Heavy Racket vs. Light Racket

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by tennisnewbie09, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. tennisnewbie09

    tennisnewbie09 New User

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    I've been reading a lot about why you should have a heavy racket and why you should have a lighter racket. A lot of the information I read is very theoretical and geared towards marketing. We all know that theories and marketing is about convincing people to spend their money on new rackets.

    I'm asking for people with experience to chime in and provide me with some information, insights, and advice on the benefits of having a heavy and/or light racket?

    Whatever information you can provide about the pros and cons of playing with a heavy versus light racket and does it matter if the heavy or light racket is stiff or flexible?

    Also, is a heavy or light racket better for beginners and what do you do when you improve? Move to a different racket based on weight? Why do the pros add lead tape and why do we even need to customize our rackets if technique, conditioning, and footwork, ultimately will determine how well we play?

    I know there is so much information out there and to me, it's really confusing and I wish that I can find it simplified (if this is indeed even possible).

    Thanks for any information, insights, and advice.
     
    #1
  2. un6a

    un6a Semi-Pro

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    Light vs Heavy, is very personal thing. It depends on your strength, technique, style of play etc. You must try some racquets and find your comfort zone.
    It was stated many times here that ideally you should play with heaviest racquet you can comfortably handle for few hours of hitting.
     
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  3. Candide

    Candide Professional

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    For what it's worth heavy all the way. If you want to protect your body and develop your game then having some weight behind the ball can't be beat. Tweener racquets are misnamed and misunderstood. The Nadals and so on can use them because they have perfect technique but if you are working on your game the temptation to 'wrist' or 'arm' the ball with these things is always there and hence the never ending complaints about arm pain from social tennis players. Go big.
     
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  4. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    Use the heaviest racquet you can and the thinnest strings you can. Your racquet should also be at least somewhat headlight, how much is a personal preference.
     
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  5. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    To the OP. Are you a beginner at tennis and that is why you are asking this question? I can see you have made 19 posts, but joined in 2008. With so many threads on this subject since 2008, have you not seen any?

    Sorry to sound negative, but it's not clear from your question as to whom this racket is for? It just seems as if you are asking a bunch of questions that get asked every other day.

    In summary, personal choice; after trying a few out you find out whether you prefer a heavy or light racket, large or small head.....the rest is just fine tuning of strings and grips that most people seem to change shortly after they have just had a bad game.
     
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  6. paul_tennis

    paul_tennis Rookie

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    IMO is a personal preference, some like heavy racquets others like light racquets.

    I personally like heavy ones, currently playing with a BLX90.
     
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  7. Volley123

    Volley123 New User

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    With my shoulder I can no longer play as long with my 12 oz Prince Graphite. I now go with a 10.7oz Volkl and it has helped. As I strengthen my shoulder I will probably transition to a something heavier but still below the 12 oz. So lighter racquets for shoulder issues, heavier for TE.
     
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  8. Racketdesign

    Racketdesign Semi-Pro

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    Heavy and headlight, within your own limits.
     
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  9. lobman

    lobman Rookie

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    If you haven't, check out the Jo11yroger Guide to Racquet Selection on the Board--really good stuff. My experience is what he recommends--go with the heaviest racquet you can comfortably handle. I'm using a 12.6 oz and my game has improved as a result.
     
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  10. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Medium W and somewhat HL is the way to go. Over 11 - 11.5oz it would be heavy enough not to hurt your elbow and light enough not to hurt the shoulder (assuming yo are an average male). Then if you wanted to weigh it up a bit, there's still space and it's easy.
    On the other hand, it is quite hard to reduce the weight of an already heavy racquet.

    BTW, the "tweeners" are not light racquets. They are mostly medium.
     
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  11. 3fees

    3fees Legend

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    I recommend using a light racquet and build coordinated ball hit- swing speed,,Heavy racquets are a recipe for serious shoulder injury unless your ready to use them,

    remember you have to run around with this heavy racquet and that will tire ya out,

    with a light racquet its always easy to carry around and hit the ball.

    newbies-use a light racquet to get use to what your doing

    oldies- use a heavier racquet as now you know the shortcuts and ya dont tank yourself chasing balls down.

    :mrgreen:
     
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  12. tennisnewbie09

    tennisnewbie09 New User

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    thanks!

    Thanks for all the advice and sharing of experience. I've been playing on and off for the past 3+ years. I don't play more than a few months at a time because I have to travel for work and each time I come back to the game, I have trouble with my strokes.

