Elbow Pain vs. Shoulder Pain - Help!

ashridge

Semi-Pro
I've only been through about half the posts in the thread so far, but it occurred to me that Forten Sweet is rather soft string as syn. guts go. You might get enough of the softness from something else in the family - maybe Prince Original SG (not the version with Duraflex), Tecnifibre, etc. - but you might also consider a heavier gauge of multifiber. Prince Premier Control comes in 15L and it definitely holds up better than the 16 ga. version. I also like this multi because it doesn't seem to steadily soften and degrade as it's used compared with some others.

If you like the heft and stability of the RF97A, you may want to consider a try with a Volkl C10 if you get the chance. This Volkl can certainly work as a more flexible alternative to the somewhat stiff Wilson.

I've played with both PPC (16) and Forten Sweet 16 quite a bit and they're very similar in durability but I like the feel and playability of the Forten better. Haven't tried the PPC 15 gauge.

I demo'd the Volkl C10 and didn't like it. Had a lot of plowthrough and was very stable, but also felt very heavy and unwieldy to me compared to the RF97A.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Do you have a video of your serve?

The technique may be the same, but abrupt motion may put more strain on your body with a heavier racket.

This is a great exercise to smooth out the service stroke:
I do have video of my serve, but it's through Playsight, so can't post a link like youtube. I'll see if I can pull a few screen captures, don't know if that will help what you want to see or not.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Do you have a video of your serve?

The technique may be the same, but abrupt motion may put more strain on your body with a heavier racket.

This is a great exercise to smooth out the service stroke:
Here are some progressive screen captures of my service motion.








 

PT280 Fan

Rookie
The form on your serve looks fine to me. The most obvious source of your shoulder problem is the RA of your RF97 I would imagine.

Pretty sure that a full bed of gut would make a huge difference for you, but of course, it would be at the expense of some spin potential. Honestly, I think the easiest solution for you would be to drop tension a few pounds in both mains and crosses. I know you think you're going to lose control but it's really only an illusion and just a matter of playing long enough with the new tension to develop the new muscle memory. String tension and trampoline effect are much more an issue at net than from the baseline and a few pounds won't make that big of a difference anyway.

Another thought is replacing your poly crosses with zyex (17g for max spin). I saw in the thread where your concern was that the zyex would cut through your gut in no time. I guarantee you would get at least two times the play out of this combination as you get with poly crosses unless you're playing dead poly which will totally tear up your arm.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
The form on your serve looks fine to me. The most obvious source of your shoulder problem is the RA of your RF97 I would imagine.

Pretty sure that a full bed of gut would make a huge difference for you, but of course, it would be at the expense of some spin potential. Honestly, I think the easiest solution for you would be to drop tension a few pounds in both mains and crosses. I know you think you're going to lose control but it's really only an illusion and just a matter of playing long enough with the new tension to develop the new muscle memory. String tension and trampoline effect are much more an issue at net than from the baseline and a few pounds won't make that big of a difference anyway.

Another thought is replacing your poly crosses with zyex (17g for max spin). I saw in the thread where your concern was that the zyex would cut through your gut in no time. I guarantee you would get at least two times the play out of this combination as you get with poly crosses unless you're playing dead poly which will totally tear up your arm.
I've tried a full bed of gut and I agree with you that it would likely make a huge difference for me, and I think I could string it high enough for control and could get halfway decent spin from it. However, the durability of a full bed of Gut with my spin game is something I just can't justify from a cost standpoint. A full bed of gut wears so much more quickly for me than gut/poly. I'll usually cut out the poly crosses after about 8 hours of play and put fresh poly crosses in while leaving the gut mains. I've currently got almost 20 hours on this one set of VS Touch Gut mains. I'm on the 3rd set of poly crosses, but same Gut mains. They're definitely fraying, but I think they have some life left still.

My experience with ZX crosses and Gut mains has not been positive from a durability standpoint. I strung up some gut/poly (Babolat Tonic 15L Longevity and Prince Tour XP 16 poly) in one of my racquets last year (Prince 03 Speedport Black). Cut out the poly crosses after 4 hours of play and re-strung the crosses with black ZX, 17 gauge. The 15L Gut mains had very minimal fraying or notching on them at that point. After I put in the ZX crosses, I broke the 15L gut mains the first time I went out to play, took under an hour. I could see it was coming after about 30 minutes of play, the gut mains were fraying at an alarming rate and then "pop". That was basically $30 worth of strings right there in that set-up. Poof. I can't afford that, so I haven't tried that experiment again.
 

Anton

Legend
Here are some progressive screen captures of my service motion.








Positions look good, but really need vid to get a sense of the rhythm and fluidity.

Is your grip relaxed? Seems like there maybe a bit of tension there in the first frame...tough to see though.
 
