I'm starting a racquet company - how would you design your perfect racquet?

This is really cool, new tennis brands are always welcome. Did you try going through the original design route first or was always the plan to start with a clone? You mention clothing, what can you share about that? I can't find the stuff I want on the shops so I always think about designing it but wouldn't know where to go to make them. Great stuff mate
 
One of our marketing campaigns is to send free racquets to upcoming juniors and doubles players, but this will only start happening in the next 3 months or so. We will be giving players 'affiliate links' so that if they recommend someone for business, the person will get a discount and the player gets a bit of money. I'll keep this thread live and remember to contact you - what's his name/ranking etc?
Just spoke to his dad again. He is 13 yrs old and is currently ranked #1 in Bali in the 14 and under category (and top 30 National rank) and planning to play more tournaments to find stronger competition.

His current racquet is 280 grams but the dad said he would like to switch to a heavier racquet (290 or 300 grams). When do you anticipate the first samples will be available for testing?
 
s_andrean, have you played a Wilson ROK 93?

If not, you should. String it low in the mid 40's and it's a wonderful-feeling racket. That's one racket you could base your feel-specs on.

Also I'd suggest pallet system for the grip. And a wider butt cap, like PK's. May not be as big, but just a bit bigger than Wilson's.
 
We'll do our best. It'll be a 98sq inch racquet available at 280g, 300g and 330g. I'll be testing them out at around that tension anyway so will report back. Once we're happy with the prototypes we'll be send samples to TW and if we pitch to them successfully and they're happy, you should be able to buy them within 3 months.
Foam advocate here again.....I just purchased a Donnay with foam core racquet and love the feel....Diadem is a new racquet company about to hit the market and has received some good reviews...yeah with foam throughout the racquet.....call me crazy but we may see the major racquet manufacturers follow suit because the growing number of TE sufferers trying to emulate the modern game with" Pure aero power wands" and stiff poly strings are falling victims to the shortsighted flash and boomy racquet market that encourages the incidence of TE....Best of luck with your endeavor....new tennis market investment always encouraged....
 
Just spoke to his dad again. He is 13 yrs old and is currently ranked #1 in Bali in the 14 and under category (and top 30 National rank) and planning to play more tournaments to find stronger competition.

His current racquet is 280 grams but the dad said he would like to switch to a heavier racquet (290 or 300 grams). When do you anticipate the first samples will be available for testing?
Cool - well the updated samples have been ordered, i'll drop you a message when they're approved and the production sticks are ready to be sent out. Happy to give 2/3 sticks and a bag for free if he does the usual bit of social media promotion.

s_andrean, have you played a Wilson ROK 93?

If not, you should. String it low in the mid 40's and it's a wonderful-feeling racket. That's one racket you could base your feel-specs on.

Also I'd suggest pallet system for the grip. And a wider butt cap, like PK's. May not be as big, but just a bit bigger than Wilson's.
I have - and I actually still have a couple! It was categorically the most underpowered stick with the most closed string pattern I've ever used so thanks but no thanks ;)

Foam advocate here again.....I just purchased a Donnay with foam core racquet and love the feel....Diadem is a new racquet company about to hit the market and has received some good reviews...yeah with foam throughout the racquet.....call me crazy but we may see the major racquet manufacturers follow suit because the growing number of TE sufferers trying to emulate the modern game with" Pure aero power wands" and stiff poly strings are falling victims to the shortsighted flash and boomy racquet market that encourages the incidence of TE....Best of luck with your endeavor....new tennis market investment always encouraged....
All noted - one of our samples is foam-filled (it costed us notably more..) so we'll see how it plays. One of my friends who is testing the racquet has TE so if there's a noticeable difference for him we're likely to give it the nod if the cost benefits stack up. with the amount of players with TE these days if we can provide a racquet that's demonstrably better for them then we're very likely to stock it
 

max

Hall of Fame
I agree with some of the above comments. It's pretty clear the Babolat Revolution has had a good many casualties.

I say this, wishing I could play with one, but felt it's harshness after hitting with it for a time. Other than causing pain and potential damage, it was nice. Why can't Babolat revamp?
 
I guess I am not speaking to those folks you refer to...I see guys playing a super stiff frame with full poly and elbow braces....I have been a serious player for many years with tons of practice time to hone my technique and go thru post match procedures to prevent a flare up of the TE that kept me away from the game for 15 plus seasons(caused by my purchase of Wilson Hammer racquets) .... The tennis industry is littered with every conceivable device, contraption....you name it to appeal to people they've got the cure for TE.....my passion these days in my mid sixties is to promote healthy racquet tech that works.....it's out there...I just dont see enough effort from most of the manufacturers addressing that aspect of racquet technology....But your point is well taken...
 
