What are the cons / disadvantages of customizing your racquet ?

joule

New User
I am very curious about experimenting a higher static weight and a less head heavy (more head light) setup, so I wanted to ask what are the disadvantages of customizing my current racquet.
I don't want to improve some aspects of the racquet but unknowingly mess up other qualities of it, I want to understand the implications so I don't get confused about the results.

Play style: UTR 8, all rounded 2-handed bh
Racquet: Blade 98 v7 16x19

Thank you all for your advice and knowledge!
 
1) You can spend more time on the racket than actually playing 2) Gives a person another excuse for not playing well 3) Some customizations are irreversible 4) You could waste time trying to create the "perfect" racket when one already exist if you'd just demo a few
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
Disadvantages may be if you go too heavy the racquet will feel sluggish. With the blade due to the higher swingweight a more headlight balance will be better overall, however if you start going 325+ be wary of the static weight and if you can still swing efficiently.
 

joule

New User
1) You can spend more time on the racket than actually playing 2) Gives a person another excuse for not playing well 3) Some customizations are irreversible 4) You could waste time trying to create the "perfect" racket when one already exist if you'd just demo a few
Number 1 and 4 are big concerns for me, don't want to get obsessed and overthinking everything while playing.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Pro: If you believe in the MgR/I hypothesis, then you have to know your starting points of mass, balance, SW and MgR/I.

Con: Different MgR/I values may be optimal for FH vs BH. The author of this hypothesis use to say that MgR/I of 21.0 was optimal for a range of ATP pros and that those with values too far away from it were not as efficient. Turns out most of us should not be at 21.0 but somewhere slightly less than this value, e.g 20.7-20.8. Anyway, you need to find what is your best swinging MgR/I value. To do this, means tinkering with mass, balance and SW. Just do not make the changes irreversible. And it could be a endless abyess unless you have a racquet that already swings relatively perfect in your hands. 3¢
 

joah310

Professional
The pros are you can make a racket play much better than it had stock of course it a matter of trial and error so it might take some time to duel in your specs
Cons as said above it takes time to find a spec that fits you. The only other one for me it's that you will probably fall into a rabbit hole.
 

socallefty

Legend
You are probably looking for more/less power, more control, more spin, bigger sweet spot etc. Why don’t you experiment first with strings and tensions as you can tune a racquet’s performance a lot with different string jobs? Only if you want more stability do you need to solve it by adding weight to your racquet.
 

joule

New User
You are probably looking for more/less power, more control, more spin, bigger sweet spot etc. Why don’t you experiment first with strings and tensions as you can tune a racquet’s performance a lot with different string jobs? Only if you want more stability do you need to solve it by adding weight to your racquet.
I want to chase maneuverability, less head heavy, and also stability and plow-through - sometimes I think I can handle more weight and I am limiting my game with a 305 grams racquet. But I want to validate my hypothesis and Im not sure whats the right experiment to do so.
 

mctennis

Legend
Just demo some racquets with the specs you are looking for first. Perhaps save yourself a lot of time and frustration trying to " create" something that is already available in stock form.
The tools available here in TW will help you narrow down your search.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
So provide some details about the racquet (model, year, pattern, mass, balance, SW), string (gauge or gauges if hybrid) and tension. Need to know starting point before asking for advice on where to go. Then where do you want to go? TWU has some racquet customization PHP's so you can experiment. Changing balance is easy, you add mass at the butt cap or above the handle. SW changes will be the sum of M (in Kg) x r² (r = cm distance from butt cap - 10 cm; r = 0 if < 10 cm).
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Cons: the one forum member that shared what rackets were being used at a UTR 10 tournament, he claimed to ask the participants, gave a breakdown of the rackets they used, and none of them customized. That's a ton of evidence that a racket isn't holding you back or that there isn't one in stock form available now that is good enough for any style of play.
 
Last edited:

joah310

Professional
Cons: the one forum member that shared what rackets were being used at a UTR 10 tournament, he claimed to ask the participants, gave a breakdown of the rackets they used, and none of them customized. That's a ton of evidence that a racket isn't holding you back or that there isn't one in stock form available now that is good enough for any style of play.
we don't need evidence here... all we need to know is pros do it. we don't need a reality check
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Professional
Cons: the one forum member that shared what rackets were being used at a UTR 10 tournament, he claimed to ask the participants, gave a breakdown of the rackets they used, and none of them customized. That's a ton of evidence that a racket isn't holding you back or that there isn't one in stock form available now that is good enough for any style of play.
we don't need evidence here... all we need to know is pros do it. we don't need a reality check
Ok, pros are psychologically you think it helps I suppose and obviously it's part of a sub-hobby of tennis. I'm not sure I trust most people to know what is best for their game though, I bet some here do, just not that many.
 