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PT280 Fan

Rookie
I've tried a full bed of gut and I agree with you that it would likely make a huge difference for me, and I think I could string it high enough for control and could get halfway decent spin from it. However, the durability of a full bed of Gut with my spin game is something I just can't justify from a cost standpoint. A full bed of gut wears so much more quickly for me than gut/poly. I'll usually cut out the poly crosses after about 8 hours of play and put fresh poly crosses in while leaving the gut mains. I've currently got almost 20 hours on this one set of VS Touch Gut mains. I'm on the 3rd set of poly crosses, but same Gut mains. They're definitely fraying, but I think they have some life left still.

My experience with ZX crosses and Gut mains has not been positive from a durability standpoint. I strung up some gut/poly (Babolat Tonic 15L Longevity and Prince Tour XP 16 poly) in one of my racquets last year (Prince 03 Speedport Black). Cut out the poly crosses after 4 hours of play and re-strung the crosses with black ZX, 17 gauge. The 15L Gut mains had very minimal fraying or notching on them at that point. After I put in the ZX crosses, I broke the 15L gut mains the first time I went out to play, took under an hour. I could see it was coming after about 30 minutes of play, the gut mains were fraying at an alarming rate and then "pop". That was basically $30 worth of strings right there in that set-up. Poof. I can't afford that, so I haven't tried that experiment again.
Interesting. You make a compelling argument with the Zyex. Gotta admit that I was spitballing a little with the gut/ Zyex thing. I actually hadn't played gut for a few years bought some Klip and it just sat on the shelf for two years, finally put it in the mains of two PT280s along with some lightning pro in the crosses in late March and ended up buying two clearance Prince Beast 98s a month later cause I'm getting older and wanted to see what I could do with a sub 12 oz stick. I put zyex hybrids in both Beasts, one with kevlar and the other with poly. I'd used the zyex/kevlar combination in one of my PT280s and swore by it (still going strong after a year). I've yet to experience that "saw through" with the kevlar you talk about but my stroke production is closer to Feds than Nadals. Never had any arm issues with that combination either, but I string the kevlar mains about 9 lbs lighter than the zyex crosses.

I mean if you're really desperate, you might pick up a clearance Beast 98 or 03 Beast 98. That racket has textreme with twaron which is the same super compound (twaron) found in the PT280s. Haven't had any arm issues so far (the one with the kevlar mains is less forgiving than the other). I'm too chicken to try it but they say the ported Beast is even more forgiving. Really enjoying the frame though, so much easy power, and that .6oz really makes a big difference in maneuverability (in my case at least).
 

FIRETennis

Semi-Pro
Yes, on *paper*, you're correct, the Speedport should be stiffer than the RF97A. But I don't have the shoulder issues with the Speedport. Maybe it has to do with the ports being more forgiving?

I did play with the Phantom's exclusively for several months before I went back to the RF97A. Shoulder problems weren't the issue, the elbow was the issue with the Phantom's. Only on hard 1st serves. Gut/Poly.

I just weighed my RF97A on a scale. The static weight is 363g strung, with 1 Wilson Pro overgrip and a standard string dampener, stock (no lead added).

My 03 Speedport Black is 339g strung with same overgrip and dampener and a fair bit of lead in the hoop and some in the throat.

My Phantom Pro 100p is 335g strung with overgrip and dampener plus a little lead in the throat. This racquet has a very small sweet spot and a lot of instability when hitting outside that sweet spot. I had added a significant amount of lead in the hoop to hopefully improve that but I didn't feel it improved it enough to justify the extra heft and less maneuverability that resulted, so I removed all the lead in the hoop. If not for the lack of stability outside the sweet spot, I could probably live with the little bit of elbow pain playing with the 100p, because when hitting in the sweet spot it feels like a bolt of lightning, awesome. Ironically, even though it is lighter than the leaded up 03 Speedport Black, it feels much more solid and has noticeably more plow when hitting in the sweet spot. But outside the sweet spot is yuck.

My Phantom Pro 100 is 344g strung with overgrip and dampener plus a good bit of lead in the hoop and throat.

Just to throw another wrinkle into things, I also a few years ago had demo'd a Volkl VS V1 Pro and it had felt incredibly plush and comfortable, but lacked stability. Well, I ended up buying one last Summer because of remembering about that plush comfort, and I just figured I could really increase the stability and plow with application of some lead. Well, I guess I don't know what I'm doing because I didn't increase the plow and stability so much as I decreased the maneuverability of the stick. I still have it, but don't play with it now. Trying to decide whether to keep it or get rid of it. It currently weighs in at 350g strung, with overgrip and dampener plus a lot of lead in both the throat and the hoop.
Have you tried measuring the swing weight of your racquets? It would be quite important. They can be quite off published spec. My friend has RF ranging from 333 - 345SW. Mine is 340SW. You can use the SwingTool app or the TW homemade rig & video or try to go to a local shop that has a Prince or Babolat RDC machine.