    I've asked teaching pros in my area and they recommend lighter rackets, which they said will help me swing quicker to get the ball in front of me, but then there are those that believe a heavier racket will force me to hit the ball more fundamentally and it slows my swing down so I have to focus more on technique and footwork. I just get confused and that's why I asked all these questions.

    Ultimately, I just want a racket that I can feel comfortable with. I've demo tons of rackets and I sort of like the "tweeners" racket, I guess. Off all the rackets I've tried, I've seem to play best with the Head or Prince rackets. I play the worst with Wilson and Babolat for some reason, which was why I asked about stiffness and flexibility.

    Thanks again for all the advice and experience. Now that I have more information, I'm as confused as ever :confused:
     
    #12
  13. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Right, so you should know exactly what you're doing or you should be guided how to swing a heavy racquet properly. Otherwise it it safer to use a lighter racquet and... play badminton ;)
     
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  14. jwbarrientos

    jwbarrientos Hall of Fame

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    Brilliant, my case, I played mostly with aroung 300g frame, but for Golfer Elbow went to a 315g (322 with lead tape) frame but head light one.

    At the end of day, like un6a said is about personal preferences.
     
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  15. makinao

    makinao Rookie

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    When I started playing at 12 in the 70's, the tennis books I read said a "light" racquet was about 12oz, "medium" was from 13-14oz., and "heavy" was 15-16oz. My first racquet was a hand-me-down "medium". Since then, i've either bought stock, or weighted up all my racquet to at least 11.5oz strung. I never had a head-heavy racquet. I guess I simply got used to that kind of weight and balance. My legs will usually go before I'm too tired to swing my racquet. My present racquets are over 12oz strung.
     
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  16. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Throughout my teaching and coaching, I like to remind everyone that learning this game is very much about developing dozens of little habits which all need some degree of maintenance. You're not alone as far as getting rusty every time you get away from the game for a while. Busy players can sometimes benefit from a long weekend off, but once we take a couple of weeks away from the courts, we usually start to lose it in some way or another. The GREAT news (I think) is that after you get a couple more years under your belt, you'll have more of a foundation built up that will be less likely to evaporate over your time off. As long as you're learning and practicing good habits, you won't need to worry about unlearning them down the road.

    For better or worse, you'll probably know what's a good fit for you in terms of the right racquet when you feel it on the courts. That's why so many of us encourage our pals here to demo racquets when they can, since there's really no substitute for getting to know any racquet by hitting with it. One idea that might help over time is to keep a little record of any frames you sample along the way. That may give you a better idea of what you prefer in terms of a racquet's static weight, balance, and flex.

    There is certainly such a thing as too light of a racquet for a certain player, but there's also such a thing as too heavy. If a racquet is light enough for you, it should be okay for a full day's action on the courts without wearing you out, but also heavy enough that it will be somewhat stable through contact and do some work for you as far as sending the ball where you want.

    While a frame's weight will contribute much to its stability and potential for powerful shots, the flex of a racquet has a lot to do with its relative amount of "pop" or the general response of the string bed (given a similar string setup). A racquet with more flex might seem to have more control, but if a frame is rather flexible and also rather light weight, it may seem relatively under-powered. You may notice that many frames with flex ratings in the low 60's or lower are also around 11.8 oz. or more.

    Some stiffness in a racquet might be better for some pop on volleys and blocked shots, but a racquet that's especially stiff might also be rather "hot" and unpredictable. The Babolat Pure Drive is a very popular model, but it's what I'd call a middle-weight with lots of stiffness. That makes for a rather lively racquet, but also one that's easier to swing fast. Players who want to hit with lots of spin or hit with a little less than maximum effort can benefit from this sort of racquet. Again, we find these things out as we go.

    Although you mentioned that you've done better with Head and Prince racquets, those makers have lots of different models with lots of different spec's. It's impossible to know what you could be better off using without knowing the specific models that you tried. If you remember anything you liked or hated, feel free to share.
     
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  17. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

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    BASIC RACQUET FACTS
    A heavier frame = more power.
    A heavier frame = less vibration.
    A heavier frame = larger sweetspot.
    A stiffer frame = more power.
    A stiffer frame = larger sweetspot.
    A stiffer frame transmits more of the shock load to the arm than a more flexible frame.
    A stiffer frame provides a more uniform ball response across the entire string plane.
    A larger frame = more power.
    A larger frame = resistant to twisting.
    A larger frame = larger sweetspot.
    A longer frame = more velocity and therefore more power.
    A longer frame = more spin due to increased velocity.

