From heavy to light and "powerful"

B.B.

Rookie
(First my own player profile:

40 years old, not the fastest player in the world (to many extra soft muscles on me), good technique (been playing on a high level since I was 12 years old to 20).

Very variated game, slice, forhand bombs, kick serves, stealth volley attacks, soild from the baseline.)

Love my prince precision response ti at 12 ounces. So much feel and comfort.
Have tried lighter and more powerful frames but after 2 or 3 times of playing I always go back to my response ti.

Last week I brooke the strings of my 2 response ti and got to borrow my playing partners extra frame. This is one of his childrens rackets and it´s called prince 03 hybrid bolt. It weighs nothing and looks like a boboons ass.

I played with it for 40 minutes and when our training was over I asked if I could buy it. He said no, cuse his child would be sad.

I served like a tour pro, real bombs never done that before. I felt like I didn´t need to move my feet, just stood there and if I could reach the ball I just put it away, he had no chance.

Anyhow: is ther anyone here who had switched from heavy to light and "powerful"?

The "" round powerful is cuse when I play with a light frame I struggle for ex. to get my sliced backhand over the net. When I use my response ti it´s a weapon with fearse depth and angle.

Pros with lightness: it´s much better on the defense, easier to get the racket on the ball since it´s lighter. Easier to be aggressive on returns aswell.
Cons: sometimes hard to produce power, especially on serve and slice shoots.

Pros response ti: Feel, power and comfort.
Cons: sometimes late, little slower on the defense.

This got to be a long text but my question is:

Will I benefit in a big time in the long run going the light and powerful path or should I stick to what I´m used to but maybe risking to not play with the best overall racket for me?

Appriciate your own input and experince on this matter.
 

HitItHarder

Semi-Pro
If you have some time, you might want to read Jack's thread on switching from a player's racquet to a "tweener" (lighter more powerful racquet with both player racquet qualities and game improvement qualities). I think it touches a lot on the questions you have. Of course, it is quite long by this point as well. Here is the link -

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=345043&highlight=tweener

Personally, I think that recreational level players can benefit from using lighter racquets with more power and forgiveness, especially as we start to get a little older. They allow a little more margin for error when your footwork is a little off and you are stretched and playing defense.

I think the thing to be cautious of is that these light stiffer racquets can lead to some arm problems because they don't handle the shock as well as
heavier player frames. They can also cause some bad habits with your form if you get a little lazy with your strokes because of the easy power and light weight. But the lighter frames are also easily customized with a little lead here or there to get it to point where you have something in the middle. It is a matter of finding the right balance of performance and weight for you.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Your story sounds really familiar to me. I got wondering about lighter racquets several years ago after I'd sampled a couple of less hefty frames and they made me feel more "capable" on the courts. Started to demo 'n all that and now I'm a little bit of a racquet nerd like many of our pals here.

When I switched away from my heavy (12.8 oz.) ProStaff 6.1 Classics and started thrashing the ball with (for example) a LM Radical mp, it seemed as though I'd found my personal holy grail. I picked up a pair of those frames for myself and after spending lots of hours with them with some different string setups over several weeks, I was simply missing the heft.

A middle-weight frame with moderate stiffness can be quick and snappy for sure, but after being used to playing a heavier racquet, it was plain to me that some aspects of my game were limited without it. A good slice backhand can almost universally benefit from some heft in the racquet. That shot depends much more on mechanics than racquet speed and in my experience, a little extra inertia on board can help the racquet bite the ball and drive it much more effectively when slicing.

Power? In terms of getting "pop" on the ball, more stiffness can contribute to that, but significantly less heft meant that my racquet had more of a "power ceiling", especially with my serves.

General inherent stability in a heavier frame is welcome for me at the baseline, but it's essential for me up at the net. Lighter frames just don't give me the same authority with my volleys as the heavier alternatives. Since I grew up serve and volleying, I've always had a basic need for strong performance in my gear at the net, but my much improved strokes also suffer when my racquet is unstable. That's me.

Your mileage may vary for sure. If you're wondering what you're missing by not using a lighter racquet, you might just want to pick up something affordable off the classifieds here and see how it goes. If you know that you like having some stability in your racquet along with it being able to "do some work for you", you might miss having some heft in your gear.