Have you played with any Babolat Aeros or Pure Drives? Do they hurt your shoulder? If so, it could be just the RA itself that's a factor and the O ports help in the Prince.

I also own Pro 100P and RF97A. I don't find the Pro 100P plush at all unless hitting directly in the sweet spot. I currently use a Blade 98 v7 just because it's so easy on the arm and still has enough plow and very good control. I'd use the RF97 exclusively if I had zero arm discomfort.

Based on what you said above, I would be leaning to say it's the combination of high RA and high static weight. If you've added lead to both the Pro 100p and the Pro 100, it would lead me to believe both are over 330SW now so the RF's 335-340SW should not be an issue. Try for fun adding 20g of lead wrapped around the handle and at the throat of the Phantom Pro and try to play with it for a while see if it irritates your shoulder.

My shoulder gives me discomfort when I am not relaxed with the RF in high pressure points and during serves. I hit my first a bit too high on the hoop and it causes too much pressure on the AC joint. Throwing up 365g puts strain on the levator, trapezius, supraspinatus, rhomboids etc. Try resting, strengthening (Thrower's Ten) and hitting even more relaxed.
 

FIRETennis

Semi-Pro
Here are some progressive screen captures of my service motion.








* Toss much higher
* Relax the grip, relax the grip, relax the grip
* Contact more forward, higher and more to the left
* As I mentioned before, I also hit the first serve high on the hoop and off center and could be the issue.
* Do you do kick serves? If so, do you have any shoulder discomfort if you play for a while using exclusively kick serves and no flat/slice?



PS. I wouldn't start changing tension and strings. Gut/poly is already the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and spin. Dropping tension on the RF will just lead to loss of control without much added comfort. The discomfort (for me) comes from the frame RA itself and hitting off-center/too high on the string bed. Full bed of natural gut would help for some of the off-centers but it would hurt my overall game and be almost double the price.
 
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ashridge

Semi-Pro
Interesting. You make a compelling argument with the Zyex. Gotta admit that I was spitballing a little with the gut/ Zyex thing. I actually hadn't played gut for a few years bought some Klip and it just sat on the shelf for two years, finally put it in the mains of two PT280s along with some lightning pro in the crosses in late March and ended up buying two clearance Prince Beast 98s a month later cause I'm getting older and wanted to see what I could do with a sub 12 oz stick. I put zyex hybrids in both Beasts, one with kevlar and the other with poly. I'd used the zyex/kevlar combination in one of my PT280s and swore by it (still going strong after a year). I've yet to experience that "saw through" with the kevlar you talk about but my stroke production is closer to Feds than Nadals. Never had any arm issues with that combination either, but I string the kevlar mains about 9 lbs lighter than the zyex crosses.

I mean if you're really desperate, you might pick up a clearance Beast 98 or 03 Beast 98. That racket has textreme with twaron which is the same super compound (twaron) found in the PT280s. Haven't had any arm issues so far (the one with the kevlar mains is less forgiving than the other). I'm too chicken to try it but they say the ported Beast is even more forgiving. Really enjoying the frame though, so much easy power, and that .6oz really makes a big difference in maneuverability (in my case at least).
I tried a set-up of Ashaway Kevlar mains and Zyex crosses in the RF97A about 2 years ago, and from a playability standpoint, I think that may possibly have been my most preferred string set-up I've tried yet. And *during my first match* with it, I don't recall feeling any elbow pain. But a couple days later....wow. It was significantly worse than anything I'd ever felt in all the demos I got from TW that were strung up pretty tight with Lux 4g. I played with that set-up one more time the next week, and the elbow pain got even worse after that 2nd match. After that, I cut it out. No amount of playability was worth that kind of discomfort to me.

I actually did demo one of the 03 Beast sticks, I think it was the 98, but could have been the 100, I don't remember. I didn't like it at all. Didn't like the stability, and the lack of plowthrough compared to the gold standard RF97 was a shocking difference, in my opinion. Funny how different folks perceive different racquets differently:).
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Have you tried measuring the swing weight of your racquets? It would be quite important. They can be quite off published spec. My friend has RF ranging from 333 - 345SW. Mine is 340SW. You can use the SwingTool app or the TW homemade rig & video or try to go to a local shop that has a Prince or Babolat RDC machine.

Have you played with any Babolat Aeros or Pure Drives? Do they hurt your shoulder? If so, it could be just the RA itself that's a factor and the O ports help in the Prince.

I also own Pro 100P and RF97A. I don't find the Pro 100P plush at all unless hitting directly in the sweet spot. I currently use a Blade 98 v7 just because it's so easy on the arm and still has enough plow and very good control. I'd use the RF97 exclusively if I had zero arm discomfort.

