Do people over-estimate their ability when selecting rackets?

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
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.
Pain prevention is important, but I bet you'd progress, if you want to, more quickly with a normal length racket with a swing weight more close to 320. As you said handling the extra weight isn't that big of a deal, and conversely focusing on your technique you use with the heavy weight and applying it to a more normal-ish racket weight would give you more tennis variety and raise your ceiling of play. Juts have to use the same pain-free technique that the heavy racket forces you to use with a slightly less beefy racket.
 

Grizzy

New User
One thing that I notice here as well is no one is talking about different peoples bodies. You guys are all talking about technique and player ability, but a 6'5 guy that is 280 pounds of muscle using a RF97 is very different than a 5'8 guy 160 pounds using the same stick at the same skill level.

It's the same as why a lot of beginner women start with 280g sticks and a lot of men start with 300-305g sticks. What is "heavy" to different people sometimes doesn't have anything to do with skill.
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
One thing that I notice here as well is no one is talking about different peoples bodies. You guys are all talking about technique and player ability, but a 6'5 guy that is 280 pounds of muscle using a RF97 is very different than a 5'8 guy 160 pounds using the same stick at the same skill level.

It's the same as why a lot of beginner women start with 280g sticks and a lot of men start with 300-305g sticks. What is "heavy" to different people sometimes doesn't have anything to do with skill.
Exactly. One of the guys in the club who is fairly new to the game is half again my size and easily swings an RF 97 around. It suits him.
 
Do people over-estimate their ability when selecting rackets?
Yes of course they do and the major retailers TW etc depend on this, its only natural. I see nothing wrong with it if you are young and planning to grow into an advanced racket but are still at a lower level. However if you are a fly by nighter just going through a phase its pretty pointless.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
One thing that I notice here as well is no one is talking about different peoples bodies. You guys are all talking about technique and player ability, but a 6'5 guy that is 280 pounds of muscle using a RF97 is very different than a 5'8 guy 160 pounds using the same stick at the same skill level.

It's the same as why a lot of beginner women start with 280g sticks and a lot of men start with 300-305g sticks. What is "heavy" to different people sometimes doesn't have anything to do with skill.
Exactly. One of the guys in the club who is fairly new to the game is half again my size and easily swings an RF 97 around. It suits him.
Sort of, with a stick like the RF97, it's not about surviving lifting it up and swinging it, it's not a bench press goal or something similar. It's more, does the player, the rec player, play 5 times a week almost every week of the year for the past 10 years plus? That's an exaggeration. But, really the question is can the player wrist lag the RF97 closer to the racket head speed of a 5.0 or college player than not with the RF97 or does the swing sloooooowwwww down. If not, why use it? Why not use something 10-20 grams lighter with less SW. I'd still throw a blade in the hands of a 6'5 guy or a regular pro staff if they were partial to Wilson and relatively new to the game.
The heavy in tennis is fast twitch muscle, racket head speed, and hand eye coordination and not really "can I lift it", so to speak.
 

janelgreo

Professional
One thing that I notice here as well is no one is talking about different peoples bodies. You guys are all talking about technique and player ability, but a 6'5 guy that is 280 pounds of muscle using a RF97 is very different than a 5'8 guy 160 pounds using the same stick at the same skill level.

It's the same as why a lot of beginner women start with 280g sticks and a lot of men start with 300-305g sticks. What is "heavy" to different people sometimes doesn't have anything to do with skill.
This, funny because I just talked to my buddy who was like "you sure you can hit with it, it's really heavy" and he has a regular Pure Strike that's 323g strung. Little did he know, all the racquets I've ever used I've weighted up to about 350g and my swing speed on those racquets were just as fast if not faster than him swinging his 323g Pure Strike. Difference with me and him is that I lift heavy 5 days a week and have tennis as my cardio. 361g of my RF 97 is nothing to me and I could easily hit with it for 3 sets without getting fatigued. Also using good technique helps with the weight, if you let the racquet do most of the work and use the kinetic chain/wrist lag to pull it through, you're using the weight as a benefit.

Sort of, with a stick like the RF97, it's not about surviving lifting it up and swinging it, it's not a bench press goal or something similar. It's more, does the player, the rec player, play 5 times a week almost every week of the year for the past 10 years plus? That's an exaggeration. But, really the question is can the player wrist lag the RF97 closer to the racket head speed of a 5.0 or college player than not with the RF97 or does the swing sloooooowwwww down. If not, why use it? Why not use something 10-20 grams lighter with less SW. I'd still throw a blade in the hands of a 6'5 guy or a regular pro staff if they were partial to Wilson and relatively new to the game.
The heavy in tennis is fast twitch muscle, racket head speed, and hand eye coordination and not really "can I lift it", so to speak.
True, but as we've stated before I think there comes a point where you can have too much racquet head speed that it'll be a detriment. Also not every 5.0+ or college player has the same swing speed, depends totally on their game, body type, swing path, etc... but yes I would definitely throw a blade or clash in a a beginners hands before an RF97 if they haven't already chosen an RF97. Now if you see someone just completely struggling with a heavier racquet such as an RF97 then obviously at that point they're just either in denial or don't want to spend money on another racquet.