    Pretty much use the heaviest frame you can manage, and head lightness allows you to do that
     
    #17
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Balanced by...
    A lighter frame you can actually handle......
     
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  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Meaning, you can bring a full auto .50 caliber machine gun to a fight, but if you gotta hump it 30 miles TO the fight, maybe a Glock 9 might have been the better call.
     
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  20. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Hall of Fame

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    I went the lighter route about a year and a half ago to get faster swing speed. Note- never had elbow issues. Dramatically increased my swing speed, my top spin, gave me more bite on my kick serve, helped me (I think it did anyway) prepare quicker especially on returns of serve to my BH.

    Downside was I had to make adjustments on volleys and drop shots, lost a little velocity on first serves.

    I might go up a little in weight, but I like my faster swing speed. Different strokes for different folks.
     
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  21. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I played with woodies in 70' and 80'... Thanks God, I don't have to do it any more :D
    Ir really referred to medium in todays terms and common weights. 11.5oz that you mentioned, is bang on to what I'm talking about. Never go HH, I agree. Most of 320-330g racquets of SW 315 to 325, would be about 4 to 6 pts HL.
     
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  22. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    You already answered most of your questions and more... You know the rough specs that you like and you already have some brand prefference. Should be easy to refine it from there...
     
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  23. LeRoy W. Lee

    LeRoy W. Lee New User

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    Thank you so much for your "simple formula". You've answered about 5 questions I have on my mind in one post! Best, LeRoy
     
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  24. Shroud

    Shroud Legend

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    Heavy.

    I hit with a friend today who was a complete beginner. He was rocking one of those $30 federer models...light light weight. I taught him the basic strokes and he was hitting pretty well. I let him hit with one of my rackets that I had weighted up and strung tight with kevlar/poly. I am guessing it was in the 350g range.

    LOL. He was like a completely different player and was totally sold on the racket making a big difference. Called it a "magic racket". He didnt say anything about it weighing more or the stiffness...

    I tried hitting with his federer and was struggling to hit the ball deep with it....

    So IMHO play with the heaviest racket you can.
     
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  25. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    There is no right and wrong, Date uses a 380g stick, Kyr uses a Xi98 that's around 325g.

    For example I love a PD and Dr100 which are around 315g strung, yet I also love using TGKs, VCTGs, GPMP which are around 350-365g

    You need to find something you can enjoy playing with that's stable, comfortable, maneuverable yet easy enough that you aren't hampered by it.

    I don't agree with the "use the heaviest or the lightest you can argument", just find something you play well with and when you get better, you can fine tune your tactics and gear that best suit your playing style.
     
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  26. kimguroo

    kimguroo Hall of Fame

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    It might be personal preferences.
    My main racket (Yonex Regna) is currently 11.8oz with high swingweight.
    I used to customize my most of rackets to 12.4oz including APD etc.
    I have textreme warrior 100TX and customized to 12.2oz.
    Nowadays, I experiment with head 9oz racket (no customization) and it gives more pace and spin. Also much easier to controls. Faster serves on both flat first serves and second serves.
    I monitored with tennis sensors (pop and Sony sensor). The data showed swing speeds are 3-5 mph faster than before. Unfortunately balls are not heavy enough but I play slightly better with it now.
     
    #26
  27. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    There's nothing to be confused about, you already know you play better with prince or head and hate babs and wilsons, so there's only the best tweeners out there IMO for you to try out... Yonex Dr, Ai lol!

    So why the confusion?
     
    #27
  28. pitsquared

    pitsquared Rookie

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    Always use a "light" racquet . Light and heavy are relative terms, meaning that what's light for me might be heavy for someone else. 370 sw is heavy for me but is light for many top pros. Your frame should never feel heavy to you. If it is then it is impeding your potential. As I get stronger and more fit I add weight until my racquet starts to feel not light anymore, and then I stop. So the answer is...both. Adding more weight will make the game easier as long as it's still light, to you.
     
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  29. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Agree. It's relative.

    My current racquet is the lightest racquet I have ever used. Including overgrip, some head tape in the handle and strings it is about 357 grams.

    To some that is heavy. For me it is maneuverable and I never get tired from the weight.