Based on what you said above, I would be leaning to say it's the combination of high RA and high static weight. If you've added lead to both the Pro 100p and the Pro 100, it would lead me to believe both are over 330SW now so the RF's 335-340SW should not be an issue. Try for fun adding 20g of lead wrapped around the handle and at the throat of the Phantom Pro and try to play with it for a while see if it irritates your shoulder.

My shoulder gives me discomfort when I am not relaxed with the RF in high pressure points and during serves. I hit my first a bit too high on the hoop and it causes too much pressure on the AC joint. Throwing up 365g puts strain on the levator, trapezius, supraspinatus, rhomboids etc. Try resting, strengthening (Thrower's Ten) and hitting even more relaxed.
No I haven't measured the swing weight. I'm not actually sure how to do that.

I did demo one of the Babolat Aero's 2 years ago, and I don't recall it hurting my *shoulder*, but I'm pretty sure my *elbow* didn't care for it much.

Yeah, the Pro 100p has a very small sweet spot, but if I hit it in that spot, it feels awesome to me. Definitely going to demo a Blade 98 v7.

I had the same thought as you about the lead bringing the Pro 100 and the 100p significantly up in sw, and yet when I did so they weren't hurting my shoulder like the RF97 did. So, I doubt it is just the sw alone that's the issue, definitely.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
* Toss much higher
* Relax the grip, relax the grip, relax the grip
* Contact more forward, higher and more to the left
* As I mentioned before, I also hit the first serve high on the hoop and off center and could be the issue.
* Do you do kick serves? If so, do you have any shoulder discomfort if you play for a while using exclusively kick serves and no flat/slice?



PS. I wouldn't start changing tension and strings. Gut/poly is already the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and spin. Dropping tension on the RF will just lead to loss of control without much added comfort. The discomfort (for me) comes from the frame RA itself and hitting off-center/too high on the string bed. Full bed of natural gut would help for some of the off-centers but it would hurt my overall game and be almost double the price.
Oh, so we're going straight to comparing my serve motion to the guy with basically the most efficient serve in the men's professional game? :):):). Not sure I can live up to that standard, though he is my tennis idol and I love to emulate his game or at least pretend to:).

I do not have a very high serve toss. My toss and serve motion is closer to hitting the ball at it's peak, rather than tossing it higher and letting it come down a ways from it's peak before making contact. I feel like I make more consistent contact that way.

I do do kick serves on 2nd serves sometimes, yes, though not as much with the RF97A just because it's heavier and my swing speed with it isn't quite fast enough to really get as much kick as I want. Generally speaking, though, I don't feel the shoulder discomfort in my kick 2nd serves much, just in the harder 1st serves. And I emphasize *harder* 1st serves. If I'm keeping it under 90 mph, I don't feel it much, but once I go over that, I definitely start to feel it, at least with the RF.
 

Miki 1234

Rookie
For a couple years now I've been attempting to find what is apparently the unicorn racquet for me: one that doesn't hurt my shoulder or my elbow with strings that allow me to have the performance I want, in a racquet that has the feel that I want. I've demo'd a bunch of different racquets and owned half a dozen different ones in the last few years looking for nirvana. So far have yet to find it. My elbow was the problem for most of that time, until I got a Wilson RF97A. Now, my shoulder is the problem, and elbow seems to be doing good. Or, when I say shoulder, I mean my upper bicep muscle where it attaches into my shoulder. No pain whatsoever when hitting groundstrokes, either side, but if I serve over 90 mph with the RF97A I feel it pretty good. Feels like a strained muscle.

I owned an RF97A a few years ago and my shoulder would get tired, but I don't remember it hurting in this area like it is now. Not sure if I have pulled a muscle and it just won't heal, or if it's the combo of the racquet and string set-up. I'm inclined to believe the latter, because after playing with the RF for the first 45 minutes this morning and my bicep/shoulder twinging, I pulled my leaded up Prince Phantom Pro 100 w/ gut-poly hybrid out of the bag and was serving hard with little or no bicep/shoulder pain, though my elbow did start twinging a bit after a while. Have tried a number of different string set-ups in the RF97A, currently have Babolat VS Touch 16 mains @ 57 and Prince Tour XP poly crosses @ 50. I have tried lower on both and didn't have the control I need. I really, really want to keep the RF97A because I just love how solid it is, but only serving at 60% of what I'm capable of is affecting my game. I'm thinking about going back to trying a full bed of Forten Sweet 16 SG in the RF like I did a few years ago. I don't remember it hurting, and it performed a lot better than I thought it would. Only problem is durability, given that it would break on me in about 3-4 hours of play. Hate to be re-stringing my racquets that often.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
This spot is very serious problem for shoulder. Its tendon for sure and if you feel pain there you should not play with it. That is the first step.I had this for years and wouldnt heal .Then exercise.
Only this one exercise is a good start I did it even without weights for many reps like 50. When you feel no pain at all then start tennis again.
 
