Does more pocketing always=more comfort?

ashridge

Semi-Pro
In my on-going quest to find a string/racquet combination that will "bridge the gap" between comfort and performance, I've recently made an interesting observation. Last Summer I made the purchase of 2 Prince 03 Speedport Black racquets because I had demo'd one a friend had, with Prince Tour XP poly in it at very low tension, and both the performance and the comfort were impressive. The ball pocketing feel was amazing. Thinking it was likely the racquet, rather than the string, that was the source of the pocketing, I was eager to try out a number of different string experiments. What I found in my experiments was that that amazing ball pocketing feel wasn't present in the other experiments in the same way that it was, specifically, with Tour XP (formerly Prince Beast) string. Including in some other poly's, like Tourna BHB7 (strung at the same exact tension). So, my conclusion changed to it being the *combo* of that racquet and that string (Tour XP) that provided that feel. I strung it at 37x33, by the way. Great spin, great control, great connection to the ball, and great comfort at least until the mains started notching heavily.

Fast forward a few months. I was frustrated that I wasn't getting the same comfort with other high performance string set-ups that I was getting with the Tour XP in that racquet. So I decided to demo a Prince Phantom Pro 100p, and liked it so much that I bought one. I've had it for about 4 months now, and I have to say that almost any string combination I put in that racquet (and I've tried a number now) has a pretty nice ball pocketing feel. Very different racquet than the 03 Speedport Black. More plowthrough, heavier, and much lower RA rating. I decided to try Prince Tour XP poly string in the Pro 100p at the same exact tension (37x33) as I had it at in the 03 Speedport Black, assuming that the pocketing feel would be at least as good, if not better. Well, I was wrong. There is some pocketing feel, but it isn't nearly as obvious and pronounced with that string in the Pro 100p as it was in the 03 Speedport Black. The performance is about the same between the 2 racquets with Tour XP strung at the exact same tension, but the pocketing is better in the 03 Speedport Black, and I felt that the *arm comfort* of that set-up in the Speedport Black was also superior to the Pro 100p. That perplexed me, given that the stiffness/RA rating of the Speedport is much higher than the Pro 100p, and also that in most set-ups, the Pro 100p has been very comfortable on my arm. And I'm not saying the Tour XP was terrible on my elbow in the Pro 100p, it just wasn't as comfy as the same exact set-up in the Speedport Black. I'm wondering if the difference has to do with the ports in the Speedport Black? I would have been overall extremely pleased with the Tour XP/Speedport set-up IF it hadn't started to lose it's comfy feel after about 2-3 hours of play when the mains started notching noticeably. Performance also started to suffer a little, though it was still "good", just not "great". 2-3 hours for a $9 string set is a little on the low side for me.

I also tried a set of Polyfibre TCS in my Pro 100p, partly because the reviewers talked about the amazing ball pocketing of that string. I didn't find the pocketing to be any better than the Tour XP in the same racquet. I was thinking I should try the TCS in my Speedport racquet and see how it feels. I know that string has a reputation for short life also. I did learn that the TCS is a more powerful string than Tour XP, so definitely would need to string it a little tighter.

Anyway, all of the above to ask, does more ball pocketing feel always equal a more comfortable set-up on the arm?
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
In my on-going quest to find a string/racquet combination that will "bridge the gap" between comfort and performance, I've recently made an interesting observation. Last Summer I made the purchase of 2 Prince 03 Speedport Black racquets because I had demo'd one a friend had, with Prince Tour XP poly in it at very low tension, and both the performance and the comfort were impressive. The ball pocketing feel was amazing. Thinking it was likely the racquet, rather than the string, that was the source of the pocketing, I was eager to try out a number of different string experiments. What I found in my experiments was that that amazing ball pocketing feel wasn't present in the other experiments in the same way that it was, specifically, with Tour XP (formerly Prince Beast) string. Including in some other poly's, like Tourna BHB7 (strung at the same exact tension). So, my conclusion changed to it being the *combo* of that racquet and that string (Tour XP) that provided that feel. I strung it at 37x33, by the way. Great spin, great control, great connection to the ball, and great comfort at least until the mains started notching heavily.

