The fallacy of heavy racquets?

I always wonder why so many people are obsessed with heavy racquets, adding weight to racquets, etc. I started to think about this because I recently changed to the Gravity MP from a Radical pro, and my game has been feeling so much better with a slightly lighter racquet. More topspin, maneuverability, 2HBH feels amazing, etc. Does not feel unstable at all for me, and I am a 4.0/4.5ish level player so I do play people who can rip the ball. I actually feel like the lighter racquet makes it easier for me to redirect pace and keep up with heavy balls due to me being able to have faster swing speed and get ahead of the ball. On the run cranking winners is so much easier. I have not been hitting balls on my back foot as much either.

However, contrary to my experiences, many people who demo lighter racquets or the play testers on TW will always harp that the lighter frame is "unstable", or not as heavy as they like. And this is from people of all levels too that say this. Is it ego? Is it that the pros use heavy racquets?
 

MattHeup

New User
That is a really great question that I have thought about quite a bit myself. Anecdotally, I like the solid feeling I get from a heavier racquet, like it won't budge. Some light racquets are more stable than others I'd imagine. We also like headlight racquets and many mid-weight headlight racquets come with low swingweights, which can either make them unstable or just anemic power-wise, so we add lead. It's all personal preference though.
 
maybe because Gravity MP has a larger head, thicker beam and more HH than the Radical Pro.........
depending on the SW - the spec may vary between the two, bust suppose it is wise to stick with what works for you.
I should of mentioned it was the 2016 rad pro, so thicker beam than the Gravity mp
 

bnjkn

Semi-Pro
Yeah, it's the solid feeling, it feels really good, it feels like there's something solid behind, "backing" the swing. But performance wise I'm not sure, probably too much weight is not ideal for my level. I've played recently with the rf97 and the pro staff 97L, and I felt I had to be more aggressive, swing harder with the lighter racquet, but the shots were good with enough power and spin for me. The RF97 felt much better (though it had multi strings and the 97L was stringed with poly), and more power when I hit the ball very cleanly, yet definitely much harder to maneuver.
 

Gee

Hall of Fame
Yeah, it's the solid feeling, it feels really good, it feels like there's something solid behind, "backing" the swing. But performance wise I'm not sure, probably too much weight is not ideal for my level. I've played recently with the rf97 and the pro staff 97L, and I felt I had to be more aggressive, swing harder with the lighter racquet, but the shots were good with enough power and spin for me. The RF97 felt much better (though it had multi strings and the 97L was stringed with poly), and more power when I hit the ball very cleanly, yet definitely much harder to maneuver.
Static weight is not the most determining factor. Swingweight and balance are more important specs how maneuverable a racket would play.
It makes sense that the RF97 is much harder to maneuver than the PS 97L as it has a much higher swingweight (311 vs 333).
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
Static weight is not the most determining factor. Swingweight and balance are more important specs how maneuverable a racket would play.
It makes sense that the RF97 is much harder to maneuver than the PS 97L as it has a much higher swingweight (311 vs 333).
This is true. However high swing weight with low static weight means a head heavy balance and a recipe for tennis elbow. My favorite swing weight is in the 330s and this includes the blade 18x20 and the RF97.
 

Rosstour

Legend
Obviously for a lot of people it's an ego thing. If you tell people you swing a 12+ oz stick you can look down your nose at them.
 
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Yamin

Professional
For casual play over lower time intervals, I think heavier rackets feel much better to people because you get all the benefits with no drawback.

Once you start getting higher up in level and playing against better opponents in longer matches, it becomes evident that you either have to work on your fitness for months or switch to something lighter.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Can we define our terms first? What is "Heavy"? I would propose that "heavy" frames are those the user cannot swing easily for 2 hours of tennis. Light frames are those that feel like a "toy" to the user.

So for me that falls in the 11-12.5 oz range between too light and too heavy. I will generally add weight to reach a goldilocks point of 12 oz, 325-330 SW with HL balance in the 5-8 pt range. What I lose in quick racket flicks I make up for in stability, esp for low volleys which are a big thing in my doubles game.
 

