I played leagues with worked on it. Lots of people, probably a significant majority show up with a new frame every year or two and can tell you several things they think it's better at than their old frame, but you hit with them and it's the same ball they hit before. BTW, I was guilty of that for quite some time.

How about play a match with 0 double faults and 0 unforced errors and if you're still losing then you can give yourself permission to buy a new frame. At least you earn it then. :-D
I'm on the same page. A "players frame" for vocabulary sake is heavier than average and that's about all one can say definitively, except usually not 100 inches and very very light. I think a "players frame" would allow someone with skills to perform 10-20% of their shots they have in an entire tennis match about 10% better than a basic racket. It allows a gifted technically sound player to do that little bit extra. And mental comfort plays a big part for some people.

That is funny, 0 double faults 0 errors and still losing. There's a decent point to this.
This is where people get mad at me, I do read often the need for more stability or the search for rackets that don't flutter so much on off-center hits. I don't know what is happening here. Are people playing matches and losing because they keep hitting off-center and the racket that isn't heavy enough is fluttering, like twice every game in every set? I haven't played a match recently where I think a different racket, within reason, would have changed the outcome significantly. I'm trying to think, I would not enjoy using a Clash or a "lite or light" version of most rackets that are offered, but I could racket head speed the heck out of the ball as I giggled gleefully and still win or lose the same matches, just would take a game or so to adjust. I haven't tried a wood frame since I was about 6 years old, but I get your point. I still enjoy talking rackets, please no one get mad at me. Carry on.
 

mac-1210

Rookie
I agree with you 100%. I do not think OP's post/question was intended for those people that just want to have fun and hit around.
Yes, you are correct, my intention is certainly not to gatekeep rackets...hell, I'm only a very average intermediate player. It was more aimed at when I see beginners/low intermediates with only a couple of years playing agonise on here over rackets but focus on the wrong thing to be agonising over.

All very interesting discussion though, enjoyed reading everyones thoughts!
 

janelgreo

Professional
No rec player should use a RF97 :), but for sure you don't need to be advanced to unlock it. The best national 4.5 and 5.0 players aren't using it, they are trotting around with Vcores, Ezones, Blades, Pure Aeros, Pure Drives, Pure Strikes, few Heads etc. In general that's the top of the rec player crop. For sure there are some 2.5s (I didn't even know that existed until I started running around tennis outside of Texas, which is strange enough in itself, every beginner down there started at 3.0 as far as I knew), anyway, do people who by the RF97 really not want to win or improve. It's not something we can debate, I believe you, I just imagine a 3.5 level RF97 user as buying it because Roger wins and they want to block things back with heavy weight, to help them win. They just don't know any better, I'd promise them they could win more points with a more sensible racket and improve their ability faster. I doubt anyone would want to "not improve", but people come in all kinds of varieties.
I wouldn't say no rec player should use an RF97, I bet there are many out there that use it, we just don't see them. I think the reason why is because most of the players you see today, especially the younger ones have adapted the modern game of more spin, defending, and more RHS, hence the lighter rackets. The attacking game is a rare breed nowadays, even in the pro level you don't see many attackers, most are baseline bashers and would gladly wait until the opponent makes the error. As you've seen I purchased an RF97, in hopes it would not only help me improve but make me enjoy the game more and play the style I'd like to -- the difference is, is that I've tried many different racquets varying in weight, SW, and balance to know what I like and play the best with, the RF97's specs fall in line with that. Am I the minority, most likely, I doubt many rec players play with racquets over 330g strung with 330+ SW nowadays. Here on TTW there is likely a good amount but out in the rec world, I doubt it.

That is funny, 0 double faults 0 errors and still losing. There's a decent point to this.
This is where people get mad at me, I do read often the need for more stability or the search for rackets that don't flutter so much on off-center hits. I don't know what is happening here. Are people playing matches and losing because they keep hitting off-center and the racket that isn't heavy enough is fluttering, like twice every game in every set? I haven't played a match recently where I think a different racket, within reason, would have changed the outcome significantly. I'm trying to think, I would not enjoy using a Clash or a "lite or light" version of most rackets that are offered, but I could racket head speed the heck out of the ball as I giggled gleefully and still win or lose the same matches, just would take a game or so to adjust. I haven't tried a wood frame since I was about 6 years old, but I get your point. I still enjoy talking rackets, please no one get mad at me. Carry on.
I agree with the flutter comment and hitting off-center. If you have issues with not hitting the sweet spot, it's a technical issue and definitely not the racquet. I do see when people get up to the net and feel the racquet is unstable as you do have to be extremely quick and off-center shots are more likely to happen.

As far as your comment about thinking a different racquet within reason would have changed the outcome significantly... I actually ran into that. I am used to ~345g strung, ~340 SW, and ~8HL and decided to use a lighter racquet for a match (320g strung, ~318 SW, ~8HL balance). Oh god was that a bad mistake, I was swinging so fast and mishitting so many balls it was a mess ESPECIALLY during returns. I switched back to my heavier racquet half-way through the set and came back and won the set. You're right about "within reason", I probably shouldn't of made such a drastic change lol.
 