Keep in mind that switching to a lighter frame mid-session will probably make that racquet feel especially easy to use. If you want to scrutinize a different racquet, use it for two or three outings all by itself so it can make its own impressions.

I love having an alternative in my bag, but not a featherweight. I still love my 6.1 Classics, especially for doubles, but I also have one or two other frames that are only a couple tenths of an ounce lighter that are fun to use, too. If your Prince is just a little too hefty and also flexible enough that it's a little "dead" for you, you might get great results from something that's no more than a half an ounce lighter with just a little more backbone. If I knew the spec's on your racquet, I might have an idea or two, but I'll bet that you'll know what's right when you feel it.
 

B.B.

Rookie
Thanks for your input, intresting to hear. I´ve tried both ca 300 strung frames and I´ve played with 380+ frames aswell. Always loved the heavy stuff. Maybe the answer to all of this is to beef up my responce ti´s and make them real HL. Than i got my heavy frame but it will feel almost light to swing.

Thoughts on this please?
 

larry10s

Hall of Fame
if you want to take a 10 oz racquet and make it an 11.5 oz hl racquet why not just get a 11.5oz hl racquet??
 

B.B.

Rookie
if you want to take a 10 oz racquet and make it an 11.5 oz hl racquet why not just get a 11.5oz hl racquet??
I own a 12 ounce HL PRINCE PRICISION RESPONCE TI. But I lack a bit of manuverbility on the court but I like everything else about it.

So that´s why i thought trying to beef it up under the handle, under the cap cuse the more HL the lighter it feels when you swing, move with it.

Would you agree?
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
BB,
I'm an advocator for light rackets. Weight is relative, but generally speaking you should use the one you feel light and completely maneuverable as long as, imo this is important, it can deal with the "heaviness"/impact of the shots of the players in your circle.

I'm using a 11.3 strung apdc and fully enjoying it in my circle but once in a while (rarely) when I go to other groups I get a little overwhelmed by one or two heavy hitters. With them I would need better focus to get the ball in the center, less twisting -- more accuracy and less painful. Becoming less "forgiving" is a characteristic of lightweight racket when it comes to deal with heavy shots.

Again, the group you play in most of the time is important. In my group there are ladies who use under 10 oz rackets and whack better shots -- more pace and consistency -- than one guy who uses a k6.1 tour. He seems to be always late and thus rush-swings with arm only and becomes more exhausted than the rest.
 

B.B.

Rookie
BB,
I'm an advocator for light rackets. Weight is relative, but generally speaking you should use the one you feel light and completely maneuverable as long as, imo this is important, it can deal with the "heaviness"/impact of the shots of the players in your circle.

I'm using a 11.3 strung apdc and fully enjoying it in my circle but once in a while (rarely) when I go to other groups I get a little overwhelmed by one or two heavy hitters. With them I would need better focus to get the ball in the center, less twisting -- more accuracy and less painful. Becoming less "forgiving" is a characteristic of lightweight racket when it comes to deal with heavy shots.

Again, the group you play in most of the time is important. In my group there are ladies who use under 10 oz rackets and whack better shots -- more pace and consistency -- than one guy who uses a k6.1 tour. He seems to be always late and thus rush-swings with arm only and becomes more exhausted than the rest.
Intresting to read this.

Have you been down the heavy road aswell?

I feel that I like the light racket but I find it hard to create power especially on serve and sliced backhand. And the volley suffer aswell. Feel is also less.

Is that something one might learn if one gives the light frame a month or 2?
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I own a 12 ounce HL PRINCE PRICISION RESPONCE TI. But I lack a bit of manuverbility on the court but I like everything else about it.

So that´s why i thought trying to beef it up under the handle, under the cap cuse the more HL the lighter it feels when you swing, move with it.

Would you agree?
I used to think that the whole idea of tuning with lead tape was sort of goofy, but then I got a pair of heavy and not-so-head-light LM Prestige mids. I could barely function on the courts with these racquets, but I could also feel that maneuvering them was especially difficult because of their balance. Reaction volleys at the net were nearly impossible with these bats for me.

