Gear to handle off-center impacts better...

Rd5rdm

New User
Hi all.

I have been suffering from arm pain (couple of locations) for past many months. Nothing really bad - but I have reduced the frequency of playing to 1/2 time a week from 3/4 so that I can keep playing. I picked up gravity MP (strung with NXT power 16 @ 54lbs) based on some websites recommendation and low flex rating of 62RA. Over all, the racket feel great if I hit the sweep spot, but for the shots that miss the sweet spot, I can feel the shock fairly well - both in forehand and serve. While there is some improvement need to be made on technique (and I'm working towards it), I was wondering if there are racquets out there that can better handle the off center hits. I have been reading on Prokennex, Volkl and Yonex Vcore - all having some kind of dampening technology (some in frame, some in handle). I'd appreciate any suggestion on racquets that can handle shock on off-center hits better. I am hoping to order some demo racquets but wanted some suggestions to down select 3 racquets. For reference, I have so far only played with 285-295 gm (unstrung racquet weights) so far.

I have only been playing for past 2 yrs, and could qualify for a 3.0 rating.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Alternatively, if a string change (either lowering the tension, or a different set of strings) can do the trick, I am all ears :) I recently measured my NXT string tension, it was at 43lbs (dropped from initial value of 54lbs)
 
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Deleted member 776614

Guest
Absolutely try a string change first. Try Head Velocity. It's a great string, good tension maintenance, and has a little bit of a rubbery feel so I think it will be good for vibration. I can't say it will cure your problem but it's an $11 try. I get a little vibration in my racket with a certain poly string, but not with other poly strings, so string can make some difference. I certainly have zero vibration with the Velocity - the feel is pretty great.
 
I'm going to speak some blasphemy here, since this sort of advice is generally ignored around these grounds. But I highly advice you to solve the root cause instead of applying bandaid fixes in the form of endless equipment search.

Since you sound relatively new to the sport of tennis, I'd argue that your forearm hasn't built up the strength and stamina necessary to withstand a session. Consult your sports medicine physician and physical therapist, not a bunch of certified keyboard gear head.
 

Rd5rdm

New User
Absolutely try a string change first. Try Head Velocity. It's a great string, good tension maintenance, and has a little bit of a rubbery feel so I think it will be good for vibration. I can't say it will cure your problem but it's an $11 try. I get a little vibration in my racket with a certain poly string, but not with other poly strings, so string can make some difference. I certainly have zero vibration with the Velocity - the feel is pretty great.
Thanks. If I started at 54 tension for nxt power 16 and is currently 44, where do you think I string velocity at (to make it more arm friendly). I just received velocity 16 gauge natural and will get it string over the weekend (was planning for 48lbs - low end of gravity spec)
 
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Rd5rdm

New User
I'm going to speak some blasphemy here, since this sort of advice is generally ignored around these grounds. But I highly advice you to solve the root cause instead of applying bandaid fixes in the form of endless equipment search.

Since you sound relatively new to the sport of tennis, I'd argue that your forearm hasn't built up the strength and stamina necessary to withstand a session. Consult your sports medicine physician and physical therapist, not a bunch of certified keyboard gear head.
Your advice is great and well taken :). I’ve consulted with PT’s couple of times. I’m also doing exercises to help with the elbow. I have taken weeks off few times to not flair the pain and taken lessons at local tennis club.

I actually played pain free for an year using Prince TT100T until my club pro replaced strings from PSG to Poly hybrid and few months after the switch. Since then I’m on multi and moved from 100t to gravity MP. But I do feel shock (sometimes significant) on off Center hits. Unfortunately I do hit off Center a lot (even on serves).
I am working on the strengthening the elbow but if there are ways to reduce the shock, I’ll definitely appreciate (so that I can keep playing).
 
Your advice is great and well taken :). I’ve consulted with PT’s couple of times. I’m also doing exercises to help with the elbow. I have taken weeks off few times to not flair the pain and taken lessons at local tennis club.

I actually played pain free for an year using Prince TT100T until my club pro replaced strings from PSG to Poly hybrid and few months after the switch. Since then I’m on multi and moved from 100t to gravity MP. But I do feel shock (sometimes significant) on off Center hits. Unfortunately I do hit off Center a lot (even on serves).
I am working on the strengthening the elbow but if there are ways to reduce the shock, I’ll definitely appreciate (so that I can keep playing).
If there is one equipment that I can recommend you trying is natural gut. They're not as expensive as one may think, especially you are willing to hybrid them.

Cons:
- Obviously, a bit more initial cost
- Sensitive to weather. Seriously, don't even sneeze on them.

Pros:
- Unrivaled shock absorption
- Your racquet will feel like butta
- Playability doesn't diminish until they break. You can easily achieve 20 hours of unwavering playability up to the point they break. Versus poly's 4-10 hours (this factors into its overall cost as well)
- Did I mention its unrivaled shock absorption and well... butta
 
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Deleted member 776614

Guest
Thanks. If I started at 54 tension for nxt power 16 and is currently 44, where do you think I string velocity at (to make it more arm friendly). I just received velocity 16 gauge natural and will get it string over the weekend (was planning for 48lbs - low end of gravity spec)
I can't comment on this since I like high tension. I'd read through the Velocity dedicated thread. I know guys are using and liking tensions much lower than what I use.

