Intuitive Tennis - too heavy racquets responsible for tennis elbow?

denoted

Rookie
Both my personal experience and my "intuition" tell me that a heavier more flexible racquet is much less likely to hurt your elbow, wrist, or shoulder than a lighter and correspondingly stiffer one.
 

Gee

Hall of Fame
Interesting.

I think it all depends on what weight you'ŕe used and your technique. Besides I guess stiff strings are a major cause of elbow problems as well.

I also disagree the weight classes he mentioned. He also doesn't say nothing about swingweight that is a much more important factor than static weight.

For instance my first 10 years I developed my tennis basics during the wooden era with wooden rackets. So I'm used to heavier frames and I continued playing with the heavier graphite models (with a relative low flex). I never had elbow problems from these ones.

However since the last few years I used to play with copolyester strings I sometimes get a little sore elbow.
 
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Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
The heavier the racquet, given that you have proper technique on your ground strokes, the less likely one will get injured in playing tennis. 310-330 grams is the weight I am talking about. I started out playing with a heavy racquet when I was 10-11 years old so I am use those to the weight of old school clubs and like heavy racquets.
 

Hit 'em clean

Semi-Pro
He's giving very generic guidelines... I wouldn't get too picky about it and generally speaking he's probably correct. He didn't mention if those weight were strung or unstrung... if unstrung then yes I would agree. Heavier is not always better... especially if your technique is bad or you're getting older. I mean it's a 3 minute video and he spent maybe a minute or so talking about racquet recommendations... you could easily make a video that last 30 minutes and not cover it all. It's a complicated and pretty nuanced thing. If someone asked my to give recommendations for all types of players in 90 seconds I'm not sure I wouldn't say about the same general thing.

There are a lot of players that are clueless about the equipment side of things. A lot of the guys I play with rely on me to help them (stinging, recommendations, string choice, weight balancing/matching their racquets, etc), but they know absolutely nothing about what weight their own personal equipment details/preferences like balance, swing weight, strings, tension, etc. They are good players, but just rely on their local pro shop or a nerd like me to essentially help them. It can be a blessing in some ways to be ignorant of all the details discussed on TW boards ad nauseam because you would just play and not be distracted by silly details.

Reality is if most of us here focused more on just our playing and technique rather than micro adjustments in grip feel/sizes, string hybrids, adding lead, etc. we'd be better players for it. Most of what people focus on here only serves to achieve some temporary placebo effect in their game until it goes off the rails and then the quest renews for some perfect adjustment or even a new racquet because it couldn't possibly be a human related element to blame ;)
 

mctennis

Legend
I have seen and heard of more people getting TE with low weight racquets not heavier weight racquets. Perhaps people's hitting techniques change when they go from a lighter weight racquet to a heavier racquet. It takes some time to get your technique refined. All sorts of physical issues happen when you try to just muscle the ball instead of really letting the racquet do the work.
 

Crocodile

Legend
If the racquet is heavy but headlight and strung in multi filament with a large enough grip, and you can swing it quickly without hitting the ball late, then you should be right. If it also has comfort technology and an RA in the lower half of the stiffness range or lower frequency score then even better.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
A combination of light racquets with dead stiff poly hit for 80 hours with tense arms and late 1HBH to the ball is what causes tennis elbow.
And what @beltsman said, light racquets allow a player to 'cheat' and hit with all arm, no lower body and late prep because they are so easy to flick and swing.
 
J

joohan

Guest
Reality is if most of us here focused more on just our playing and technique rather than micro adjustments in grip feel/sizes, string hybrids, adding lead, etc. we'd be better players for it. Most of what people focus on here only serves to achieve some temporary placebo effect in their game until it goes off the rails and then the quest renews for some perfect adjustment or even a new racquet because it couldn't possibly be a human related element to blame
These sort of posts emerge every once in a while...collect some likes and replies and then TTW moves on (to another frame, string choice, grip micro adjustments and so on). Fair enough and to each his own...nice to have hobbies.
 

Strayfire

Rookie
This seems to be in opposition to most commonly given advice which says heavier racquets absorb shock better, lowering the risk of tennis elbow.
Many at my club believe that heavy racquets are the key to tennis elbow so despite what "common wisdom" is on the forums, in my outside world at least, most people associate heft with TE.

I usually tell people to buy a Clash if they have TE. Not the worst idea nor but better than an ultra light.
 

