Heavy Racquet improves technique?

#1
@Shroud my man with the "ATP level" forehand according to college coaches, known to wield Thors hammer.

Today I tried a racquet (hitting on the wall) which I specc'd up to Wawrinka-like specs (376g, 360g sw) and man that thing was actually making lightning bolt crack sounds. What a beast.

My forearm is swole right now and probably gonna get some mad gainz I suspect. But it wasn't THAT bad. I strongly feel like if I hit with it frequently enough (especially against the wall, which is like 5x the hits of a normal match in the same time period), i'd be able to adapt and get used to the weight pretty quickly.



I felt like the main thing this racquet forced me to do was really use the right technique. I couldn't just swing with this thing, or i'd (almost) literally send the ball into the next neighbourhood. So, it forced my shots to be very deliberate. I better damned well of been using the right kind of technique, no matter what I was doing. Really made me feel like I'd have to get great "extension" through the shot, while pushing off with my knees ---> this technique, topspin, seems to really enable it to kick down into the court at the last minute. It was almost the only thing that tamed the ball with these specs.
 
#5
I think post #3 is right - lighter frames allow us to get by with crummy stroke mechanics and late swing preparation. Heavier frames only allow this to happen for a brief span before exhaustion takes hold. They only produce decent shots over the long term for us if we use good habits.

Anybody can pick up a heavy racquet and take some practice strokes without hitting a ball. That's no big deal, but it's hard to appreciate the extra fraction of a second needed to setup and get that swing going to meet an incoming ball on time until we try to do it on the courts for more than three minutes or so.

I took up with using some heavy trainers several years ago. These were Head LM Prestige mids that were already pretty heavy (and NOT lively) in their stock form, but they didn't have much head-light balance and that made them too sluggish for me. Leading their handles got their weight up to 13.4 oz. and the balance at a more comfortable 11 pts. HL.

Initial workouts on the practice courts with these trainers exhausted primarily my shoulder after no more than 20-25 mins., but I kept at it and started to find my "kinetic chain" and use earlier stroke preparation. It was probably at least a five week process to learn more efficient setup habits, including with my one-handed backhand. I knew that the changes were taking hold when instead of feeling the burn in my arm or shoulder in less than a half hour, I was eventually getting tired in my legs after an hour or hour and a half on the practice grinder. Feeling the burn in my legs before anywhere else was the big signal, since that's where the primary work was supposed to be happening.

One serious CAUTION I always include in this story is to stick with using a heavy training racquet on the practice courts and not for competition until you've put in the necessary hours to adjust your timing. Otherwise you'll be putting yourself at greater risk of stressing and injuring yourself when trying to unconsciously swing that significantly heavier racquet in the heat of point play. I tore an abdominal muscle during a winter when I dusted one of these off and wasn't ready to actually go out and play with it.

Lesson there - the extra strain goes beyond just the arm and shoulder, so pace yourself if you try a heavy trainer. Stay patient and it can pay huge dividends for players looking to improve swing preparation.
 
#8
@Shroud my man with the "ATP level" forehand according to college coaches, known to wield Thors hammer.

Today I tried a racquet (hitting on the wall) which I specc'd up to Wawrinka-like specs (376g, 360g sw) and man that thing was actually making lightning bolt crack sounds. What a beast.

My forearm is swole right now and probably gonna get some mad gainz I suspect. But it wasn't THAT bad. I strongly feel like if I hit with it frequently enough (especially against the wall, which is like 5x the hits of a normal match in the same time period), i'd be able to adapt and get used to the weight pretty quickly.



I felt like the main thing this racquet forced me to do was really use the right technique. I couldn't just swing with this thing, or i'd (almost) literally send the ball into the next neighbourhood. So, it forced my shots to be very deliberate. I better damned well of been using the right kind of technique, no matter what I was doing. Really made me feel like I'd have to get great "extension" through the shot, while pushing off with my knees ---> this technique, topspin, seems to really enable it to kick down into the court at the last minute. It was almost the only thing that tamed the ball with these specs.
Good for you man. I miss my 14.8 oz sticks but am playing well enough with the 12 oz sticks to keep at that weight.

