Switching from the Pure Aero?

WNB93

New User
Hi guys,

a newbie here...
I started playing more serious about 4 months ago and after 1 session with an old aluminium racket I bought the Pure Aero (the 2016 version). Mostly because I thought it was a great deal. 100$ for basically a pro racket, thinking I will grow into it. And that at this point it did not matter which racket I used and the reviews were great.
I usually do 1 session with a coach and 1 to play a little "match" per week.

After 4 months though, I feel like I cannot control the Pure Aero much. I tried hitting with my friends Pure Strike a couple of times and it felt easier to play with.
Most of my shots fall in front of the service line because I use a lot of spin (for a newbie I guess) and not a lot of power (because I feel I cannot control the power).
I think a 3.5 player describes me well.

I also started to notice a bit of discomfort in my right arm the day after I play. Starts from the elbow and radiates toward the wrist and shoulder. Which scares me a bit since I am injury prone (and I am not a what you'd call a "strong guy"). 6'2" at 165lbs.
I have no idea which string I use since my coach strung it for me at 23kgs (in August).

What do you guys think? Was the Pure Aero a bad choice?
Should I consider switching to a more newbie-friendly racket?

My friend just says deal with it, get better and then think of switching rackets.
But he said that about my shoes too when I complained that I bleed after every session in my previous ones.
 

atatu

Hall of Fame
Well you are correct that it's a powerful frame and if you want more control you could go to a Pure Strike or the Blade. Although people love to blame Babolat for arm pain, I'd be hesitant to blame that on the Aero. Strings are a big thing though, you should do a little research on that.
 

chic

Rookie
I think switching may be valid, but if you're a new player with little to no formal training technique I'm more inclined to suspect a technique issue.

Personally I think you'd be better off investing $150 into 3-5 lessons or beginner clinics (depending on local rates) than spending the same amount on a racquet in that case.

Strings can also have a large effect and as poly's "die" they can become harsh on the arm. I would find a cheapish synthetic gut and have someone string it for you as a first step.

After restringing, and having a teaching pro look at your form, then maybe I'd start looking the racquet.

Edit: I read right over you having a coach. /Whoosh

Have you spoken with him about the elbow pain. What were his thoughts? Does he have any qualifications to be coaching?
 

chic

Rookie
On that note if you have a go pro or way to prop your phone camera and record a couple points, I'm sure people here would help you figure out if there's large technical issues. That way you can determine if going the new racquet or lessons route is more likely to be fruitful.
 

sshin12

Rookie
I'm all about consistency of racket specs after my experience trying out modern rackets. Before giving up on it, try to add some weight to it. I've found adding weight makes even the stiffer Babolat rackets tolerable.

Not sure of your racket history, but there is probably a HUGE difference in specs between the aluminum racket and the Pure Aero. As an example, going from a very heavy to very light racket will change your form, therefore change the impact on your body from a repetitive motion like tennis groundstrokes. How does it change the impact to your body?

It could also introduce some "new" habits. This is impt, b/c your body got acclimated to whatever form/habits you had with your old racket honed over many years. Then, the newer lighter racket all of a sudden lets you do all sorts of new things, and you end up developing new habits to which your body is not used to. You may be gripping the racket tighter. You may have changed your swing path. Since the new racket is lighter, you're able to reach for more shots and wrist them back instead of using your body to swing the racket like you used to. While your body can develop new resiliencies over time, you have to be even more consistent in your form when undergoing drastic changes such as switching between very different rackets.

I found that I could do all sorts of wild things with a lighter racket (think of playing squash more than tennis) and developed a repetitive wrist injury that made it hurt to hit with the lighter racket. As soon as I picked up my old racket, the pain subsided and I could play again. I believe its the combination of change in form and general "heft" of the racket that caused my injury.

I am currently testing the PA, and although I didn't add as much weight to match my default specs, I still added quite a bit of lead (72 inches). The test PA sits at 345g, 335 swingweight and 31.7in balance (measurement with a leather grip, no og). While its quite far from my default at 370g and 350 swingweight, its enough heft to protect my arm.
 

WNB93

New User
I think switching may be valid, but if you're a new player with little to no formal training technique I'm more inclined to suspect a technique issue.

Personally I think you'd be better off investing $150 into 3-5 lessons or beginner clinics (depending on local rates) than spending the same amount on a racquet in that case.

Strings can also have a large effect and as poly's "die" they can become harsh on the arm. I would find a cheapish synthetic gut and have someone string it for you as a first step.

After restringing, and having a teaching pro look at your form, then maybe I'd start looking the racquet.