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dak95_00

Hall of Fame
For a couple years now I've been attempting to find what is apparently the unicorn racquet for me: one that doesn't hurt my shoulder or my elbow with strings that allow me to have the performance I want, in a racquet that has the feel that I want. I've demo'd a bunch of different racquets and owned half a dozen different ones in the last few years looking for nirvana. So far have yet to find it. My elbow was the problem for most of that time, until I got a Wilson RF97A. Now, my shoulder is the problem, and elbow seems to be doing good. Or, when I say shoulder, I mean my upper bicep muscle where it attaches into my shoulder. No pain whatsoever when hitting groundstrokes, either side, but if I serve over 90 mph with the RF97A I feel it pretty good. Feels like a strained muscle.

I owned an RF97A a few years ago and my shoulder would get tired, but I don't remember it hurting in this area like it is now. Not sure if I have pulled a muscle and it just won't heal, or if it's the combo of the racquet and string set-up. I'm inclined to believe the latter, because after playing with the RF for the first 45 minutes this morning and my bicep/shoulder twinging, I pulled my leaded up Prince Phantom Pro 100 w/ gut-poly hybrid out of the bag and was serving hard with little or no bicep/shoulder pain, though my elbow did start twinging a bit after a while. Have tried a number of different string set-ups in the RF97A, currently have Babolat VS Touch 16 mains @ 57 and Prince Tour XP poly crosses @ 50. I have tried lower on both and didn't have the control I need. I really, really want to keep the RF97A because I just love how solid it is, but only serving at 60% of what I'm capable of is affecting my game. I'm thinking about going back to trying a full bed of Forten Sweet 16 SG in the RF like I did a few years ago. I don't remember it hurting, and it performed a lot better than I thought it would. Only problem is durability, given that it would break on me in about 3-4 hours of play. Hate to be re-stringing my racquets that often.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
I had elbow pain and nearly quit last year. I went to PT and took time off and felt as though I was 100% healed.

I haven’t had shoulder pain in years.

This week I experienced both. It was depressing to think I might lose my summer to injury because I’m playing the best tennis of my life right now. I’m literally killing the ball with spin and power but have finesse too.

I’m on a new team and I really like these guys. They play at least 3 sets each time out to practice and yesterday I played 5 sets. We play for 3+ hours each time out! I love it and I’m 48.

A few weeks ago I went full poly; Prince Tour XC 15L mains at 45 and Polyfibre Pantera 16 crosses at 40, in my Head Gravity S. That’s very loose for me and I was getting easy spin and power. I adjusted quickly to the strings and played great. I used them for approximately 10 hours and I never felt a loss in performance.

HOWEVER!!!!
My elbow was stiff on Wednesday morning after playing on Tuesday for 3 sets.

I was stringing up some racquets for teammates on Wednesday afternoon and decided to go back to my Prince Synthetic Gut w/ Duraflex 17 at 52/48. I played 5 sets on har-tru IN THE RAIN (really like these guys) so the balls were HEAVY on Thursday. It’s Friday morning and I’m not stiff in either my elbow or shoulder.

Moral of the story......

If you have pain, you must string often for fresh poly or broken synthetic gut or deal with the pain.

I’m not risking the pain. I won all five sets I played yesterday. I didn’t play against the top ranked teammates until sets 4 and 5 which were their first and second. Whooped them! 6-2, 6-2. I’m sticking with nylons! There’s a reason the pros restring every time they bring out new balls.
 

Raizu

Rookie
Interesting that you mention a longer stick. I think I demo'd 3 sticks that were longer than 27". One was the Yonex DR 98 Plus. I also demo'd the regular length DR 98, and while both of them felt pretty comfortable, they also both felt a little "rubbery" to me on impact. The 2nd one was the PK 7G, which I found unremarkable and too heavy for my liking. The 3rd one was a Prince 03 Speedport Black Team version that a friend of mine owned. He had Prince Tour XP full bed poly string in it and the few times he let me test it out, I really loved it. So much so that I found and bought 2 03 Speedport Black sticks, though they were the regular 27" version, not 27.5". I still liked the 27" version, but even with the same string set-up, I will say I noticed a difference between the 27" and 27.5" sticks, with the 27.5" being my favorite. But I was unable to find any new ones or ones in very good condition of that model. I still have the 27" sticks, and I can play a full bed of Tour XP poly (strung in the 30's) without noticeable pain in either my elbow or shoulder, but my arm did get *tired* after playing a match with that set-up. Way lighter than the RF97A so not as much stability and with the lower powered poly, maybe my arm got tired because I had to swing out more.