You are dead on in that you have to be spot on mostly or a heavy racquet will start to challenge you. Heavy will save you from TE usually.

And when you go for that shot it will have some zing for sure. I miss the winners I hit with the heavier stick. The ball was faster and heavier. Still ok now but maybe I should get back to 13oz.

Anyhow here is a cool vid if you skip the drone part

 
#9
I think post #3 is right - lighter frames allow us to get by with crummy stroke mechanics and late swing preparation. Heavier frames only allow this to happen for a brief span before exhaustion takes hold. They only produce decent shots over the long term for us if we use good habits.

Anybody can pick up a heavy racquet and take some practice strokes without hitting a ball. That's no big deal, but it's hard to appreciate the extra fraction of a second needed to setup and get that swing going to meet an incoming ball on time until we try to do it on the courts for more than three minutes or so.

I took up with using some heavy trainers several years ago. These were Head LM Prestige mids that were already pretty heavy (and NOT lively) in their stock form, but they didn't have much head-light balance and that made them too sluggish for me. Leading their handles got their weight up to 13.4 oz. and the balance at a more comfortable 11 pts. HL.

Initial workouts on the practice courts with these trainers exhausted primarily my shoulder after no more than 20-25 mins., but I kept at it and started to find my "kinetic chain" and use earlier stroke preparation. It was probably at least a five week process to learn more efficient setup habits, including with my one-handed backhand. I knew that the changes were taking hold when instead of feeling the burn in my arm or shoulder in less than a half hour, I was eventually getting tired in my legs after an hour or hour and a half on the practice grinder. Feeling the burn in my legs before anywhere else was the big signal, since that's where the primary work was supposed to be happening.

One serious CAUTION I always include in this story is to stick with using a heavy training racquet on the practice courts and not for competition until you've put in the necessary hours to adjust your timing. Otherwise you'll be putting yourself at greater risk of stressing and injuring yourself when trying to unconsciously swing that significantly heavier racquet in the heat of point play. I tore an abdominal muscle during a winter when I dusted one of these off and wasn't ready to actually go out and play with it.

Lesson there - the extra strain goes beyond just the arm and shoulder, so pace yourself if you try a heavy trainer. Stay patient and it can pay huge dividends for players looking to improve swing preparation.
Why do you use the term "heavy trainer" - in that the heavy racquet trains your technique better?
 
#10
There is a macho thing about having the heaviest racket, as if lighter rackets are for for girls and beginners. The reality is it doesn't make any difference, it depends on your stroke mechanics.

Some people prefer heavy rackets, some light. Each to their own.
I dont think this is true at all. My 1hbh is benefited hugely from this setup in terms of power and a bigger sweet spot.

Also my slices.

The forehand seems to have less RHS initially but i seem to be able to adapt.

I think it will be interesting in a match with some pros and cons... but thats it. Theres pros and cons. It definitely has an impact and makes a difference. Ive essentially gone from a 315sw racquet to a 360sw racquet, and i can tell the difference

And i havent upped it for macho reasons lol, ive had trouble getting big1st serves back, then adapted to a slice return style, and read that weight at 9 and 3 helps a lot. It does.
 
#12
I think a heavy frame can help your technique. It creates a situation where you have to be a bit more deliberate with your technique. It's all relative though. It's plenty easy to get to a point where that change factor wears off and you start to develop a different kind of bad technique, but change can be good if it's done right. And it is true that a heavy frame can really kill the ball. My problem with adding weight, especially lead on the hoop, was I tended to go overboard and the power was a bit too seductive. I decided a while back that it really wasn't necessary so I don't add weight any more. I'm no longer looking to play in open tourneys and rarely hit with anyone that hits the cover off the ball, so for me it's just not needed. If I was hitting against really high level competition who was knocking me around pretty good, I'd probably go back up a little, but for regular 4.5 rec play I haven't felt the need no matter what kind of frame I'm hitting with.
 