Hit 'em clean

Semi-Pro
You can arm swing with a heavy racquet and have very bad technique. Sure it’s easier with a lighter racquet but a heavy one doesn’t fix anything, it can help sometimes but there are definitely limits. Good technique is your best chance to avoid TE followed by softer equipment but there are no guarantees.

My TE actually gets worse if I use something too heavy. Getting older sucks and trying to swing with the same rhs as my younger self means I’ve had to go down in weight. Too heavy and TE flairs because it’s too much stress (stretch).

There is a lot of merit in his recommendations. You should use a racquet weight that you can comfortably handle, but heavy isn’t always better and can cause issues just as easily as too light.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.

Recommendations for racquet weights:
Beginner 250-270g
Intermediate 270-300g
High level 300-320g

This seems to be in opposition to most commonly given advice which says heavier racquets absorb shock better, lowering the risk of tennis elbow.
A bit of a catch-22 I think because it's impossible to get these broad recommendations either entirely right or entirely wrong. Different players have their own individual natural swings. Certain racquets fit those individual swings better than others.

In terms of shock absorption and the recipe for arm-friendliness, I believe that string stiffness is easily the most dominant ingredient. A rather soft and hefty racquet can become an arm wrecker when strung with a full bed of poly, but an especially stiff frame that we might call a light-middleweight can be supremely comfortable when strung with natural gut or a multifiber.

You can arm swing with a heavy racquet and have very bad technique. Sure it’s easier with a lighter racquet but a heavy one doesn’t fix anything, it can help sometimes but there are definitely limits. Good technique is your best chance to avoid TE followed by softer equipment but there are no guarantees.

My TE actually gets worse if I use something too heavy. Getting older sucks and trying to swing with the same rhs as my younger self means I’ve had to go down in weight. Too heavy and TE flairs because it’s too much stress (stretch).

There is a lot of merit in his recommendations. You should use a racquet weight that you can comfortably handle, but heavy isn’t always better and can cause issues just as easily as too light.
I agree - if a racquet is the wrong weight for your natural swing tempo, that's trouble whether it's too heavy or too light. If a heavy racquet forces swings to be late, that's going to bring about more arm tension at contact and that can be much more irritating even if that player is mostly catching the ball in their sweet spot.

Instead of recommending that someone uses the heaviest racquet that they can manage for an outing, I've started looking at it from the other direction. I like to recommend using the lightest racquet that's still stable enough for that player to command the ball. A baseline grinder might want a relative middleweight for churning out lots of topspin strokes, but a doubles player might want that heavier, head-light layout that's both maneuverable and solid up around the net. I think that this approach can guide many players toward finding enough racquet to do the job, but not overdoing it.

Having used an especially heavy training racquet in the past though, I'd also say that a heavy racquet (training racquet, not a regular player) will only let us get away with "arming" the ball for a short time using bad technique before heavy fatigue sets in. A rather light racquet can enable bad technique over a much longer stretch. When kids can get away with merely waving a really light racquet at the ball and that produces some half-decent shots with minimal effort, it's really tough (sometimes impossible) to convince them to use more of a kinetic chain when there's no obvious need.

I don't want to hand every developing kid a caveman club, but wish that the feather-light rigs would go away. I don't think they help so much.
 

Lorenn

Professional
My TE actually gets worse if I use something too heavy. Getting older sucks and trying to swing with the same rhs as my younger self means I’ve had to go down in weight. Too heavy and TE flairs because it’s too much stress (stretch).
Every player has the right racquet weight for them. Forcing a racquet which is heavy for you will be problematic. Using a racquet too light for you and using muscle will be problematic as well. When you age you can change the timing and slow down a bit or you can reduce the weight and keep trying to race. You can also reduce the depth of your swing a bit versus doing huge full swings. Muscle memory from youth versus listening to your body and finding your new normal is what normally causes injuries. We have to change with our body.

Overall the wrong weight racquet used poorly with stiff dead strings...
 

Lorenn

Professional
at 19 minutes....no one should use the RF. This us the foremost racket expert in the world.
To be fair his POV is from the professional level. He mentioned inability to get the racquet up to speed. RF is a what 360 grams strung. It is a beast for a modern swing. Still lighter than my first racquet I used as a child. Game was flatter back then and swings were totally different. Gravity Pro ,which I play with now, is 335 grams strung. so nearly 30 grams different He does walk the statement back a bit at 20:45 minutes. If you read the ball well and are in the right placed etc...Having said that I don't enjoy playing with the RF97. Just too much work.

