The fallacy of heavy racquets?

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I've been following all the heavy racquet talk across the various threads here with interest. I'm 36, a high 4.5/low 5.0 player, and a big guy (6'4, 104kg - which really should be 95kg =/) and my frames I used to use before finding this forum were ~365g static weight (Volkl Organix Super G 10 325g + leather grip + OG + dampner). I wasn't even aware of how relatively heavy they were until about a year ago. I just knew they played well for me.

Since arriving here I've gotten an education in all this stuff. I've been on a bit of a racquet journey over the last few months after the pallet of one of my Volkl's cracked, trying everything from 305g static weight and up. I've hit with probably 25 different racquets. Last night I played with the Volkl C10 pro. Not quite the 365g of my previous Volkls since it had no leather, but probably 355g given I had two overgrips on to simulate a bigger grip. And man did I play well. It was an incredibly high quality match against a big hitter, and I just felt right at home. It was one of the best matches I've been a part of, and that stick really lifted me.

Obviously my comfort with a heavy racquet played a part in that, but it doesn't change the fact that I played very well with a stick many would consider too heavy for a rec player. I was serving bombs, redirecting pace so easily, and my defense was solid. I have no ego around using a heavy racquet. I'm not doing it to show off or because that's what the pros do. It just feels good to me. Perhaps there is a situation where if I really grind out a lot of matches with a 330g or 340g stick I'll eventually play better than with my 360g's, but I don't know how I ever get there when it's not a guarantee. I could just be subjecting myself to months of worse play for no benefit. And my alternative is to just buy something heavy and play well now.

In any case, it's been very interesting to read all the opinions on weight. And I'll finish this by saying I am going to demo the RF97 next. I've never hit with it before, and I feel like the RA might be too high for me, but given that I'm still really vibing with heavy static weights and ~330g swingweights, I feel like I owe it to myself to try it.
I think you probably know what you are doing and aren't the typical rec player. I'm also 6'4, around 88-89 kilos (195-197 pounds) and if you are playing 1 match a day and are that large I think it works. I sometimes do 2-3 matches of a singles tournament a day in 100 degree weather (37 C) so that can be 6 hours of tennis, it gets hard to be above 12 oz unstrung in those, my serve suffers. Throw in the Yonex Vcore 330 too if the RF is on your list. Well written, doesn't seem like you are bragging.

At nearly 67 I get calls every day from guys 10-40 yrs younger than me for a hit. A D1 coach who was an SEC player called me a "sandbagging 4.5" but that ain't right, cause I hit just for fun. Oh, I'll play pickup matches from time to time but hitting an elegant shot is more important to me than beating someone.

Having said that currently I am playing with a trio of 12oz 93" 18x20 Volkl Tour 10 Mids, a trio of POG 107 Tours at 11.9oz and a trio of Babolat Pure Storm GT Tours 11.8oz when I feel younger than I am. I like narrow straight beams and I think it has something to do with vibration. I go off the "deep end" at times where I will switch to a big head OS or something else stiff but they always end up hurting my elbow. I was recently playing with every 110-116" racket that had an 18x20 pattern and was at least 11oz head light and at least 27.5". Believe me when I say learn from my mistakes, doing that in your 6th decade will probably cause elbow pain:)

This tiny little 5'3" D1 player I miss hitting with use to thrash me with her 10.6oz 100" 16x19 Wilson something or other. It sort of made me a bit jealous or angry until I thought, will she be hitting tennis balls when she is my age?

I really do think mass and the "right" construction can add longevity to your playing. When you are in your 20s and early 30s anything works. But as "father time" starts to creep up on you that Pure Aero might become "pure pain." And besides unless you are in your 20s and playing ITF Futures or Challengers you are just playing rec tennis. Whatever works for you on the day is fine whether it is a 13oz POG Mid or an 8oz Ti6.
You are my goal one day to be able to still play that long. The Babs are for the 20 year olds, but lighter Yonex, I guarantee you would be surprised what you could do, you in particular if I gave you a Yonex Ezone 98 or a Vcore Pro 95 and made you use it for a few months. It wouldn't hurt you physically and with your skill, I bet you would love them. They are 11.2-11.5 ounces and more stable than any other brand of the same "light" weight.