Edit: I read right over you having a coach. /Whoosh

Have you spoken with him about the elbow pain. What were his thoughts? Does he have any qualifications to be coaching?
I have not spoken to him about the elbow pain no, as that is a fairly recent thing. One of his students is currently top under 12 in the country so he cannot be THAT bad right? :) I am not sure about his qualifications. But he did teach me a lot in a very short amount of time. I went from not being able to hit the ball into the court to beating a guy that plays way more than me every time in 4 months. So having a coach is definitely the way to go for me for a while to come.
 

WNB93

New User
On that note if you have a go pro or way to prop your phone camera and record a couple points, I'm sure people here would help you figure out if there's large technical issues. That way you can determine if going the new racquet or lessons route is more likely to be fruitful.
That's a great suggestion. Thanks for the tip! I will set up the camera up on my next lesson to see how I hit. For now I know that my wrist is too stiff and I do not use the wrist lag nearly enough...among every other thing you can possibly imagine of course.
 

WNB93

New User
I'm all about consistency of racket specs after my experience trying out modern rackets. Before giving up on it, try to add some weight to it. I've found adding weight makes even the stiffer Babolat rackets tolerable.

Not sure of your racket history, but there is probably a HUGE difference in specs between the aluminum racket and the Pure Aero. As an example, going from a very heavy to very light racket will change your form, therefore change the impact on your body from a repetitive motion like tennis groundstrokes. How does it change the impact to your body?

It could also introduce some "new" habits. This is impt, b/c your body got acclimated to whatever form/habits you had with your old racket honed over many years. Then, the newer lighter racket all of a sudden lets you do all sorts of new things, and you end up developing new habits to which your body is not used to. You may be gripping the racket tighter. You may have changed your swing path. Since the new racket is lighter, you're able to reach for more shots and wrist them back instead of using your body to swing the racket like you used to. While your body can develop new resiliencies over time, you have to be even more consistent in your form when undergoing drastic changes such as switching between very different rackets.

I found that I could do all sorts of wild things with a lighter racket (think of playing squash more than tennis) and developed a repetitive wrist injury that made it hurt to hit with the lighter racket. As soon as I picked up my old racket, the pain subsided and I could play again. I believe its the combination of change in form and general "heft" of the racket that caused my injury.

I am currently testing the PA, and although I didn't add as much weight to match my default specs, I still added quite a bit of lead (72 inches). The test PA sits at 345g, 335 swingweight and 31.7in balance (measurement with a leather grip, no og). While its quite far from my default at 370g and 350 swingweight, its enough heft to protect my arm.
Hmm ok, that actually makes sense. Because I do feel that it can be unstable at times. Especially at volleys. I have such a hard time keeping the racket facing where I need it to face when the ball hits it. But again, that might just be me not being strong enough.
 

sshin12

Rookie
If you're strong enough to wield an aluminum racket, you're strong enough for modern tennis rackets. =]

The volleying problem you're describing sounds like a progression issue. Did your coach tell you to "punch the volley"? Or hold the racket in an L shape and move the body weight forward?

I know traditional coaching says to "punch the volley". However, there is a caveat with this teaching instruction. This technique is used for beginners b/c its teaching them to make an abbreviated movement, the feeling of the contact point between the ball with the racket head, and the shifting of your body weight appropriate to the volley motion (which is distinct from the groundstroke wind-up). This teaching method is only good for the very beginning when the coach is hitting soft balls or throwing a tennis ball to you at the net. As soon as the pace picks up, it gets harder to hold tightly to the racket and move forward with your arm locked in the L position (PS, tennis played with "locked" joints will always cause injury, some sooner than later). This is being exacerbated by switching to a lighter racket, b/c before, the heavier racket was able to absorb more of the pace and send it back without hurting your arm (imagine breaking a concrete block with a tiny hammer vs a sledge hammer). With the lighter racket, your locked arm will get pushed back.

Assuming you have the idea of the volley down now, you need to progress your volleying technique to the next stage. Volleys past the beginner stage is not so much "punching" as it is "touching" where you "catch and redirect the incoming shot". Check this out

With tennis, don't think of it as a strength thing. Think of it more like being in the right position to flow thru your groundstrokes or volleys. Instinct will tell your body to tighten up, but if you do tighten up and hit 100s of groundstrokes, serves and volleys, you will have arm pain. Every time you think you should hold the racket tighter, reprogram your brain to think I should "be in a better position with ample time to make a full swing." Or in the case of volleys, don't think of "tightening up your grip" but "being in a better position to catch and redirect the ball".
 

chic

Rookie
I have not spoken to him about the elbow pain no, as that is a fairly recent thing. One of his students is currently top under 12 in the country so he cannot be THAT bad right? :) I am not sure about his qualifications. But he did teach me a lot in a very short amount of time. I went from not being able to hit the ball into the court to beating a guy that plays way more than me every time in 4 months. So having a coach is definitely the way to go for me for a while to come.
He sounds plenty qualified then.