#14
In real games (not practice), due to inherent tightness, you miss a few shots and then you start slowing down your swing. With lighter racquets, this then produces weak balls. OTOH, controlled shots with heavier racquets translates better in matches. You don't need to consistently swing fast to generate heavy balls with a heavier racquet. The biggest worry with heavier racquets is being late on shots. However, in matches, most of your opponents are not swinging wildly and hitting fast paced balls. So heavier racquets work just fine.

So, I look at the technique question a bit differently than others. IMO, you need better command of your shots/technique to play with lighter racquets in real matches. For most rec players who are not technically sound enough to consistently take a full cut at the ball and keep it in or who don't have the confidence to keep taking full cuts at the ball once they miss a few key points, it's actually easier to dial it in a bit and still put some oomph on the ball with a heavier racquet.
 
#16
I like heavy rackets but I don’t use one mainly because my serve suffers a lot with them as I rely so much on spin on my serve and that’s hard to generate without good racket head speed.
My experience is the opposite. Most lighter racquets are actually head heavy. I have a much more difficult time getting RHS on the serve with those racquets than with heavier racquets that are head light.
 
#19
My experience is the opposite. Most lighter racquets are actually head heavy. I have a much more difficult time getting RHS on the serve with those racquets than with heavier racquets that are head light.
Always used head light rackets with a range of about 5 to 10 points. I like swinging fast, hitting hard serves and I can’t do that say with RF97. Rhs and the spin goes down. I would use it if could swing as fast as I would like to. That was my point.
 
#20
Always used head light rackets with a range of about 5 to 10 points. I like swinging fast, hitting hard serves and I can’t do that say with RF97. Rhs and the spin goes down. I would use it if could swing as fast as I would like to. That was my point.
Rf97 is 9 points headlight right?

I actually tried the RF97 once and thought it was crap and hard to use. But i had a similar head racquet (prestige ig youtek) similar weight (340g strung) less headlight (6 or 7 pts) and found it waaaay easier to swing. Now its leaded up, i still find it pretty easy to swing. I think the frame itself is very important
 
#21
Rf97 is 9 points headlight right?

I actually tried the RF97 once and thought it was crap and hard to use. But i had a similar head racquet (prestige ig youtek) similar weight (340g strung) less headlight (6 or 7 pts) and found it waaaay easier to swing. Now its leaded up, i still find it pretty easy to swing. I think the frame itself is very important
RF97 is 340g unstrung.
 
#25
Anybody can pick up a heavy racquet and take some practice strokes without hitting a ball. That's no big deal, but it's hard to appreciate the extra fraction of a second needed to setup and get that swing going to meet an incoming ball on time until we try to do it on the courts for more than three minutes or so.
.
Mainly a timing issue as you allude to along with not using the lag to drag the racket properly.....and yes, this is why a heavier racket does encourage better technique, while a light racket can make up for a lot of technique failings.
 
#28
sometimes i think a hevay racquet is just a brake for us...recreational players. you can have proper strokes with a 290g-305g unstrung frame too.

with a very heavy racquet i feel like the fattest man on earth. slugish like hell

like some chained up Conan Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
#29
Good for you man. I miss my 14.8 oz sticks but am playing well enough with the 12 oz sticks to keep at that weight.

You are dead on in that you have to be spot on mostly or a heavy racquet will start to challenge you. Heavy will save you from TE usually.

And when you go for that shot it will have some zing for sure. I miss the winners I hit with the heavier stick. The ball was faster and heavier. Still ok now but maybe I should get back to 13oz.

Anyhow here is a cool vid if you skip the drone part

that looks like @RanchDressing video:)
 
#32
I don't think most rec players who try heavy players sticks do themselves a favor. I'm not saying go get a ti S6 but there are many good "tweener" rackets around 300grams and 100 sq inch which are much better suited for most players up to 4.0 and really even 4.5. The heavy rackets dont only take a certain technique but also a certain strength and explosiveness and it can also cause bad habits not just good habits if used wrong.
 
#33
If your technique is wrong, late, muscling, it's wrong with both the heavy or the light racket. However, a lighter racket is more forgiving. A heavy racket is less forgiving and gonna tire you out faster, say, if you "arm" all your shots. And if you only push with a heavier racket, your shot will be a sitting duck.