It is certainly an interesting topic. Only my five cents to the conversation…..but one main challenge is that the majority of “light” racquets, also posses characteristics that contribute to higher level of power for players with less then perfect swings, such as higher stiffness and thicker beams. Usually lighter racquets are used by juniors or females or players who are still learning the game. On the other hand, heavier racquets usually have smaller headsizes and thinner beams. Players with well developed swings need more control and a racquet which is too light would just mess up their well developed swing.
I think the sweet spot is 11.3-11.5 ounces, I've described that as "light" on these kinds of threads, but maybe another word is better? What do you have in mind when you say "light", I am curious.
 
W

This is just plain stupid.
It’s like saying all other things equal the one with osmium skeleton is the most powerful.
Oh. From TW
Basic Facts About Frames & Strings
Editor's note: The following information was supplied by former USRSA Technical Advisor Steve Davis. He was also the Director of Research & Development for Prince Sports Group. We think it's safe to say that Steve knows his basic racquet and string facts.

Racquet Facts
  • A heavier frame generates more power.
 

Andykay

New User
I think you probably know what you are doing and aren't the typical rec player. I'm also 6'4, around 88-89 kilos (195-197 pounds) and if you are playing 1 match a day and are that large I think it works. I sometimes do 2-3 matches of a singles tournament a day in 100 degree weather (37 C) so that can be 6 hours of tennis, it gets hard to be above 12 oz unstrung in those, my serve suffers. Throw in the Yonex Vcore 330 too if the RF is on your list. Well written, doesn't seem like you are bragging.
Yeah, I'm pretty much a one match a day 4-5 times a week guy. I'd like to one day play tournaments, but i'm at a weird standard where there's not a lot of options here in Australia. Most of them either cater to intermediate players or UTR 10-13 players who will crush me. I wish there was an equivalent to like the NTRP 4.5/5.0 nationals here. I'd also really need to lose this extra 10kg to play that much in a day. My club championship was two matches a day, and I managed, but it was a big ask for my cardio.
 

jmacdaununder2

Hall of Fame
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.
The reduced distance from hand to sweet spot with larger headed racquets has always been something of an issue for me too; that's one of the reasons I prefer a reasonably weighty but head light, 28" length 97" head size racquet, as the leverage is more comparable with a wood racquet.
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
If you swing at the same speed, a heavier racket will give more speed to the ball. If the racket is too heavy to swing at the optimal swing speed then it is too heavy.
exactly.. but what do you do when you can't produce an optimal swing speed after an hour? which exact specs would you choose?
 

oldcity

Rookie
exactly.. but what do you do when you can't produce an optimal swing speed after an hour? which exact specs would you choose?
Right, especially in the heat of the summer for 3hrs. Can you keep swinging the heavy stick fast enough.
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
exactly.. but what do you do when you can't produce an optimal swing speed after an hour? which exact specs would you choose?
Swing mechanics are a bit different between light and heavy rackets. Your swing speed won’t suffer after an hour because once you start the racket moving, you only need to guide it with a relaxed arm. It takes some time to get used to, and to develop some particular muscles, but ultimately I find a heavy racket is less tiring for the arm.
 
when it's too heavy for the individual player to handle (produce efficient strokes and technique)
I think that's the key here. I think heavy racquets can be really attractive because when you first hit with them they feel great and you hit a huge ball, however the trade off of that is when you are in a tough long match, 5-5 Deuce, that heavy racquet just feels a tad heavier... and all of a sudden it feels like you have less time, you hit off the back foot, or even worse, you stop taking a full swing and resort to bunting the ball or slow compact swings because you are fatigued... This is my experience. The pros can wield some ridiculously heavy sticks, but the average hack like myself, no. 11oz strung is perfect for me. Even guys I know on the Division 1 college team in my area use stock racquets, even lighter or tweener frames, Pure Aeros, Radical MPs, Vcore 98 (or is it Ezone? I forget), etc... And interestingly enough I believe only 1 or 2 guys on the team use an RF, most common college player racquets I am seeing is tied between the Pure Aero/Drive and Blade. Just my thoughts and experience, open to any more experiences you guys have, I love reading this thread.
 