As far as weight on racquets, you're right it's not about "can I lift it", everyone can lift an RF97, it's about how it affects your game and can you survive using it for 3 sets that each set go to a tie break and it's hot outside. Stamina is a big deal and if your game starts breaking down mid set 2 or even set 3... the racquet is no benefit to you, go lighter.
 

Puyo

New User
Very interesting topic. Clearly recreational players overestimate our capabilities and racket builders do their thing through marketing.
I am 56 years old, I have been playing since my childhood, I play in the Argentine league, on clay.
I learned with wooden rackets, went on to PS 6.1, Dunlop 200GMW, Yonex DR98 and now Blade104 V8.
I was accompanying the age with the racket. Control is also having a greater sweet spot when the legs are not as fast.
Looking at ATP Players rackets is wishful thinking, hopefully with WTA Players.
But the key is still: 1) Technique, 2) physical condition, 3) strings, 4) racket, and above all: the mind.
 

Slicehand

Hall of Fame
If you buy a racquet based on the paint job, what are the chances that it is the racquet that best suits your strokes?
 

naturalexponent

Professional
Although in general we could all use help from our racquets I also don't think we need to be scared away from using the racquets we enjoy. Before TW reviews used to trend so positively toward liking new racquets, a lot of older reviews for players frames had the gist of "this is so demanding and unforgiving" and it scared me away for the longest time, pushing me to lighter, oversize frames. Tennis didn't really "click" for me until I took the plunge and used heavier player frames. Having gone through my own journey of seeing what does and doesn't work for me, I can now make better decisions but I needed to get the experience and data first.
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
Sort of, with a stick like the RF97, it's not about surviving lifting it up and swinging it, it's not a bench press goal or something similar. It's more, does the player, the rec player, play 5 times a week almost every week of the year for the past 10 years plus? That's an exaggeration. But, really the question is can the player wrist lag the RF97 closer to the racket head speed of a 5.0 or college player than not with the RF97 or does the swing sloooooowwwww down. If not, why use it? Why not use something 10-20 grams lighter with less SW. I'd still throw a blade in the hands of a 6'5 guy or a regular pro staff if they were partial to Wilson and relatively new to the game.
The heavy in tennis is fast twitch muscle, racket head speed, and hand eye coordination and not really "can I lift it", so to speak.
What are you even talking about? He can use anything he wants. He's new. I played with a 13 ounce Prince Woodie when I was 8. I didn't care about wrist lag then. I was new to the sport.
He is new as well, and 12 ounces of stick is the same as 11 or 10. Only 12 ounces will cause less injuries at his level.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
What are you even talking about? He can use anything he wants. He's new. I played with a 13 ounce Prince Woodie when I was 8. I didn't care about wrist lag then. I was new to the sport.
He is new as well, and 12 ounces of stick is the same as 11 or 10. Only 12 ounces will cause less injuries at his level.
Well, I'm trying to have an open discussion of what someone should use as a beginner and keeping with the general idea of this thread topic, do rec players over-estimate their ability when selecting rackets. My answer is certainly some do. That's wonderful, many players started with a wood racket, I think my first at age 4 was some multi-colored wood frame that wasn't an adult stick, but was probably pretty heavy. During my serve and volley years I used a Wilson K88. I also didn't know or care about wrist lag then, but times and games/techniques change and I've changed with them. I know many posters haven't and that's ok, there are quite a few people who mention they started with 13 oz wooden rackets and are trying to keep playing with 13 oz graphite etc. rackets.

He can play with what he wants. If he was my tennis buddy I might steer him toward something less extreme though. I don't think that 12 oz rackets provide a magic shield against injury.

I do think Clash technology or merely flexible frames help prevent injury along with sensible string choice.

A 12 oz stick probably won't cause any issues if someone is new and hits for a few hours a week. Then again neither will a clash or vdm yonex that is lighter. I do think an adult who uses a 12 oz stick and god forbid is a beginner and uses full poly, which does happen, could injure themselves slowly but surely over years and years of hitting if they were retired and played everyday or more than a few hours a day most of the days of the week.

Anyway, sure he can play with what he wants, but it's over-estimating a beginner's abilities to think an RF97 or any 12 ouncer is giving them a benefit to their tennis development.
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
Well, I'm trying to have an open discussion of what someone should use as a beginner and keeping with the general idea of this thread topic, do rec players over-estimate their ability when selecting rackets. My answer is certainly some do. That's wonderful, many players started with a wood racket, I think my first at age 4 was some multi-colored wood frame that wasn't an adult stick, but was probably pretty heavy. During my serve and volley years I used a Wilson K88. I also didn't know or care about wrist lag then, but times and games/techniques change and I've changed with them. I know many posters haven't and that's ok, there are quite a few people who mention they started with 13 oz wooden rackets and are trying to keep playing with 13 oz graphite etc. rackets.