Fast forward a few months. I was frustrated that I wasn't getting the same comfort with other high performance string set-ups that I was getting with the Tour XP in that racquet. So I decided to demo a Prince Phantom Pro 100p, and liked it so much that I bought one. I've had it for about 4 months now, and I have to say that almost any string combination I put in that racquet (and I've tried a number now) has a pretty nice ball pocketing feel. Very different racquet than the 03 Speedport Black. More plowthrough, heavier, and much lower RA rating. I decided to try Prince Tour XP poly string in the Pro 100p at the same exact tension (37x33) as I had it at in the 03 Speedport Black, assuming that the pocketing feel would be at least as good, if not better. Well, I was wrong. There is some pocketing feel, but it isn't nearly as obvious and pronounced with that string in the Pro 100p as it was in the 03 Speedport Black. The performance is about the same between the 2 racquets with Tour XP strung at the exact same tension, but the pocketing is better in the 03 Speedport Black, and I felt that the *arm comfort* of that set-up in the Speedport Black was also superior to the Pro 100p. That perplexed me, given that the stiffness/RA rating of the Speedport is much higher than the Pro 100p, and also that in most set-ups, the Pro 100p has been very comfortable on my arm. And I'm not saying the Tour XP was terrible on my elbow in the Pro 100p, it just wasn't as comfy as the same exact set-up in the Speedport Black. I'm wondering if the difference has to do with the ports in the Speedport Black? I would have been overall extremely pleased with the Tour XP/Speedport set-up IF it hadn't started to lose it's comfy feel after about 2-3 hours of play when the mains started notching noticeably. Performance also started to suffer a little, though it was still "good", just not "great". 2-3 hours for a $9 string set is a little on the low side for me.

I also tried a set of Polyfibre TCS in my Pro 100p, partly because the reviewers talked about the amazing ball pocketing of that string. I didn't find the pocketing to be any better than the Tour XP in the same racquet. I was thinking I should try the TCS in my Speedport racquet and see how it feels. I know that string has a reputation for short life also. I did learn that the TCS is a more powerful string than Tour XP, so definitely would need to string it a little tighter.

Anyway, all of the above to ask, does more ball pocketing feel always equal a more comfortable set-up on the arm?
Its hard to answer such a broad question because there are several sources of pocketing. Like the ports, the flex of the racquet, the sliding of the strings, the mass of the racquet winning the collision (and compressing the ball) and the openness of the stringbed. They all combine. Specifically between those 2 racquets I would say it was mostly the ports and the openness of the pattern. Any port racquet I have used, I could never never get the string bed stiff enough. Even at over 80lbs ports and those power grommets would mess up the stringbed and it was never tight enough. SW is basically the same on both sticks. My HUNCH is that the black is actually a more open pattern. Sure its 16x19 and the Pro is 16x18 but that doesnt mean much and I wouldnt be surprised if you measured say the distance between the middle 8 mains and crosses on both racquets the black would have a slightly longer distance and be a bit more open. Or perhaps you hit more at the tip and one stick is more open there. You know where your wear pattern is so measure at that area on both sticks.

That said my elbow hurt reading that post. 37/33 with oports and sub 60 RAs and its not comfy? Yikes man what is wrong with your elbow? Has it just not healed? What kind of technique are you using?? Do you just play 8 days a week and just wont take a break?? Have you added weight to the sticks? IMHO the best way to make a racquet arm friendly is to up the swingweight as high as you can use and then add a bit more. Put weight at 7" to counterbalance and keep it from getting sluggish. That will help more than any string combo....
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Shroud, I didn't measure between the 2 racquets, but just looking at where I always break strings, the Speedport does appear to have a slightly more open pattern than the Pro 100p. How does that translate to more pocketing?

The weird thing to me is that I tried a lot of different string set-ups in the Speedport (including full multi and gut/poly), and the Tour XP poly at 37x33 was the most comfortable.....*until* the mains started notching significantly (2-3 hours), and then the comfort started to drop noticeably.

My elbow isn't really all that bad compared to what I hear some people talking about on here, i.e. not being able to squeeze something without it hurting, that kind of thing. And for me, I've finally come to the conclusion that it is my elbow joint that is the problem, not the GE and TE tendons. I wore one of those elbow tendon straps every time I played for the last year +, and then decided about a month ago to stop and see what the difference was. No difference at all, so I stopped wearing it. I can play an entire match with my Pro 100p and my elbow will be pretty good at the end as long as I don't hit more than one or two really hard first serves. That is what gives me twinges in the elbow more than anything else. If I stick with sub 90 mph first serves through the match, I'm generally ok after. Problem is, I have a good first serve and it is a weapon and I don't like to hit nothing but sub 90 mph serves. I have excellent stroke technique and play at a 4.5-5.0 level. I do hit a lot of spin on both wings so I give my arm/elbow a good workout, but it's not the groundstrokes that give me elbow twinges, it's only hard first serves, and hard slice serves. I am not overdoing it, I currently am only playing once a week, in my indoor singles league. I have added weight to both sticks, including in the throat. The Pro 100p is definitely more comfortable on my elbow than some stiffer sticks I have owned (and now sold) in the last year, such as the Wilson RF97 and Volkl V-Sense 8 315.

I've about come to the conclusion that to keep my elbow in consistently good health, I may just have to stop hitting hard first serves and try to up my % of 1st serves in to offset losing my harder 1st serves as a weapon.

I was just trying to figure out how there could be less ball pocketing "feel" and comfort with the Pro 100p than the Speedport with that particular Tour XP stringjob at 37x33, given the much lower RA rating on the 100p, and the fact that the 100p has a more natural pocketing feel on just about every *other* stringjob I've tried in it than the Speedport does.
 