I think you probably know what you are doing and aren't the typical rec player. I'm also 6'4, around 88-89 kilos (195-197 pounds) and if you are playing 1 match a day and are that large I think it works. I sometimes do 2-3 matches of a singles tournament a day in 100 degree weather (37 C) so that can be 6 hours of tennis, it gets hard to be above 12 oz unstrung in those, my serve suffers. Throw in the Yonex Vcore 330 too if the RF is on your list. Well written, doesn't seem like you are bragging.


You are my goal one day to be able to still play that long. The Babs are for the 20 year olds, but lighter Yonex, I guarantee you would be surprised what you could do, you in particular if I gave you a Yonex Ezone 98 or a Vcore Pro 95 and made you use it for a few months. It wouldn't hurt you physically and with your skill, I bet you would love them. They are 11.2-11.5 ounces and more stable than any other brand of the same "light" weight.


I think the sweet spot is 11.3-11.5 ounces, I've described that as "light" on these kinds of threads, but maybe another word is better? What do you have in mind when you say "light", I am curious.
For me, a racquet is light whenever it is 300 grams (10.58 ounces) or lighter (unstrung). Seems majority (though not all) of racquets such as Ezone 100, Pure Drive, etc and their even light models such as Ezone 100 L or Pure Aero Team etc, have thick beams and high stiffness ratings. I am fairly light myself at 167 pounds and despite having tried "heavier" racquets, I don't play well with them. For me, the sweetspot seems to be typical "tweeners" such as Ezone 100, Pure Drive etc.

Perhaps I should perhaps get one heavier racquet and try it out for several weeks and see if I might get used it. I know that more weight should be better for the arm/elbow which I definitely would like, but I want to play my best tennis as well. Right now the Ezone 100 with Velocity MLT multi strings work really well for me. I have several hitting partners and one of them is a former high level competitive player in my country and I can rally well with him despite using my rather light Ezone 100. I tried his older Head racquet which is 320 gram unstrung, and I played terrible with it. I was late all the time, especially on my one handed backhand. I am almost 50 and despite being pretty fit, muscle and fitness wise, I am not getting any faster anymore.....
 
A quick note about light racquets.....say Pure Aero Team and Ezone 100L and similar racquets (285 grams/10.05 ounces unstrung): On Tennis Warehouse and also on other websites, there are hardly ever any reviews about them.......

Wonder why? Because players who play with them are maybe not that "into racquets".....? Or perhaps some other reason....?
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
I've been following all the heavy racquet talk across the various threads here with interest. I'm 36, a high 4.5/low 5.0 player, and a big guy (6'4, 104kg - which really should be 95kg =/) and my frames I used to use before finding this forum were ~365g static weight (Volkl Organix Super G 10 325g + leather grip + OG + dampner). I wasn't even aware of how relatively heavy they were until about a year ago. I just knew they played well for me.

Since arriving here I've gotten an education in all this stuff. I've been on a bit of a racquet journey over the last few months after the pallet of one of my Volkl's cracked, trying everything from 305g static weight and up. I've hit with probably 25 different racquets. Last night I played with the Volkl C10 pro. Not quite the 365g of my previous Volkls since it had no leather, but probably 355g given I had two overgrips on to simulate a bigger grip. And man did I play well. It was an incredibly high quality match against a big hitter, and I just felt right at home. It was one of the best matches I've been a part of, and that stick really lifted me.

Obviously my comfort with a heavy racquet played a part in that, but it doesn't change the fact that I played very well with a stick many would consider too heavy for a rec player. I was serving bombs, redirecting pace so easily, and my defense was solid. I have no ego around using a heavy racquet. I'm not doing it to show off or because that's what the pros do. It just feels good to me. Perhaps there is a situation where if I really grind out a lot of matches with a 330g or 340g stick I'll eventually play better than with my 360g's, but I don't know how I ever get there when it's not a guarantee. I could just be subjecting myself to months of worse play for no benefit. And my alternative is to just buy something heavy and play well now.

In any case, it's been very interesting to read all the opinions on weight. And I'll finish this by saying I am going to demo the RF97 next. I've never hit with it before, and I feel like the RA might be too high for me, but given that I'm still really vibing with heavy static weights and ~330g swingweights, I feel like I owe it to myself to try it.
I switched some years ago from the Wilson 6.1 Classic into the more flexible Volkl C10 and eventually added their Organix 10 325g (preceded your Super G 10). My O10's needed some weight on their hoops and handles to give them a more comfortable fit for me similar to my C10's, which have weight added to only their handles.