    My legs get tired from running on the court, but my arms and shoulder never get tired.
     
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  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The right weight for the player is the best racket weight.
     
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  31. Christian Olsson

    Christian Olsson Semi-Pro

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    Hos about this then; buy a lighter "players" frame and you can then weight it up with lead (or pref. Tungsten) tape as you develop your strokes and tech. Any 11 oz frame fairly headlight would do. There's lots to choose from in that category.


    Völkl super g 10 295 (now 330 g with og and dampener) in search for string..
     
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  32. Shroud

    Shroud Legend

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    Light racket:


    Same racket 50g heavier:
     
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  33. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    All the "expert" advice says a heavy racquet is the way to go and the pros play with heavier racquets .

    The truth is that light racquets sell better because recreational players like them better.

    Why do recreational players like them better??? Because they win with lighter racquets and lose with heavier ones .

    We have nothing in common with the pro's so why on earth should we copy them .

    If you are not going to be on the tour , I say enjoy yourself and play with a lighter racquet.
     
    #33
  34. Mac33

    Mac33 Semi-Pro

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    The more head heavy the frame - the more power it will have.

    The sweet spot will also increase and it will feel more solid.

    Downside - you will lose some racquet head speed and manouverabitity.

    For me 12oz plus and 4-5 points HL.
     
    #34
  35. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Start reading something else.
     
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  36. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Semi-Pro

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    I just typed a long post about this and deleted it as I thought no one would be interested. I have a Babolat Aero Pro Drive and a wilson Prostaff PS-97 I switch between. Light vs heavy is a tradeoff. What's right for you depends on. #1 your fitness level, #2 your technique, #3 your playing style.

    A lighter racquet is easier to maneuver. It's often more powerful which makes it easier to get depth. It's doesn't absorb much of the impact so a lot of it can travel to your arm. in the case of the APD it's also stiff so it has more unwanted vibration and less stability. It will often hit a "lighter" ball but you can wield it longer. I can turn defense into offense easier with a lighter racquet as I find it easier to "flick" the ball.

    A heavier racquet will absorb more of the impact and be more stable, transferring less to your arm but it requires more energy to wield. It will generally win the ball/racquet impact. I find sticks at 12 ounces + can just thump the ball better. I hit a much heavier ball with these than I do the lighter ones. On serve, my kick doesn't get as much height and my tricep gets tired faster. My touch is much better with my 12 ounce prostaff than it is with my 11.6 ounce APD (both have a little weight added). I also get more balls stuck in the back fence with my serve with my APD.


    Here's where it gets odd. With the APD, I prefer to stay back, with the Pro-Staff I feel an urge to get to the net. I think I feel more confident in my mid court game with the heavier raquet. I find feel much better too...but it comes at a price.
     
    #36
  37. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Semi-Pro

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    I meant to add this. If I was always playing singles. The APD would be Ideal for me. I love hitting big top-spin strokes and with just a little lead. the APD does with well.

    If I was only playing 4.0-4.5 doubles, It's play with the Pro-Staff. I can end points faster and tend to be more aggressive at the net. The extra weigh doesn't bother me as much ass I'm hitting a lot less balls.
     
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    SW of both APD and ProStaff 97 are similar. Overall weight is not something to worry about, if it's within 1.5 oz.
    I'm old, weak, skinny, and out of shape, and use 12 oz, 325 SW's, which are heavier and higher SW's than APD or PS97's.
     
    #38
  39. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    There's a reason why lighter racquets sell so much better :

    Most people win with lighter racquets

    If you want to play on the pro tour then that's a different story all together .....but most people have zero in common with a pro and I don't think they should be copied .

    There are a ton of people on this board who think they are a pro and play with heavier racquets because that's what they think they
    "Should" be playing with . The fact however is they lose with the heavier frames but they believe they are somehow better than you are.

    I play with a 10 ounce frame and love it ! I say if you don't have arm issues then lighter is better !
     
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  40. Shroud

    Shroud Legend

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    That seems logically untenable to me. If most people have light rackets as the sales show, then lots of people are playing other people who have light rackets too. So no way more people win with lighter rackets.

    And you can't just make up something and call it a "fact" to support your tenuous argument. Where is your win-loss data correlated to racket weight? Please share it.
     
