How to find ideal weight, SW, balance?

After a long demo process, I finally settled on a racquet (Prestige MP) and now have four of them. I know from experimenting with lead throughout the demo process that I can comfortably hit the Prestige from stock up to about 375 g/360 SW. Since there's a fairly large spectrum of weights and SWs that might conceivably work best, I want to find my ideal setup in the most scientific way possible. I have a scale and homemade balance board, so I should be able to measure changes fairly accurately. The question I'm hoping you all can help me with is the following: What's the best process for zeroing in on ideal weight, SW, and balance?

Here's what I'm thinking so far:
Step 1: Get all four racquets strung with the same string at the same tension.
Step 2: For the first pass, keep the weight/SW ratio and balance roughly the same (say, 345/325=1.06 g/SW and 6 pts HL) and vary the weight (say, 345, 355, 365, 375 g). This should give me a rough idea of the weight and SW territory I want to be in.

After that, though, I'm not sure where to go. Say the "winner" from the first pass is 365 g/344 SW. Should I weight all four racquets to 365 g and try different SWs? Keep all four at 344 SW and try different weights? This may seem trivial, but I know from experimenting with other types of equipment that getting the trial process right can actually make a big difference. Would any of you recommend a specific method?

(Also, this may only be my eighth post, but I've been lurking long enough to know that some of you will say something like, "Forget about trying to find your perfect specs and work on your strokes!" And to you, I would respond... you're completely right. But I'm a tinkerer at heart, as many of you probably are, and this is part of what gets me excited about tennis.)
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Read up on posts by Travlerajm. He opines that the ratio MgR/I (between 20.6 and 21) is ideal. Note that this is his opinion and that some here agree or disagree with is position.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
I went through this last year with the Prestige MP and my best static weight is from 368 to 374 grams. I settled on a SW of 361 through trial and error. I am not concerned with balance as it took enough effort to arrive at something that I liked. I also bought four IG Prestige MPs recently at 384 SW which are great for groundstrokes but limits me on the serve. I'm staying with the YTs for now.

My approach was to just modify one racquet - not multiple frames as I wanted to get to optimum quickly. Doing that with multiple frames would use up a lot of time and materials (lead tape).
 

corners

Legend
After a long demo process, I finally settled on a racquet (Prestige MP) and now have four of them. I know from experimenting with lead throughout the demo process that I can comfortably hit the Prestige from stock up to about 375 g/360 SW. Since there's a fairly large spectrum of weights and SWs that might conceivably work best, I want to find my ideal setup in the most scientific way possible. I have a scale and homemade balance board, so I should be able to measure changes fairly accurately. The question I'm hoping you all can help me with is the following: What's the best process for zeroing in on ideal weight, SW, and balance?

Here's what I'm thinking so far:
Step 1: Get all four racquets strung with the same string at the same tension.
Step 2: For the first pass, keep the weight/SW ratio and balance roughly the same (say, 345/325=1.06 g/SW and 6 pts HL) and vary the weight (say, 345, 355, 365, 375 g). This should give me a rough idea of the weight and SW territory I want to be in.

After that, though, I'm not sure where to go. Say the "winner" from the first pass is 365 g/344 SW. Should I weight all four racquets to 365 g and try different SWs? Keep all four at 344 SW and try different weights? This may seem trivial, but I know from experimenting with other types of equipment that getting the trial process right can actually make a big difference. Would any of you recommend a specific method?

(Also, this may only be my eighth post, but I've been lurking long enough to know that some of you will say something like, "Forget about trying to find your perfect specs and work on your strokes!" And to you, I would respond... you're completely right. But I'm a tinkerer at heart, as many of you probably are, and this is part of what gets me excited about tennis.)

Yours is a very good question. And a methodical trial and error approach like you're planning is probably the right idea. Four racquets strung identically is ideal, so that's a good start.

I second esgee's suggestion of reading up on Travlerajm's posts on MgR/I. The relationship between weight, balance and swingweight is critical in my opinion, and unfortunately Travlerajm's MgR/I ratio is the only tool that I'm aware of that a player can use to identify which combination of those three specs swings right for them. Finding out what weight and swingweight hits the best ball for you is relatively easy, but finding the balance that allows you to swing the frame comfortably and with easy, relaxed timing is the hard part.