The 6.1 Classic was heavy and rather stiff. Wonderful for serious serve and volley play, but too explosive and unpredictable for me around the baseline. Extra flex in my Volkls has brought me better baseline control along with plenty of arm comfort as long as I string with syn. gut or an occasional multi. My C10's give me what feels like nearly unlimited power potential, while my O10's are a little better in the control department. I can churn out big spin more easily with my O10's than my C10's, but I also love the punch and touch of my O10's around the net and they're also my easy choice for coaching/feeding.

I've sampled the RF 97 more than once and each outing with it has really reminded me of the 6.1 Classic. If I wanted to be a pure serve and volleyer today, this would be a frame I'd consider, but I couldn't play too steady with it around the baseline - too easy to annihilate the ball with that combo of weight and stiffness.

I picked up a pair of Volkl's V-Sense 10 325g's a couple years ago hoping that these could eventually replace my older O10's at some point, but no matter how I strung or tuned those updates of my O10's, they just didn't click for me. None of that semi-soft Volkl feel that I appreciate in their older models. If I eventually go for something else, I'll have the Head Prestige and probably a couple of Yonex 95"-97" options on my demo list. With the C10 and O10 in the bag for now though, all bases are covered. Your Super G might turn out to be VERY tough to beat (y)
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
I think that's the key here. I think heavy racquets can be really attractive because when you first hit with them they feel great and you hit a huge ball, however the trade off of that is when you are in a tough long match, 5-5 Deuce, that heavy racquet just feels a tad heavier... and all of a sudden it feels like you have less time, you hit off the back foot, or even worse, you stop taking a full swing and resort to bunting the ball or slow compact swings because you are fatigued... This is my experience. The pros can wield some ridiculously heavy sticks, but the average hack like myself, no. 11oz strung is perfect for me. Even guys I know on the Division 1 college team in my area use stock racquets, even lighter or tweener frames, Pure Aeros, Radical MPs, Vcore 98 (or is it Ezone? I forget), etc... And interestingly enough I believe only 1 or 2 guys on the team use an RF, most common college player racquets I am seeing is tied between the Pure Aero/Drive and Blade. Just my thoughts and experience, open to any more experiences you guys have, I love reading this thread.
exactly. I try to play my game after an hour and i can’t produce the same rhs.
Also people might forget the amount of hours pro players spend when growing with their heavier rackets, producing insane rhs for years. I’m almost 50yrs old rec player, lol
 

Bhagi Katbamna

Hall of Fame
exactly.. but what do you do when you can't produce an optimal swing speed after an hour? which exact specs would you choose?
So if someone is able to generate an optimal swing speed for an hour, then the choice is either to build muscle so that they can generate the same swing speed for the entire match, or have a slightly lighter version of the identical racket strung with the same string at the same tension for the second (and third hour).
 

Andykay

New User
I switched some years ago from the Wilson 6.1 Classic into the more flexible Volkl C10 and eventually added their Organix 10 325g (preceded your Super G 10). My O10's needed some weight on their hoops and handles to give them a more comfortable fit for me similar to my C10's, which have weight added to only their handles.

The 6.1 Classic was heavy and rather stiff. Wonderful for serious serve and volley play, but too explosive and unpredictable for me around the baseline. Extra flex in my Volkls has brought me better baseline control along with plenty of arm comfort as long as I string with syn. gut or an occasional multi. My C10's give me what feels like nearly unlimited power potential, while my O10's are a little better in the control department. I can churn out big spin more easily with my O10's than my C10's, but I also love the punch and touch of my O10's around the net and they're also my easy choice for coaching/feeding.

I've sampled the RF 97 more than once and each outing with it has really reminded me of the 6.1 Classic. If I wanted to be a pure serve and volleyer today, this would be a frame I'd consider, but I couldn't play too steady with it around the baseline - too easy to annihilate the ball with that combo of weight and stiffness.