Cool - well the updated samples have been ordered, i'll drop you a message when they're approved and the production sticks are ready to be sent out. Happy to give 2/3 sticks and a bag for free if he does the usual bit of social media promotion.
What a wonderful gesture :)

with the amount of players with TE these days if we can provide a racquet that's demonstrably better for them then we're very likely to stock it
If you hit the right price point with this product and can get the word out, I think you will be on to a huge winner. Anything that keeps a player playing tennis will be a great thing.
 
Most TE problems are due to inferior technique, but people will buy a racket marketed as better for TE just in order to feel good. Like the innumerable ones using elbow braces thinking that it helps.
Maybe so but no-one hits the ball with perfect technique every time - not even Federer, and especially for mortals. The problem with the stiff frames especially with poly strings is that a mis -timed shot or shots can result in damage to the wrist / arm (I know from experience) or alternatively an accumulation can occur over time causing an injury (again I know from experience). More arm friendly racquets and strings (and tensions ) minimise the risk of these happening and aid in recovery.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Redmini totally on point....Stupid to encourage use of arm-shoulder threatening tennis equiptment just to bolster sales....Maximize Short term profits as usual business model while possibly maligning long term consumer participation......does golf do that?
 
Cool - well the updated samples have been ordered, i'll drop you a message when they're approved and the production sticks are ready to be sent out. Happy to give 2/3 sticks and a bag for free if he does the usual bit of social media promotion.
Great. I just let his Dad know and they are excited and appreciative. They will post on social media. If you have any promotional photos, etc. in the meantime, he can post that as well to his instagram account.

Do you have a approximate date on when the production sticks will be ready to be sent out?
 
3 things for me please:

1) keep the beam as thin as possible

2) Make the length of the racquet customizable -- get racquets at 28" long and cut down handles based on the order (this is what Angell does, and I would not use them without this feature).

3) 16x19 & 18x19 (a special string pattern would differentiate your 98 sq inch frame from a sea of others on the market)
 

Crisp

Professional
Grip shape is very important for me. Wilson / prince /babolat shape for me or I can not use. Have tried unsuccessfully to use head/tecnifibre...can just never find that top bevel under pressure. Look forward to trying your new frames and if you are after a dealer in Aus let me know.
 
Grip shape is very important for me. Wilson / prince /babolat shape for me or I can not use. Have tried unsuccessfully to use head/tecnifibre...can just never find that top bevel under pressure. Look forward to trying your new frames and if you are after a dealer in Aus let me know.
Yes, good point, what will the grip shape be? For me, Head's shape is much too rectangular. I used to always use the Wilson shape, now after getting used to Yonex and Prince and Dunlop, I even find the old Wilson shape to be a little more rectangular than I'd like, but useable. With head I have to change the shape if I want to use it seriously.
 
The best advice is dont listen to this forum. Next best is to buy an existing racquet company, because boutique brands dont fare very well. Third best advice is to first find an talented youngster like Nadal was when he was 17 and then ask this player what his optimal racquet would be, then offer him a lot of money to support your brand and pray that he makes it in the top 10 atp or win a grand slam. good luck.
 
It should be foam filled, all black (or navy), heavy, light headed, thin beam, leather grip.
Foam Filled - Makes the racquet comfortable but mutes and destroys the feel.

All Black or Navy - Looks great when brand new. But after one or two scrapes makes the racquet look 10 years old.

Heavy - Limits the number of potential customers. Forget about selling it to most female adult players and most juniors.

Light Headed - Great for advanced players. Useless for pretty much everyone else.

Thin Beam - Increases comfort but reduces stability and plow through.

Leather Grip - Think of the animals that died in the name of leather grips !!!
 