He can play with what he wants. If he was my tennis buddy I might steer him toward something less extreme though. I don't think that 12 oz rackets provide a magic shield against injury.

I do think Clash technology or merely flexible frames help prevent injury along with sensible string choice.

A 12 oz stick probably won't cause any issues if someone is new and hits for a few hours a week. Then again neither will a clash or vdm yonex that is lighter. I do think an adult who uses a 12 oz stick and god forbid is a beginner and uses full poly, which does happen, could injure themselves slowly but surely over years and years of hitting if they were retired and played everyday or more than a few hours a day most of the days of the week.

Anyway, sure he can play with what he wants, but it's over-estimating a beginner's abilities to think an RF97 or any 12 ouncer is giving them a benefit to their tennis development.
A beginner is a beginner. They will not benefit from any one stick of another as far as development. But as far as injury, the less shock that reaches your body, the less chances of injury for a beginner.
 

AlecG

New User
Pain prevention is important, but I bet you'd progress, if you want to, more quickly with a normal length racket with a swing weight more close to 320. As you said handling the extra weight isn't that big of a deal, and conversely focusing on your technique you use with the heavy weight and applying it to a more normal-ish racket weight would give you more tennis variety and raise your ceiling of play. Juts have to use the same pain-free technique that the heavy racket forces you to use with a slightly less beefy racket.
"Just have to use the same pain-free technique that the heavy racket forces you to use with a slightly less beefy racket. "

I don't think this is accurate. A heavier racquet has greater momentum & inertia & is therefore more resistant to the force of the ball on the racquet. That means that the force on your arm when the racquet makes contact with the ball is greater with a lighter racquet. This is just physics. Of course, something like loosening my grip a bit could help, but it's already pretty lose to the point that it has slipped out of my hands at least once. If anything, I'm gripping even loser on a lighter racquet, but getting more pain. Not everything is about technique.

Imagine someone throws a huge beach ball at you very fast. You can either block it by holding up a heavy ball or a light ball in it's path. The two balls are equal in size & hardness. The heavier ball;s greater inertia will result in less of the beach ball's momentum passing into your hand & elbow & more of that energy being reflected back in the opposite direction, assuming you use the same technique for both. All else being equal, technique will also make a difference, and the lighter object might actually be easier to grip softer, but you can only grip a racquet so softly before it comes flying out of your hand & the heavier racquets seem to reduce pain despite the fact I'm forced to grip them tighter if anything.

The racquet length is a trickier decision, because that has a bigger impact on maneuverability while also forcing me to use a lower weight. It's possible that in the long run 27" would actually be better, but then again, arguably the two best players & severs at my height used 28" or 27.75" racquets.
 
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FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
"Just have to use the same pain-free technique that the heavy racket forces you to use with a slightly less beefy racket. "

I don't think this is accurate. A heavier racquet has greater momentum & inertia & is therefore more resistant to the force of the ball on the racquet. That means that the force on your arm when the racquet makes contact with the ball is greater with a lighter racquet. This is just physics. Of course, something like loosening my grip a bit could help, but it's already pretty lose to the point that it has slipped out of my hands at least once. If anything, I'm gripping even loser on a lighter racquet, but getting more pain. Not everything is about technique.

Imagine someone throws a huge beach ball at you very fast. You can either block it by holding up a heavy ball or a light ball in it's path. The two balls are equal in size & hardness. The heavier ball;s greater inertia will result in less of the beach ball's momentum passing into your hand & elbow & more of that energy being reflected back in the opposite direction, assuming you use the same technique for both. All else being equal, technique will also make a difference, and the lighter object might actually be easier to grip softer, but you can only grip a racquet so softly before it comes flying out of your hand & the heavier racquets seem to reduce pain despite the fact I'm forced to grip them tighter if anything.

The racquet length is a trickier decision, because that has a bigger impact on maneuverability while also forcing me to use a lower weight. It's possible that in the long run 27" would actually be better, but then again, arguably the two best players & severs at my height used 28" or 27.75" racquets.
Well, if you are a beginner whatever ball you are hitting isn't going to wreck your arm with vibrations and flexible rackets absorb mostly all of it, even more than heavier stiffer frames. In addition, lighter rackets these days can be thicker beamed to provide more stability and less force. However, tennis and golfer's elbow aren't vibrations, they are arm movement technique issues. Unless someone is using a Pure Drive and Poly strings that they only restring once per year (ie dead poly in a stiff racket). And the ball in tennis is always a tiny tiny little light beach ball that is hit with a racket that has varying beam widths, vibration absorbing technology and strings, so I get the general idea of physics in your example, yes, but it doesn't translate 1 : 1 to tennis as in heavy beach ball : heavy racket.