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  41. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Semi-Pro

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    I agree to a point Lee. It also depends on the kind of strokes you have. I see a lot of guys with classic continental grip type forehands ala Johnny Mac etc...who swing heavy sticks. They tend to have very flat strokes. I rarely see more modern players swing with the same weight. It seems the more extreme low to high motion wears you down more. I think that's why we see pro's sticks get lighter as the top spin stroke has developed.

    I find I can swing a heavy stick like the RF-97 well for about an hour but I don't get as much top spin as I do with a lighter stick. After two hours, it's a challenge, after three, I'm wiped out.

    BTW, I don't think the specs on the APD and the Prostaff are all that close.
    my APD stock is 11.4 ounces with a sw of 312 with 17 gauge Solinco TB. The Pro-staff is 11.9 ounces with a SW of 320. I think that's a pretty big difference.
     
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  42. Crocodile

    Crocodile Professional

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    Hi Tennis Newbie

    An interesting question - and there are a lot of racquets for you to choose from and the best thing I can say to you is to go and test some different types of racquets and see which one feels best to you and gives you most joy and allows you to play better. Once you do that you will feel more comfortable one way or another. You need to find the racquet that best suits your game and don't forget if you are a beginner and then you improve you can always buy another racquet that better suits you then.
    Secondly your age and body build will also have an impact in what you may like. A small lady with a petite body will probably prefer a racquet somewhere between 260g-280g a big 200cm guy will probably gravitate to something around 320g and up. If you can eliminate some racquets using this criteria then it can narrow down your choice. There are many frames in and around the 300g mark as it seems to be the midpoint that many customers don't mind.
    Thirdly once you have your preferred weight range, try different brands of similar products to get a handle on which feel you like, each brand has their own feel that you may like or dislike. Age is a factor if you are a beginner in that most elderly players will opt for frames with larger heads and wider beams to give them some help in the power department and comfort. If you are young and have the energy to swing fast then median size heads (97sq - 104sq) of various beams will be in contention.
    With the pros and many long term players it comes down to familiarity. A male tennis pro who is in his/her late 20's probably got used to what they played with in their mid to late teens so their preferred choice of equipment will reflect this. The extra lead reflects the heaviness of ball that players have to contend with, but saying that, I need to preface that the age of the player is important here. Lot of the very young generation of players will prefer a different set up to a veteran player. As a player in his 40's I like traditional soft feeling thin beamed frames that are 325g and up because I grew up playing with those types of racquets and the way I play complements the frame.
    So the best thing to do is go out and try some frames as suggested and I'm sure you will find the racquet you like according to the parameters that I described as its the best way to go about it.
     
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  43. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Mcenroe plays with an 11 ounce racquet . I wouldnt say it's light but it's certainly not heavy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
    #43
  44. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Probably the twist weight of RF97 is significantly higher than lighter stick's twist weight - hence, racquet's head is twisting less upon impact, providing less spin.
    But it's actually a technique issue. More twist stability of a racquet requires more closed grip/tilt, since you cannot count on ball impact to close it further down.
     
    #44
  45. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Semi-Pro

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    You may have some insight that I do not but from all of the things I've seen and the max200G's I own. I'd say it's more like 12.6 ounces. This is when he was on top of his game. I don't know about now. If so, I guess thats proof that age catches up with everyone. Maybe I should have said Pete Sampras. I remember a post where Nate Ferguson confirmed his racquet was like 400 grams, or 14 ounces.
     
    #45
  46. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Mcenroe designed his Dunlop to his exact specs.....he really doesn't do much of anything to it .
     
    #46
  47. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Heavier frame = getting beaten by your friends

    If heavier frames really helped recreational players then they would sell better.....the fact is that lighter frames sell better because recreational players play better with lighter frames .
     
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    #47
  48. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Semi-Pro

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    O.k. Dark Night. I agree, it's easier to play with a 10 ounce racquet with a swing weight of 300. I know very good players that can do this. The pros racquets are in general 12+ ounces with a swing weight of 350+. Should all rec players use the above specs? what about 10.5 ounces or 11 or 11.5?

    My frames got heavier as I got better and I made friends with better players.
     
    #48
  49. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Define what is a lighter frame. Even better, a lighter racquet. What is the upper limit of static weight for 'lighter racquets'?
     
    #49
  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, lightest sticks on the market are in the 9 oz range, and lowest SW close to 280.
    Highest SW has to be around 355, highest overall weight well over 12 oz, so your range is actually VERY close together if you consider all the rackets on the market today.
     
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