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LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
But what is an advanced racquet? I think it's mostly a head game. I've never seen anyone switch sticks and then suddenly start winning and get bumped up a level. As a 4.5 I hit with a couple of 4.0s using an old Bancroft wood frame I got for like $10. I was still easily outhitting them with probably the "worst" frame I've ever used. I hit some aces with that thing too which I was a little surprised by.

I just don't buy that the frame actually matters that much in terms of performance except at the margins. If I were to play another 4.5 with that wood frame I'd probably be in a bit of trouble. With any average modern frame that I could use for a few weeks and string up the way I like I don't think I am handicapped any longer. Too many people use their frame as an excuse. They need something lighter or heavier or something with more spin or more power or less power. Just a bunch of excuses. What really matters is the fundamentals.

I rarely see people working on their service toss, but I see a lot of people with toss problems. I rarely see people working on footwork running lines and such. Everyone could use better footwork. How many people actually practice hitting spots on the court. I see it occasionally, but not too many of the people I played leagues with worked on it. Lots of people, probably a significant majority show up with a new frame every year or two and can tell you several things they think it's better at than their old frame, but you hit with them and it's the same ball they hit before. BTW, I was guilty of that for quite some time.

How about play a match with 0 double faults and 0 unforced errors and if you're still losing then you can give yourself permission to buy a new frame. At least you earn it then. :-D
I am not sure I agree about the frame part and certainly an average rec player would have difficulty with say a 93 square inch racquet, etc.

I do believe any and all players including 4.5 players etc. can benefit from working on their game, service toss, footwork, etc and would get more benefit from that but that wasn't the original question in the post.
 

bnjkn

Semi-Pro
My flamingo does that all the time. He's always with his PS90's, RF97 and prestige mids. He likes to think that his tennis looks very similar to Federer's, but he's so inconsistent at times I think even granny could beat him in a match. Anyway, he tells me that occasionally he does hit a great shot, when he gets the timing right and makes great contact, with all that mass backing his shot, as rare as these moments are, when he scores, my flamingo likes it! Who am I to judge?
 

oh_ yuzzz

Rookie
Yes, you are correct, my intention is certainly not to gatekeep rackets...hell, I'm only a very average intermediate player. It was more aimed at when I see beginners/low intermediates with only a couple of years playing agonise on here over rackets but focus on the wrong thing to be agonising over.

All very interesting discussion though, enjoyed reading everyones thoughts!
Just to clarify, I wasn't take a shot at you. I just get annoyed when people tie racquet models to skill level so closely. To reiterate - there's definitely racquets out there that will just make it harder for someone to play (like a PS85 or Prestige Mid). However, there's a pervasive thought that simply changing racquets will make someone better. As OP alluded to, there's a bunch of stuff that should be adjusted before swapping racquets.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I think most folks have no idea what frame they should play with to get the best return on their skills.
Yes, yes, and more yes. Anything not extreme is fine. But I'm not 100% sure pure drives and pure aeros are good starter sticks and the RF 97 (to a lesser extent Blades) is all over the 3.5 and lower 4.0 world even with 2nd year players. It looks cool though. I might be wrong, but I think an Ezone is more appropriate for a wider range of players than most rackets that are popular and I'm seeing a lot of them all over.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I wouldn't say no rec player should use an RF97, I bet there are many out there that use it, we just don't see them. I think the reason why is because most of the players you see today, especially the younger ones have adapted the modern game of more spin, defending, and more RHS, hence the lighter rackets. The attacking game is a rare breed nowadays, even in the pro level you don't see many attackers, most are baseline bashers and would gladly wait until the opponent makes the error. As you've seen I purchased an RF97, in hopes it would not only help me improve but make me enjoy the game more and play the style I'd like to -- the difference is, is that I've tried many different racquets varying in weight, SW, and balance to know what I like and play the best with, the RF97's specs fall in line with that. Am I the minority, most likely, I doubt many rec players play with racquets over 330g strung with 330+ SW nowadays. Here on TTW there is likely a good amount but out in the rec world, I doubt it.



I agree with the flutter comment and hitting off-center. If you have issues with not hitting the sweet spot, it's a technical issue and definitely not the racquet. I do see when people get up to the net and feel the racquet is unstable as you do have to be extremely quick and off-center shots are more likely to happen.

As far as your comment about thinking a different racquet within reason would have changed the outcome significantly... I actually ran into that. I am used to ~345g strung, ~340 SW, and ~8HL and decided to use a lighter racquet for a match (320g strung, ~318 SW, ~8HL balance). Oh god was that a bad mistake, I was swinging so fast and mishitting so many balls it was a mess ESPECIALLY during returns. I switched back to my heavier racquet half-way through the set and came back and won the set. You're right about "within reason", I probably shouldn't of made such a drastic change lol.
It's tough, I'm sure you play well with the RF97 and I've been destroyed in the past 5 years by a 5.0 player a couple times in doubles that used an RF97. But, I still could jam him sometimes with lefty spin because that racket is not extremely maneuverable and he's in his 40's now and not as razor sharp as he was during his college days. I do see very many RF97s though, it's a good seller in the areas I play but the purchaser is more often than not 3.5-4.0, sometimes 4.5 but only doubles players. They aren't usually physically fleet of foot so to speak and a lot of them hardly swing the racket. The RF97 is very popular.