My level of play is 4.5-5.0. range.
@1stVolley is right that your swing may be changing a tiny bit mainly due to the racquet balance and swing weight. It doesn’t sound in your case to be injury related from your feedback. I’d start with a sports chiropractor (be picky) and loosening up that chest and bicep area.

unfortunately the market on 27.5 in racquets is dead. The players that use them are custom frames or old 6.1’s like mine. The old school Yonex stretch frames always felt good but a bit soft so me. I liked the firmer feel of the 6.1. The Kneissel racquet (red and black) that Melzer used was a beauty as was the Blue and White Dunlop 200g. Both of those came in 27.5 in. I never was a fan of Pro Kennex frames. I know the Prince O3 Tour came in a stretch but I’m not sure if those are around anymore. Another great frame was the Babolat Pure Storm first gen that Fernando Gonzalez used.
 

phanamous

New User
I found the Phantoms very unstable and jarring off center, very noticeable on the 1HBH. It's meant for 2HBH players I think. Even though the frame is flexy, there's no damping built-in at all.
The Prince Tour 100P might be your ticket. It's an open 18x20 pattern so spin won't be an issue for you with a gut/poly setup. Very stable on my 1HBH. It's a tad too head heavy for me but you won't have an issue. Just add some weight to the butt end to bring the static weight up and you're good to go.
It's obvious that your 362g RF97 static weight is too much for you as you're straining your muscles when hitting harder serves.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I've played with both PPC (16) and Forten Sweet 16 quite a bit and they're very similar in durability but I like the feel and playability of the Forten better. Haven't tried the PPC 15 gauge.

I demo'd the Volkl C10 and didn't like it. Had a lot of plowthrough and was very stable, but also felt very heavy and unwieldy to me compared to the RF97A.
I definitely like my C10's with some weight added to their handles. Mine weigh around 12.5 oz. and balance at about 11 pts. head-light. In their stock layout I think they balanced at only around 8 pts. HL - not quite enough for me when a frame gets to be over 12 oz. I should also note that the pair of C10's I'm using are the black ones with some yellow around the top half of their hoops. That paint scheme was from perhaps 5-6 years ago.
 

PT280 Fan

Rookie
I tried a set-up of Ashaway Kevlar mains and Zyex crosses in the RF97A about 2 years ago, and from a playability standpoint, I think that may possibly have been my most preferred string set-up I've tried yet. And *during my first match* with it, I don't recall feeling any elbow pain. But a couple days later....wow. It was significantly worse than anything I'd ever felt in all the demos I got from TW that were strung up pretty tight with Lux 4g. I played with that set-up one more time the next week, and the elbow pain got even worse after that 2nd match. After that, I cut it out. No amount of playability was worth that kind of discomfort to me.

I actually did demo one of the 03 Beast sticks, I think it was the 98, but could have been the 100, I don't remember. I didn't like it at all. Didn't like the stability, and the lack of plowthrough compared to the gold standard RF97 was a shocking difference, in my opinion. Funny how different folks perceive different racquets differently:).
As somebody that had to sit out the bulk of a season in Junior College and then lost an entire year to a rotator cuff injury a few years later, finding equipment that doesn't cause injury is always my top priority. I've never had so much as tennis elbow with any frame employing a super compound like kevlar, twaron or dyneema in the lay-up. For that reason alone the Kneissl White Star (Kevlar), the Mizuno Pro 8.1 (Dyneema), the Head PT280 (Twaron) and the Prince Beast 98 (Twaron) are the best frames I've ever used. Sixty five year old 4.0 playing four or five times a week, two hour intervals and I play without sleeves and tape.
 

FIRETennis

Semi-Pro
Oh, so we're going straight to comparing my serve motion to the guy with basically the most efficient serve in the men's professional game? :):):). Not sure I can live up to that standard, though he is my tennis idol and I love to emulate his game or at least pretend to:).

I do not have a very high serve toss. My toss and serve motion is closer to hitting the ball at it's peak, rather than tossing it higher and letting it come down a ways from it's peak before making contact. I feel like I make more consistent contact that way.

I do do kick serves on 2nd serves sometimes, yes, though not as much with the RF97A just because it's heavier and my swing speed with it isn't quite fast enough to really get as much kick as I want. Generally speaking, though, I don't feel the shoulder discomfort in my kick 2nd serves much, just in the harder 1st serves. And I emphasize *harder* 1st serves. If I'm keeping it under 90 mph, I don't feel it much, but once I go over that, I definitely start to feel it, at least with the RF.
Well, we are using *his* exact racquet customized for his strokes ;)

Your serve motion looks great, the only thing I would say is the toss adjustment is quite important.
Is the serve you are doing in the screen grab a slice serve? Maybe it's the timing of the screen grab, but it looks like the ball is too far right and too low at contact which might cause some compensation from the shoulder.
Also the timing of the swing start would have to be different with the RF97A than your other frames due to the weight.
Do you have sparring sessions without serves? Does your shoulder feel sore after those when using the RF?
I have the same exact issue though. Doing lots of high MPH first flat serves and overheads hurt my shoulder with RF97A with VS/ALU. Kick serves, no problem.
 
