Help! Lower tension vs adding lead tape

Jay_The_Nomad

Professional
Hi all.

Can anyone comment on the difference between stringing a racquet at lower tension (I.e. more power) vs adding lead tape?

I recently purchased an aeropro drive cortex and I'm looking to modify it to be able to hit ground strokes with more weight and momentum behind it.

Thanks.
 

lobman

Rookie
As noted in the classic Jollyroger Guide to Racquet Selection and in my personal experience, play with the heaviest racquet you can comfortably handle. So I would start by leading up. Then you can always experiment with lowering string tension and see what you get. It may be me but I don't see a great difference in power by lowering tension. Plus, control is effected adversely. Experiment and play around with both options--that's part of the fun with this game!
 

ricardo

Hall of Fame
Hi all.

I recently purchased an aeropro drive cortex and I'm looking to modify it to be able to hit ground strokes with more weight and momentum behind it.

Thanks.
Put the lead at 12 to get the most power (most swingweight increase).
The further away from 12 you put the lead (i.e butt), the less power you will get.
 

newpball

Legend
Can anyone comment on the difference between stringing a racquet at lower tension (I.e. more power) vs adding lead tape?
Depends on the strings. If you lower the tension on kevlar and poly the difference is relatively small. Lowering tension of gut and nylon makes a far bigger difference.

It also depends on the size of racket, the strings are more powerful on a 110 than a 100 square inch racket strung with the same tension.

Lead? It depends how much and where. The APD is not extremely HL so if you add too much you wind up having a HH racket and I think that would kind of defy the purpose of the ADP. Some lead at 3 and 9 may make sense if you need the extra stability.
 

ricardo

Hall of Fame
Hi all.

I recently purchased an aeropro drive cortex and I'm looking to modify it to be able to hit ground strokes with more weight and momentum behind it.

Thanks.
Put the lead at 12 to get the most power (most swingweight increase).
The further away from 12 you put the lead (i.e butt), the less power you will get.
 

TimothyO

Hall of Fame
Hi all.

Can anyone comment on the difference between stringing a racquet at lower tension (I.e. more power) vs adding lead tape?

I recently purchased an aeropro drive cortex and I'm looking to modify it to be able to hit ground strokes with more weight and momentum behind it.

Thanks.
Lower tension provides a small increase in "power" but it also reduces accuracy and control. The ball will simply leave the string on a less predictable launch angle compared to a stiffer stringbed.

Adding weight increases "power" and can improve control but it can also reduce racquet head speed. That reduction in RHS can be bad or good. If you're still getting enough RHS to generate spin and you're not late on prep then the slower RHS can improve consistency. But if excessive the extra mass can slow your prep making you late on shots and/or diminish your ability to generate topspin. I would also note that sometimes extra mass can improve spin potential through greater pocketing as long as RHS doesn't suffer.

I recommend you use the heaviest frame with the highest SW you can still wield safely with respect to your shoulder and while still being able to maneuver and generate RHS for spin. Then you need to adjust stringbed stiffness based on that level of mass smacking the ball relative to head size and string pattern in order to maintain control.

As mass/power increases, head size increases, and pattern is more open the more you need a stiffer string bed. As mass and head size are reduced and the pattern becomes more dense you can drop stiffness while maintaining control.

Change any one variable and something else needs to change in order to maintain ball control.
 

Jay_The_Nomad

Professional
Thanks for this thoughtful post (and to everyone else as well).

What do you mean by unpredictable launch angle? Do you mean the string bed launches the ball higher over the net then expected every now and then?



Lower tension provides a small increase in "power" but it also reduces accuracy and control. The ball will simply leave the string on a less predictable launch angle compared to a stiffer stringbed.

Adding weight increases "power" and can improve control but it can also reduce racquet head speed. That reduction in RHS can be bad or good. If you're still getting enough RHS to generate spin and you're not late on prep then the slower RHS can improve consistency. But if excessive the extra mass can slow your prep making you late on shots and/or diminish your ability to generate topspin. I would also note that sometimes extra mass can improve spin potential through greater pocketing as long as RHS doesn't suffer.

I recommend you use the heaviest frame with the highest SW you can still wield safely with respect to your shoulder and while still being able to maneuver and generate RHS for spin. Then you need to adjust stringbed stiffness based on that level of mass smacking the ball relative to head size and string pattern in order to maintain control.

As mass/power increases, head size increases, and pattern is more open the more you need a stiffer string bed. As mass and head size are reduced and the pattern becomes more dense you can drop stiffness while maintaining control.