In the Inuries happen from bad techinque and playing with the wrong racquet/strings for you. Not always heavy or light(for you) equals injury. Heavy racquets lead to tension because the player tries to force it. Lgith racquets can also lead to tension because players often try to muscle it to make up for the weight.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
To be fair his POV is from the professional level. He mentioned inability to get the racquet up to speed. RF is a what 360 grams strung. It is a beast for a modern swing. Still lighter than my first racquet I used as a child. Game was flatter back then and swings were totally different. Gravity Pro ,which I play with now, is 335 grams strung. so nearly 30 grams different He does walk the statement back a bit at 20:45 minutes. If you read the ball well and are in the right placed etc...Having said that I don't enjoy playing with the RF97. Just too much work.

In the Inuries happen from bad techinque and playing with the wrong racquet/strings for you. Not always heavy or light(for you) equals injury. Heavy racquets lead to tension because the player tries to force it. Lgith racquets can also lead to tension because players often try to muscle it to make up for the weight.
Well, he specifically addressed rec players at the 19 mark, not professionals, mentioning even the 5.0 players he knows shouldn't be using it. As he says, sure, you can play 20 minutes of great tennis, but after that are you sure you can be in the perfect position every time to benefit from 330 grams or more? Maybe you are. I can't, and since I often play 6 hours of singles on a tournament Saturday in very hot temps, no way I can be in the perfect position. In general though, like he said, even the best rec players he knows who used to be division 1 players, shouldn't be using anything near the heft of 330 grams.
 

Lorenn

Professional
Well, he specifically addressed rec players at the 19 mark, not professionals, mentioning even the 5.0 players he knows shouldn't be using it. As he says, sure, you can play 20 minutes of great tennis, but after that are you sure you can be in the perfect position every time to benefit from 330 grams or more? Maybe you are. I can't, and since I often play 6 hours of singles on a tournament Saturday in very hot temps, no way I can be in the perfect position. In general though, like he said, even the best rec players he knows who used to be division 1 players, shouldn't be using anything near the heft of 330 grams.
His POV is still from the professional POV. That only high racquet head speed and crushing the cover off balls with insane topspin matters. Only competition matters. Rec players play for fun. Depends on how you swing and who you are playing. You don't have to chase every ball. You can learn to read when to let it go. Children played with heavier racquets for over six hours non stop, in Florida summer sun. Play-style might have to changed and they might not be able to compete with it, but who am I to tell anyone not to play however they like. I agree with some of the concepts. Older players hang on to their childhood for too long and don't adapt to a reasonable type of play. His POV is totally from the comp POV.

Women tennis pros played with heavier racquets.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
His POV is still from the professional POV. That only high racquet head speed and crushing the cover off balls with insane topspin matters. Only competition matters. Rec players play for fun. Depends on how you swing and who you are playing. You don't have to chase every ball. You can learn to read when to let it go. Children played with heavier racquets for over six hours non stop, in Florida summer sun. Play-style might have to changed and they might not be able to compete with it, but who am I to tell anyone not to play however they like. I agree with some of the concepts. Older players hang on to their childhood for too long and don't adapt to a reasonable type of play. His POV is totally from the comp POV.

Women tennis pros played with heavier racquets.
The video is focused on retail rackets for recreational players, the man owns a tennis shop that strings rackets for rec players. I think the most interesting part is the change in tennis balls he mentions, that's why despite people playing with heavy sticks long ago, it's not favorable for rec players now, even the best, strongest, most athletic ones he services (ex college). It's pretty simply put, adult rec players should stay below 330 at least and most would play best with the regular Pro Staff or something similar in weight, 310, regular Vcore Pro 310 that he mentions and the Ezone 98.

Don't rec players who play for fun still like to win or play their best? Less than 330 grams will work better for everyone against every opponent, that's basically what he is saying.
 