If you are using extended length because someone your height does, I'd recommend not doing that. If they are pros, they are doing it to get a tiny 2% edge to help beat the top 1% players in the world and can prove through their high abilities that they are actually benefitting from the extra length. And they are skilled enough to avoid any of the cons. If you are intermediate or a beginner, the cons will be much larger than the "pros", if you are actually getting any "pros" at all from the extra length. You also will be increasing the leverage on your joints immensely.
 

Vicious49

Hall of Fame
What are you even talking about? He can use anything he wants. He's new. I played with a 13 ounce Prince Woodie when I was 8. I didn't care about wrist lag then. I was new to the sport.
He is new as well, and 12 ounces of stick is the same as 11 or 10. Only 12 ounces will cause less injuries at his level.
Don't go down the same rabbit hole I did in another thread. He tries to hide it under curiosity 'I was just wondering why . . . ' 'I'm just trying to have a discussion but don't understand . . . ' when in reality he's trying to push whatever weird agenda he has in his mind. He can't swing a heavy racquet so lead is bad and so is anything over 320 SW. He's a troll in sheeps clothing. Best to ignore and move on to the more open minded folks.

I used an RF97 for 3-4 years as a 3.0-3.5 player. I had no idea what RHS or wrist lag was. I just wanted to protect my arm from issues and knew that more mass is one of the things that helps with that.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Don't go down the same rabbit hole I did in another thread. He tries to hide it under curiosity 'I was just wondering why . . . ' 'I'm just trying to have a discussion but don't understand . . . ' when in reality he's trying to push whatever weird agenda he has in his mind. He can't swing a heavy racquet so lead is bad and so is anything over 320 SW. He's a troll in sheeps clothing. Best to ignore and move on to the more open minded folks.

I used an RF97 for 3-4 years as a 3.0-3.5 player. I had no idea what RHS or wrist lag was. I just wanted to protect my arm from issues and knew that more mass is one of the things that helps with that.
Hey now, you're being mean and irrational and as usual making some very extreme conclusions about me as you seem to do about rackets.

I can swing a heavy racket. "I can't swing anything over 320sw?' I used a Wilson K88 for years, that one weighs 363 grams and has a swingweight of 345. I discourage anyone from trying to lead up a racket to those stats ;). I used a pretty heavy prestige in college, not sure what it was but perhaps it was closer to 330 SW than it was to 310 SW.

You can't address me about another thread without explaining what that discussion was, so here it is : You said for all tennis players that anything under 320sw is anemic. Then when I said some college players do currently use rackets under SW320, you seemed to indicate you thought that was impossible. Nothing to get into there, you just never backed off that statement.

I've never been a 3.0-3.5 player, that doesn't make me better than you, I just want you to have some context as to where my tennis background is coming from. I've played with a ton of rackets. I've played since I was around 4 years old.

There is one important factor in the weight of a racket, the ability to move it fast enough to get a good snapback on poly strings. If a player is even using poly or trying to get the benefit of that "tech" which is probably the most significant tennis equipment invention in the past 30 ish years.

I don't think the mass of an RF97 is necessary to protect anyone's elbow from tennis elbow. There's much better ways to prevent that. Using a Clash, any flexible stick, or most Yonex with VDM will do the trick with much more reasonable weights for beginners and people with sensitive joints that can be in other places besides elbows.

Maybe I am delusional and a good example of Dunning Kruger, based on the definition, that's for others to decide.
 

ONgame

Semi-Pro
I went through a period of demoing racquets trying to find "the one" for me, I wasn't selecting anything above my skill level, and I was trying all sorts of racquets, buying some of them, all of them around 320SW, 11.3oz unstrung, none of the offerings from the major brand felt quite right, and the words "control" or "power" or even "quality control" had always been in my mind when playing.
Until I got my hands on a used Angell TC95, even the first few shots during mini tennis warm up with used strings were pure magic....
I've stopped searching since then.
 

AlecG

New User
Tennis and golfer's elbow aren't vibrations, they are arm movement technique issues.
I never said they're caused by vibrations but that doesn't mean it's only my technique issues either. Impact creates forces other than vibrations, and forces can obviously cause damage.

"Tennis elbow is mostly caused by overusing your forearm due to a repetitive or strenuous activity.

If the muscles in your forearm are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow."

Again, technique can reduce strain, but it can't completely eliminate physical forces of the ball hitting the racquet on the elbow, which is more than just a vibration if you're hitting hard enough for long enough. The heavier racquet reduces pain for me & there are obvious physical factors in this other than a heavy racquet improving my technique. What aspect of my technique exactly do you think has been improved by the a heavier racquet? Regardless, even if it has improved my technique, I'm certain you don't have any evidence to support your assumption that these non-technique physical factors I mentioned aren't at play also.

