Do rackets wear out?

Shaggy

New User
Thread title pretty much says it all.

Have a Head Speed Pro. Graphene 360 version (from 2018, I think). Play 3-4 times a week. Use cyclone black 16 @ 50lbs. Have it restrung every couple of months (usually it'll start to feel "dead" right before it needs new strings).

Last few times I've gotten it back from the stringer, even with the new strings it feels like a dead plank when I hit the ball. And the longer it goes on the worse it gets. Recently, I'm having a hugely hard time getting good depth on my shots and especially returns. I'm also missing a ton of feel shots, which is normally a strong point for me. Plus I'm starting to get pain in my wrist and elbow again which I haven't had since I switched to the Speed originally (which was... I don't know, a long time ago... the egg shaped IG version if that helps).

Its probably worth adding that I don't baby my rackets. They see some minor abuse from time to time, but I'm also not a serial abuser.

I know that bad technique can cause these problems, but as far as I know, I haven't changed anything. My technique, for what it's worth isn't textbook Federer beautiful, but it's not terrible either.

The reason I'm suspecting the racket is that it feels so much different than it used to.

I know there are guys who have proudly played with the Prince Original Graphite for the past 25 years without problems. And that's cool for them. Maybe I'm not one of those guys though.

Anyway, thoughts?
 
Yes. Apparently every year when something newer, more powerful, better control, easier on the arm, etc is made (or at least marketed). In all seriousness, it can become softer after many stringings and if you play with it often enough. But, it could still be a very playable racket for your entire lifetime.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Unless you play every day for 3-4 hours with the same racquet for 10 years straight, it does not usually wear out unless you hit the frame and crack it! Changing the bummer guard and handgrips every few years and you are good to go for another 25 years!
 
I know there are guys who have proudly played with the Prince Original Graphite for the past 25 years without problems. And that's cool for them. Maybe I'm not one of those guys though.
YUP! The cool thing is people keep giving me ones that have been collecting dust in their closets. One guy gave me 3 OZ, one brand new with the grip wrapper still on--saving them for my old age when I may need some more oomp--don't know if I'll ever get to them my Tour 90's never wear out even without tape to protect the head.
 

Shaggy

New User
My bad. I'm already starting to feel this is one of those topics that divides families and ends friendships, which was not my intention at all.

I can totally be convinced that the need to change rackets is all psychological, but the pain in my wrist and elbow is very real, and I've got to put an end to it. So, whether or not the racket has another 20 years of life left in it, it's definitely time for me to make a change.

PS> Anyone know how to delete a thread?
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
If you have just one racket and you have been hitting with it 3-4 times a week for over three years, I would say it’s time to replace it. However, you should also consider other sources for your injury. It could be tendon fatigue, possibly the strings should be strung lower, or change to something easier on the arm. Maybe your stringer changed something in his technique and the DT is higher.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
it sounds like its coming back from the stringer at a higher tension. i would suspect that before i would suspect the frame stiffening from wear. its also possible your grommets are worn out.
 
I can totally be convinced that the need to change rackets is all psychological
Yup! check with a competent pro who understands proper technique (good luck on finding one) and have him examine your strokes for a likely cause. "It's (usually) not the violin, it's the violinist."
 

Shaggy

New User
May have left some vital information out trying to not write a novel of a post.

I have two rackets. Same model. Same generation. Weight and balance matched. I rotate between them every time I play.

Reason I thought it might be the racket is that of the two, one plays and feels absolutely fine... maybe not quite as good as new but close enough. The other feels like something is definitely wrong. It used to play and feel great just like the other one. Now, when I hit the ball I'm getting major zings in my arm, almost like I'm playing with an Aero Pro strung at 60lbs, but the ball reacts like it's been hit with a frying pan. When I started to feel like something was different, I did mark them so I'd know which was which. As far as it being mis-strung, the problem has persisted through two stringings. The same guy has been stringing my rackets for about 10 years. Always remembers me. Same string, same tension every time. Rackets have always been perfectly strung before. Sure, it's totally possible even the best stringer could have a bad day and do the wrong tension. But probably not on the same racket out of two, in exactly the same wrong way, twice in a row.

As for bad technique, totally get what you're saying. Like it said in the OP, I'm not a model player and my form isn't perfect. But it seems illogical that I would only have form so terrible that it physically hurts on the days that I'm using one of two mostly identical rackets.

At any rate, I think I just convinced myself while I was writing this that whether or not the racket is or isn't officially "worn out," the important thing is that to me it really feels like something isn't right with it and I need to replace it before I hurt myself bad enough that I have to go back to PT. Which, in the end will be more expensive than a new racket anyway.
 

Ultra 2

Professional
Graphite/aramid/Kevlar fused with epoxy breaks down after use. Kevlar vests need to be changed out every 3 years (?). I would imagine the same thing happens of racquet frames. Lots of guys liking aged frames on here for their aged sticks with softer RA. Like fine wine..
 
Have you considered changing your strings to a synthetic? Even going to a 15L for durability could help your pain. I've strung for people that were about to give up tennis due to arm pain and convinced them to try something like Gamma TNT2 15L at a higher tension and they got rid of the pain. It may not be the racket at all.
 

BlueB

Legend
Graphite/aramid/Kevlar fused with epoxy breaks down after use. Kevlar vests need to be changed out every 3 years (?). I would imagine the same thing happens of racquet frames. Lots of guys liking aged frames on here for their aged sticks with softer RA. Like fine wine..
Kevlar vests are just woven thread, not laminated like composite products. Since it's not UV stable when directly exposed, and vest has to be to military standard, it's changed often.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
May have left some vital information out trying to not write a novel of a post.

I have two rackets. Same model. Same generation. Weight and balance matched. I rotate between them every time I play.

Reason I thought it might be the racket is that of the two, one plays and feels absolutely fine... maybe not quite as good as new but close enough. The other feels like something is definitely wrong. It used to play and feel great just like the other one. Now, when I hit the ball I'm getting major zings in my arm, almost like I'm playing with an Aero Pro strung at 60lbs, but the ball reacts like it's been hit with a frying pan. When I started to feel like something was different, I did mark them so I'd know which was which. As far as it being mis-strung, the problem has persisted through two stringings. The same guy has been stringing my rackets for about 10 years. Always remembers me. Same string, same tension every time. Rackets have always been perfectly strung before. Sure, it's totally possible even the best stringer could have a bad day and do the wrong tension. But probably not on the same racket out of two, in exactly the same wrong way, twice in a row.

As for bad technique, totally get what you're saying. Like it said in the OP, I'm not a model player and my form isn't perfect. But it seems illogical that I would only have form so terrible that it physically hurts on the days that I'm using one of two mostly identical rackets.

At any rate, I think I just convinced myself while I was writing this that whether or not the racket is or isn't officially "worn out," the important thing is that to me it really feels like something isn't right with it and I need to replace it before I hurt myself bad enough that I have to go back to PT. Which, in the end will be more expensive than a new racket anyway.
I think you have just answered your own question. If you have two identical rackets strung the same and one plays differently then there is no point in looking further. Now, as to why is it playing differently, I guess it has become softer due to some manufacturing defects and thus you are forced to hit harder with it to compensate.
 
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