Not many recreational players have a need or a good understanding for a heavier racket. They use a heavier racket unnecessarily.
 
#36
Had a match tonight and got up 6-4 7-6. Absolutely crushed some backhands! I must of had 10 clean winners off that wing. No clean forehand winners though, i still think my FH is a bit spinny. But it was heavier with this racquet.

Basically just tried to be a left handed Wawrinka out there... Sliced my serve returns, tried to get behind the ball and smack it crosscourt on both wings. Or slice if i couldn't get there in time, with only the occassional down the line shot (which looked amazing when i hit it lol) - seemed to work really well.

Having to deliberately go for my shots with the heavier racquet is great for me IMO. And there is nothing more satisfying than crushing a 1hbh, as the opponents jaw hits the floor in sheer admiration, respect and wonder.
 
#37
I don't think most rec players who try heavy players sticks do themselves a favor. I'm not saying go get a ti S6 but there are many good "tweener" rackets around 300grams and 100 sq inch which are much better suited for most players up to 4.0 and really even 4.5. The heavy rackets dont only take a certain technique but also a certain strength and explosiveness and it can also cause bad habits not just good habits if used wrong.
Agreed. Sadly, many recreational players, especially those up to 4.5, still don't get it and continue to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, so to speak.
 
#40
i find that i need to use heavier racquets when fending off hard/heavy hitters... especially big servers.
makes a big difference (to me) when i switch to a heavier racquet.
Yeah.

I assume those hard/heavy hitters you run into are close to 5.0 or higher. How many of those guys are there around?

In the meantime there are endless supply of average 4.0 and lower, at least at my parks. Out of 50, probably only a handful or less that can consistently hit good shots that bounce to the fence. The rest take two bounces. That's my anecdotal way of measuring power. My 330 gram racket has not been overwhelmed by anyone's power. :)
 
#41
Yeah.

I assume those hard/heavy hitters you run into are close to 5.0 or higher. How many of those guys are there around?

In the meantime there are endless supply of average 4.0 and lower, at least at my parks. Out of 50, probably only a handful or less that can consistently hit good shots that bounce to the fence. The rest take two bounces. That's my anecdotal way of measuring power. My 330 gram racket has not been overwhelmed by anyone's power. :)
330g is pretty hefty by most stock racquet standards anyway. By your own logic, if the heavier racquet is less forgiving to bad technique... well, hopefully that will train you to use better technique or to set up / anticipate your shots better.

For my match yesterday, I probably sliced more. If i wanted to hit topspin I had to move my ass to get my body behind the ball, but when I did that, i could really unload. I think thats good. And my slice was solid as an ox.
 
#42
Okay the 375g racquet was very sluggish on grass.. ball is so fast and skids through, i was slicing and found it near impossible.

What should i do, slice and approach? Such ****e grass too
.. but my opponent had the same conditions.

But yeah i didnt have an advantage with it on skiddy grass, more of a disadvantage to normal
 
#43
Okay the 375g racquet was very sluggish on grass.. ball is so fast and skids through, i was slicing and found it near impossible.

What should i do, slice and approach? Such ****e grass too
.. but my opponent had the same conditions.

But yeah i didnt have an advantage with it on skiddy grass, more of a disadvantage to normal
Grass is no real tennis! Also if you use 2 hands it's twice as easy to deal with heavier racquet.
 
#45
In real games (not practice), due to inherent tightness, you miss a few shots and then you start slowing down your swing. With lighter racquets, this then produces weak balls. OTOH, controlled shots with heavier racquets translates better in matches. You don't need to consistently swing fast to generate heavy balls with a heavier racquet. The biggest worry with heavier racquets is being late on shots. However, in matches, most of your opponents are not swinging wildly and hitting fast paced balls. So heavier racquets work just fine.

So, I look at the technique question a bit differently than others. IMO, you need better command of your shots/technique to play with lighter racquets in real matches. For most rec players who are not technically sound enough to consistently take a full cut at the ball and keep it in or who don't have the confidence to keep taking full cuts at the ball once they miss a few key points, it's actually easier to dial it in a bit and still put some oomph on the ball with a heavier racquet.
Excellent points. I've also noted in the past that I have a lot of respect for the really strong players who can crush the ball all day with what I'd consider to be a very light racquet. Those players can exhibit phenomenal timing, skill, and athleticism that I could never duplicate. While I don't have the mojo to crank on the ball with a light racquet, I can thump it nicely enough with a heavy racquet, but only if my preparation is quick.