Dropped a bunch of lead tape on the handles of these racquets (under my overgrips) and took their static weights up to 13.4 oz., but also altered their balances up to around 10 points HL. The difference for me was night and day. The extra lead didn't make the frames seem heavier since the added weight was down in the grip, but the shift in balance made them much more playable. The stability in the hoop was also still there at contact so this experiment turned in some really good results.

There is such a thing as too heavy or too light a racquet for any player, but proper balance is also part of that equation. These Prestiges are at the upper end of what I can handle, even with the improved balance. I can only play well with them when I'm on top of my game (and fitness). Even when my skills are good and sharp though, I'm in trouble if my racquet is so light in the hoop that it seems to get pushed around by the ball too much. If it's heavy enough and also head-light enough for me, it will have both that stability and maneuverability that I'm used to. (...blah blah blah...)
 

OldButGame

Hall of Fame
Your story sounds really familiar to me. I got wondering about lighter racquets several years ago after I'd sampled a couple of less hefty frames and they made me feel more "capable" on the courts. Started to demo 'n all that and now I'm a little bit of a racquet nerd like many of our pals here.

When I switched away from my heavy (12.8 oz.) ProStaff 6.1 Classics and started thrashing the ball with (for example) a LM Radical mp, it seemed as though I'd found my personal holy grail. I picked up a pair of those frames for myself and after spending lots of hours with them with some different string setups over several weeks, I was simply missing the heft.

A middle-weight frame with moderate stiffness can be quick and snappy for sure, but after being used to playing a heavier racquet, it was plain to me that some aspects of my game were limited without it. A good slice backhand can almost universally benefit from some heft in the racquet. That shot depends much more on mechanics than racquet speed and in my experience, a little extra inertia on board can help the racquet bite the ball and drive it much more effectively when slicing.

Power? In terms of getting "pop" on the ball, more stiffness can contribute to that, but significantly less heft meant that my racquet had more of a "power ceiling", especially with my serves.

General inherent stability in a heavier frame is welcome for me at the baseline, but it's essential for me up at the net. Lighter frames just don't give me the same authority with my volleys as the heavier alternatives. Since I grew up serve and volleying, I've always had a basic need for strong performance in my gear at the net, but my much improved strokes also suffer when my racquet is unstable. That's me.

Your mileage may vary for sure. If you're wondering what you're missing by not using a lighter racquet, you might just want to pick up something affordable off the classifieds here and see how it goes. If you know that you like having some stability in your racquet along with it being able to "do some work for you", you might miss having some heft in your gear.

Keep in mind that switching to a lighter frame mid-session will probably make that racquet feel especially easy to use. If you want to scrutinize a different racquet, use it for two or three outings all by itself so it can make its own impressions.

I love having an alternative in my bag, but not a featherweight. I still love my 6.1 Classics, especially for doubles, but I also have one or two other frames that are only a couple tenths of an ounce lighter that are fun to use, too. If your Prince is just a little too hefty and also flexible enough that it's a little "dead" for you, you might get great results from something that's no more than a half an ounce lighter with just a little more backbone. If I knew the spec's on your racquet, I might have an idea or two, but I'll bet that you'll know what's right when you feel it.
These are great observations. I've found much of the same. I would add, that each racquet type brings to the table its own attributes, and i guess its all in what you're looking for. I think the proverbial 'Holy Grail' would be the stick that had every positive attribute of both heavy and light, player vs tweener, etc.etc.
Myself ,when my conditioning isnt what it should be, i lean towards lighter tweener sticks. If my conditioning is on target, then the heavier sticks give me that power and stability thats so nice to have. I also will typically carry both types in my bag, depending on circumstances..(a REALLY big server will have me pull a heavier stick out).
 

B.B.

Rookie
Great input in this thread, thanks.

Another way to look at it would be:

If your next game was for life or death (for real!) which racket would you choose for that battle?
 

pyrokid

Hall of Fame
Great input in this thread, thanks.

Another way to look at it would be:

If your next game was for life or death (for real!) which racket would you choose for that battle?
Are we assuming that you're unusually nervous from the threat of death?
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Intresting to read this.

Have you been down the heavy road aswell?

I feel that I like the light racket but I find it hard to create power especially on serve and sliced backhand. And the volley suffer aswell. Feel is also less.