If you are using extended length because someone your height does, I'd recommend not doing that. ... If you are intermediate or a beginner, the cons will be much larger than the "pros", if you are actually getting any "pros" at all from the extra length. You also will be increasing the leverage on your joints immensely.
I never said I'm doing it because someone my height does. I was simply pointing out that it doesn't prevent someone from getting to a very high level, especially at my height, which suggests it proabbly doesn't prevent one from improving as much as you suggested. But that's not why I use it. I use it because I prefer it at the moment for the reasons I already stated. It allows me greater reach & I get more power & it has reduced pain in my arm, and I can always just move my hand further up the handle when I want more less power or more maneuverability. The claim that the cons will outweight the pros for me personally seems to be pure speculation & I really doubt that your claim that it "will be increasing the leverage on your joints immensely" is based on a solid understanding the physics. Again some simple thought experiments should make that obvious. Hitting something with the end of a long stick will cause less force on your hand than hitting it with the same force with a much shorter stick. A longer lever increases force in the opposite direction but decreases the force on the fulcrum.

Maybe I will switch back to a shorter racquet at some point, but for now I'm happy with it & I feel like I'm improving quite fast which is all more important than your speculation.
 
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socallefty

Legend
No reason for people to be fixated on weight/mass being the only spec that reduces risk of injury. The racquet’s vibration frequency spec has a very good correlation to how good it is at preventing injury. If you play with softer strings, thinner gauges, lower tensions etc. and cut poly out by the time it goes dead, you will likely protect your arm nicely with just about any racquet. As long as you don’t play with a racquet with crazy specs (stiffness RA>72, VF>155 Hz, beam width >27mm, weight <10.5 ozs or >13.5 ozs, SW >360 etc.) combined with stiff strings, you are probably OK.

It you have more linear strokes, you might want a heavier racquet as heavier mass might give you more power. If you have more modern strokes, you can play with the majority of racquets that are made currently as racquet head speed (RHS) might be more important to you. Just think of the combo of racquet/string/tension and age of stringjob holistically in terms of its impact on your arm/elbow/shoulder and not just the racquet. If you are an undersized guy, you might want to play with a lighter racquet than a stronger, well-built player.
 
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AlecG

New User
No reason for people to be fixated on weight/mass being the only spec that reduces risk of injury.
I don't think anyone here suggested that it's the only spec that reduces risk. I use low tension on my strings & that also helps, but it doesn't help when I accidentally hit the balls with the frame. Heavier racquets have helped with that tremendously.

What's the evidence that "The racquet’s vibration frequency spec has a very good correlation to how good it is at preventing injury."? & where do I even find that spec? Although I'm curious, it doesn't change the fact that heavier racquets have consistently been better for me without even looking at the vibration specs.
 

socallefty

Legend
What's the evidence that "The racquet’s vibration frequency spec has a very good correlation to how good it is at preventing injury."?
What do you think causes arm/shoulder/elbow injuries when playing tennis if not the vibrations from ball impact? The VF quantifies the effect of that.

 

AlecG

New User
What do you think causes arm/shoulder/elbow injuries when playing tennis if not the vibrations from ball impact?

If we're talking pain or injury that occurs at the moment of impact from the impact, obviously the force of the racquet on the arm caused by the force of the ball on the racquet is much more than just vibration. It's a bit weird to have to explain this, but it's the same principle as when you hit anything with anything. If you punch a wall (edit: or a racquet head), do you think it's mostly the vibrations of the wall (edit: or the racquet head) that hurt your fist?

On the other hand, some injuries like most shoulder issues & some wrist issues are caused by the movement of the body itself, which could actually be made worse by a heavier racquet.

This is why I suggested you might want to choose racquet weight largely based on the type of pain you experience most.
 
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socallefty

Legend
If you punch a wall, do you think it's mostly the vibration that hurts your fist?
Are you hitting the ball with the frame or the strings? The physics has more to do with inter-action between the ball and a strung tool rather than blunt force trauma like hitting a wall with a fist. If this is not obvious to you, I am not sure if it is worth posting back and forth with you.

I agree that on overhead motions like the serve, the weight of the frame can also cause repetitive injuries to be exacerbated. Too much weight can hurt you especially if your serve technique is not great and your shoulder muscles are not well-developed.
 

AlecG

New User
The physics has more to do with inter-action between the ball and a strung tool rather than blunt force trauma like hitting a wall with a fist.
This is a false dichotomy. The difference here is just softness, but not the fundamental principle of blunt force trauma. The force on your body is much weaker due to the softness of strings & tennis balls, but it's the same principle. It's still going to be a much greater force than the vibrations. And I'd say if THAT's not obvious to you, it's definitely not worth posting back and forth.
 