I've just seen some park players with coaching profiles on various tennis instruction sites whom I know on court. They have no business teaching people how to play to, say the least 8^)

I don't think people need to be great players to be great coaches or anything, just wanted to check that he met minimum competency.
 

chic

Rookie
That's a great suggestion. Thanks for the tip! I will set up the camera up on my next lesson to see how I hit. For now I know that my wrist is too stiff and I do not use the wrist lag nearly enough...among every other thing you can possibly imagine of course.
Oooo

This right here could be the source of the issue. If you bring back your racquet naturally the wrist will lag on its own. If you're trying to force a snap motion that's one of the easiest ways to get TE and forearm pain. The wrist should be firm through contact and only break as a natural part of the swing. If you're trying to flick it or snap it that's likely a large part of the issue.

But post a video of your next hitting session, that'll really let us help better. A couple minutes should be plenty.
 

chic

Rookie
Lastly, I will say that the main reason I didn't buy the pure aero when I demoed it is that I had trouble volleying with it (I was probably a 3.0 at the time and haven't had this issue when I use my friends PA recently). But Everytime I've hit with one, regardless of strings I've always felt like the ball was pocketing a lot and volleys felt catapult-y if I didn't cut some slice on them or really punch them. Definitely a baseliner stick in my experience
 
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HelenCH

New User
I would replace the strings before changing a racket. Dying or dead strings could be causing your arm pain, as well as causing your balls land short and lack of control on bigger swings. If you experience this pain the next day it could be due to overexertion. I played with a friend's rackets for couple hours last summer as I was visiting and didn't have rackets with me; I noticed that strings were locking badly and it was difficult to move them back, but they played OK for the first hour and after one hour I lost all control of the depth. The next day the inside of my arm was aching from wrist to shoulder, something I had never experienced before and I'd been playing for many years. You arm pain can of course be technique related, but I think you would have noticed it much sooner. If you've only started to experience this pain recently it means that something has probably changed. I am not sure if 4 months is enough to get some more serious injury but I think your discomfort would be more or less permanent in this case, not just the day after.
 

WNB93

New User
I would replace the strings before changing a racket. Dying or dead strings could be causing your arm pain, as well as causing your balls land short and lack of control on bigger swings. If you experience this pain the next day it could be due to overexertion. I played with a friend's rackets for couple hours last summer as I was visiting and didn't have rackets with me; I noticed that strings were locking badly and it was difficult to move them back, but they played OK for the first hour and after one hour I lost all control of the depth. The next day the inside of my arm was aching from wrist to shoulder, something I had never experienced before and I'd been playing for many years. You arm pain can of course be technique related, but I think you would have noticed it much sooner. If you've only started to experience this pain recently it means that something has probably changed. I am not sure if 4 months is enough to get some more serious injury but I think your discomfort would be more or less permanent in this case, not just the day after.
That makes a lot of sense. Because 2nd to last session it was noticeable but not painful and after the last session it got a lot worse. It went away today, so 3 days of discomfort.

What string setup would you suggest?
 

chic

Rookie
That makes a lot of sense. Because 2nd to last session it was noticeable but not painful and after the last session it got a lot worse. It went away today, so 3 days of discomfort.

What string setup would you suggest?
With how new you are and your frequency of play, any relatively cheap synthetic gut is definitely your best option. Less spin potential than some poly set ups but the best tension maintenance (longest lasting good feel) and decently comfortable on the arm.

As you improve if you start breaking syn gut from hard or high rpm hitting you may need to shift away from it, but likely that's far in the future
 

WNB93

New User
With how new you are and your frequency of play, any relatively cheap synthetic gut is definitely your best option. Less spin potential than some poly set ups but the best tension maintenance (longest lasting good feel) and decently comfortable on the arm.

As you improve if you start breaking syn gut from hard or high rpm hitting you may need to shift away from it, but likely that's far in the future
Any recommendations? I saw them range in price from 6€/12m to 16€/12m.

I will discuss with my coach today on what he thinks I could do and which string he used to restring my racket with.
 

chic

Rookie
Unfortunately I've always been a big/high spin hitter, so they don't suit me well (I can break most of them in the time it takes for polys to lose tension).

I'd just look for something cheaper that's labeled as soft. You could probably get a better idea if you search through the forums for "best synthetic gut for arm pain" or something like that.