Rosstour

Legend
I think that must be a small minority. I doubt that a serious player would use a racket that is too heavy for him just for bragging rights.
Agree but I think some like to affect that position.

You see it a lot with car guys too.
 

Crocodile

Legend
I have always used 12oz frames and up since I was 14 years old. Many of theses frames had swing weights between 320 and 335. Nothing to do with ego, it’s just what feels best for me and what I am used to. Light racquets to me feel like they require more work from my arm to control a heavy ball.
 

Biiru

New User
I think a heavy racket feels great when:
Assume the players are rec level & the rally speed is relatively slow and players have enough time to set up their swings consistently.
or higher level players have good fitness and footwork that can really use them.

Feels bad when you have relatively fast balls but you can't keep up on your feet and can't swing fast enough.
I switched from a vcore pro HD to a vcore 100 and felt much better in my game. I'm not good enough to use the heavier rackets.
 

cortado

Professional
I think once you get used to weight it really helps. I've never gone any higher than 350g static weight strung and can still comfortably play at 330g too.
I've definitely noticed going down from the heavier to the lighter racquet it's easier to perform the service motion, and the ball is kicking up higher after it lands in the service box.
I played the 330g for a long time, then I've been playing the 350g for at least 3 months, and now when I go back to the 330g I play so much better with it than I used to.
I think playing with the heaviest thing you comfortably can do (within reason) stands you in good stead for the future. Develops your footwork, timing, anticipation and your stroke.
 

McLovin

Legend
I have always used 12oz frames and up since I was 14 years old. Many of theses frames had swing weights between 320 and 335. Nothing to do with ego, it’s just what feels best for me and what I am used to. Light racquets to me feel like they require more work from my arm to control a heavy ball.
 
So I guess it is just a "feel" thing? Because like I said I do not think heavy is better nor worse than lighter racquets, it is all just preference. However I couldn't help but notice when watching youtubers or play testers try out lighter frames always say how it feels "unstable", when I have never felt that with lighter frames. Maybe with a 10 oz racquet it would feel too weak, but I just do not see how an 11 oz racquet is going to be so unstable for these people that they can not use it, especially the majority of the tennis population (3.5 to 4.0)
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
Recreationally, it likely doesn't matter much.
If you play competitively, or are in college, you already know the benefits of racquets more on the heavier side.
 

tennis347

Hall of Fame
Alot of it has to do with personal preference, level of play and if you are playing tournaments. I find that the SW and balance are more crucial. If a racquet doesn't have enough mass, it will be unstable and not arm friendly. Personally I need a racquet that has a SW in the 325 range or a tad higher to get results I am looking for which are plow, easy depth, control, comfort and stability. A racquet say under 11 ounces with sacrifice alot of the above for players 4.0 and above.
 

Hidious

Professional
For me it's all about the feeling. I believe it's also related to the type of strokes you have. Believe me, I would love to use a lighter racquet, and I've tried many, many times. The weight of my heavy frames is a big handicap on days when I have less energy, when I'm out of shape, in the third set of a hot day, etc., but I'm a rec player and I'm not willing to sacrifice the amazing feeling of a heavier racquet for the reasons I just mentioned, because when you are on your game, a heavy racquet will destroy the ball and feel invincible. Lighter racquets feel empty, fragile, all the opposite adjectives of solid and unshakable.

Pretty much the same reasoning goes for small versus bigger sweet spot and head size. I should play with a large sweet spot, but when "on" your game, that small sweet spot is sweeter than drugs.
 
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Deleted member 776614

Guest
I'm playing with RF97 (340g) and previously TF40 (305g). Is the RF97 more stable? Sure. Is it (extra stability) enjoyable? I guess so. Does it matter? Not at all - TF40 is plenty stable. The heavier racket is more demanding on the joints, takes more work to prepare in time, and takes more effort to swing and particularly serve. But the benefit is better accuracy (for me) since I have a better sense of where the racket face is, and much better depth control since it helps me regulate swing speed.

Like Hidious said above, the heavy racket is penalizing when I'm tired. Call me crazy but I'm using that to motivate me to eat better, sleep better, and exercise more. My paycheck doesn't depend on my tennis score so I don't have anything to lose during the adaptation phase.
 