Is that something one might learn if one gives the light frame a month or 2?
Yes, I have hit extensively with a friend's k6.1 tour. I also bought PSL (11.8 strung) and aerostorm tour (12.1), but I couldn't produce any meaningful shots with them. I have quite a pronounce topspin FH and I feel the light, extremely maneuverable, large faced aeropro drive is my precision tool.

IMO, with a heavy racket such as k6.1tour, it's best to hit "flatter" and more through the ball in a way that you use the heft.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Over a decade I think I've gone from heavy to light - but not powerful, rather light and accurate.

I'm into finding and using lightweight 95 inch racquets.

300 grams to about 320 grams kind of thing

So that is Wilson KTour MP now+ ntour, and interested in the Wilson BLX Six.One Team...

Any comments on the BLX Six One Team anyone?

Previously I was using light 98s - Radical MP, Dunlop 300g, Babolat Pure Storm.

There's nothing like the plushness and plow-thru of centring the ball on the old Muscleweave 200g.

But I could never heave the 'weave in long battles!

I am a flat hitter but in singles comp matches in Aus heat I just cannot handle too much weight (I also think some of us are pretty sensitive to a few grams here and there).

The downside of going lighter is that inevitably the racquets are stiffer and you can get an injury easier. Throwing the arm without any weight providing inertia is a problem too.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Two month ago, I went from 12.4 oz 95 sq rackets to 10.3 oz 100's, and the ease and fun is almost scary.
I just have to remember to hit out and force the issue more, as tentative play with a light racket is giving your opponent sitter ball type tennis.
Dunlop Mfil and Aero200's to Dunlop Aero500.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Good points LeeD - there's a certain freeing up of what's possible and it's a lot of fun.

Leaving sitters is however a distinct possibility because there's less penetrating through the court going on, less plow-thru, and perhaps more dipping spin leaving balls shorter in the court.

But would you say that it's almost like your muscle memory has to remember to produce the good technique otherwise the superlight racquet may encourage "slappy" tennis technique?

The Rabbit thread on "dark side" tennis with a light and powerful racquet made for sobering reading.

I don't get a lot of added power out of a light 95 though the Wilson KTour MP certainly produces a nice ball I'd say it isn't particularly powerful.
 

prjacobs

Hall of Fame
It's definitely worth trying a lighter frame. Over the decades, I've played mostly with a 12.9 ounce leaded prince precision graphite 640, have had tons of coaching and my strokes are technically sound. I've had great success with the dunlop 4D 500 tour, not to be confused with the above mentioned AG 500. It's about an ounce heavier. Fuzznation, as always makes some great points. Especially interesting is the "power ceiling." Because even though it's easier to swing a lighter frame faster, it than requires more force to follow through, which can be energy sapping. (If that makes sense:)). Once you get a heavier frame moving, that mass works for you, but it takes more energy to get it going.... The conundrum:)
I use an all gut setup and the spin potential is amazing with the 16 X 18 pattern. I can do more of anything I want with the ball, because I can whip the lighter frame around faster.
However, as also mentioned above, I'm now starting to feel pain in my shoulder, so I'm going to look into more flexible, lighter frames. The London looks like a good choice. It seems to me that lighter frames with more flex are the latest design direction as we all "mature."But from a pure tennis perspective, I kill with the lighter frame. Every stroke I hit is better. Obviously, it varies with your game, but my serves have always been a weapon on my level and with the lighter, more spin capable frame, my lefty serve gets me many free points.
The often overlooked factor of a lighter weight frame is defense. Shots that would be by me, I now hit back for winners. There is absolutely no comparison.
I also don't play 4 days a week anymore and I turned 40 a loooonnng time ago.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
... The conundrum:)
... The London looks like a good choice. It seems to me that lighter frames with more flex are the latest design direction as we all "mature." ... The often overlooked factor of a lighter weight frame is defense. Shots that would be by me, I now hit back for winners. There is absolutely no comparison.
The conundrum is the dilemma we all solve in our separate ways.

But defintely over the last year or two am searching for light 95-98 frames.

Sub 320 grams...

Have also found dropping a grip size creates a "lighter feel" as more angles are possible - the racquet in the hand is freer. (The downside is some odd angles also get produced.)