Blahovic

Professional
I would say it goes in reverse too, where people think there's a big difference between how they play depending on the racquet when the reality is their game is nowhere near fine-tuned enough for a different racquet to have a meaningful difference in how they play, whether it's more powerful and more controlled.
 

bnjkn

Semi-Pro
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.
I agree with this. If the pain is related to the impact, it makes sense to me that a heavier racquet will protect your arm.

If you are really competitive and play long matches, and match performance is really important for you, I understand that racquet specs (including weight) can get crucial. But that's not my case either. In my case I feel like getting in proper shape, improving technique and avoiding TE are so much more important, that the specific racquet that I'm using seems a minor thing.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
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.
I hit with someone who was running me all around the court yesterday. He was hitting a lot of winners from the baseline too. Part of the reason was that I was hitting the ball back to him which I typically do in practice. This sort of practice has me improving form and footwork and thinking about it. The thing is that he was gassed after 45 minutes though our session was 90 minutes. My racquet is 13.25 ounces with a swingweight of 386 and I've been using them since 2011 so am well used to them. A lot of tennis is what you get used to. I went with these as I had a severe arm injury and was scared to go stiff or light. The fears may be overblown but being out for six months does that to you.

The newer tech might be a lot better but it's a lot of work to test and change frames.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
This is a false dichotomy. The difference here is just softness, but not the fundamental principle of blunt force trauma. The force on your body is much weaker due to the softness of strings & tennis balls, but it's the same principle. It's still going to be a much greater force than the vibrations. And I'd say if THAT's not obvious to you, it's definitely not worth posting back and forth.
I can hit the ball anywhere on my racquet or strings and I don't get bad vibrations. I think that's to be expected with racquets over 13 ounces. I used to play with 17 ounce racquets and you didn't feel much of anything hitting the ball with those things.

I also think that wristbands have an impact on comfort. I think that they weigh about 0.7 ounces dry.
 

AlecG

New User
I would say it goes in reverse too, where people think there's a big difference between how they play depending on the racquet when the reality is their game is nowhere near fine-tuned enough for a different racquet to have a meaningful difference in how they play, whether it's more powerful and more controlled.
I think this is half-true. Once you're *very used* to a given racquet, with loads of muscle memory on that one racquet & little experience using different racquets, it can be hard to change, even if you're not that great of a player or have only being playing for a couple of years. But it's mostly just that people play better with what they are used to, rather than the newer racquet being inherently worse for them.
 
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Blahovic

Professional
I think this is half-true. Once you're *very used* to a given racquet, with loads of muscle memory on that one racquet & no experience using different racquets, it can be hard to change, even if you're not that great of a player or have only being playing for a couple of years. But it's mostly just that people play better with what they are used to, rather than the newer racquet being inherently worse for them.
Yup I agree with that but as you say it's more about being used to the racquet than it is about the characteristics of the racquet they're using. If they switched racquets they'd be the same player once they got used to the new racquet.
 

Casper777

Semi-Pro
That's why I recently too the tough decision to switch back from the Pure Strike 16x19 (98) to the Pure Strike 100...

:(
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Yup I agree with that but as you say it's more about being used to the racquet than it is about the characteristics of the racquet they're using. If they switched racquets they'd be the same player once they got used to the new racquet.
The question is does the rec player make game changes to maximize the use of new tech? I think not in most cases.

Federer made the changes to his game with the RF97 but it's probably a painful process for rec players.
 

Vicious49

Hall of Fame
I think this is half-true. Once you're *very used* to a given racquet, with loads of muscle memory on that one racquet & little experience using different racquets, it can be hard to change, even if you're not that great of a player or have only being playing for a couple of years. But it's mostly just that people play better with what they are used to, rather than the newer racquet being inherently worse for them.
Once you get to a certain level (not necessarily a very high level) you can use pretty much any racquet, expecially if the specs are similar. You'll be fine on 95% of your shots. It's that last 5% where you need to develop familiarity with the new frame to feel fully confident with it and the reason a lot of people are hesitant to change.
 

Moonarse

Semi-Pro
From a Guy that is right in the middle of a racket path crisis between a six one 18x20 and a Aeropro GT (Attacking the net game style with volley beeing my best weapon vs short fast way to whippy forehand dillema) after 3 years of Aeropro I can pretty much assure that any racket can fit and be played in any style of play.

But I do need to state that the first "flat starts" hitting some balls with the Six one after 3 years of Aeropro it was a massive "SO THIS IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT CONTROL".
 

Fairhit

Professional
Once you get to a certain level (not necessarily a very high level) you can use pretty much any racquet, expecially if the specs are similar. You'll be fine on 95% of your shots. It's that last 5% where you need to develop familiarity with the new frame to feel fully confident with it and the reason a lot of people are hesitant to change.
You're absolutely right.