J

joohan

Guest
Less than 330 grams will work better for everyone against every opponent, that's basically what he is saying.
Bell curve. Some people know exactly what works for them and, obviously, they're not the target audience for this video at all. I play 330 unstrung frames but/and prefer slightly below 320 or very low 320's SW at the same time, not many racquets like this out there stock TBH. Anyway, that's my niche discovered after 10 years of trial'n'error and literally coming full circle with some legendary detours. So I do believe someone who's just getting serious with the game is actually quite well off with this sort of general advice.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Bell curve. Some people know exactly what works for them and, obviously, they're not the target audience for this video at all. I play 330 unstrung frames but/and prefer slightly below 320 or very low 320's SW at the same time, not many racquets like this out there stock TBH. Anyway, that's my niche discovered after 10 years of trial'n'error and literally coming full circle with some legendary detours. So I do believe someone who's just getting serious with the game is actually quite well off with this sort of general advice.
True, and like he said, all the 5.0 and higher level players, ex college and such should benefit from lighter sticks. The more advanced you are, the more you should shy away from the 330 gram, like he mentioned.
 

cortado

Professional
True, and like he said, all the 5.0 and higher level players, ex college and such should benefit from lighter sticks. The more advanced you are, the more you should shy away from the 330 gram, like he mentioned.
I think the pro-standard specs is going to become what Tiafoe/Tsitsipas/Karatsev are using, roughly 335g strung, 32-32.5 balance, 330-340 swing-weight strung.
I can get that swing-weight with my HD, but the racquet ends up weighing 350g strung, which is an extra 15g which doesn't need to be there.
 

FIRETennis

Professional

Players using "Fed" weight 355g+ strung (various balances and some higher, some lower than Fed's 340SW)

David Nalbandian
Lleyton Hewitt
Kevin Anderson
Stan Wawrinka
Tomas Berdych
Andreas Seppi
Juan M. Del Potro
Janko Tipsarevic
Roger Federer
Denis Kudla
Roger Federer
Gael Monfils
Richard Gasquet
Daniel Evans
Nicolas Almagro
Florian Mayer
Michael Berrer
Bernard Tomic
Grigor Dimitrov
Andrey Rublev
Steve Johnson
Jared Donaldson
Jiri Vesely
Donald Young
Lleyton Hewitt
Ryan Harrison
Fernando Verdasco
Denis Shapovalov
Daniil Medvedev
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I am a posterboy for heavy racquets protecting you from arm trouble. I never get wrist issues but with a stock bab I was getting wrist issues. I added weight and problem solved.

On my blade 98 I went to kev/4g at 86/86. That was starting to get to the elbow. I added weight to bring the static weight to 422g. No elbow issues ever again.
 

cortado

Professional
I am a posterboy for heavy racquets protecting you from arm trouble. I never get wrist issues but with a stock bab I was getting wrist issues. I added weight and problem solved.

On my blade 98 I went to kev/4g at 86/86. That was starting to get to the elbow. I added weight to bring the static weight to 422g. No elbow issues ever again.
This has to be a parody of TT-posters no? Kev and 4G at 86, static weight 422g?
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Strange. I have heard that a head-heavy racquet can give you a TE, and too heavy racquets in general can be bad for your shoulder, not elbow.
Plenty of anecdotal feedback to support this.

Less than decent serve mechanics and timing can be especially rough on a shoulder if a racquet is relatively heavy. And head-heavy frames can typically also be relatively light and stiff - they're head-heavy because extra mass is distributed out on the head to give that lighter package some stability through the ball. But a light and stiff design can also mean more shock transmission - the ball more readily pushes the racquet around - and that can contribute to TE along with lots of other things.
 

tennis347

Hall of Fame
The video is focused on retail rackets for recreational players, the man owns a tennis shop that strings rackets for rec players. I think the most interesting part is the change in tennis balls he mentions, that's why despite people playing with heavy sticks long ago, it's not favorable for rec players now, even the best, strongest, most athletic ones he services (ex college). It's pretty simply put, adult rec players should stay below 330 at least and most would play best with the regular Pro Staff or something similar in weight, 310, regular Vcore Pro 310 that he mentions and the Ezone 98.

Don't rec players who play for fun still like to win or play their best? Less than 330 grams will work better for everyone against every opponent, that's basically what he is saying.
As I have gotten older, I have gravitated towards lighter frames because my shoulder is unable to handle a 12 ounce frame or anything in excess of a 330 SW. My sweet spot is in the 330 gram area strung with a SW in the low to high 320's without risk of any injuries at 54. I have also always leaned towards frames with a RA of 63 or below strung. The Prince Phantom 100P and the Dunlop CX 200 OS with some customization are my frames of choice.
 

TheRed

Hall of Fame
Ideas and advice should be as simple as possible but not any simpler. He gives advice that's a little too broad and often undisciplined.
 

Yamin

Professional
Based on the racket he referenced it's unstrung weight. Seems very reasonable....

Play a full match against a counter puncher above your level on clay if you need a racket weight reality check lol. Happened to me a few weeks ago.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Based on the racket he referenced it's unstrung weight. Seems very reasonable....