That's good that you are tennis aware, not easy to self-analyze during a match and have the guts to make a change.
 

SteveI

Legend
Yes, yes, and more yes. Anything not extreme is fine. But I'm not 100% sure pure drives and pure aeros are good starter sticks and the RF 97 (to a lesser extent Blades) is all over the 3.5 and lower 4.0 world even with 2nd year players. It looks cool though. I might be wrong, but I think an Ezone is more appropriate for a wider range of players than most rackets that are popular and I'm seeing a lot of them all over.
I have run into this so many times.. I can't remember them all. Most of the time I try to gently tell my students and players (HS and College, USTA Team Tennis Coach.. forever) that their gear might be holding them back.. in one way or another. Either they have too much frame for their skill set or using a power frame that they can't control.. or too stiff.. etc.. etc.. etc. The rule for me.. always play the frame that gives the best chance to win. There are also.. injury and age issues.. the list goes on and on.

The most important quote from above "Anything not extreme is fine".. perfect..

The whole process gives me a headache... LOL..
 

oh_ yuzzz

Rookie
I think most folks have no idea what frame they should play with to get the best return on their skills.
I agree. Honestly, 90% of players would be OK with 90% of frames. They might not be playing to their best abilities but they can get the ball over the net so why change? The % of players that demo a multitude of frames in order to find the "perfect" one is probably quite small. Some of my friends just buy whatever new model of a racquet they're familiar with if they need one - no demo, no duplicates, just whatever current Pro Staff 6.1 is in stock. Heck, I've met 4.0's that don't know what a polyester string is.
 

AlecG

New User
I'm only beginer-intermediate but I think racquet weight should largely be about injury & pain prevention, regardless of what level you're playing at? If the racquet is too heavy for you to swing it with good technique, that's an issue, but most people can choose whatever weight will minimise injury risk within that limit & change or improve their technique for more control or more power.

From my experience, and it makes sense in principle, a heavier racquet seems to protect me from pain in the elbow & bicep from the ball hitting the racquet & especially mishits on the frame, while a lighter racquet protects me from shoulder or wrist pain caused by the swing itself (including back-swing/whip & follow through), but the former issue of bicep & elbow pain is a much bigger issue for me so I go with the heaviest racquet at my desired length even as a beginner-intermediate player & it has greatly helped me by allowing me to hit harder without pain, while I can always be more careful for more control. So I'd say if you don't have any pain, you don't need to worry too much about racquet weight. I think if your pain is mostly elbow, bicep pain or hand pain caused by force of the ball on the arm through the racquet, you might want to go heavier? While if your pain is mostly wrist or shoulder pain from the weight of the racquet through the swing itself, you might want to go lighter? Correct me if I'm wrong.
 

AlecG

New User
No rec player should use a RF97 ... I just imagine a 3.5 level RF97 user as buying it because Roger wins and they want to block things back with heavy weight, to help them win. They just don't know any better, I'd promise them they could win more points with a more sensible racket and improve their ability faster. I doubt anyone would want to "not improve", but people come in all kinds of varieties.
I'm a 2.9 and my fave 27" inch racquet is a VCore 330 which is almost as heavy as the RF97. It protected me from elbow & bicep pain which allowed me to hit harder & hit for longer & it wasn't significantly harder to maneuver or swing big & my performance improved (I was a 2.3 or something before). Of course I lack control due to lack of experience but that's also with lighter racquets. That bicep pain could become a serious injury if I just kept hitting the same amount of balls at the same pace with a lighter racquet and just ignored the pain. If the VCore 330 weren't on sale for half the price of the RF97, I might have gone with the RF97 instead & I'm sure it would have been fine. Having a UTR under 4 doesn't necessarily say much about whether one can handle an extra 30 grams or so. I'm a grown man. Handling an extra few grams is not a big issue for me compared to the benefits.

I've now moved onto the 28" SW102 which has a lower nominal weight but an even greater swingweight than the RF97 & it seems like it's going to be the same thing again for me but with extra reach including on the serve, slightly less maneuverable especially while I'm getting used to it, but worth it so far for benefits including the pain prevention & being able to sustain a given level of power for longer as a result.
 
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Just speaking for myself and my own experience but when I started playing and had zero technique I kept thinking I need a lower powered control frame because my ball keeps sailing out, even though it was because I couldn’t hit the right trajectory, let alone consistently! So I think there certainly can be a tendency for people to misattribute the issue and try to solve that via racquet choice. Once I learned how to play decently, I could get the same basic results with any racquet. We all have to start somewhere though and I think as long as the person has an open mind and honest self-appraisal about what their shortcomings are, it doesn’t matter what you start with, because you can tune from there.
 
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