Gee I like the power comparison of the London compared to my current frame as shown here

I agree it is an age thing, being past 40 myself, just cannot heft above shoulder height what I could before for as long as before.

But if you're still hitting out pretty well then you might not want the 100 sq. in. heads - so that leaves me looking at the 95's.

95's aren't as inherently powerful as the larger head sizes so the aim is to make that up with string combinations... (poly in mains, nylon crosses).
 

kaiser

Semi-Pro
Especially interesting is the "power ceiling." Because even though it's easier to swing a lighter frame faster, it than requires more force to follow through, which can be energy sapping. (If that makes sense:)). Once you get a heavier frame moving, that mass works for you, but it takes more energy to get it going.... The conundrum:)
I think this conundrum, as you so eloquently put it, has to do with some interesting consequences of the laws of physics...:

The law of momentum dictates that speed of the ball after you strike it with the racket is determined by the speed of the rackethead, the weight of the rackethead (primarily weight of the head, not the handle, compare hitting a nail with the head of the hammer or the handle) and the weight of the ball itself:
Vball * Mball = Vracket * Mracket
It follows that, all else remaining equal (balance, stifness, strings, tension, headsize), if you reduce the weight of the racket by, say, 20% you have to increase your headspeed by 20% to maintain the same ballspeed.

So you need to swing a 20% lighter racket 20% faster. Simple, makes perfect intuitive sense. So what?

But now comes the tricky bit: the work/effort that is needed to swing a racket (and the arm that holds it!) is governed by the law of kinetic energy:
E = 1/2 * M * V**2
In other words, while the work required increases linearly with the mass of the racket/arm system, it increases with the square of the swingspeed!

We saw that the law of momentum says that if we decrease racket weight by 20%, we should increase our swingspeed also by 20% to maintain the same ballspeed. But now the formula for kinetic energy tells us that increasing the swingspeed costs us more energy than we save by reducing the racket weight!
In our example:
E = 1/2 * 0.8*M * (1.2 * V)**2
= 1/2 * M * V**2 * 0.8 * 1.44
= 1.15 * E
So in order to swing a racket that is 20% lighter with a swingspeed that is 20% faster, you need to expend 15% MORE energy!

It's even worse than that, because you're not just swinging your racket but also your arm, and that has a heck of a lot more mass than your racket alone. Therefore, in terms of the formula for the kinetic energy, a 20% lighter racket does not reduce the mass of the racket/arm system by 20%, but by a much lower percentage (5% or less)... So in reality swinging the lighter racket sufficiently faster to maintain ballspeed, will require much more than 15% extra effort, more likely something like 35-40% extra effort!

I think to most of us this sounds counter-intuitive, and it took me a while to get my head around it, but the logic appears inescapable. This must be why lighter rackets also tend to be built more head-heavy (preserve mass in the head for the law of momentum!), stiffer, and with a larger headsize, all in order to reduce the need to swing much faster to maintain ballspeed, and thus reduce the amount of extra energy that requires... What do the physicists on this board think of my argument, have I missed something?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Countered by the fact the lighter racket is inherently more powerful than the heavier racket, is bigger for a bigger sweetspot, and you adjust your stroke from topspin to flat easier with the lighter racket.
Your theory doesn't hold any water in real tennis, where we can hit brushing topspin, flatter topspin, flat, and slice shots on demand.
And hitting the ball hard is not the endall of good tennis. Tennis is hitting the RIGHT shot at the right time to confound and confuse the opposition. Just hitting hard doesn't confound or confuse anyone except for people you can already beat.
 

OldButGame

Hall of Fame
^^ This a profound point. Sometimes i get sucked into playing a 'power game' against 1 of my partners. This guy is very good. And power is not an issue for him. He can pretty much return anything and im not gonna make him force errors. If i stick with that approach with this guy i'll lose even quicker than i normally do.:cry:
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Well, that explains how a crafty Santoro can sometimes beat a bruising but mindless Soderling.
And how a smart Murray can outcraft a stronger and more consistent Nadal.
And how a Federer, with every shot in the book, can confuse opponents besides hit past them.
Tennis is not only hitting harder and heavier balls. More important than pure power is placement. With good placement, and tactical skills, you can easily offset the power of a much stronger opponent, since you are hitting the tennis ball, not the opponent.
 