Strawbewwy

Rookie
the pocketing and string bed density is like a trampoline. basically, the bigger the square/rectangle, the easier it is for the ball to "sink" into the string bed.

like shroud mentioned, all those variables will contribute to the pocketing feel, and i want to add the beam width in this scenario is rather dramatically different as well.

are you stringing your own racquets? with the prince o3 ports, it's very very easy for anyone to not string to the "desired" tension, most stringers don't even have a basic understanding of simple physics, it's hard to maintain a consistency sometimes.

i always recommend to test racquets with the same string, or test string with the same racquets. testing different strings on different racquets is just asking for more uncertainties.

Try measuring the squares (specifically in the sweet spot area) for both racquets, it's common for older racquets to have a more equally spaced squares throughout the racquet (even towards the outside), while the more modern racquets tend to have a smaller square in the middle/sweetspot while having bigger space on the outside area. I've seen some modern "open" pattern have a tighter square spacing than an older "tight" pattern.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Yes, I do string my own racquets. I understand the Speedport has a much wider beam and is much stiffer (lighter, too). Are the O-Ports and slightly more open pattern enough to overcome those other factors to give it more felt "pocketing" effect than the softer/flexier Phantom Pro 100p? I don't use a string tension app. to check tension after coming off the stringer, so I don't know if the Speedport strung at 37x33 comes off the stringer at a different tension than the Pro 100p strung at the same 37x33 on the same stringer, a simple Gamma dropweight model.

I don't think I can do a more equitable comparison between those 2 racquets than to string the exact same string at the exact same tension on both. That's what I did, and the pocketing on the Speedport was noticeably more, and the comfort was a little better also, though on balance the Pro 100p has been more comfy than the Speedport on my arm with a larger percentage of string experiments I've tried.
 

Kevo

Legend
O ports make those frames feel less stiff than they are. I've hit with a few of them, and I initially liked the feel of a few of them, but didn't quite like they way they played. The tour interested me for a bit, but I didn't get the same in control feel like I did with my PSLs at the time so I didn't try it out for long. I had several friends that played with the speedport black frames, and I liked the way that frame hit, but it was a bit more power than I wanted. Unfortunately that frame had some issues with breaking and I don't know anyone that still plays with it.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Shroud, I didn't measure between the 2 racquets, but just looking at where I always break strings, the Speedport does appear to have a slightly more open pattern than the Pro 100p. How does that translate to more pocketing?

The weird thing to me is that I tried a lot of different string set-ups in the Speedport (including full multi and gut/poly), and the Tour XP poly at 37x33 was the most comfortable.....*until* the mains started notching significantly (2-3 hours), and then the comfort started to drop noticeably.

My elbow isn't really all that bad compared to what I hear some people talking about on here, i.e. not being able to squeeze something without it hurting, that kind of thing. And for me, I've finally come to the conclusion that it is my elbow joint that is the problem, not the GE and TE tendons. I wore one of those elbow tendon straps every time I played for the last year +, and then decided about a month ago to stop and see what the difference was. No difference at all, so I stopped wearing it. I can play an entire match with my Pro 100p and my elbow will be pretty good at the end as long as I don't hit more than one or two really hard first serves. That is what gives me twinges in the elbow more than anything else. If I stick with sub 90 mph first serves through the match, I'm generally ok after. Problem is, I have a good first serve and it is a weapon and I don't like to hit nothing but sub 90 mph serves. I have excellent stroke technique and play at a 4.5-5.0 level. I do hit a lot of spin on both wings so I give my arm/elbow a good workout, but it's not the groundstrokes that give me elbow twinges, it's only hard first serves, and hard slice serves. I am not overdoing it, I currently am only playing once a week, in my indoor singles league. I have added weight to both sticks, including in the throat. The Pro 100p is definitely more comfortable on my elbow than some stiffer sticks I have owned (and now sold) in the last year, such as the Wilson RF97 and Volkl V-Sense 8 315.

I've about come to the conclusion that to keep my elbow in consistently good health, I may just have to stop hitting hard first serves and try to up my % of 1st serves in to offset losing my harder 1st serves as a weapon.