Change any one variable and something else needs to change in order to maintain ball control.
 

spinovic

Hall of Fame
The obvious difference is that lowering tension doesn't alter the racquet specs. So, I would think first off you'd have to decide if you like the current specs on the racquet - if you do and would prefer not to change them, then lower the tension and see if that works.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
The invariable and golden rule is that power varies with swingweight for any given racquet length, so forget tension increase for power purposes although I highly recommend lower tensions for all sorts of reasons.

From my brief experience, the current generation of drive racquets are quite low in swingweight so that could cause some people concern and others will love it.

If you add three grams of lead between three and nine you'll get a boost in power and stability by adding about six swingweight units at that point.
 

Smasher08

Legend
Lower tension provides a small increase in "power" but it also reduces accuracy and control. The ball will simply leave the string on a less predictable launch angle compared to a stiffer stringbed.

Adding weight increases "power" and can improve control but it can also reduce racquet head speed. That reduction in RHS can be bad or good. If you're still getting enough RHS to generate spin and you're not late on prep then the slower RHS can improve consistency. But if excessive the extra mass can slow your prep making you late on shots and/or diminish your ability to generate topspin. I would also note that sometimes extra mass can improve spin potential through greater pocketing as long as RHS doesn't suffer.

I recommend you use the heaviest frame with the highest SW you can still wield safely with respect to your shoulder and while still being able to maneuver and generate RHS for spin. Then you need to adjust stringbed stiffness based on that level of mass smacking the ball relative to head size and string pattern in order to maintain control.

As mass/power increases, head size increases, and pattern is more open the more you need a stiffer string bed. As mass and head size are reduced and the pattern becomes more dense you can drop stiffness while maintaining control.

Change any one variable and something else needs to change in order to maintain ball control.
This ^

Add weight first. Depending on where you add it, you may also need to string looser too.

Weight at 9 and 3 make the racket more stable, weight at 12 adds to the swingweight, and weight at 10:30 and 1:30 does both. You may also need to counterbalance with weight added beneath the trapdoor of your handle.

The other thing to bear in mind is that even Nadal plays with a 340+g racket. Heavier frames absorb more impact shock and better handle off-centre hits. Overall, they're generally healthier for your arm than lighter ones, provided they don't have a HH balance.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Hi all.

Can anyone comment on the difference between stringing a racquet at lower tension (I.e. more power) vs adding lead tape?

I recently purchased an aeropro drive cortex and I'm looking to modify it to be able to hit ground strokes with more weight and momentum behind it.

Thanks.
My 2 cents is that there doesnt need to be a "vs.".

Do both.

Recently I added about 80grams of weight, mostly in the handle, and dropped tension about 30lbs.

The weight in the handle mostly just give a solid feel and stability on shots. THere seems to be minimal impact to maneuverability, but on shots like the serve there is an increase in power.

The extra low tensions are interesting. I never thought I would be able to play that low but its great. Very arm friendly, and my touch shots and slices are fantastic.

the launch angle thing is true in that the same racket with lower tension has a different launch. That said it is predictable and I can go from the low tension to the high tension and adjust in about 2 shots. Its relative. Most I think go from high to low and see the angle is different and conclude that it cant be controlled. Not true. I had the opposite experience being used to the low tension and going back to the high. The high tension was unpredictable at least for a few minutes.

So start with some lead and see what you think. You can put some at 12 o clock and then get some blutack or rope caulk and attach some quarters or nickels weighing the same as the lead tape you add at the top. This way the balance is the same and you can easily remove things.

Then add a few more quarters to the handle and see what you think, and how more stable the racket is.

Then you can drop some tension if you need to.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
80?? Holy moley, is this a typo?!?

EDIT: No it's not! 425g?!? I think you've set a record here!!
No typo.

Not going for any records just finding a good feel.

There was a guy who said he used to play with a 17oz racket so I doubt my 15oz is any kind of record.

In the day, I recall Lendl and Wilander using 16oz or 15oz sticks.

Anyhow you can add a bunch of weight in the right places and it doesnt feel heavy. No way I could put that at 12 oclock and play with it, but extra head light is doable.

Its a long story but I was replacing the stock grip and using a product called Cascade Vmax damping sheets to build up the grip and control some vibrations and well suddenly the weight was up there and it played so great that I "fixed" all the other rackets to be the same specs. I might add some more weight in the form of silicone in the handle to see how it works.

of some relation to the OP, I did the same with a Babalot Pure Storm LTD and well it is now a playable racket, at least for me. It was good stock but is more stable and solid now.

DOnt get the wrong idea I am not some muscle head, and am probably of average or less strength, so in my head, if I can use this racket, pretty much anyone can.
 
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