OldButGame

Hall of Fame
I've heard,..that senior players (more senior than me) play almost exclusively with surgical like placement and strategy.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Well, them old farts aren't going to beat anyone hitting heavy topspin over and over again, run from baseline alley to alley 15 times, and then do it over and over again.
Somewhere somehow, growing old all those years should teach you that you don't need to run all that much to play tennis....at your level.
 

OldButGame

Hall of Fame
(its just so dang much to swing away on the ball !!!!!:lol:)

(THAT would be partly why i lose so doggone much!!!!) :(
 

Don't Let It Bounce

Hall of Fame
Countered by the fact the lighter racket is inherently more powerful than the heavier racket, is bigger for a bigger sweetspot, and you adjust your stroke from topspin to flat easier with the lighter racket.
Your theory doesn't hold any water in real tennis, where we can hit brushing topspin, flatter topspin, flat, and slice shots on demand.
And hitting the ball hard is not the endall of good tennis. Tennis is hitting the RIGHT shot at the right time to confound and confuse the opposition. Just hitting hard doesn't confound or confuse anyone except for people you can already beat.
Assuming you are responding to post #21, I believe he was addressing the very specific point of whether going lighter conserves a player's energy. He did not seem to be suggesting that heavier racquets are better in all ways or to be making any claim about the best way to play tennis.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Since I went to a lighter racket by 2 full oz.'s, I'd honest say I save tons of energy.
My average ball might not have the same weight as before, but my overall game can be better due to the variety it now gets from slower balls with more spin and the same speed balls when I flatten out my shots.
 

kaiser

Semi-Pro
Countered by the fact the lighter racket is inherently more powerful than the heavier racket
Fact??? I just went to great length to show that the same physics that got a man on the moon indicates that a lighter racket is inherently LESS powerful than a heavier one, UNLESS it is made stiffer, more head-heavy, larger head, more open string pattern etc. Now you just simply state that the opposite is a fact? What fact?

Since I went to a lighter racket by 2 full oz.'s, I'd honest say I save tons of energy.
My average ball might not have the same weight as before, but my overall game can be better due to the variety it now gets from slower balls with more spin and the same speed balls when I flatten out my shots.
That's precisely my point! If you go back to my calculations you can see that you can save energy by going to a lighter racket, but unless that racket is built sufficiently stiffer, more head-heavy, etc, that will go at the expense of the weight of your ball.

Now it's a whole different matter whether that is a good or a bad thing for you as an individual player. You're saying that you can more than compensate for your slower balls with more variety and spin, so I'd say that's great: more power to you!

Assuming you are responding to post #21, I believe he was addressing the very specific point of whether going lighter conserves a player's energy. He did not seem to be suggesting that heavier racquets are better in all ways or to be making any claim about the best way to play tennis.
Well said, you summarized my position wonderfully. I'm reading more and more on this board that people over a certain age limit, usually around 40, start to think, or are being told, that they need to switch to a lighter racket to conserve energy and keep up with the game. It is completely taken for granted that switching to a light racket will automatically save you energy. But that is only true if you are prepared to sacrifice the weight of your shots, or are prepared to deal with the consequences of a stiffer, more head-heavy racket. As LeeD explained above, he had to adjust his game to deal with the lighter racket, and it worked out great for him. However, if you switch from heavy to light, you cannot expect to keep playing the same game with the same weight of ball AND conserve energy. That's my point, also in tennis there's no such thing as a free lunch...
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
I'm reading more and more on this board that people over a certain age limit, usually around 40, start to think, or are being told, that they need to switch to a lighter racket to conserve energy and keep up with the game. It is completely taken for granted that switching to a light racket will automatically save you energy. But that is only true if you are prepared to sacrifice the weight of your shots, or are prepared to deal with the consequences of a stiffer, more head-heavy racket. As LeeD explained above, he had to adjust his game to deal with the lighter racket, and it worked out great for him. However, if you switch from heavy to light, you cannot expect to keep playing the same game with the same weight of ball AND conserve energy. That's my point, also in tennis there's no such thing as a free lunch...
Not for a moment can I tackle your math, no way.

As you get older I think the switch to a lighter racquet isn't only about energy. It's also about: mobility, reach, preparedness, reaction time, visual acuity.