I was just trying to figure out how there could be less ball pocketing "feel" and comfort with the Pro 100p than the Speedport with that particular Tour XP stringjob at 37x33, given the much lower RA rating on the 100p, and the fact that the 100p has a more natural pocketing feel on just about every *other* stringjob I've tried in it than the Speedport does.
Here is a vid that explains it ok. Though he makes the same mistake everyone seems to make in that the string pattern doesnt always indicate which racquet is more open.:


Everyone is different so get out your salt but I had TE and GE pretty much at the same time. If you are talking about the band-it elbow brace which it sounds like you might be because of how it works, then its pretty useless. Said another way, I felt no difference with or without it but still had tendon issues. The serve was an issue for GE for sure. I remember my 1st USTA match right after it got bad...of course you join a league and the elbow flares...and was worried if I could even serve a game. I had bought a light stick and that seemed to really help and while things are heavier now and the elbow is awesome seemed like the weight was an issue with GE, namely deceleration. So what I am saying is that just because the brace doesnt make a difference doesnt necessarily mean there is no issues with the tendons. My 2 cents is to buy something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Wraps-Arms-Thighs-Adjustable/dp/B01KYFI3HM/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1546832181&sr=8-16&keywords=thigh+neoprene+wrap

Wrap the elbow at night not tight at all just enough to make sure it stays in place. I bought some thigh wraps at Target and wrapped everynight to get the blood flowing without cutting off the circulation. That seemed to speed things a ton.

And if you haven't do have a coach check things out on the serve. Heck a quick vid posted in the tips section explaining the elbow issue and asking if there are any technique issues that might have something to do with it, couldnt hurt. Some world class coaches on these boards.

Back to the strings. If you read your posts notching is a big deal as far as comfort. Once it notches it gets harsh. If you read the paper TW did on spin, there is a goldilocks principle IIRC that had to do with tension, snap back and string pattern. IMHO those factors directly relate to comfort, especially snapback if you hit any kind of modern spin. So it looks like you found the goldilocks zone on the Black. Doesnt mean there isnt one on the Pro, but its unlikely it will be at the same tensions as the black...
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
the pocketing and string bed density is like a trampoline. basically, the bigger the square/rectangle, the easier it is for the ball to "sink" into the string bed.

like shroud mentioned, all those variables will contribute to the pocketing feel, and i want to add the beam width in this scenario is rather dramatically different as well.

are you stringing your own racquets? with the prince o3 ports, it's very very easy for anyone to not string to the "desired" tension, most stringers don't even have a basic understanding of simple physics, it's hard to maintain a consistency sometimes.

i always recommend to test racquets with the same string, or test string with the same racquets. testing different strings on different racquets is just asking for more uncertainties.

Try measuring the squares (specifically in the sweet spot area) for both racquets, it's common for older racquets to have a more equally spaced squares throughout the racquet (even towards the outside), while the more modern racquets tend to have a smaller square in the middle/sweetspot while having bigger space on the outside area. I've seen some modern "open" pattern have a tighter square spacing than an older "tight" pattern.
Yes exactly. The string pattern numbers dont mean a whole lot. and I would add that when testing strings do account for the difference in weight. When using different strings even on the same racquets there will always be a different weight even if the racquets were matched before stringing. Best to add lead to compensate.

Interesting point about the beam width. can you explain that? Only reason I can see that affecting things is due to a change in spin window but maybe thats because I played a lot with the profile.
 

Strawbewwy

Rookie
I think the beam thickness affects the way the racquet flexes, which would affect the pocketting, and the flexing on its own would (slightly) impact the energy absorb/return as well since work is transferred to flexing the beam, which would ultimately affect comfort to a degree

the phantom with the 16 to 20mm tapered beam would react differently than the O3 speed (did a quick google, https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Prince_O3_Speedport_Black/descpageRCPRINCE-SP03BK.html shows 23mm / 24mm / 22mm while this page https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/reviews/SP03BK/SP03BKreview.html shows 23-22-22 mm Tapered Beam, don't know which one is right)

in fact i think even if two different racquets with the same beam width, with different material/shape/construction, there would be some slight difference as well, i don't have a O3 but i do have a 93p with the tapered beam which i can vouch for, it's very noticeable about the flexing at throat, at least at stock form. i'm generally a classic, flexy/thin beam lover but i don't find that degree of flexing desirable

that's my thought, or at least with my (limited) knowledge of physics, experts feel free to correct me!
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Here is a vid that explains it ok. Though he makes the same mistake everyone seems to make in that the string pattern doesnt always indicate which racquet is more open.:


Everyone is different so get out your salt but I had TE and GE pretty much at the same time. If you are talking about the band-it elbow brace which it sounds like you might be because of how it works, then its pretty useless. Said another way, I felt no difference with or without it but still had tendon issues. The serve was an issue for GE for sure. I remember my 1st USTA match right after it got bad...of course you join a league and the elbow flares...and was worried if I could even serve a game. I had bought a light stick and that seemed to really help and while things are heavier now and the elbow is awesome seemed like the weight was an issue with GE, namely deceleration. So what I am saying is that just because the brace doesnt make a difference doesnt necessarily mean there is no issues with the tendons. My 2 cents is to buy something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Wraps-Arms-Thighs-Adjustable/dp/B01KYFI3HM/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1546832181&sr=8-16&keywords=thigh+neoprene+wrap

Wrap the elbow at night not tight at all just enough to make sure it stays in place. I bought some thigh wraps at Target and wrapped everynight to get the blood flowing without cutting off the circulation. That seemed to speed things a ton.