I picked up a pair of Volkl's V-Sense 10 325g's a couple years ago hoping that these could eventually replace my older O10's at some point, but no matter how I strung or tuned those updates of my O10's, they just didn't click for me. None of that semi-soft Volkl feel that I appreciate in their older models. If I eventually go for something else, I'll have the Head Prestige and probably a couple of Yonex 95"-97" options on my demo list. With the C10 and O10 in the bag for now though, all bases are covered. Your Super G might turn out to be VERY tough to beat (y)
Thanks for the insight. I did love my Super G 10s. I was trying to find a replacement pallet for the one that cracked, but I'm not sure they're available anywhere anymore.

The C10 pro did feel very good, and is likely my frontrunner. I'm going to buy a second hand Pro Kennex Q+ tour 325 as an expensive demo to test, because I've heard good things and I'm keen to try a similarly spec'd racquet with an 18x20 pattern.

The RF97 demo will arrive early next week, so I'll at least give it a spin. Like I said, I do think it'll probably be too much for my arm with a 68 RA but I've never hit with a prostaff before so I'm curious to experience the "prostaff feeling" some people talk about. I generally hit very flat, and play on synthetic grass where the ball really skids, so I'll be curious to see if I can control it.

I clearly don't play enough hours on any given day because I can honestly say I've never felt fatigued in my arms while on the court. Perhaps my shoulder can get tight if I play three hours, but I've never experienced the sensation of feeling my racquet slowing down. Perhaps because of my flat game I don't get a lot of whip on my strokes, so the drop in speed is less noticeable.
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
Maria Sharapova Personal Head TGK269.1
Strung swing weight 363
Strung weight 12.0 oz. / 341 gr.
Strung balance 330 mm
Stiffness 60

Maybe too heavy and too high swing weight for a 130lbs lady .... :cool:
again, very specific example. probably not too common.
have to take into account height, rhs, lifetime practice, etc..
so what if it's a woman? most of us here are rec players.
what she will use when she goes practicing at age 45?
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I think that's the key here. I think heavy racquets can be really attractive because when you first hit with them they feel great and you hit a huge ball, however the trade off of that is when you are in a tough long match, 5-5 Deuce, that heavy racquet just feels a tad heavier... and all of a sudden it feels like you have less time, you hit off the back foot, or even worse, you stop taking a full swing and resort to bunting the ball or slow compact swings because you are fatigued... This is my experience. The pros can wield some ridiculously heavy sticks, but the average hack like myself, no. 11oz strung is perfect for me. Even guys I know on the Division 1 college team in my area use stock racquets, even lighter or tweener frames, Pure Aeros, Radical MPs, Vcore 98 (or is it Ezone? I forget), etc... And interestingly enough I believe only 1 or 2 guys on the team use an RF, most common college player racquets I am seeing is tied between the Pure Aero/Drive and Blade. Just my thoughts and experience, open to any more experiences you guys have, I love reading this thread.
Same here, Blades galore for Div 1 guys I come into contact with in the summer, then Ezones.
Blades again and Pure Strikes, some Speed Pros and now Vcores and Ezones for high 4.5 5.0 adults I know. All stock.
 

McGradey

Professional
Many of the good players I know use mediocre racquets that are not at all heavy and they have no problems beating people who hit the ball hard, or players who play with heavy racquets.

Pros play tennis for thousands of hours every year, for many years, before they even turn pro. And then they start playing even more tennis with even better players. It's simply not the same game that we play.

Rambling a bit here, but it's all just preference I guess. Personally I enjoy winning more than I do playing with a heavy racquet that feels really good when I nail one in the sweetspot. But the opposite used to be the case, I played with what felt best rather than what best allowed me to play my game.
 
Last edited:

RobS

Rookie
Maria Sharapova Personal Head TGK269.1
Strung swing weight 363
Strung weight 12.0 oz. / 341 gr.
Strung balance 330 mm
Stiffness 60

Maybe too heavy and too high swing weight for a 130lbs lady .... :cool:
All of those specs aren't accurate. In particular, that 6'-2" lady isn't 130lbs as listed in the media guide.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
All of those specs aren't accurate. In particular, that 6'-2" lady isn't 130lbs as listed in the media guide.
Specs are accurate. You can purchase her exact match used frame with those specs from a European pro stock retailer.
I can't comment on the accuracy of the source of her weight however.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
again, very specific example. probably not too common.
have to take into account height, rhs, lifetime practice, etc..
so what if it's a woman? most of us here are rec players.
what she will use when she goes practicing at age 45?
She probably uses whatever she is used to and played with most of her life.... just like the other retired pros. They don't switch to Pure Drive Lite.
 