I would actually pick a weight and balance and peg all four sticks to that. And then set up each racquet with a different balance. For example:

1) 340 grams, 320 swingweight, 32.5 cm balance
2) 340 grams, 320 swingweight, 32.0 cm balance
3) 340 grams, 320 swingweight, 31.5 cm balance
4) 340 grams, 320 swingweight, 31.0 cm balance

Each of those sticks will have a quite distinct "swing feel" or timing, that may or may not match your body type and technique. Once you've identified which of the four swings most comfortably for you, or feels the best, or whatever, you can then use the MgR/I formula to find out that stick's ratio. From there, you can use the formula to try different weight and swingweight combinations but keep the MgR/I ratio constant. For example, if you preferred #2, a setup with MgR/I of about 21.2, you could set up four different weight/swingweight combinations with that same MgR/I=21.2 ratio, such as:

1. 330 grams, 320 swingweight, 33.0 cm balance MgR/I = 21.2
2. 340 grams, 310 swingweight, 31.0 cm balance MgR/I = 21.2
3. 350 grams, 330 swingweight, 32.0 cm balance MgR/I = 21.2
4. 350 grams, 335 swingweight, 32.5 cm balance MgR/I = 21.2

Each of those frames, should, according to Travlerajm's theory, swing with approximately the same timing. (My experience suggests that this does work, BTW.) But each will hit a different ball (different trajectory, more or less spin, more or less speed, etc.) and be better or worse for different shots in your arsenal. But since they all swing comfortably for you, you can focus on which setup improves your strengths or weaknesses and lets you play the type of game you want and hit the type of ball you desire more effectively, without worrying about your timing.

That's how I'd do it.
 

Hi I'm Ray

Professional
Everyone has their own way of doing things. Personally, I'd string up my frames the same, then try various set ups like lead at 3/9, 10/2, 12, at the buttcap, polarized, depolarized, or combinations of those. Once I find the right direction I'd work at tweaking that set up a bit and try a few variations.f You'll know when something feels right and works with your game. In the end the actual numbers such as weight, balance, SW don't really matter to me cuz it will feel right or wrong regardless of whether I know those numbers or not. Just trying out thicker/thinner/heavier/lighter strings throws those exact numbers and balances off anyways.
The measurebaters may disagree & get more fun out of measuring than actual tennis.
 
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Hi I'm Ray

Professional
Nice classy post there big guy.

That wasn't meant to be targeted at you or anyone in particular. Actually your post wasn't there when I was replying.

There are just some guys that measure, calculate, etc. endlessly but not towards an actual game play related goal or for practical use.
 

ChicagoJack

Hall of Fame
corners -

Regarding your reply #4. That's awesome cool. Thanks for working that out and sharing. That's a four star bookmark for me.

Jack
 
Thanks everyone for the advice!

Esgee48, I'm familiar with Travelerajm's posts on MgR/I but hadn't thought about it in this context, so thank you for the suggestion.

Corners, your methodology is brilliant. I was neglecting the importance of balance in thinking this through. I'm going to try what you suggested and see how it goes. It'll probably take me a month or two, but I'll resurrect the thread and report back when I'm done just in case anyone is curious.

Movdqa, 384 SW is beastly! I had the same problem with my serve but at 360. Being 5'8" probably doesn't help.

Hi I'm Ray, I hear where you're coming from. At some point it's best to just pick a setup and roll with it. I don't intend to spend too much time experimenting, but I'd like to give it a shot at least for a month or two.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
They came with three layers of lead tape from 10 to 2 and I figured that I could remove a layer but one came strung so I'd have to replace the grommets to do that. I could just sacrifice the serve for better groundstrokes.

One thing about the IG Prestige MP compared to the YT - you don't need lead tape at 3/9 for stability - which makes it more attractive to me. It's easier to go with a polarized setup.

On the YT, I find that I have to put lead at 3/9 as the sweet spot is tiny without it and the frame is very harsh on my arm.
 
Yeah, I'd been thinking about picking up some IGs but already had one YT and found a good deal on three others. Have you found the IGs to be that much better? I should probably stop buying racquets for a little while, but the IG will definitely be first on my list if I start demoing again (or happen to find one for relatively cheap).
 

corners

Legend
That wasn't meant to be targeted at you or anyone in particular. Actually your post wasn't there when I was replying.

There are just some guys that measure, calculate, etc. endlessly but not towards an actual game play related goal or for practical use.

OK, OK, no hard feelings. But as far as guys actually spending more time fiddling with customization than actually playing? I find that hard to believe. I like to geek out on tennis, but only because I love to play so much. And when I get too old to play I may very well end up still fiddling with racquets and geeking out on tennis science, but I'm not sure that would be a bad (or good) thing. Anyway, as Bruce Lee said, "Take what's useful, and discard the rest."
 

corners

Legend
Thanks everyone for the advice!

Esgee48, I'm familiar with Travelerajm's posts on MgR/I but hadn't thought about it in this context, so thank you for the suggestion.

Corners, your methodology is brilliant. I was neglecting the importance of balance in thinking this through. I'm going to try what you suggested and see how it goes. It'll probably take me a month or two, but I'll resurrect the thread and report back when I'm done just in case anyone is curious.