And if you haven't do have a coach check things out on the serve. Heck a quick vid posted in the tips section explaining the elbow issue and asking if there are any technique issues that might have something to do with it, couldnt hurt. Some world class coaches on these boards.

Back to the strings. If you read your posts notching is a big deal as far as comfort. Once it notches it gets harsh. If you read the paper TW did on spin, there is a goldilocks principle IIRC that had to do with tension, snap back and string pattern. IMHO those factors directly relate to comfort, especially snapback if you hit any kind of modern spin. So it looks like you found the goldilocks zone on the Black. Doesnt mean there isnt one on the Pro, but its unlikely it will be at the same tensions as the black...
I'm not convinced my elbow issue is either a TE or GE tendon issue, I think it's more to do with the elbow joint itself. Even back last Summer when I was demoing racquets from TW strung with Lux 4G poly, my elbow would hurt quite a bit for several days after playing, but there was never a point where I felt like my grip was weakened or that it hurt to squeeze something or shake hands, like I would think would be an issue with a tendon injury.

Regarding a wrap for my elbow, I do have a very heavy duty compression sleeve that I got last Fall, and was actually wearing it while playing for a while, but it's thick and heavy and was quite hot. I couldn't tell that it was really helping my elbow wearing it while playing, but I was also wearing it at night for just the reason you mentioned, to get the blood flowing, and my arm would definitely be warm when I took it off in the morning. I'm still not sure it really helped with the elbow or not, though. Would something like that help with a *joint* issue?

That article you mention sounds interesting, I'll try to find that and read it.

I think the beam thickness affects the way the racquet flexes, which would affect the pocketting, and the flexing on its own would (slightly) impact the energy absorb/return as well since work is transferred to flexing the beam, which would ultimately affect comfort to a degree

the phantom with the 16 to 20mm tapered beam would react differently than the O3 speed (did a quick google, https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Prince_O3_Speedport_Black/descpageRCPRINCE-SP03BK.html shows 23mm / 24mm / 22mm while this page https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/reviews/SP03BK/SP03BKreview.html shows 23-22-22 mm Tapered Beam, don't know which one is right)

in fact i think even if two different racquets with the same beam width, with different material/shape/construction, there would be some slight difference as well, i don't have a O3 but i do have a 93p with the tapered beam which i can vouch for, it's very noticeable about the flexing at throat, at least at stock form. i'm generally a classic, flexy/thin beam lover but i don't find that degree of flexing desirable

that's my thought, or at least with my (limited) knowledge of physics, experts feel free to correct me!
I have a Phantom Pro 100 in addition to the Pro 100p and the Speedport Black. At no time has the Speedport felt like a flexy *frame* to me, though some string set-ups in it did give me varying degrees of ball pocketing feel/effect. The Pro 100p, though much flexier in terms of it's RA rating, doesn't actually feel like a flexy *frame* to me, though it seems like almost every string set-up I have tried in it has some ball pocketing feel/effect, some more than others. The Phantom Pro 100, on the other hand, does have some noticeable flex in the *frame* on impact. It's a different feel on impact than the Pro 100p, which feels more "solid" at impact, though with that ball pocketing feel.

I demo'd the Phantom 100 with ports also last Fall, and it felt so flexy, it felt like the entire frame was bending backwards in half on impact. That was too much for me. It just felt "mushy" to me. Maybe the Speedport has some of the "softening" effects of the ports, but because of the thicker beam width, doesn't feel like the whole frame is flexing. The whole reason I bought the Speedport's to begin with was because of how awesome it felt when I demo'd a friend's, who had Prince Tour XP in it at relatively low tension. I figured it was the *racquet* that was providing that awesome ball pocketing feel and comfort. Well, having experimented with a number of different string set-up's in that racquet now (full bed and hybrid), I can safely say for a fact that it wasn't the racquet, or at least not *just* the racquet. The Tour XP strings (at that tension, at least) obviously were a huge part of the equation, because none of the other string set-ups I've tried in the Speedport gave me that same incredibly noticeable ball pocketing feel/comfort that Tour XP did at 37x33.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I'm not convinced my elbow issue is either a TE or GE tendon issue, I think it's more to do with the elbow joint itself. Even back last Summer when I was demoing racquets from TW strung with Lux 4G poly, my elbow would hurt quite a bit for several days after playing, but there was never a point where I felt like my grip was weakened or that it hurt to squeeze something or shake hands, like I would think would be an issue with a tendon injury.

Regarding a wrap for my elbow, I do have a very heavy duty compression sleeve that I got last Fall, and was actually wearing it while playing for a while, but it's thick and heavy and was quite hot. I couldn't tell that it was really helping my elbow wearing it while playing, but I was also wearing it at night for just the reason you mentioned, to get the blood flowing, and my arm would definitely be warm when I took it off in the morning. I'm still not sure it really helped with the elbow or not, though. Would something like that help with a *joint* issue?