I think that many of these sort of players (killers with light frames) are rather motivated and in at least some cases, there's probably a decent coach in the picture, too.
 
#46
Agreed. Sadly, many recreational players, especially those up to 4.5, still don't get it and continue to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, so to speak.
Imo the key is matching up to the level you play. I've had the benefit of hitting with a wide range of players from 11yr olds to Clay Thompson the UCLA National singles Champ to Mal Washington, major open finalist. When you are hitting with the big hitting male players, the weight matters at impact. I suppose anything is possible, but I don't know how you could execute well against the heavy ball of the avg ATP player with anything under 12 oz.

For most 4.0-5.0 tennis, 10.6 oz and up is fine in most all cases.
 
#47
I think that many of these sort of players (killers with light frames) are rather motivated and in at least some cases, there's probably a decent coach in the picture, too.
I guess there are all kinds of exceptions, but I think the key here is they are not facing such a regular super heavy shot. It's not about how hard they hit, but more about the ball they face Imo.
 
#48
Imo the key is matching up to the level you play. I've had the benefit of hitting with a wide range of players from 11yr olds to Clay Thompson the UCLA National singles Champ to Mal Washington, major open finalist. When you are hitting with the big hitting male players, the weight matters at impact. I suppose anything is possible, but I don't know how you could execute well against the heavy ball of the avg ATP player with anything under 12 oz.

For most 4.0-5.0 tennis, 10.6 oz and up is fine in most all cases.
That's what I was alluding to. You need the right tool for the right job. You can't go with always bringing a heavier racket. Or heavier is better. A sledgehammer is a lousy tool to crack a small nut.

Likewise, (in my experience) a 14 oz is kinda detrimental to use at recreational parks filled with 3.5, 4.0s. It's just too tiring to swing that weight against puffy balls :) It's so heavy, it makes you numb to the feelings of penetrating-less balls.

When I first began to learn the volley, I made my racket as light as possible. I brought it down 10.5 oz. I picked up the net skills faster than I anticipated. Now I play more singles (and more capable at the net), I taped up my racket to 11.7 oz. I really can't ask for a better racket!
 
#49
@Shroud my man with the "ATP level" forehand according to college coaches, known to wield Thors hammer.

Today I tried a racquet (hitting on the wall) which I specc'd up to Wawrinka-like specs (376g, 360g sw) and man that thing was actually making lightning bolt crack sounds. What a beast.

My forearm is swole right now and probably gonna get some mad gainz I suspect. But it wasn't THAT bad. I strongly feel like if I hit with it frequently enough (especially against the wall, which is like 5x the hits of a normal match in the same time period), i'd be able to adapt and get used to the weight pretty quickly.



I felt like the main thing this racquet forced me to do was really use the right technique. I couldn't just swing with this thing, or i'd (almost) literally send the ball into the next neighbourhood. So, it forced my shots to be very deliberate. I better damned well of been using the right kind of technique, no matter what I was doing. Really made me feel like I'd have to get great "extension" through the shot, while pushing off with my knees ---> this technique, topspin, seems to really enable it to kick down into the court at the last minute. It was almost the only thing that tamed the ball with these specs.
Can I ask how tall and heavy you are yourself?

The reason why I ask is that we need to remember that a lot of male tennis players are between 6" and 6"7 and weigh between 80-95kg.

So the reason why a lot of pros use heavier rackets is simply because a lot of the pros are bigger than average guys.
 
#50
Can I ask how tall and heavy you are yourself?

The reason why I ask is that we need to remember that a lot of male tennis players are between 6" and 6"7 and weigh between 80-95kg.

So the reason why a lot of pros use heavier rackets is simply because a lot of the pros are bigger than average guys.

For what it is worth, myself I'm 6'2" (188.5cm) and 100 kgs.
 
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