Alex78

Hall of Fame
Finally decided to chime in on this :)
First of all, congrats to the OP for undertaking such a risky business! Looking forward to seeing your brand succeed.
However, here is just a random thought I'd have if I were to start my own racquet brand:

What's the engineering background of my product?
Call me old-fashioned, but as a consumer, I just wouldn't buy anything that looks nice but gives no detailed information about the tech behind it. In other words: IMO big racquet companies sell racquets because they can successfully make the claim that their engineers have developed a good product, and they can back up that claim by giving "sophisticated" information (e.g., on their website, but also on the racquet cards at the consumer point of sale). It's a totally different story if the advertised attributes actually exist to the degree the companies claim. The main point is they have thought about the materials and how they are aligned (lay-up), so the consumer can think he/she is buying a superior (relative to others) product.
- With your current project, all I can gleam from the information given by you so far is you've got your hands on a "proven" racquet mould and now you're just thinking about weight, balance, and cosmetics. In fact, I think you were even saying in one of your posts you'd use (Wilson's) PWS if possible, but no problem if it's not. To me, that doesn't sound like a fully-developed engineering approach to creating a tennis racquet. Instead, it's like any of the (probably) hundreds of boutique brands in racquet history which just had "knock-offs" of well-received popular models produced for them. These brands have not had lasting success for a reason. So what is the tech behind your products? What materials do you use, and can you tell us why your racquets are (going to be) any good?
 
Foam Filled - Makes the racquet comfortable but mutes and destroys the feel.

All Black or Navy - Looks great when brand new. But after one or two scrapes makes the racquet look 10 years old.

Heavy - Limits the number of potential customers. Forget about selling it to most female adult players and most juniors.

Light Headed - Great for advanced players. Useless for pretty much everyone else.

Thin Beam - Increases comfort but reduces stability and plow through.

Leather Grip - Think of the animals that died in the name of leather grips !!!
I noted what i like.
The feel is also very much about strings and tension.

It doesn't matter how it will look like. I just hate these multi-colour pj with terrible colours. Could be all-white also.

That's for me and me like players. It could be lighter versions as well.

Again - for me. Could be different balance versions for others.

Stability will come with heavy weight, i can generate racquet speed by my own with my technique, don't need raw plow from thick beam of the racquet.
Thin beam is about control not comfort.

Agree about animals. Artificial leather grip close to natural feel.

Also it could be small headed (again for me).
 
I noted what i like.
The feel is also very much about strings and tension.
I realise that you noted what you like.

But did you read the OP? He is using a Pro Staff as a foundation. His focus is on producing an aesthetically appealing racquet product that is based on relatively standard specs.

He is unlikely to go to all that trouble to produce a boutique product that only appeals to a small cohort of players that desire high level player specifications. To do so would require him to price the racquet at a significantly higher price point than all of his competitors if he wishes to make a reasonable profit.

How much extra would you be prepared to pay over a Pro Staff to get a racquet that is consistent with your desirables?
 
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I realise that you noted what you like.

But did you read the OP? He is using a Pro Staff as a foundation. His focus is on producing an aesthetically appealing racquet product that is based on relatively standard specs.

He is unlikely to go to all that trouble to produce a boutique product that only appeals to a small cohort of players that desire high level player specifications. To do so would require him to price the racquet at a significantly higher price point than all of his competitors if he wishes to make a reasonable profit.

How much extra would you be prepared to pay over a Pro Staff to get a racquet that is consistent with your desirables?
Pro Staff is a great foundation, especially PS 85 or Classic. There are a lot of people who would like to get real good racquets with playing specs for advanced technique players. We got a lot of tweeners garbage around. There is always a possibility to make a "light" version.
It depends what he offer me. Usually i customize racquets for me myself. It cost me just time but i like to work with racquets.
 
Most TE problems are due to inferior technique, but people will buy a racket marketed as better for TE just in order to feel good. Like the innumerable ones using elbow braces thinking that it helps.
If another racquet/string removes the problem, even when they continue to have an "inferior" technique , then it is not just marketing for them, is it?

Some racquets/strings are just less forgiving.

:cool:
 
Most TE problems are due to inferior technique, but people will buy a racket marketed as better for TE just in order to feel good. Like the innumerable ones using elbow braces thinking that it helps.
Some players don't have the option of spending thousands of extra dollars and hundreds of extra hours improving their technique. Some players just want to hit the courts and play a bit of tennis. If they find that a certain racquet and string combination works for them, that's for them to decide. And it shouldn't bother you one bit.

By the way, are you a licensed Medical Practicioner? Most TE problems are not due to inferior technique. TE is an "overuse" injury. Even people with ideal stroke technique can get tennis related arm injuries if they overuse their elbow and don't perform optimum recovery processes.

Players like Rod Laver and Novak Djokovic have suffered from tennis related arm injuries at one time or another. Laver himself has said that many of his peers suffered from tennis related arm injuries in the 1960s and early 1970s. If those guys had inferior technique then I want to have inferior technique.
 
Some players don't have the option of spending thousands of extra dollars and hundreds of extra hours improving their technique. Some players just want to hit the courts and play a bit of tennis. If they find that a certain racquet and string combination works for them, that's for them to decide. And it shouldn't bother you one bit.