That article you mention sounds interesting, I'll try to find that and read it.
.
Who knows about a joint issue? But I would think blood flow would be beneficial. So maybe its not tendons.
http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/spinandstiffness.php
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
My guess: I'd say that you're probably catching the ball in the heart of your string bed most of the time with the Speedport Black if you're getting that pocketing feel with it. The strings themselves aren't doing anything different with the ball - they're not forming a pocket around it or "holding" the ball longer than some other layout. But you're feeling good contact and it sounds like you get that a lot more with this frame that the more flexible alternative.

Years ago I was playing with the Wilson 6.1 Classic and I was surprised when I found out that this frame rated very stiff - up around 72. I strung them with snug beds of syn. gut and they generally felt quite cozy for me. If I sampled another racquet that I wasn't used to, it was easy to rack up more mis-hits with it and the comfort quotient plummeted, even if that trial frame was a lot softer than my 6.1 Classic.

So it's no secret that a frame with at least moderate flex and a softer string bed are both really helpful for promoting a happy arm. But when I have a frame that gives me good contact a lot, that makes it easy on my arm, too. I think that the pocketing feel is a signal that you've got a good fit. If you want to duplicate that with other racquets that you shop out, maybe try to find a layout with about the same weight and balance.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
My guess: I'd say that you're probably catching the ball in the heart of your string bed most of the time with the Speedport Black if you're getting that pocketing feel with it. The strings themselves aren't doing anything different with the ball - they're not forming a pocket around it or "holding" the ball longer than some other layout. But you're feeling good contact and it sounds like you get that a lot more with this frame that the more flexible alternative.

Years ago I was playing with the Wilson 6.1 Classic and I was surprised when I found out that this frame rated very stiff - up around 72. I strung them with snug beds of syn. gut and they generally felt quite cozy for me. If I sampled another racquet that I wasn't used to, it was easy to rack up more mis-hits with it and the comfort quotient plummeted, even if that trial frame was a lot softer than my 6.1 Classic.

So it's no secret that a frame with at least moderate flex and a softer string bed are both really helpful for promoting a happy arm. But when I have a frame that gives me good contact a lot, that makes it easy on my arm, too. I think that the pocketing feel is a signal that you've got a good fit. If you want to duplicate that with other racquets that you shop out, maybe try to find a layout with about the same weight and balance.
So, your theory is that I'm making better contact in the sweet spot with the Speedport than with the Pro 100p? The Speedport is lighter, and I definitely can swing it faster, though I never thought I was hitting it in the sweet spot more frequently. To be honest, I much prefer the "feel" of the Pro 100p on most string set-ups. It feels way more solid. About a month ago I played the first set with a Gut/poly hybrid in my Pro 100p. I had it strung up pretty loose to be easy on my arm, and I wasn't getting the control I wanted, though the feel of ball impact was really nice. In the 2nd set I switched to one of my Speedports that had a full bed of Tourna BHB7 poly in it. I immediately started getting better control and could swing out more because of the lower powered full poly,, but I also immediately noticed that the Speedport ball impact felt "light" and almost "hollow" compared to the meaty/solid impact of the ball on the Pro 100p.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Try measuring the squares (specifically in the sweet spot area) for both racquets, it's common for older racquets to have a more equally spaced squares throughout the racquet (even towards the outside), while the more modern racquets tend to have a smaller square in the middle/sweetspot while having bigger space on the outside area. I've seen some modern "open" pattern have a tighter square spacing than an older "tight" pattern.
What is the theory on the variable size of squares vs. squares that are the same size throughout the racket?
 

Strawbewwy

Rookie
It's just the same theory "open pattern" vs "closed pattern". A smaller square would be more control oriented and less power in comparison to a bigger square, given same string/tension etc.

It was more common back in the day to have similar square sizes but the more modern racquets seem to have tighter spacing in the middle (where most shots contact)...

IE) my friend's speed pro (recent year model, I think graphene xt?) with a 100 sq in, 18x20, has a denser string bed in the middle section than my older prestige mids 18x20 with a 89.5 sq in head. But on the outside of the hoop, my prestige mid would be denser

Imo the general rule of string pattern is good comparing similar racquet (like a blade 16x19 vs a blade 18x20) but not when it's different (like a speed mp 100 sq 16x19 vs pure aero 100 sq in 16x19)
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
So, your theory is that I'm making better contact in the sweet spot with the Speedport than with the Pro 100p? The Speedport is lighter, and I definitely can swing it faster, though I never thought I was hitting it in the sweet spot more frequently. To be honest, I much prefer the "feel" of the Pro 100p on most string set-ups. It feels way more solid. About a month ago I played the first set with a Gut/poly hybrid in my Pro 100p. I had it strung up pretty loose to be easy on my arm, and I wasn't getting the control I wanted, though the feel of ball impact was really nice. In the 2nd set I switched to one of my Speedports that had a full bed of Tourna BHB7 poly in it. I immediately started getting better control and could swing out more because of the lower powered full poly,, but I also immediately noticed that the Speedport ball impact felt "light" and almost "hollow" compared to the meaty/solid impact of the ball on the Pro 100p.
Just my theory based on my own experiences with different frames.