joah310

Professional
Ok, pros are psychologically you think it helps I suppose and obviously it's part of a sub-hobby of tennis. I'm not sure I trust most people to know what is best for their game though, I bet some here do, just not that many.
Definitely something you have to get through trial and error and really half the time it's testing things that you want to work but won't. Personally though I've had the opportunity to use a lot of sticks and basically my ideal specs are where the swingweight is about 335 and the weight 340ish and balance being about 7 or 8 pts HL. Though what I play with does change often and specs vary a lot. But those specs are generally what I play best with. It's a lot of observation and messing around. And sometimes you end up thinking you'll be better off using a stock stick because it's just easier to commit to
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Biggest disadvantage is trying to swing it: "well, I'll put some lead at 3 and 9, but I'd better put some in the handle to counterbalance it.......Christ, this thing really got heavy!!"
 

ZanderGoga

Semi-Pro
Ok, pros are psychologically you think it helps I suppose and obviously it's part of a sub-hobby of tennis. I'm not sure I trust most people to know what is best for their game though, I bet some here do, just not that many.
For the most part, it doesn't matter. If the process is objectively entertaining, or the end result is a racquet that feels slightly more enjoyable to hit with, then the end was worth the pursuit.

The people doing it for fun should pursue the angles that give them the most fun. And if that's customization, then so be it.

The people doing it for a living should pursue the angles that help them do that best. And (again) if that's customization, then so be it.

The reason most up and coming junior tournaments aren't as heavily customized isn't because customization isn't a useful tool to help many play their best tennis, necessarily. It's because to play your best tennis, typically, you want a racquet that feels and plays more or less like the ones you learned to play with. Talented juniors learned to play after polys and globally scaled economies drove the market toward lighter, more powerful frames. That doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't do better with heavier, more flexible frames. Lots of high level pros are using polys with sledge hammers. But people stick to what they're comfortable with.

For older players, it's the reverse. Objectively, modern racquets feel nothing like older ones. And since old school, heavy, flexible racquets have proven at least as good at handling modern strings and strokes, it's hard to say it's not a win if you can make your 2021 tweener feel and play a little more like your 1995 relic, if that's what you're used to.

Let people enjoy the process. If it was just about picking the equipment that gave you the best results, most of these companies would go out of business and all the sub-5.0 duffers would be swinging 135 sq in Weed racquets out there. Not one person out of every thousand swinging a Prestige or a Pro Staff has any business doing so from a results oriented standpoint.
 

TennisHound

Legend
The disadvantages of adding weight is pretty straightforward - the weight will slow down the rhs and/or wherever you add the weight.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
I don't live in a huge tennis community but I have gotten a few hits with UTR 12+ guys, and many others way way down to my level. I have yet to run into someone who uses lead to customize their rackets. I've done it dozens of times just to see what happens or to take some light racket to see if I can get it to play like my regular rackets, but then I change rackets like some folks change socks. I suppose I could see some good players trying to racket match seeing as the QC seems to be all over the place. I just don't personally see much of it in real life.

I think it might be fun, interesting or educational for someone who isn't a racket addict to see what another rackets spec feel like on their own racket. One thing I find curious is to see how often some say, "I put #grams at 3 & 9," almost as if every racket made works better with more weight at 3 & 9.

I am currently playing with a series of 23 yr old nearly new rackets that vary in weight from 305 - 310 grams but because of extended lengths have swing weights that vary from 342 - 350, and vary between 3-5pts HL. The only thing I consider when choosing which model to play with is if I want to use a more stiffer/powerful racket on the day. I have a roll of lead and plenty of Blu Tack but have no interest in using it on these particular rackets.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
#1 disadvantage for me is ridicule. :)
#2 is that invariably you will mess things up until you figure out what you are best with. Once you get your specs it makes things alot easier and buying a racquet it pretty easy.

Besides that its mostly upside. Especially not having to lend out a stick if someone breaks a string. I am like the last resort for someone needing to borrow a racquet.
 

McLovin

Legend
having to handle toxic materials like lead and silicone
Unless you're licking the frame, I think there's no worry about handling lead (NOTE: I'm assuming you will follow basic hygiene and wash your hands before sticking them in your mouth or handling food). It's not radioactive, and won't seep into your skin. However, when putting lead tape around the handle, I will cover it in a layer of packing tape to prevent any possible seepage from my sweating, given that while on the court I will routinely wipe sweat away from my eyes. It's probably extremely minimal, and likely much less than the crap paint & toys I was exposed to as a kid in the 60s & 70s, but good to be safe.
 