By the way, are you a licensed Medical Practicioner? Most TE problems are not due to inferior technique. TE is an "overuse" injury. Even people with ideal stroke technique can get tennis related arm injuries if they overuse their elbow and don't perform optimum recovery processes.

Players like Rod Laver and Novak Djokovic have suffered from tennis related arm injuries at one time or another. Laver himself has said that many of his peers suffered from tennis related arm injuries in the 1960s and early 1970s. If those guys had inferior technique then I want to have inferior technique.
suresh got a lot of fat to cushion his elbow so its all good
 

kkm

Professional
I have (excitingly) successfully pitched for investment to start a tenniswear, accessories and racquet brand based in London and the investor wants to start prototyping and production relatively promptly.

A little info - we are doing simple but high quality active and casualwear wardrobe staples in white with gold accents, the pricing of the clothing/accessories will be similar to that of Lacoste.

Ideally, we want the racquets to match and have some gold on them somewhere (in a subtle way). I've got a mould very similar to the Prostaff 97 without breaking copyright laws that we're using as a base, but I have a completely clean slate on the design. I was thinking having the carbon weave exposed with lacquer on top with subtle gold pinstriping. I'd be both keen and appreciative to get any of your thoughts of what makes a good looking racquet. What do you think?

**UPDATE**
Here are the samples: we've narrowed it down to light gray or navy blue, with gold highlights
Headsize: 97sq in
Unstrung Weights: 280g, 300g, 330g (leather grip)
Stiffness: 65ra unstrung
Balance: 310

AFAIK racquets are made from cuts of unidirectional carbon fiber (imagine a cloth minus the woof, with the yarns staying intact only because of resin holding them together) laid in different directions, so I don't think you'd get the effect you're looking for (carbon weave exposed - if there's no woof there's no weave), as some hypercars have.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Maybe so but no-one hits the ball with perfect technique every time - not even Federer, and especially for mortals. The problem with the stiff frames especially with poly strings is that a mis -timed shot or shots can result in damage to the wrist / arm (I know from experience) or alternatively an accumulation can occur over time causing an injury (again I know from experience). More arm friendly racquets and strings (and tensions ) minimise the risk of these happening and aid in recovery.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I also found the PDs too harsh. My point was not that certain RAs, strings, and tensions are not bad, but gimmicks for TE prevention don't work. I think I did not make myself clear. I should have said that racket fundamentals like RA, string and tension, and player technique, are the main factors behind TE which cannot be easily compensated for by gimmicks like special handles, special material somewhere in the frame, elbow braces, etc.

Having said this, I should add that from my experience that playing with less than 70 RA and less than 60 lbs tension and a 98 sq inch head or more and a syn grip should not cause TE unless technique is bad.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Some players don't have the option of spending thousands of extra dollars and hundreds of extra hours improving their technique. Some players just want to hit the courts and play a bit of tennis. If they find that a certain racquet and string combination works for them, that's for them to decide. And it shouldn't bother you one bit.

By the way, are you a licensed Medical Practicioner? Most TE problems are not due to inferior technique. TE is an "overuse" injury. Even people with ideal stroke technique can get tennis related arm injuries if they overuse their elbow and don't perform optimum recovery processes.

Players like Rod Laver and Novak Djokovic have suffered from tennis related arm injuries at one time or another. Laver himself has said that many of his peers suffered from tennis related arm injuries in the 1960s and early 1970s. If those guys had inferior technique then I want to have inferior technique.
Rec players are not playing as much or with the same intensity as Laver or Djokovic.

I once had TE so bad I could not squeeze toothpaste. It was not due to overuse , but because of bad technique on the 1 handed BH.
 
I have (excitingly) successfully pitched for investment to start a tenniswear, accessories and racquet brand based in London and the investor wants to start prototyping and production relatively promptly.

A little info - we are doing simple but high quality active and casualwear wardrobe staples in white with gold accents, the pricing of the clothing/accessories will be similar to that of Lacoste.

Ideally, we want the racquets to match and have some gold on them somewhere (in a subtle way). I've got a mould very similar to the Prostaff 97 without breaking copyright laws that we're using as a base, but I have a completely clean slate on the design. I was thinking having the carbon weave exposed with lacquer on top with subtle gold pinstriping. I'd be both keen and appreciative to get any of your thoughts of what makes a good looking racquet. What do you think?