It could also be the case that the swing that feels normal for you with the SP Black - the pace and "tempo" of your swing - is too much when you swing the Pro 100p if that 100p has more heft and brings a little more beef to the collision with the ball.

I generally like to use a pretty heavy racquet like the Volkl C10. This racquet has plenty of mass and despite its flex and comfort, I can also really crush the ball when I play with it using what I consider to be average full swings. If I swap off to an alternative that's lighter than my regular frames, it doesn't matter whether the alternative is a little stiff or a little soft. If it's lighter, it's typically less powerful for me and I can be susceptible to over-swinging with it to compensate. So maybe your racquet switch is taking the equation the other way and the 100p gives you a bump in power.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Just my theory based on my own experiences with different frames.

It could also be the case that the swing that feels normal for you with the SP Black - the pace and "tempo" of your swing - is too much when you swing the Pro 100p if that 100p has more heft and brings a little more beef to the collision with the ball.

I generally like to use a pretty heavy racquet like the Volkl C10. This racquet has plenty of mass and despite its flex and comfort, I can also really crush the ball when I play with it using what I consider to be average full swings. If I swap off to an alternative that's lighter than my regular frames, it doesn't matter whether the alternative is a little stiff or a little soft. If it's lighter, it's typically less powerful for me and I can be susceptible to over-swinging with it to compensate. So maybe your racquet switch is taking the equation the other way and the 100p gives you a bump in power.
I can swing the Speedport faster because it's lighter than the Pro 100p, though interestingly, I felt like the Speedport actually gave me a little better control when strung up the same as the Pro 100p with Tour XP poly at 37x33. That's despite me feeling that overall, the Speedport is a more powerful racquet and definitely has a higher power rating than the Pro 100p.

I demo'd the Volkl C10 Pro and it had all the plowthrough in the world, but it was so heavy and massive, it felt to me like I was swinging in slow motion. And that was in stock form (no lead), and that was after owning (and loving) a Wilson RF97! I think I can safely say that of all the couple dozen racquets I demo'd, the C10 Pro was the hardest for me to swing. I couldn't get any "whip" out of it. Maybe if I hit flat strokes it wouldn't be a big deal, but my heavy topspin strokes just didn't gel with it.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I can swing the Speedport faster because it's lighter than the Pro 100p, though interestingly, I felt like the Speedport actually gave me a little better control when strung up the same as the Pro 100p with Tour XP poly at 37x33. That's despite me feeling that overall, the Speedport is a more powerful racquet and definitely has a higher power rating than the Pro 100p.

I demo'd the Volkl C10 Pro and it had all the plowthrough in the world, but it was so heavy and massive, it felt to me like I was swinging in slow motion. And that was in stock form (no lead), and that was after owning (and loving) a Wilson RF97! I think I can safely say that of all the couple dozen racquets I demo'd, the C10 Pro was the hardest for me to swing. I couldn't get any "whip" out of it. Maybe if I hit flat strokes it wouldn't be a big deal, but my heavy topspin strokes just didn't gel with it.
It's probably not you. The C10 is an peculiar racquet with a little more old-school fairy dust sprinkled into its recipe than some other current frames. All the C10's in my small collection (maybe a total of six or seven) have weight added to their handles to get their balance up to around 10 pts. head-light. That definitely makes a difference for me in terms of getting the handling and swing behavior that's more familiar for me.

Even with weighted handles though, the C10 still hits with a LOT of power for me. I generally don't use these rigs in a teaching setting where I need to feed accurately at lower speeds. If I'm working out with one of the stronger kids I know though, the C10 can be ideal.

Oh, there's also the topspin aspect of the C10. Even with leaded handles and a little more capacity to whip that frame around, I've always found that I need to work harder to churn out spin with the C10 compared with some other racquets. I love how easily they drive the ball and how comfortable they are for me - I'm almost 53 and hit a one-handed backhand - but I really need to swipe across the ball with my C10's to get decent spin.

The other Volkl I keep in my bag is the older Organix 10 325g - mine are leaded up to a weight and balance about the same as the C10. These frames have given me all the spin that I was missing with the C10's and despite having nearly the same weight, balance, head size, string pattern, etc. My O10's are also just slightly less powerful than the C10's, but not in any way that's a detriment. I can use these racquets for just about everything I do and I also recently added a pair of the V-Sense 10 325g's to my crop. I'll give them the same tuning as my O10's.