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FIRETennis

Professional
Good points on both sides of the argument.

Given enough time (months) a player can adjust to any racquet.
Being used to 340-350g 12-12.4oz frames strung, I have tried 325g - 11.5oz strung frames and personally could never get the timing right, was always too early, tendency to arm, swing too fast, unforgiving on non-center hits as well as having to swing full every shot of the match in order to get depth. Flat first serve and return of serve is terrible with light frames.
I do get more tired swinging the light racquets for hours and had more arm soreness the next day compared to my heavy frame. Same gut/poly setup in both.
Not a good idea to rotate between heavy and light same day or same match as the swing timing is way different.
I do play a few opponents that are solid 4.5 players which use Lite frames.
One player uses a 290g 10.2oz strung and another a 305g 10.8oz strung frame. Their balls are quite spinny but not really that heavy.
They are swinging for the fences though on every shot and do more swing volleys rather than blocking volleys.
I'm quite amazed how well they play especially against pace and that's one of the reasons I tried going a bit lighter (but not that light).
They do seem to have issues speeding up slow balls and hitting winners (on clay).
 

yessir

Rookie
It is actually the exact opposite of being strong. People with slow swings , zero explosiveness tend to use heavier racquets to do the work for them. As to why pros use high swingweights - weight , i guess it aint that easy to return 120+ mph serves with 305g frames. Kyrgios though can return 130s mph with his 320 sw - ptp 1.20 and his racquet doesnt seem to be unstable cause his returns are very good.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
It is actually the exact opposite of being strong. People with slow swings , zero explosiveness tend to use heavier racquets to do the work for them. As to why pros use high swingweights - weight , i guess it aint that easy to return 120+ mph serves with 305g frames. Kyrgios though can return 130s mph with his 320 sw - ptp 1.20 and his racquet doesnt seem to be unstable cause his returns are very good.
I was going to say more or less the same thing. I do see a correlation between older players and heavy frames, because once they get moving they complete the swing for you, and tbh they don't require much strength at all to get moving, unless you're aiming for a violently high RHS.

A light frame with little RHS is going to be jerked around by incoming pace (hence the whole thing about "instability"). Well yeah, because the player isn't generating enough RHS to counteract the force of the incoming ball.

I still do think you should use the heaviest racquet (or rather, the highest SW) you can swing for extended periods but it depends on how fast your swing is. If you have long and fast swings then you'll probably have to settle for a lighter frame than the guy with short bunts.
 

NoQuarter

Rookie
Try defending while you getting blasted at and on the dead run with a light racquet...you can't...the racquet will "shimmy" and the next shot will be down your throat. If you use weight and distribute correctly, you'll still be able to keep the racquet "mobile". That's why I like heavy...but keeping the balance point as original.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Presumably there has to be a reason why Tour models of most racket lines are heavier. It must provide more stability against higher paced shots. If the opposite was true then I'm sure manufacturers would market lighter rackets for the better players.
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
Presumably there has to be a reason why Tour models of most racket lines are heavier. It must provide more stability against higher paced shots. If the opposite was true then I'm sure manufacturers would market lighter rackets for the better players.
of course heavier rackets can sustain more pace, but it's not just that.
Tour rackets are mostly for players who play since age 5 and their muscles used to swing those every day for 6 hours...
i bet 95% here don't come even close.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame

around the 19 minute mark, they discuss heavy sticks/ swing weights along with specifically calling out the RF 97. For advanced players it's not a great fit and I would say the weight is not a great fit for most rec players, maybe it works just for doubles specialists.

I know there are plenty of 1 doubles matches per day players reading this who can "handle" 330. I understand.

Those of us who do singles tourneys, last UTR I did had 3 singles matches in 1 day in 100 degree heat, the last "open" tourney I played was 2 singles matches in one day. Lowe swing weight tends to work better in these conditions, every little bit helps.

I'm still going to try the new Vcore Pro 97 D which will be debatably too heavy, but switching from the old HD to the 2021 Vcore 95 with lower swingweight gave me benefits without losing too much on serve. (if you all haven't used Yonex lately, they have the stability everyone talks about of a 320-330 frame in their lighter models, not sure how, but they do). I'm 6.4" 200 pounds and play 4-6 days a week al year, I'm still not sure I should use above 320 gram sticks even if they are head light.
 
