Side by side testing

ohplease

Professional
I'm not sure how other people test rackets, but I stumbled on something interesting the other day.

Basically, my normal testing procedure is just to hit with the darn thing. Either I like what's happening with the ball or feedback or I don't. Not rocket science.

Well, just for grins, I played something like 8 or 10 tiebreakers against the same guy, alternating between two different rackets, basically a player's racket vs. pure drive clone.

The clone seemed to consistently produce a better quality of shot. Faster and deeper. More aces. During a regular playtest it would clearly be judged to be producing "better" tennis from me. However, the other guy was somehow tracking down and staying in the point longer when I used the clone, and he was definitely scoring more points in the tiebreaks than when I used the heavier frame. Very strange. The heavier frame definitely produced less pretty, more scrappy tennis, but the scores were clearly more in my favor when using it.

I'm not interested in the usual suspects and their tired drum beating. We're talking about a half an ounce difference and the exact same headsize, string pattern, swingweight, etc. here. Instead, I'm wondering if anyone else has been weirded out by a disconnect between their results and what they'd initially think or judge to be "better" tennis. Doesn't have to just be equipment, either - could be strategy, technique, etc.

Basically, I'm thinking that we can't even really judge what's working out better or worse for ourselves, so maybe it'd be best to stick to a more impartial metric like score differentials.
 

AmericanTemplar

Professional
Perhaps the heavier racquet produces a heavier, more spin-induced ball. I had a similar experience after stringing one of my racquets with gut. While I didn't initially feel as though I had as much control from the elasticity of NG, my opponent had more difficulty returning my balls.
 

LoveThisGame

Professional
String and tensioning similar? (Same string, same tension relative to the tension range?) IOW, trying to eliminate other factors.

Heavier means the racquet is helping you more. Of course one could add some lead tape to the lighter one.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Yes, tennis is not properly judged by "quality" but rather by "quantity" -- the score, as nearly all sports, and their players, can be judged. Agreed.
 

Keifers

Legend
Very interesting experience you've described here. The closest experience I can think of is when I hit and then played with a Prince Graphite Pro 110 for the first time recently.

During warmup, the racquet felt somewhat harsh on impact, even with clean hits. I thought this might be due to the fiberglass in its composition. Well lo and behold, when I we started playing, that harshness suddenly became really excellent feel and feedback about what the racquet face was doing with the ball.

Kinda reminded me of the time I got on my brother's Honda VR750 and, around town, it felt really sluggish and cumbersome. But once I had it out on the open road, it came alive and was super stable and thoroughly capable, right up to 200 kph.

...

The clone seemed to consistently produce a better quality of shot. Faster and deeper. More aces. During a regular playtest it would clearly be judged to be producing "better" tennis from me. However, the other guy was somehow tracking down and staying in the point longer when I used the clone, and he was definitely scoring more points in the tiebreaks than when I used the heavier frame. Very strange. The heavier frame definitely produced less pretty, more scrappy tennis, but the scores were clearly more in my favor when using it.

...
Would be interesting to know what your opponent experienced when you switched to the heavier racquet... what diffs did he notice in your shots, your play, etc...
 

AmericanTemplar

Professional
Yes, tennis is not properly judged by "quality" but rather by "quantity" -- the score, as nearly all sports, and their players, can be judged. Agreed.
An unfortunate truth. I remember in High School there was this pusher who became #1 after having played very little tennis. His strokes were extremely weak but he got everything back. It was a real bummer to see this kid who was technically the worst on the seeded higher than kids who had spent years learning proper technique.
 

pow

Hall of Fame
An unfortunate truth. I remember in High School there was this pusher who became #1 after having played very little tennis. His strokes were extremely weak but he got everything back. It was a real bummer to see this kid who was technically the worst on the seeded higher than kids who had spent years learning proper technique.
The thing about pushers is, if a whole team can't beat a pusher, I don't see why anyone else is more worthy of the #1 spot. Pushers really aren't that much of a threat at all, no surprise, just tee off on their slow balls.
 

couch

Hall of Fame
I'm not sure how other people test rackets, but I stumbled on something interesting the other day.

Basically, my normal testing procedure is just to hit with the darn thing. Either I like what's happening with the ball or feedback or I don't. Not rocket science.

Well, just for grins, I played something like 8 or 10 tiebreakers against the same guy, alternating between two different rackets, basically a player's racket vs. pure drive clone.

The clone seemed to consistently produce a better quality of shot. Faster and deeper. More aces. During a regular playtest it would clearly be judged to be producing "better" tennis from me. However, the other guy was somehow tracking down and staying in the point longer when I used the clone, and he was definitely scoring more points in the tiebreaks than when I used the heavier frame. Very strange. The heavier frame definitely produced less pretty, more scrappy tennis, but the scores were clearly more in my favor when using it.

I'm not interested in the usual suspects and their tired drum beating. We're talking about a half an ounce difference and the exact same headsize, string pattern, swingweight, etc. here. Instead, I'm wondering if anyone else has been weirded out by a disconnect between their results and what they'd initially think or judge to be "better" tennis. Doesn't have to just be equipment, either - could be strategy, technique, etc.

Basically, I'm thinking that we can't even really judge what's working out better or worse for ourselves, so maybe it'd be best to stick to a more impartial metric like score differentials.
I can understand and appreciate what you are saying but if a racquet doesn't feel good to me when I'm just hitting with it then more than likely it's not going to feel good to me when I'm playing points or a match. But that's just me.
 

couch

Hall of Fame
An unfortunate truth. I remember in High School there was this pusher who became #1 after having played very little tennis. His strokes were extremely weak but he got everything back. It was a real bummer to see this kid who was technically the worst on the seeded higher than kids who had spent years learning proper technique.
It's not just about proper technique. You still have to beat your opponent. It's not an unfortunate truth either. Pushers are usually very strong mentally and know exactly what they are doing and usually frustrate people until they make a mistake.

It always cracks me up when flashy players with their "proper" technique get their butts handed to them by a pusher with less game and poor technique. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm the farthest thing from a pusher. I've had to learn my lessons the hard way in the past. :)
 

couch

Hall of Fame
The thing about pushers is, if a whole team can't beat a pusher, I don't see why anyone else is more worthy of the #1 spot. Pushers really aren't that much of a threat at all, no surprise, just tee off on their slow balls.
Yeah, just tee off on their slow balls. LOL
 
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