RobS

Rookie
Specs are accurate. You can purchase her exact match used frame with those specs from a European pro stock retailer.
I can't comment on the accuracy of the source of her weight however.
The racquet specs are accurate. I saw her racquets at Prokes’ shop years ago. I was joking about how she lists herself as 20 to 25 lbs lighter than other tall, slim players like the Pliskova’s, Azarenka and the retired Ivanovic.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
The racquet specs are accurate. I saw her racquets at Prokes’ shop years ago. I was joking about how she lists herself as 20 to 25 lbs lighter than other tall, slim players like the Pliskova’s, Azarenka and the retired Ivanovic.
Doh, I see what you did there ;-)
 

TennisCJC

Legend
TW shows Gravity mid-plus with 323 SW which is decent for 4.0 to 4.5 levels. SW is a bit more important to stability and power than static weight in my opinion. I also think SW can make your racket more comfortable and improve health of your arm, wrist and elbow. My current rackets are around 325 SW and I play about the same level as you. Until the last couple of years I was in the 330-338 SW range but I am 64 years old now and dropped down a bit. I have seen players switch to really light rackets with low SW that seemed to play worse.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
bad footwork where you tend to stop too close to the ball and hit it late with arms that are not extended - so, if you want to fix your swing, you have to fix your footwork first.
It is bad enough not to have grown up at the Nadal Academy or some other place where good lessons abound - but you have hit it on the head. Even as a rec hack I can see that many if not the majority of my UEs are due to poor footwork, plus not taking full extended strokes every time it makes sense. Deacceleration is the rec hack's bane along with poor footwork. I've taken a steady drumbeat of lessons for some years up till Covid started, but trying to make up for over 55 years of "recreational" self taught tennis is a hard row to hoe. In retrospect I would trade all the single and double leg takedowns I practiced from 2d grade through high school for a couple of years of decent tennis lessons back when it would have counted, but where I grew up wrestling was king, tennis not even an afterthought, but we did have courts. Sort of like thinking you can shoot rifles in the Olympics because you grew up on the farm with a .22 rifle.

If one is looking to understand what it takes to excel at something this is a pretty good easy read: https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Mind-3rd-Ed/dp/1934324264
 

socallefty

Legend
It is bad enough not to have grown up at the Nadal Academy or some other place where good lessons abound - but you have hit it on the head. Even as a rec hack I can see that many if not the majority of my UEs are due to poor footwork, plus not taking full extended strokes every time it makes sense. Deacceleration is the rec hack's bane along with poor footwork. I've taken a steady drumbeat of lessons for some years up till Covid started, but trying to make up for over 55 years of "recreational" self taught tennis is a hard row to hoe. In retrospect I would trade all the single and double leg takedowns I practiced from 2d grade through high school for a couple of years of decent tennis lessons back when it would have counted, but where I grew up wrestling was king, tennis not even an afterthought, but we did have courts. Sort of like thinking you can shoot rifles in the Olympics because you grew up on the farm with a .22 rifle.

If one is looking to understand what it takes to excel at something this is a pretty good easy read: https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Mind-3rd-Ed/dp/1934324264
Best way to really relearn footwork after years of wrong spacing is to stop playing matches/points for a while and do only drills with a hitting partner or machine. Set up cone targets deep in the corners 3-4 feet from the baseline and 3 feet from the sideline and try to hit the cones or balls deeper than the cones that stay inside the court while hitting at 80-90% of your full swing speed. You will keep missing and make errors for a few sessions, but if you keep at it, you will find that you can’t hit hard/deep and keep the ball in the court till you generate topspin. So, then you will start making the tweaks needed (spacing well away from the ball, arms extended more during swing, lag wrist to prevent racquet from twisting during contact at higher pace, contact ball well in front, bend knee to start swing low, maybe takeback earlier and rotate body more to prevent arming the ball, finish with higher follow through etc.) to generate more topspin. If you can generate high topspin at a decent pace, you probably will have come a long way to forget all the mistakes of the past.