Don't want to be on a downer here but all those factors go a bit downhill as you age (darn it). So if we grant your argument that the lighter racquet doesn't conserve energy, the lighter racquet does aid retaining ability to move quickly, reaction reach to a ball going past, cocking the racquet for early preparedness, and reacting off the cuff.

Nothing but glasses can help your eyes.

Perhaps a bigger head, typically on lighter racquets, helps older eyes middle the ball though.

I do agree with you about trade-offs - what you gain in one respect can slide off on the opposite side! Oh great look at my net clearance, oh darn look how it whiffles centre court with no ooooomph!

I would put it to you though that the "ceiling" of what you can carry around in a racquet does reduce with age, less by conscious choice than sheer "fact" of nature - ie. I don't get to the gym or so tennis training like I once did and hence my natural body doesn't do what it once did albeit with the input of training. cheeers... :)

ps. good topic
 

kaiser

Semi-Pro
I hear you bert, and I feel with you re. the predicaments of advancing age. I'm 55 myself, and got back into playing regularly last year after a lull in my tennis activities of about 8 years or so. Had to find myself a new racket and went onto these boards to scout around for the latest and the best. Read all these posts of how aging players benefit from going to these light new 'modern' rackets, so went into a demoing spree. Tried out all the Babolats and ilk only to find that the magical qualities that should make me feel 10 years younger on court didn't show up for me... Didn't find them to swing that much more easily, or to produce much more power and spin.

Anyway, went slowly back up in weight and ended up buying the Dunlop 4D200T, one of the heaviest rackets on sale right now... I'm not saying everyone should go this route, but for my 6'5.5" 220# frame perhaps this is not such an illogical choice. Had tons of lessons over the years and my stroke mechanics are sound so I can handle the weight and let it work for me. Especially after dropping my tension to the low 40s end adding a little weight in the handle to make my 4D200Ts more head light, I'm striking the ball as well as I ever have. Don't play competition, so I'm not too fussed if I can't get my racket behind a well-place heavy shot of my opponent, good on him/her... Sure, I do have a sore shoulder from time to time, but I can feel my legs and knees too after a long match, and there is no guarantee that I wouldn't get that with a lighter racket. As you say, we're getting on and need more time to recuperate...
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
I hear you bert, and I feel with you re. the predicaments of advancing age. I'm 55 myself, and got back into playing regularly last year after a lull in my tennis activities of about 8 years or so. Had to find myself a new racket and went onto these boards to scout around for the latest and the best. Read all these posts of how aging players benefit from going to these light new 'modern' rackets, so went into a demoing spree. Tried out all the Babolats and ilk only to find that the magical qualities that should make me feel 10 years younger on court didn't show up for me... Didn't find them to swing that much more easily, or to produce much more power and spin.
Heh heh... magical qualities!

More Rip Van Winkle than Wizard of Oz!

But it must be good to wake up too and take an objective look at racquets and strings after a hiatus and come back and see what everyone is talking about and whether it matches up to your own perceptions as soon as you try it knowing what you left behind and contrasting that to what's available today.

If as you say you're not an acolyte to the Bab revolution, then what do you make of poly strings??!!! The two are almost born for each other.

The poly strings in those big frames add vicious spin, additional heaviness in the ball, and with this wider sweetspot and brushsable stringbed you can get added net clearance and a mid court ball can bounce to shoulder height at the baseline - just a different way to achieve the offensive.

Anyway, went slowly back up in weight and ended up buying the Dunlop 4D200T, one of the heaviest rackets on sale right now... I'm not saying everyone should go this route, but for my 6'5.5" 220# frame perhaps this is not such an illogical choice. Had tons of lessons over the years and my stroke mechanics are sound so I can handle the weight and let it work for me. Especially after dropping my tension to the low 40s end adding a little weight in the handle to make my 4D200Ts more head light, I'm striking the ball as well as I ever ..
Heck that's heavy. Ans super low tension.

By way of contrast, for my 6' 165# thin (not anemic) physique I find light frames the only way to go. Light 95s. I get accuracy and supply the power but I'm at this later stage actually SHOCKED how much difference a few grams makes to my game.

I am actually disheartened when I think how I for one have to carefully weigh up specs. I know many players who know nothing about what they are playing with. For me I have to sweat over a few grams this way or that.