I can play with any frame and be somewhat efficient with it within the first minutes of warming but I need time to dial in volleys and touch shots, everything else falls into place much quicker.
 

slipgrip93

Professional
Being not young now, I started out with a pro kennex 85 of some kind that was probably at 12+ ounces. I think in the 90's until the mid 00's most rec and (male?) players in general played with the racquets then that were close to or over 12 ounces. Then after poly was introduced throughout the mid 00's and early 10's the racquet manufacturers perhaps had advances in material and precision mold layering tech such as Wilson's BLX and Head's graphene where racquets kept getting lighter significantly among the men's until the lower general weight 'standard' and thicker beam today (compared to the 12,13+ oz wooden and early graphite racquets).

After over a decade hiatus, or rather having given up, I went back to tennis and picked up the 2014 ps 85 reissue. I'd played lousy with it with a lot of bad habits, compared to 3.5's and 4.0's often humbled by them with my lack of consistency though I could occasionally pass them with my 1hbh and had decent footspeed.

I can swing a heavy racket. "I can't swing anything over 320sw?' I used a Wilson K88 for years, that one weighs 363 grams and has a swingweight of 345. I discourage anyone from trying to lead up a racket to those stats ;).
Looking for a new racquet in 2020, and not finding a k90 in good condition at the time on the bay, I picked up on the offer of $200 for a preserved never strung kps88! still with the original packaging. I was like what the heck, where I still wanted a wilson thin oldschool beam and felt it was better for my 1hbh. And yeah, it was sore the first six months. I took collagen pills, continued my weights workouts, (past gym then at home) pushups weekly, etc., and the tennis elbow pain was eventually fixed over or my arm adjusted to it.

My kps 88 is currently at 390g, swingweight maybe in the 340's. Along with the good point about trying different strings mentioned, also what really helped and I'd suggest, for those finding the rf97, kps88, ps85, or other "heavier" racquets uncomfortably weighty on swing, is to add weighted tape to the handle buttcap end! as well as a bit to the 12 o'clock if needed to help with the so-called "recoil weight and reaction" or improved pendular feel on swing. It can make the racquet have an effectively lower swingweight, as well as making it more headlight. But just experimenting doing this can make a tremendous difference in swing feel. So now my kps88 for me is a lot smoother on swing not feeling as much like swinging a log, and 50% of my swing generation is from the core and legs, then my arm and wrist ("lag") carries over to attempt to add the RHS on follow through. And it's much more fun to swing now compared to when I first got it, and better able to utilize the k88's touted strengths on volleys, and a solid 1hbh drive or with "flicking" for some TS.

Yes, I tried other secondhand racquets in the last few years, and have a prostaff six one 95 blx (probably the lightest ps wilson ever made) at 335g strung, and ~311 swingweight, plus I'd added some tape to give it a bit more plow and stability. I'd learned to string racquets on a klippermate for over a year too trying different strings and stringjobs. I also got a steam 100 blx (318g) as a collectible, so I can feel the marked difference where the lighter racquets swing almost like cardboard paper compared to my kps88, but I have them as alternates.

It's also embarrassing for me looking back now, where my stroke fundamentals had improved in the past year greatly compared to my decades of lingering bad habits, from learning and practicing from good yt videos and tips here on ttw, where I can swing the old ps85 reissue much better now, so that imo further affirms what's said here about better solid technique can better overcome some racquet differences.
 
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Strayfire

Rookie
Sure, my racquet is too advanced for me, but it lets me play full multifilament which means I can keep playing tennis with my bad technique and poor vision during Winter where mishits would otherwise hurt.

The strings snap at the 3 month mark instead of the 1 month mark because of the 18x20 pattern.



Sure I'm leaving performance on the table. Does it matter? I'm a rec player. It's more important I stay fit from tennis than anything else.
 

naturalexponent

Professional
Sure, my racquet is too advanced for me, but it lets me play full multifilament which means I can keep playing tennis with my bad technique and poor vision during Winter where mishits would otherwise hurt.

The strings snap at the 3 month mark instead of the 1 month mark because of the 18x20 pattern.



Sure I'm leaving performance on the table. Does it matter? I'm a rec player. It's more important I stay fit from tennis than anything else.
That fraying is wild!
 

Kevo

Legend
The strings snap at the 3 month mark instead of the 1 month mark because of the 18x20 pattern.
That's awesome. I love the feel of a good yonex player's frame with a soft multi. I played the RDX 500 for a while and used 850 Pro. Was a sweet setup. I eventually moved on looking for other things from my frame thinking it would help my game, but I really liked that setup. I eventually left multis too because of durability issues and now I am back to playing something that feels pretty similar in my estimation after all these years, but I'm using a soft frame and poly strings. Still feels sweet and the strings last a lot longer. I recommend soft multis to people fairly often though. If you don't break strings regularly, there are some really nice multis out there that feel great when hitting.
 

Rosstour

Legend
Correct or talking rubbish?
A bit of both

My game was nice with the Warrior, lots of power and spin but in pressure situations I would make lots of mistakes. Shanks, flutters, and mis-hits were the norm and would drive me absolutely crazy.