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ashridge

Semi-Pro
I had elbow pain and nearly quit last year. I went to PT and took time off and felt as though I was 100% healed.

A few weeks ago I went full poly; Prince Tour XC 15L mains at 45 and Polyfibre Pantera 16 crosses at 40, in my Head Gravity S. That’s very loose for me and I was getting easy spin and power. I adjusted quickly to the strings and played great. I used them for approximately 10 hours and I never felt a loss in performance.

HOWEVER!!!!
My elbow was stiff on Wednesday morning after playing on Tuesday for 3 sets.

I was stringing up some racquets for teammates on Wednesday afternoon and decided to go back to my Prince Synthetic Gut w/ Duraflex 17 at 52/48. I played 5 sets on har-tru IN THE RAIN (really like these guys) so the balls were HEAVY on Thursday. It’s Friday morning and I’m not stiff in either my elbow or shoulder.

Moral of the story......

If you have pain, you must string often for fresh poly or broken synthetic gut or deal with the pain.


I’m not risking the pain. I won all five sets I played yesterday. I didn’t play against the top ranked teammates until sets 4 and 5 which were their first and second. Whooped them! 6-2, 6-2. I’m sticking with nylons! There’s a reason the pros restring every time they bring out new balls.
I think I'm beginning to come to the same conclusion myself. I actually played pretty well with SG in my RF97A the few times I've tried it, just hate that it's not more durable.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
I found the Phantoms very unstable and jarring off center, very noticeable on the 1HBH. It's meant for 2HBH players I think. Even though the frame is flexy, there's no damping built-in at all.
The Prince Tour 100P might be your ticket. It's an open 18x20 pattern so spin won't be an issue for you with a gut/poly setup. Very stable on my 1HBH. It's a tad too head heavy for me but you won't have an issue. Just add some weight to the butt end to bring the static weight up and you're good to go.
It's obvious that your 362g RF97 static weight is too much for you as you're straining your muscles when hitting harder serves.
I actually demo'd the Tour 100P several times and liked it quite a bit overall, though like most other racquets, it doesn't feel very stable or solid to me in comparison to the hammer that is the RF97A. It's also a quite different feel from the Phantom's. More comfy I think, and a bigger sweet spot.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Well, we are using *his* exact racquet customized for his strokes ;)

Your serve motion looks great, the only thing I would say is the toss adjustment is quite important.
Is the serve you are doing in the screen grab a slice serve? Maybe it's the timing of the screen grab, but it looks like the ball is too far right and too low at contact which might cause some compensation from the shoulder.
Also the timing of the swing start would have to be different with the RF97A than your other frames due to the weight.
Do you have sparring sessions without serves? Does your shoulder feel sore after those when using the RF?
I have the same exact issue though. Doing lots of high MPH first flat serves and overheads hurt my shoulder with RF97A with VS/ALU. Kick serves, no problem.
I can't recall whether that was a slice serve in that screen grab or not. I have a pretty wicked slice 1st serve, but I only bring it out very occasionally, for more of a surprise. Have hit many aces with that serve, even though it usually isn't above 85 mph. Interestingly, the slice first serve seems to be harder on my elbow (in general) than a flat 1st serve.

Unfortunately, with my family and my job I simply do not have time for "sparring" or drilling sessions. I wish I did. But in general, unless I am playing with a full bed of a stiff poly like Lux 4g (a lot of the demos I tried were strung up that way), groundstrokes (on either side) don't bother my elbow or my shoulder. Hard 1st serves are the main culprit for my elbow and shoulder, and slice 1st serves seem to be harder on my elbow than flat serves, as I mentioned previously.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
People treat arm pain as if it is a gear issue when in fact it is a technique issue.

They change gear and especially, people over here are very much into gear and very little into technique.