Good Luck! I think it's a very worthwhile project and I look forward to reading your experiences and results. As far as MgR/I goes, there is a graph that someone posted with mass, swingweight and balance and then diagonals for various MgR/I ratios (20.8, 21, 21.2 ,etc.) that would be really useful to you, I think. You'll have to search for it though :)
 
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movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
There was a long discussion on the IG Prestige when it came out. VSBabolat had a lot of positive comments on it though he prefers the mid over the mid-plus. The main improvements that I found are:

- less harsh on the arm (or less brassy)
- bigger sweetspot so I don't need lead at 3/9

This makes it easier to find a polarized setup to get maximum swingweight with minimum static weight.

One other thing that I find interesting - it appears that pros moved from the YT Prestige MP to the IG Prestige MP. To my knowledge, there's no paintjob of the YT Prestige MP to make it look like an IG Prestige MP (I'm not talking about players that have paintjobs of other frames like the PT57A that look like the IG Prestige PM).
 
Very interesting point about pros moving to the IG. Do you have any sense of what proportion of players who appear to use an IG Prestige MP are actually using an IG vs. a paint job? I assumed from other discussions on the forum that virtually all Head pros are using pro stock racquets with paint jobs, but I guess that isn't necessarily the case.

At this point, I already have the YT Prestige MPs, so I might as well use them to find my ideal weight/SW/balance combination. Will keep an eye out for cheap IGs, though!
 

Kam2010

Rookie
I was actually thinking about doing this with the APDs that I have but the more I think about doing this or something similar, the more I think is it actually worth it?
Seriously though? Does it have to be exact will my game me affected that much and i'm a 4.0
I'm thinking technique and actually having good footwork etc is more important, but I do like this idea, I think it may also be that I just can't be bothered with this and rather get on court and smack some balls!!
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
> I assumed from other discussions on the forum that virtually all
> Head pros are using pro stock racquets with paint jobs

My guess is that the most common Head Pro Stock before the IG models came out was the tgk238.4 which is the Pro Stock YT Prestige MP. In this case the model number goes with the paintjob which goes with the retail version. The only frames that I'm aware of that is paintjobbed into a YT Prestige MP are the PT57A and PT57E. These two frames are relatively rare and I think that only the better players (loosely defined) have access to them.

> Do you have any sense of what proportion of players who appear
> to use an IG Prestige MP are actually using an IG vs. a paint job?

I'd say that most that are using the frame that looks like an IG Prestige MP are using an IG Prestige MP (Pro Stock version tgt293.2). Only Head knows for sure - my opinion is based on the number of Pro Stock frames that I see coming up for sale in the unofficial channels.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
> I'm thinking technique and actually having good footwork etc is
> more important, but I do like this idea, I think it may also be that I
> just can't be bothered with this and rather get on court and smack
> some balls!!

It's definitely a pain in the neck and it can get expensive and it burns up your time. On the other hand, you learn how to modify your racquet and you're not at the mercy of your pro shop on frame issues.
 

Kam2010

Rookie
> I'm thinking technique and actually having good footwork etc is
> more important, but I do like this idea, I think it may also be that I
> just can't be bothered with this and rather get on court and smack
> some balls!!

It's definitely a pain in the neck and it can get expensive and it burns up your time. On the other hand, you learn how to modify your racquet and you're not at the mercy of your pro shop on frame issues.

I can understand why people want it and to be honest I would be very happy if I knew if 2 of my APDs, or K90s, 85s or whatever are the exact same.
It's a long process and I just don't want to get myself into this,
 
> I assumed from other discussions on the forum that virtually all
> Head pros are using pro stock racquets with paint jobs

My guess is that the most common Head Pro Stock before the IG models came out was the tgk238.4 which is the Pro Stock YT Prestige MP. In this case the model number goes with the paintjob which goes with the retail version. The only frames that I'm aware of that is paintjobbed into a YT Prestige MP are the PT57A and PT57E. These two frames are relatively rare and I think that only the better players (loosely defined) have access to them.

> Do you have any sense of what proportion of players who appear
> to use an IG Prestige MP are actually using an IG vs. a paint job?

I'd say that most that are using the frame that looks like an IG Prestige MP are using an IG Prestige MP (Pro Stock version tgt293.2). Only Head knows for sure - my opinion is based on the number of Pro Stock frames that I see coming up for sale in the unofficial channels.

Interesting, thanks for the info, movdqa! Now off to mod some racquets...
 
Amateur time:


From what I've gathered around this forum, a general consensus seems to be something like:
"You should have the heaviest possible racket that you're fit enough to swing at desired speed for the longest match you see yourself playing at present."

So if you can comfortably handle a 375 g and 360 SW racket for a full game, then why not weigh up your rackets to about 360-365 grams (leaving some headroom can be good) and experiment with different balances/swingweights.
 
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