I will say that Velocity feels a bit softer than NXT at the same tension. NXT was the last string I had in my sticks before I found Velocity.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Sounds like your injury suffered from playing with poly hasn’t healed. Rest more and do elbow exercises with a Flexbar before you play again. Once you are healed, your current equipment is probably fine. If you play with poly again, remember that stiff polys die within 10 hours and soft polys die within 20 hours and you should cut them out and restring or you will re-injure your elbow.
 

DustinW

Professional
A found the Gravity MP to have bad vibrations outside of the sweetspot. It didn't bother my arm, but was more of a sound and feel thing for me. Also, the Gravity isn't necessarily an easy frame to play with... so as a 3.0 player, you might think about finding something easier.

Is there a reason why you don't just go back to the Prince?
 
Natural gut is ideal, but if natural gut isn't practical for you then I just tried Prince Premier Touch and that's an incredibly soft string.

However, the other thing that would significantly reduce off centre shock is a larger head size. If you want to stay with the gravity there is the S version, 104. Dunlop also do an interesting looking 105 frame with low RA. There's a Prince Phantom 107 too. Looks great but I guess somewhat heavier. However, that extra weight would also reduce shock further. Generally the larger the head size the softer the hit at the same tension.

As noted above though, sounds like the main thing is a few weeks off to calm it down first.
 

Rd5rdm

New User
A found the Gravity MP to have bad vibrations outside of the sweetspot. It didn't bother my arm, but was more of a sound and feel thing for me. Also, the Gravity isn't necessarily an easy frame to play with... so as a 3.0 player, you might think about finding something easier.

Is there a reason why you don't just go back to the Prince?
I don’t have it anymore. I can get a new frame but I had read that gravity will be more forgiving earlier :). Any other easier and arm friendly frames you’d recommend ?
Also, out of curiosity why do you say gravity mp is not an easy frame or what makes the fram easier at my level ?
 
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I haven't tried it myself, but the obvious one is the Clash if you haven't tried that already? If you wanted a larger head size there's even a Clash 108
 

unini

New User
I can't comment on this since I like high tension. I'd read through the Velocity dedicated thread. I know guys are using and liking tensions much lower than what I use.

I will say that Velocity feels a bit softer than NXT at the same tension. NXT was the last string I had in my sticks before I found Velocity.
Velocity and NXT sniffness is very close 153 and 156, I don’t think you can feel it.
 

speedysteve

Legend
I've been chasing the arm friendliest setup for years! Got a stringing machine to assist. Great fun.

My problem was mixture of recognising the tendonitis too late, what I did for a living, meant a struggle, but I've kept playing & enjoying tennis.

My experience;
Strings have a some effect, even natural gut fullbed won't help if you play often and hard, take more out than you are putting in.
Avoid poly and stiff racquets like the plague.
Chasing hard serve bombs coming at you, mean a few shanks every match or practice. Shanks = big, low frequency shock / jarring to tendons regardless of equipment / stiffness RA.
Pro Kennex and Volkl (older, lower RA ones), help manage things.

Big sqin racquets are often stiff, head heavy = pain!
Even middling every ball, playing loads/age will wear you down, if you are susceptible.

Upping static weight and HeadLight balance helped me.

I currently play ancient, low RA racquets (bought 2nd hand) strung with multi's. Prince Premier Touch mains and Head Rip Control crosses. I've tried nearly every TT arm friendly acclaimed racquet there is.

I Flexbar every other day, wear BandIt strap when playing.

I'm enjoying my tennis, still searching though.

I have another left of field setup under evaluation, perhaps more on that somewhere else..
 

DustinW

Professional
I don’t have it anymore. I can get a new frame but I had read that gravity will be more forgiving earlier :). Any other easier and arm friendly frames you’d recommend ?
Also, out of curiosity why do you say gravity mp is not an easy frame or what makes the fram easier at my level ?
Its just that the Gravity isn't an easy frame, since it is lower powered and it has a more head heavy balance (less maneuverable). I'm not saying you shouldn't play with it, but it probably isn't helping you win any free points.

The Prince TT 100 290 would be my first pick since it has a huge sweetspot, but it is just a bit stiffer.

Or maybe checkout the Head Speed MP. It can have a higher swing weight but it is still comfortable while having a bit more power.

The new Wilson Blade 100 might be a good option, but I haven't hit with it.

I think the 285-300g unstrung range is a good range to be in, but unfortunately most frames in that range tend to be stiffer.
 

Power Player

Talk Tennis Guru
I'd suggest a ProKennex frame with gut mains/syn gut crosses in it.

PK's will not transfer shock on mishits, and they have some frames that will work for newer players. The q+5 series is really good.
 

tomkowy

New User
You already have a comfortable racquet. Your string also is rather soft, polys won’t get much more comfortable. You can try dropping tension to low 40s and see if there is a difference. If you want a really softer string, try natural gut in mains or full bed. If you want a softer racquet, try a Clash or other ~55 ra strung racquet. Try something radically softer and more comfortable. If it will not work, at least you will know fast, that it’s not the equipment. If you try small changes first, you can try for months like that with no result.

Still, given what you wrote, I woudn’t say it’s a matter of your stuff. For 90%+ of players it’s about the technique. A good coach would identify what’s wrong in less than 20 minutes and give you tips and excercises to eliminate the problem in 1-2 hours. If they can’t fix it in 2 hours, get a better coach ;) This is the fastest and most impactful fix, if you can get a good coach.

Also you can post a video of you playing here or on Tennisnerd fb group. Most of people will miss the issue and write useless tips, but there are always one or two spot-on comments.
 
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