On this forum, I see posters debating whether it is good to hit hard/high pace or with a lot of topspin. For me, it is not an either/or option. It is not a good swing and your stroke is not a weapon unless you can hit hard for your level with high topspin for your level - then you have a chance to get to the next level. Also, you have to be able to replicate it 30-50 times in a row during drills without making errors for it to be a consistent weapon on either the FH or BH.
 
Last edited:

RVT

Rookie
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.
This is really funny to read. If only you had switched to a Galaxy Large Head, your frame of reference would indeed be totally different! Using a heavy, thin beamed, super stiff racket resulted in me getting used to hitting the ball high up on the string bed (and the same spot as a wood racket with a tiny head). I don't know what the RA was on those, but it actually seemed stiffer than even the PD+ I'm now using. The only reason I switched was every single frame I had was broken... I blame Wilson for this, as they sent me some free ones when I was in college and a similar feeling racket is the only thing that feels normal.

Here's the funny thing, though. I don't think I really play much differently with a different racket. I've had to play with borrowed rackets (due to various circumstances when I was young--normally broken frames). I've used all sorts of rackets in a pinch. Even recently when I was demoing rackets trying to find an Ultra replacement I used a bunch of different sticks....and while I definitely notice a tactile difference in "feel", I don't think the end result is all that much different after 5 minutes of hitting. The only thing that really matters to me is the shape of the grip, and that's about it. And yet, I still want the "feel" of what I'm used to, and that applies to both weight and stiffness.
 

socallefty

Legend
Here's the funny thing, though. I don't think I really play much differently with a different racket.
I think I can adjust to different racquets fairly quickly from the baseline and at the net as I automatically adjust my swing - but, some racquets definitely feel too light and unstable against hard shots/serves. I definitely serve better with some racquets more so than others and it is not as easy for me to adjust my serve motion. With my preferred spec range, I can serve well and the racquets feel stable otherwise.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
The fallacy of heavy rackets is ... vertical racket head speed (esp low-to-high).
Heavy rackets work well for flat hitters against flat hitters, or medium pace spin players.
Besides flat hitting, slices, drop shots, volley aso are shots that do not require much if any high vertical racket head speed.

The only players I've seen that use heavy rackets countering heavy top spin with a mid-to-high ball trajectory landing deep, are solid 5.0 and up, usually with a 6.1 95.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
The fallacy of heavy rackets is ... vertical racket head speed (esp low-to-high).
Heavy rackets work well for flat hitters against flat hitters, or medium pace spin players.
Besides flat hitting, slices, drop shots, volley aso are shots that do not require much if any high vertical racket head speed.

The only players I've seen that use heavy rackets countering heavy top spin with a mid-to-high ball trajectory landing deep, are solid 5.0 and up, usually with a 6.1 95.
...and since no one can really hit that kind of heavy top spin below the 5.0 level, your point is?
 

TennisCJC

Legend
...and since no one can really hit that kind of heavy top spin below the 5.0 level, your point is?
I've played 4.0 and 4.5 level players that could hit loads of topspin. One guy could literally stretch the ball into a ellipse shape with topspin. It looked like an egg. It is rare but not all that rare. These guys are usually not ranked higher because of other weaknesses of fitness issues. It certainly isn't all that unusual to see a heavy spin player below 5.0.
 

cortado

Professional
The fallacy of heavy rackets is ... vertical racket head speed (esp low-to-high).
Heavy rackets work well for flat hitters against flat hitters, or medium pace spin players.
Besides flat hitting, slices, drop shots, volley aso are shots that do not require much if any high vertical racket head speed.

The only players I've seen that use heavy rackets countering heavy top spin with a mid-to-high ball trajectory landing deep, are solid 5.0 and up, usually with a 6.1 95.
Depends on twist-weight too I think. About a year ago I switched from my first racquet (budget Yonex 97 about 325g strung with over-grip) to Asian version PS90 345g strung with over-grip. The PS90 20g heavier, higher swing-weight, but much more maneouvrable in the vertical plane. If anything I struggle to hit flat with the 90.
 
...and since no one can really hit that kind of heavy top spin below the 5.0 level, your point is?
Yeah was going to say that is just simply not true. I do not know what area you are in, but where I am 4.0s have solid games with all the shots (reliable serve, FH, BH, volleys) and some hit with heavy spins, but 4.5s just do everything better (more power and consistent), lots of the 4.5s in my area are former D3 or lower level D2 players that hit some HEAVY balls.