**UPDATE**
Here are the samples: we've narrowed it down to light gray or navy blue, with gold highlights
Headsize: 97sq in
Unstrung Weights: 280g, 300g, 330g (leather grip)
Stiffness: 65ra unstrung
Balance: 310

Can you do a 310g version as well?
 
I once had TE so bad I could not squeeze toothpaste. It was not due to overuse , but because of bad technique on the 1 handed BH.
@sureshs, the term "overuse" is a subjective one. It cannot be explicitly quantified in general terms as every human is unique.

In your case, if you did actually have lateral epicondylitis, then it was caused by excessive use. As defined "Lateral epicondylitis" (also known as common extensor origin tendinosis) is due to degeneration of the tendon fibres resulting from overuse of the muscles responsible for bending back (extending) the wrist and lifting the hand.

Bad stroke technique simply accelerates the degeneration. Good stroke technique doesn't guarantee that the condition will not occur in people who are susceptible to it.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
@sureshs, the term "overuse" is a subjective one. It cannot be explicitly quantified in general terms as every human is unique.

In your case, if you did actually have lateral epicondylitis, then it was caused by excessive use. As defined "Lateral epicondylitis" (also known as common extensor origin tendinosis) is due to degeneration of the tendon fibres resulting from overuse of the muscles responsible for bending back (extending) the wrist and lifting the hand.

Bad stroke technique simply accelerates the degeneration. Good stroke technique doesn't guarantee that the condition will not occur in people who are susceptible to it.
Of course nothing is guaranteed. But some fancy racket features is not the answer. When someone claims that a new nano material (which might be present in an amount nowhere near what is required to be effective) dampens shock and prevents TE, don't buy it.
 
Of course nothing is guaranteed. But some fancy racket features is not the answer. When someone claims that a new nano material (which might be present in an amount nowhere near what is required to be effective) dampens shock and prevents TE, don't buy it.
I agree 100%. Never buy without demoing first :)

Seriously though, what you say does make a lot of sense. Tennis equipment, especially racquets, is one of the most hyped up product categories in all of Captialism. Bit of a joke really. But many purchasers are gullible and wishful.

What I find most shocking about tennis is how resource intensive and wasteful it actually is in terms of the environment. A lot of the string can be recycled. But how many tennis racquets and tennis balls are sold in a given year. And where do most of them end up?

I know one fellow who has accumulated nearly 40 tennis racquets over the past decade. FORTY! Where are they all going to end up? (I've probably owned 5 racquets, two of them woodies, in the past 50 years!)
 
Sorry, but where is any of this information coming from? I probably shouldn't engage with a comment like this but bulk manufacturing, (by definition!) is easy, the frame quality has already been proven as we're using the same factory as a couple of the other major brands and we're sponsoring a few players but the main marketing channels are tennis instagram/youtube accounts which have a far greater engagement/conversion rate than traditional sponsorship. If anything, 3 months is a conservative figure...
I already predicted that it will be hard to manufacture products within 3 month time frame and you said 3 month is conservative figure.
My comment was from my experience to manufacture items from China and I was concerning about manufacturing processing and marketing since you will heavily rely on social media instead of traditional marketing approach.
Most of people do not like to wait too long for actual products and all interest will die quickly and not easy to boost it again. The most important thing is quality products so take time as long as you can and make best products. Remember Quality control is the key to success. If you have enough fund, it’s good idea to make more samples until you satisfy. make sure that factory will make exact products from samples instead of minor changes. Also some manufacturers insist certain materials which they already have because they can offer much cheaper but search for exact materials you want.
It’s a lot of works hahaha. Hope you will have good products and Good luck with your journey.
 
If you are serious with this, to break into the market you need to try something that will make you stand out from the rest of the brands, be it value for money, or better quality or some technology that provides customers a reason to switch. Maybe some amazing cosmetic options that give you some uniqueness would work. You can even charge a little more if you have a product that is better.
Currently the biggest problem many of the mainstream companies have is selling 2 racquets that are close in specs, you end up having different feeling racquets. The other thing that some people complain about these days is that racquets these days are too stiff on arms. It will be intersting to see for example how the market reacts to Wilson's new clash frame.
You need a story to sell. Lot of companies that have something great to sell to the public don't market properly. Take Pro Kennex with their excellent kinetic system, not enough people are aware of the great virtues these racquets have.
Finally, you need to work out how you are going to distribute your product. The thing is you probably don't have the tools that Babolat , Wilson, Head and Yonex have to get exposure on the pro circuit so you need to come up with another means of distribution such as good deaks and support for coaches and retailers. Lot of brands fail here becsuse they lack the consistency in developing relationship with these people.
 
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