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FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Presumably there has to be a reason why Tour models of most racket lines are heavier. It must provide more stability against higher paced shots. If the opposite was true then I'm sure manufacturers would market lighter rackets for the better players.
Marketing. they are going to make and promote what they think will sell based on what they think we think we need, which often we don't know. I'm even tempted to think the Yonex Vcore Pro 330 is a direct competitor to the RF because it sold so well, although I trust the Japanese more for some reason,. Do you think the Wilson Pro Staff RF is heavy because it is good for rec players or heavy to make it different than the 310 AND then emblazoned with an autograph and the backing of a legend? Some modern pros use lighter sticks than the RF, rare, but true. I'll say this, I bet Roger's coach, hypothetically, if he could watch every player that actually uses an RF, he would recommend something else to about 80% of them.
 

cortado

Professional

around the 19 minute mark, they discuss heavy sticks/ swing weights along with specifically calling out the RF 97. For advanced players it's not a great fit and I would say the weight is not a great fit for most rec players, maybe it works just for doubles specialists.

I know there are plenty of 1 doubles matches per day players reading this who can "handle" 330. I understand.

Those of us who do singles tourneys, last UTR I did had 3 singles matches in 1 day in 100 degree heat, the last "open" tourney I played was 2 singles matches in one day. Lowe swing weight tends to work better in these conditions, every little bit helps.

I'm still going to try the new Vcore Pro 97 D which will be debatably too heavy, but switching from the old HD to the 2021 Vcore 95 with lower swingweight gave me benefits without losing too much on serve. (if you all haven't used Yonex lately, they have the stability everyone talks about of a 320-330 frame in their lighter models, not sure how, but they do). I'm 6.4" 200 pounds and play 4-6 days a week al year, I'm still not sure I should use above 320 gram sticks even if they are head light.
I'm using the HD with 2g lead split across 10 and 2. I think it's as high as I would want to go in weight, but I plan to use this spec for as long as I possibly can. It's helping me develop good technique, footwork, anticipation that I will still have if/when I need to go down in weight.
 
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Deleted member 776614

Guest
I don't think anyone doubts a 330-340g stick is too heavy for 'most people.' The RF is kind of unique because it's specifically about selling a particular player's setup to the public, not really about being marketed to high performance players. But I also think the whole thing is a little blown out of proportion - a 'regular' Pro Staff is 315g (same as TF40 315). Add leather grip and a couple grams at 6/9 and it's 330g, only 10g different from RF.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
of course heavier rackets can sustain more pace, but it's not just that.
Tour rackets are mostly for players who play since age 5 and their muscles used to swing those every day for 6 hours...
i bet 95% here don't come even close.
So you are saying that Tour weights are designed as such because the players can handle it, rather than the players can get benefit from it?
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
So you are saying that Tour weights are designed as such because the players can handle it, rather than the players can get benefit from it?
of course there will be some benefits for lesser players, but i think eventually it would be too demanding after a certain time,
and the level of play will suffer.
 

Hidious

Professional
Are we forgetting also that weight = power according to the laws of physics? There are many ways to make a racquet and strings more powerful, but adding weight is one of them. A light, flexible, dense pattern frame will not produce any power unless you drastically lower string tension and type.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Are we forgetting also that weight = power according to the laws of physics? There are many ways to make a racquet and strings more powerful, but adding weight is one of them. A light, flexible, dense pattern frame will not produce any power unless you drastically lower string tension and type.
Yeah, the whole point of a lightweight graphite racquet is that you could add more weight to the ends for stability and power.
 

tennis347

Hall of Fame
I would rather play with a thin beam racquet that weighs 330 grams strung over a thick stiff beam that weighs 315 grams strung. Assuming the player has good technique a heavier frame is much better for arm health. The mass of the heavier racquet helps generate power as others have mentioned. The laws of physics apply.
 

lelopez

Semi-Pro
I have always used 12oz frames and up since I was 14 years old. Many of theses frames had swing weights between 320 and 335. Nothing to do with ego, it’s just what feels best for me and what I am used to. Light racquets to me feel like they require more work from my arm to control a heavy ball.
+1 here. Same scenario. I've tried time and time again to go lighter, but the feel on the ball is just not there, for me. So I play a heavy stick because that's what I like, no ego involved.
 