I have used prince lightning, prince classic, and some gamma syn gut as crosses in a hybrid and all felt decent. But the mains give the bigger feel factor.
 

t_pac

Rookie
My wife moved from the 2016 PA as she was getting arm pain, switched to the Clash and absolutely loves it. I was surprised how much fun it was to use as it's nothing like the sort of racquet I'd usually use but it is just so user-friendly (and comfortable).
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Any recommendations? I saw them range in price from 6€/12m to 16€/12m.

I will discuss with my coach today on what he thinks I could do and which string he used to restring my racket with.
I agree that it's important for you to identify what strings you have in your racquet now. As a new-ish player, I strongly recommend against using any sort of poly - either a full bed or a hybrid. It will make your racquet play more harsh and will also reduce its performance (make it a bit less powerful). Not something you need at this point in your tennis career.

Our pal chic was right on the money with the recommendation for a synthetic gut. You'll get better service life with a 16 ga. option instead of a thinner 17 ga. There have been several discussions of syn. guts lately that you can search up - most of them are probably in the Strings section - and I've weighed in on several of them. Syn. gut is moderately soft, performs quite well for a large cross section of the recreational tennis world, and it's nicely affordable compared with premium multifiber or high profile polys.

Your arm pain should not be happening. While your equipment might be contributing to your issues, I'm also suspicious of what's going on with your technique. Hopefully you're not doing any sort of nasty contortions when you "sweep" through the ball at contact. If you can take several practice strokes or service motions (without hitting a ball) at your normal speed without any pain, then I'd bet that either your racquet/string combo is a problem or you're compromising your movement when you go after a ball for a shot.

If you're thinking about different racquets, it's hard to know what's readily available to you, but two racquets at TW that might have some potential are the Head MG Radical and the Volkl V-Sense 10 Tour - both are marked down. Don't worry about being "strong enough" to handle one racquet or another. That's much more about technique and timing than your muscle mass.
 

WNB93

New User
My wife moved from the 2016 PA as she was getting arm pain, switched to the Clash and absolutely loves it. I was surprised how much fun it was to use as it's nothing like the sort of racquet I'd usually use but it is just so user-friendly (and comfortable).
Nice! Congrats on the new racket to her :)
I actually have a Clash Tour on the way along with a Gravity MP to test.
I am very excited to test it out. I had the chance to hit with the Clash 100 for 10 minutes but I found it too light (and the grip was a size 2...I am currently using 4 although I will probably switch to 3 with 2 overgrips).
 

WNB93

New User
So, I found out I am using a cheap (co)poly from Tennispoint. I guess poly is bad, cheap poly is even worse?
There is no arm pain after the last session though, but I only played with my coach throwing me balls.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I'd consider switching out the strings with something like a multi or synth gut for the arm pain.

It'll also reduce a bit of spin so your shots will land deeper.

Babolat frames are stiff, but more often than not arm pain is caused by technique, especially you're approaching the concept of hitting the ball as if you're pushing the racquet into the ball really hard. That, and 1HBHs.
 

esm

Semi-Pro
I'd consider switching out the strings with something like a multi or synth gut for the arm pain.
i have a fb of multi (Bab Addiction 16) on 2016 PAT @ 48lb initially. it is probably in the low 40's now - it plays quite alright and comfortable. the ball lands deeper, so some adjustments needed, but it was fun.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
i have a fb of multi (Bab Addiction 16) on 2016 PAT @ 48lb initially. it is probably in the low 40's now - it plays quite alright and comfortable. the ball lands deeper, so some adjustments needed, but it was fun.
Yeah, a soft, less spinny string is not at all a bad choice in a Pure Aero as the Pure Aero’s wider string spacing will somewhat compensate for the loss of spin. Helps immensely with the stiffness and feel as well, although I do think the current Pure Aero’s stiffness (67 iirc) is perfectly fine for most people imo. Feel is pretty decent too, although the Strikes are better for that.
 

chic

Rookie
Agreed with everything people are saying. As stated above I think syn gut is your best choice as it holds tension longer. You'll lose some spin but it sounds like in your case a bit flatter will be good to drive the ball deeper.

As far as cheap poly, cheap poly can be fine, but depending on brand it may not last as long as some top end polys. On the flip side some of the lowest durability poly is the nicest stuff, feels like heaven for 5-10 hours then it's done whereas modern poly can usually last 15-20.

As far as it going away while hitting with your coach. That doubles down on the idea that it's probably technique based. You're probably more relaxed hitting while he feeds you because he'll tell you what to adjust. Whereas while alone you're probably trying to hard to "do it right" or "remember xyz thing coach said" and stiffening up some part of your body that needs to be loose.
 
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