When I switched to the TF40, the errors disappeared. The racquet is more neutral, so less whippy. That cut down on the shanks and wild misses.

It also has a thinner beam. Again, that cut down on the shanks. The smaller head size is more stable, cutting down on the fluttering...and the heavier weight gives me more plow, again cutting down on fluttering and whipping.

So with a racquet that gave me more consistency and repeatability, and was less powerful and wild...I found myself getting less frustrated and angry on the court. I could also swing out more consistently instead of having to "dial it back" on big points

Everyone's game is different, and I'm of the opinion that you should play with a racquet that addresses your weaknesses. In my case, that was control (power and especially spin were never an issue for me, but control and placement always were).
 

DHClark76

New User
YES... speaking as a beginner... yes, many of us do overestimate. It's part of the learning process and is not inherently a good or bad thing so much as something naturally likely to happen as part of the development process. Here's my take and experience as an overestimating beginner:

I re-discovered my love for tennis last year in my mid-40s when my kids joined the HS tennis team. I hadn't played since my early 20s and while I played a lot in my early teens and 20s, I never had lessons or played any formal competitions, just lots of pick-up games with my friends. I was actually told by multiple friends who did play competitively that I was actually a pretty good player with potential, at least for someone who had no real technique and didn't look very athletic or graceful in any of my athletic effort. So while I'm probably not a pure beginner I definitely consider myself a re-beginner or an advanced novice. But when I decided last spring that I wanted to start playing again, I needed a new racquet so, I did what I new enthusiasts do and I shopped for a new toy... and I tried a lot of 'em. But, because I grew up playing with heavier and smaller mid-size racquets and that's what i was most familiar and comfortable with, I mostly demo'd heavier sticks before settling on the RED Prestige MP. For whatever reason, after demoing lots of racquets, that's the one I kept coming back to. Was it a good choice? Yes and no... did I overestimate my preparedness to utilitize that stick with consistent skill and ability...YUP! Now...despite that fact...I also actually really enjoyed hitting with that racquet last season. I enjoyed the challenge it posed and the fact that it demanded a lot of discipline and would not allow me to be lazy. That said... I not only overestimated my ability to handle that racquet consistently with the speed and self-generated power the racquet demands... I think it wasn't necessarily hastening my rate of development in any significant way... at least in terms of net gains (no pun intended). So... this season, after playing with it as my primary racquet, I realized there were probably better choices out there... better relative to my technique and skill level, but also relative to my fitness level and current playing style as a 45 year old who struggles with weight and my fitness level. So, this season I decided I had enough time to get an more honest analysis of where I was at and that I was ready to try something that was better suited to my skill and fitness level, as well as my current playing style.

Reading some of these comments (not all or even most, but enough) it's clear some of you old-timers on here, and even some of you mid-timers here don't really fully and adequately remember what it was like to be a true beginner in the sport. That's not a criticism, once a certain degree of knowledge is obtained ad ignorance is abolished it's very difficult to remember what it was like being ignorant. But because of that... you at least need to remember that allowing beginners to overestimate themselves isn't necessarily a bad thing or even all that harmful in the long run, as long as the person is capable of learning from their mistakes before they get so frustrated that they quit altogether. For you beginners our there (in tennis or in anything), as long as during your development and evolution you are honest in your self-assessment and pay close attention to what's working, for you and what isn't... and then as long as you adapt as a result. It's ok to overestimate yourself a bit. Because really, you don't know enough to accurately esimtate yourself, any way. In my case, I really did enjoy hitting with the Prestige MP this last year... still do... but my expectations have changed. I realized when I started playing this season, that I enjoyed being able to play longer matches and that to do that I needed a racquet that provides a little more leeway and help. So, I don't regret picking the Prestige because it revealed a lot about where I was really, technique and skill-wise but also fitness-wise. It also did help me improve but more importantly revealed the areas where I was gonna take longer to improve than I anticipate. So, once I realized all that, I made moves to switch to a racquet that is a little more dialed into where I'm at while still not letting me completely slack.

Last note though... the fun part of being a beginner in anything is the discovery and the experimentation. Some days what makes playing fun is really dialing in your swing with your "main" racquet. But somedays, what keeps things fun is just trying new things I still try new racquets because like driving different types of cars, trying different racquets is just fun...I try old ones, new ones, pretty ones, ugly ones... just because it's fun.
 
I've always bought racquets of similar specs....300g 25mm or so beam, 100in headsize. Basically like prince warrior 100 range. Tweener racquet.

Then thought I could play with a speed pro at 310g. I could but it always took more prep and concentration and effort and didn't give much to my game. Nothing noticeable to me at least. Then I tried 285g speed elite racquet and it felt too light and whippy. Ended up adding weight to bring it up to 300g in the end.

So now I just stick to 300g tweener frames
 
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