Crashbaby

Semi-Pro
The internet is where some people choose to defend their choices and unfortunately there are a few that put down other people’s choices while doing so. This is uncool, unproductive and is not something good human beings do. :)
My arm and general performance results tell me a 285g frame is a bad choice, same with 340g. So logic indicates the middle ground of 310g to 320g is a pretty smart choice for me and what my 49 year mind and body bring to the table.
Use what you play well with, that you enjoy using and does not cause harm to your body. These three criteria are not always mutually exclusive of course! That’s why this forum is such an interesting and useful experience in the pursuit of the perfect stick for you.
 

socallefty

Legend
Just because the OP didn't like a racquet or its weight, he thinks no one else should like it and if they say they like it, it means they are egotistical. Sounds to me more like the OP has a big ego and very low EQ where he doesn't have any empathy for being in the shoes of other players with different technique, playing style, racquet head speed, strength etc.

I play with racquets that I like after demoing first, then buying them and stringing them the way I like. I don't tell anyone else that they should play ONLY with my racquet and string even though I am a big fan of both my racquet and strings.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
The internet is where some people choose to defend their choices and unfortunately there are a few that put down other people’s choices while doing so. This is uncool, unproductive and is not something good human beings do. :)
My arm and general performance results tell me a 285g frame is a bad choice, same with 340g. So logic indicates the middle ground of 310g to 320g is a pretty smart choice for me and what my 49 year mind and body bring to the table.
Use what you play well with, that you enjoy using and does not cause harm to your body. These three criteria are not always mutually exclusive of course! That’s why this forum is such an interesting and useful experience in the pursuit of the perfect stick for you.
Perhaps, but like the video says, the guy who convinced Djokavuch to go lighter, even the 5.0 players are stubborn and don't realize what is best for them. With all the led tape talk on thus forum, I don't trust most rec players to know what is best, not even myself. But, the guru is someone to listen to, he is a legend.
 

socallefty

Legend
Advanced (4.5+?) players play with racquets that are similar to what they grew up with. Unlike the denizens of this forum, most players don’t want to experiment with very different racquet specs, strings etc. and lose a lot of matches or change their swing styles while doing so. Players who used to compete a lot in tournaments as kids hate losing matches as adults also and they don’t want to take risks by changing their racquet specs much. They don’t really believe that the secret to their improvement lies in changing their equipment - if they are over 40, they are just trying to hold onto their junior level and they do not aspire to improve further.

I grew up with heavy wood racquets and then with a heavy, thin-beam, flexible (limp noodle?) racquet called the Dunlop Max200G. That’s why any racquet that is less than 12 ozs or too stiff feels weird/unstable or too powerful to me and I have demo’d a lot of them. If my coach as a kid had stuck a light, thick-beam racquet in my hands, my tastes in racquets might be different today. Anyway, I don’t have much incentive to play with racquets that don’t feel right to me when I try them out in a hitting session when there are five other racquets that feel right. So, I have stuck with the same spec range throughout the last few decades - 95-98 sq inches, SW 330-340, <21mm, >12 ozs, <66RA. I’m never going to tell anyone else that this is the only spec range that works as it depends on what they learned tennis with when they played the most in their early development.
 
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FIRETennis

Professional
Perhaps, but like the video says, the guy who convinced Djokavuch to go lighter, even the 5.0 players are stubborn and don't realize what is best for them. With all the led tape talk on thus forum, I don't trust most rec players to know what is best, not even myself. But, the guru is someone to listen to, he is a legend.
Do you really think people who's livelihood, career and legacy depends on their tools haven't tested everything?
If Djokovic would play better with a light racquet, he would be playing with a light racquet.
Do you think 5.0s became 5.0s by accident? Or maybe they put in thousands of hours of work and experimented with technique, strategy and equipment.
Why would they trust the opinion of one racquet shop guy and not their own body and experience?
 
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