The 300 4D Tour was just way too much for me and in the singles matches I played and I would noticeably tire quickly.

The choice was made for me - by me to me.

I couldn't say no to what my body told me - use a lighter racquet.

I think NBMJ (no bad mojo) waged a long and some would say career-defining :) battle on these boards about this EXACT topic - age and adjusting your racquet.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
I still like the start of this thread by the OP.

Should be a headline in a newspaper: Man uses child's racquet. Wins the war!
 

OldButGame

Hall of Fame
A lot of really great, interesting points made by all above!!!,...(and i agree,...great topic!!!)..

The point about fitness level being a determinant in the whole equation is a good one. For me, that too becomes a tougher road with age. My workouts are becoming more 'physical therapy related' and 'Rahab related', and pure 'targeted injury prevention related'.
All the same,..I've found lighter racquets easier to work with, especially over longer duration the older i get. I do think theres trade offs and sacrifices to going lighter (stability?), but to some degree that decision gets made 'for You' as stated.
I think conditioning and fitness are the closest things we have to keep playing at a level we once did. Gosh knows thats the case for me anyway.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
For me, going from a 12.4 oz 95 18x20 to a 10.3oz 16x19, biggest compensation is I have to hit the ball, not react to it.
I'm 61, and you'd think thru the years I'd learn how to automatically compensate for the loss of 2 oz. But nope. If I react to the ball naturally, I hit a sitter for anyone to eat up. If I actively hit each shot with purpose, pace, placement, and depth, there is little difference.
So, the lighter racket is easier on my aging shoulder and really weak legs, but I have to add some thoughtful hitting to my game.
Well, using my fading mind is not the worst thing I have ever had to do, so I suffer less walkabouts too...:shock:
 

NLBwell

Legend
If you gave 80 or so year old Ken Rosewall a Seamco Aluminum racket he would beat almost everyone on this board. It is all about timing. To use a heavy racket you need to have more exact timing than with a light racket. If you are late, off balance, aren't moving your feet, etc. you can muscle around the light racket more easily to adjust for it. When people complain about tired arms it isn't because of the weight of the racket, it is because they aren't hitting the ball correctly.
In a match, this bit of extra maneuverability can be good, in that you can adjust more easily to an opponent's shot. However, you do lose power off of a well-struck ball and more importantly, it is common to have your strokes get worse, as you don't need to be precise and can get sloppy.

One of the guys I play with is an older guy like me and is a very good 4.0 who used to be much better in the old days. He switched to a stiff lightweight racket and it feels good to him. He can hit aces, whip some big powerful shots, but it hurts his game. He sprays more shots than he used to, has trouble controlling balls hit hard at him, doesn't have as much touch, and just doesn't win as much as he used to. On the other hand, I've played with my 14 oz Black Aces for the past few days and I played beautifully the first day. I remembered why I loved these rackets. Everything was completely effortless with big power and exact control. As my legs and body got more tired each day (I hadn't played in a while) my movement and timing went off a little more each day and I just wasn't playing well. By today, I was pretty bad and I probably would have done much better with my normal rackets.

You should pick what is best for you, but do a long demo because the effects of a lightweight racket on your game can be slow and pernicious. I like the idea someone above said of buying an inexpensive racket off the boards (or even a cheap discontinued racket from TW) so you can see if you play well long term with the racket. I played a good chunk of a year with a powerful widebody when they first came out. It felt great, I could hit great shots, but in the end I couldn't control it. Wasted a good tennis season losing a lot of matches.
 
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Torres

Banned
Any comments on the BLX Six One Team anyone?
It's a nice racquet. Very manouverable and whippy, and you can get a fair amount of weight on the ball because of its less HL balance. Healthy swingweight. People keep on talking about the Blade but the specs of this are pretty close. Given the weight variances during manufacture, just find a slightly heavier version if that's what you prefer. It's a very underated racquet and plays very well.
 
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I have used the wilson 95 team. An excellant stick. A very nice racquet but sold it as it was too stiff for my old elbow and under bad lights mis-hits didnt go very good. But leaded up to 11.4 in daylight it was awsome, very good control, goodpace, etc. Wish I had it back, really.
 
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