Try to see what can you improve in technique, what are you doing wrong. Usually it is the serve when there are problems with the shoulder.
When it is the elbow it is forehand or backhand. Pretty simple. I've been through that and I am very sure of what it is because now I can pley the stiffest strin gin the market, no problem at all.
well, to be very honest, I think you have a good point, and I myself asked similar questions in the past here.
but, I wouldn't rule out the gear completely.
I had experienced pain in the left wrist with PA 2018 or 2019 edition, don't recall the latest model year.
The pain was growing and preventing me from enjoying TS BH.
Then I switched to a flexier frame, GTour, and the pain never bothered me since. To the point that just yesterday, I was training my BH with the ball machine, and I was hitting the crap out of the ball, like I never did with PA, and I was actually wondering if I will have pain in the wrist or something else, but so far so good.
Though I keep same strings, Babolat RPM Rough
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
well, to be very honest, I think you have a good point, and I myself asked similar questions in the past here.
but, I wouldn't rule out the gear completely.
I had experienced pain in the left wrist with PA 2018 or 2019 edition, don't recall the latest model year.
The pain was growing and preventing me from enjoying TS BH.
Then I switched to a flexier frame, GTour, and the pain never bothered me since. To the point that just yesterday, I was training my BH with the ball machine, and I was hitting the crap out of the ball, like I never did with PA, and I was actually wondering if I will have pain in the wrist or something else, but so far so good.
Though I keep same strings, Babolat RPM Rough
What racquet is the "GTour"?
 

WilPro

Rookie
Here are some progressive screen captures of my service motion.








From what I see there, you toss your ball too much to your right. I had this issue in the past with it and didn't know what was wrong. If you consider the baseline as a dimension, your ball should be right above your head. If you consider the sideline the ball should be one or half a yard into the court.

Looking at your last photo the ball should fall maybe 12 inch right in front of your left foot. For me that would be the perfect toss. And I'd hit it way higher. I don't get it how you can hit it this low and to your right.

But that's just me.
 

Mad hatter

Semi-Pro
Why not give the Pro Kennex Ki Q+ Tour 315 a try. It is $169, 16x19 pattern, has the kinetic material to help your elbow, is light enough for your shoulder and has a thin beam, RA of 64. Seems to check all your boxes. At least worth a demo.
Good idea. Just tweak with some lead in the hoop to bring SW to 325-327. Worked well for me. I wentfrom SW 333 to 327. Shoulder issue disappeared!
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Good idea. Just tweak with some lead in the hoop to bring SW to 325-327. Worked well for me. I wentfrom SW 333 to 327. Shoulder issue disappeared!
You didn't change racquets, just changed the SW from 333 to 327 and your shoulder problems disappeared?
 

Mad hatter

Semi-Pro
I have demo'd some previous versions of the Blade, and also the Clash, but not this version of the Blade. I didn't fall in love with the Clash. How is the stability and the plow-through of the v7? Those are 2 things I absolutely love about the RF97A that I would hate to give up.
just scaleddown myracquet weight from 356g SW 330 to 350 g SW 325. So farso good. No shoulder pain at all.
 

Mad hatter

Semi-Pro
You didn't change racquets, just changed the SW from 333 to 327 and your shoulder problems disappeared?
You didn't change racquets, just changed the SW from 333 to 327 and your shoulder problems disappeared?
Sorry. My bad. I switchedracquetfrom the volkl C 10 pro (356gSW330) to prokennex Ki q tour pro 325 . Too bad though because i really liked the C 10 Pro . However the prokennex (18X20 offers better control though little less power.
 

Yamin

New User
Have you tried going poly mains or full bed at tension in the 40's? When it comes to equip, I think you might have a hard time finding another racket you enjoy as much.

Before a serious shoulder injury and 4 surgeries I used to hit with a head youtek speed pro 98. My favorite racket of all time, but when I got back I just couldn't do it anymore with the stiffness and weight. Only mention this because the specs seem pretty similar between the two rackets. Anyway, I wanted to find something with more flex and slightly less swing weight because I'm still feeble, especially overhead (lots of atrophy and I'm using tennis to help rehab). My serve is now at maybe 10% for flat first serve (retired at the moment) while the rest of my game is like 80%.....

I saw a lot of suggestions for the clash... The feel is much different, and not stringing in the 40's kind of defeats the purpose. So does the 98 IMO as you end up with a racket that does nothing exceptionally, but is softer. I'd recommend the clash to people who play with heavy spin on babolats and their arm can no longer take it, or if you want to just play much more relaxed tennis. (I currently have a clash 100 tour that I'm using for when my shoulder starts hurting.) Definitely give it a demo though. Very different feel and kind of comical.

Blade however was fantastic for me. Demo'd with whatever trash multi they had and it felt amazing on the arm. Ended up buying one pre strung with hyper g at 51 and it felt horrible on my shoulder. Once it settled down to mid 40's it was significantly better and had some of the feel I enjoyed with a multi. I have the 18x20 and spin is definitely lacking but now that I have to be a recreational player for quite a while, I'm learning how to play with a more flat style and swap to the clash when I want to play with heavy spin. I think the more open string pattern blade might be good for you to try out. Lucky for you, quality control by Wilson is so terrible you'll probably end up with a heavier frame anyway to get you closer to your current stick.

I'm really liking the combo of flexible frames with low tension poly. Strings break less, less pain on the arm/shoulder, and have better performance than multi that doesn't break the bank.
 
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