On a side note, is 5.0 even a thing really anymore? Most guys I know who are at the top of 4.5 or too good for 4.5 just play Men's Open Division or play UTR. I dunno, it is talked about a lot on here but even the best players I have had the opportunity to hit with generally rate 4.5 so they can still compete, and they get good matches at 4.5 too.
 

FIRETennis

Professional
Yeah was going to say that is just simply not true. I do not know what area you are in, but where I am 4.0s have solid games with all the shots (reliable serve, FH, BH, volleys) and some hit with heavy spins, but 4.5s just do everything better (more power and consistent), lots of the 4.5s in my area are former D3 or lower level D2 players that hit some HEAVY balls.

On a side note, is 5.0 even a thing really anymore? Most guys I know who are at the top of 4.5 or too good for 4.5 just play Men's Open Division or play UTR. I dunno, it is talked about a lot on here but even the best players I have had the opportunity to hit with generally rate 4.5 so they can still compete, and they get good matches at 4.5 too.
A lot of 4.0/4.5 players are not rated properly for various reasons such as not playing enough USTA tournaments and a sort of inherent deflation of ratings in the USTA system.

From a purely technical point of view based on the NTRP scale:

4.5 This player has begun to master the use of power and spins and is beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and is beginning to vary tactics according to opponents. This player can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve and is able to rush the net successfully.

5.0 This player has good shot anticipation and frequently has an outstanding shot or attribute around which a game may be structured. This player can regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls, can put away volleys, can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys and overhead smashes, and has good depth and spin on most second serves.
Do some of those "4.5s" that do everything great but maybe are not getting the match results (due to fitness, consistency etc...) to get a computer bump sound like the description above?
 
A lot of 4.0/4.5 players are not rated properly for various reasons such as not playing enough USTA tournaments and a sort of inherent deflation of ratings in the USTA system.

From a purely technical point of view based on the NTRP scale:



Do some of those "4.5s" that do everything great but maybe are not getting the match results (due to fitness, consistency etc...) to get a computer bump sound like the description above?
To be honest, no. I mean, it is kind of an unsaid rule, but the NTRP descriptions on USTAs website are not reflective of real life at all. Like I said before, many super solid 4.5s that technically would be "5.0s" according to USTA do not play 5.0 because many sanctioned tournaments simply do not bother to have 5.0 divisions and just have open or 4.5 singles. Also, because of the lack of people who are truly 5.0, these guys just compete in 4.5 divisions, and where I am at 4.5 is still pretty competitive so they still lose matches, its not like they walk through everyone.

We can really get in the weeds with this so personally I am done on the topic of NTRPs, that is for another thread. I think the lines are pretty blurred between 4.0/4.5/5.0 in real life and its honestly pointless to debate.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
Yeah was going to say that is just simply not true. I do not know what area you are in, but where I am 4.0s have solid games with all the shots (reliable serve, FH, BH, volleys) and some hit with heavy spins, but 4.5s just do everything better (more power and consistent), lots of the 4.5s in my area are former D3 or lower level D2 players that hit some HEAVY balls.

On a side note, is 5.0 even a thing really anymore? Most guys I know who are at the top of 4.5 or too good for 4.5 just play Men's Open Division or play UTR. I dunno, it is talked about a lot on here but even the best players I have had the opportunity to hit with generally rate 4.5 so they can still compete, and they get good matches at 4.5 too.
Great points. And it seems like 5.0 really is not a thing. Nobody wants to play that level since its such a small pool of players.

I have seen crazy high level players at 4.5 and even at 4.0. Basically the high level 4.0s are strong 4.5s that were able to bump themselves down and are enjoying the ride before they get bumped back up again.
 

socallefty

Legend
Great points. And it seems like 5.0 really is not a thing. Nobody wants to play that level since its such a small pool of players.

I have seen crazy high level players at 4.5 and even at 4.0. Basically the high level 4.0s are strong 4.5s that were able to bump themselves down and are enjoying the ride before they get bumped back up again.
I play in Orange County which is a tennis hotbed in Southern California and according to tennis record, there were 75 computer ranked 5.0 level players at the end of 2020. I know about 10 of them as they are either members or coaches at my club.

 
Top