One further note about these O10's and that pocketing feel you referred to earlier. My O10's had none of that feel for me in their stock form and I was thinking of unloading them, but decided to try some tuning first. That was when their feel (and performance) really came to life for me - much more of that sort of "bow-whup" feel that I associate with a semi-soft racquet after I added the lead. Although the extra weight on the hoop and handle makes the frame more stable through the ball, at least in theory, the feel was giving me the impression that more flexing and "pocketing" was going on.

I suppose that nailing down decent feel is tricky business. My experience with the O10's was pretty much a happy accident, but it worked out so well that I won't be shy about trying it again down the road.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
In my on-going quest to find a string/racquet combination that will "bridge the gap" between comfort and performance, I've recently made an interesting observation. Last Summer I made the purchase of 2 Prince 03 Speedport Black racquets because I had demo'd one a friend had, with Prince Tour XP poly in it at very low tension, and both the performance and the comfort were impressive. The ball pocketing feel was amazing. Thinking it was likely the racquet, rather than the string, that was the source of the pocketing, I was eager to try out a number of different string experiments. What I found in my experiments was that that amazing ball pocketing feel wasn't present in the other experiments in the same way that it was, specifically, with Tour XP (formerly Prince Beast) string. Including in some other poly's, like Tourna BHB7 (strung at the same exact tension). So, my conclusion changed to it being the *combo* of that racquet and that string (Tour XP) that provided that feel. I strung it at 37x33, by the way. Great spin, great control, great connection to the ball, and great comfort at least until the mains started notching heavily.

Fast forward a few months. I was frustrated that I wasn't getting the same comfort with other high performance string set-ups that I was getting with the Tour XP in that racquet. So I decided to demo a Prince Phantom Pro 100p, and liked it so much that I bought one. I've had it for about 4 months now, and I have to say that almost any string combination I put in that racquet (and I've tried a number now) has a pretty nice ball pocketing feel. Very different racquet than the 03 Speedport Black. More plowthrough, heavier, and much lower RA rating. I decided to try Prince Tour XP poly string in the Pro 100p at the same exact tension (37x33) as I had it at in the 03 Speedport Black, assuming that the pocketing feel would be at least as good, if not better. Well, I was wrong. There is some pocketing feel, but it isn't nearly as obvious and pronounced with that string in the Pro 100p as it was in the 03 Speedport Black. The performance is about the same between the 2 racquets with Tour XP strung at the exact same tension, but the pocketing is better in the 03 Speedport Black, and I felt that the *arm comfort* of that set-up in the Speedport Black was also superior to the Pro 100p. That perplexed me, given that the stiffness/RA rating of the Speedport is much higher than the Pro 100p, and also that in most set-ups, the Pro 100p has been very comfortable on my arm. And I'm not saying the Tour XP was terrible on my elbow in the Pro 100p, it just wasn't as comfy as the same exact set-up in the Speedport Black. I'm wondering if the difference has to do with the ports in the Speedport Black? I would have been overall extremely pleased with the Tour XP/Speedport set-up IF it hadn't started to lose it's comfy feel after about 2-3 hours of play when the mains started notching noticeably. Performance also started to suffer a little, though it was still "good", just not "great". 2-3 hours for a $9 string set is a little on the low side for me.

I also tried a set of Polyfibre TCS in my Pro 100p, partly because the reviewers talked about the amazing ball pocketing of that string. I didn't find the pocketing to be any better than the Tour XP in the same racquet. I was thinking I should try the TCS in my Speedport racquet and see how it feels. I know that string has a reputation for short life also. I did learn that the TCS is a more powerful string than Tour XP, so definitely would need to string it a little tighter.

Anyway, all of the above to ask, does more ball pocketing feel always equal a more comfortable set-up on the arm?
short answer is Yes. and more control too
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
My take on this is that when the frame doesn't have much give (firm) but then the strings do, the feeling of stringbed pocketing is actually accentuated.

Whereas a flexible frame tends to mask string pocketing feel due to the overall flexing of the frame bending along with the stringbed.

Final thought: string pocketing feel and overall frame comfort aren't always synonymous.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
i thought control is better on stiffer stringbed? (tighter strings= control)


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Actually NO. ball pocketing is the reason why poly strings are so easy to control at 45 lbs. if you have Natural gut however, it will be easier to control at 60 lbs or above. it is physics. Apply the stiffness and ball pocketing quotionet and apply it to how fast it comes off the string bed and with how much spin
 

blai212

Semi-Pro
poly is controlled at 45 lbs because it is stiff string. low tension = more power, less control. poly with too much pocketing can get out of control.


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blai212

Semi-Pro
open string patterns(16x19 16x20 16x18) vs closed (18x20)
open setup pockets the ball more and generates better power/spin/comfort but lesser control than a 18x20 pattern that is stiffer stringbed


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