Play a full match against a counter puncher above your level on clay if you need a racket weight reality check lol. Happened to me a few weeks ago.
But I would never do that so why play with a lighter racket for the rare time you end up in a 3 hour pushing match when 99% of your play would benefit from a bit more weight.

I mostly play doubles and a 12 oz frame with HL balance suits me very well as it's heavy enough to block back ripping FH's but maneuverable enough to reflex back overheads. Would I find the weight a bit cumbersome in a long single match? Maybe, but that's just not going to happen often enough to worry me.

The only thing that matters is that you can swing it fast. Get the heaviest frame you can swing fast is my mantra. If it's too sluggish, then it's too heavy and you are going to be late and that's going to hurt your arm.
 

Yamin

Professional
But I would never do that so why play with a lighter racket for the rare time you end up in a 3 hour pushing match when 99% of your play would benefit from a bit more weight.

I mostly play doubles and a 12 oz frame with HL balance suits me very well as it's heavy enough to block back ripping FH's but maneuverable enough to reflex back overheads. Would I find the weight a bit cumbersome in a long single match? Maybe, but that's just not going to happen often enough to worry me.

The only thing that matters is that you can swing it fast. Get the heaviest frame you can swing fast is my mantra. If it's too sluggish, then it's too heavy and you are going to be late and that's going to hurt your arm.
All valid if your matches aren't too variable, but I don't think early tennis development focuses on doubles, nor do a lot of racket recommendations consider doubles primarily.

This advice is most likely for developing players.... expected to be constantly learning, working toward the next level, and towards full fast strokes for entire matches.

If at any point fitness becomes a question the equipment may be too heavy.
 
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FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
But I would never do that so why play with a lighter racket for the rare time you end up in a 3 hour pushing match when 99% of your play would benefit from a bit more weight.

I mostly play doubles and a 12 oz frame with HL balance suits me very well as it's heavy enough to block back ripping FH's but maneuverable enough to reflex back overheads. Would I find the weight a bit cumbersome in a long single match? Maybe, but that's just not going to happen often enough to worry me.

The only thing that matters is that you can swing it fast. Get the heaviest frame you can swing fast is my mantra. If it's too sluggish, then it's too heavy and you are going to be late and that's going to hurt your arm.
I respect that you know your game and post often, but I used to think that as well, however the Vcore HD at only 320 and the Vcore 95 with super stability are equal to the task of a 12 oz stick, easily, if you have good technique, and they are headlight and super maneuverable. I promise anyone's net game would improve with lighter sticks, especially against good 4 5 players who can dip and crowd net players. You can also increase serve placement accuracy, good stuff for doubles.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I respect that you know your game and post often, but I used to think that as well, however the Vcore HD at only 320 and the Vcore 95 with super stability are equal to the task of a 12 oz stick, easily, if you have good technique, and they are headlight and super maneuverable. I promise anyone's net game would improve with lighter sticks, especially against good 4 5 players who can dip and crowd net players. You can also increase serve placement accuracy, good stuff for doubles.
There is some truth to that...though I find a high swingweight to really help on the volley. The trick is to get a high swingweight with a lower static weight. I think these days I have a good compromise where i can still string tight and keep the arm safe with keeping things maneuverable.
 

bnjkn

Semi-Pro
Well, in rather simplistic terms, if a beetle is going to collide with an eighteen wheeler I would like my arm to be in the eighteen wheeler. But obviously if my swing is bizarre with zero technique I might hurt myself with a heavier racquet, and with a lighter one too I guess.
 

Buzzlightyeear

New User
This "intuitive tennis" guy has zero knowledge about anything tennis physics related. He just talks about stuff as he perceives it. In an earlier video, he claimed that polyester strings are the softest and the higher the tension, the higher the power. I'd be VERY cautious following any advice from this person.
 
J

joohan

Guest
True, and like he said, all the 5.0 and higher level players, ex college and such should benefit from lighter sticks. The more advanced you are, the more you should shy away from the 330 gram, like he mentioned.
I'd agree. Depends on how you're playing. Obviously swinging fast with lots or RHS, it's easier with lighter stick and with proper technique it doesn't make much difference vs. heavy racquet. Slower speeds, I very much prefer heavy because once I uncoil, the mass does most of the work for me. Blocking balls back as well. Anyway...settled with my set-up so this is purely theoretical for me.
 
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