matmoran

New User
1) It may be a pain in the butt(No pun intended)… if you put things inside the buttcap it maybe a pain taking it out after
2) This one is very annoying… Sometimes (in my case) i put on lead on all my rackets... And after like a week or two some of the lead flew off leading it to be unbalanced… Which leads to my third point
3) You add another variable to your game. For example, your playing a match and the lead flings off the only racket you have left with strings… you might be thinking on the lead like omg its not balanced and ohh where did that piece of lead go.
4) be careful is you put too much weight and you not ready you might injure yourself

For me, I love how i customized my blade 16x19 v7. I would never go back! The only thing is don’t let the weight get in your head and take it easy in the beginning. I customized my own rackets and as i said i love them!
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
i dont see any downside unless when you sell your racquets and the leadtape peels off the paint when you remove
the tape making the racquet less marketable
btw leadtape is toxic, so i would recommend not to eat it unless you want lead poisoning
z
 

mctennis

Legend
I think it might be fun, interesting or educational for someone who isn't a racket addict to see what another rackets spec feel like on their own racket. One thing I find curious is to see how often some say, "I put #grams at 3 & 9," almost as if every racket made works better with more weight at 3 & 9.
I agree with you. Seems like many people believe this is the magic cure for their racquets. Then I hear some people say they put 1 gram of weight there. Really? Having .03 ounces of weight will make that much difference. I am not convinced that tiny bit of weight would make any difference at all to be able to feel it.
 

TennisHound

Legend
Adding weight provides stability. I like the way it feels and the result off the racquet. Most players around me don’t use lead, and that’s up to them. I don’t like it on all racquets, but do on others.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
what are the disadvantages of customizing my current racquet.
I want to chase maneuverability, less head heavy, and also stability and plow-through
Racquet: Blade 98 v7 16x19
I am limiting my game with a 305 grams racquet.
Your present racket strung is 18 g over your 305 limit and has a SW of 328. If you want your racket more HL add mass as low as possible. I’d get some HD golf lead tape (2 g per inch) and put it inside the butt cap. Any mass you add to the head must be countered with twice as much mass in the handle to make the racket more maneuverable. Mass is inertia. The heavier your racket the less maneuverable it is.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
I like customizing and have been doing it for almost 15 years now. I used to like a SW in the mid 330s, but recently have been around 330 SW. Advantages for me are easier power, easier spin and more stability leading to a more comfortable racket versus the stock racket. Obviously, you could go overboard and end up adding too much weight but my experience is adding a few grams isn't going to be too heavy. My current frames have 2.5 grams added at noon and 4 grams total at 3/9 o'clock. I certainly can feel the extra weight but I don't think it slows my RHS at all.
 

puppybutts

Semi-Pro
btw leadtape is toxic, so i would recommend not to eat it unless you want lead poisoning
z
not sure if that was tongue in cheek or not but i do want to say not to underestimate the danger of lead exposure. i know it's easy to make fun or light of all the toxic warnings, esp. if you live in california, but unlike many other toxic materials, there is no known safe level of lead exposure. be very sure you are washing your hands after handling lead tape. it's easy to forget about it, then take a swig of water and wipe your mouth with your hands, or shake hands with other people. especially if you have children younger than 6 or a pregnant woman in your house, do be careful.
 

joule

New User
Very tempted to buy a head pro tour 2.0 or a pure strike tour, instead of trying to customize my blade racquets. Seems like patience is key and I don't have a lot of free time these days.
 

joah310

Professional
Sometimes the best thing to do is add a couple grams at 10 and 2 and counterbalance. If you're using a blade though, just put it all in the butt and also in a leather
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
not sure if that was tongue in cheek or not but i do want to say not to underestimate the danger of lead exposure. i know it's easy to make fun or light of all the toxic warnings, esp. if you live in california, but unlike many other toxic materials, there is no known safe level of lead exposure. be very sure you are washing your hands after handling lead tape. it's easy to forget about it, then take a swig of water and wipe your mouth with your hands, or shake hands with other people. especially if you have children younger than 6 or a pregnant woman in your house, do be careful.
pb
my comment about the leadtape was "suppose to be in jest". i figure no adult would consider ingesting the stuff. perhaps i am wrong to assume that
people dont know that lead is toxic.
z
 

cortado

Professional
Very tempted to buy a head pro tour 2.0 or a pure strike tour, instead of trying to customize my blade racquets. Seems like patience is key and I don't have a lot of free time these days.
If you do this, then it's worth paying the extra bit of money for tennis warehouse matching service, so that you actually get the specs you are looking for.
Specs can vary a lot within same model of racquet due to quality control variation.
 
J

joohan

Guest
If you don’t get too lost in it, customizing is fun and a nice hobby (if you’ve got time for it). A frame close enough to what you need combined with commitment and practice is much better combination than a perfectly tuned stick with less commitment and practice.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Unless you just want to add some weight at 3&9 to increase stability and some more in the handle to counter balance the racket I don’t think there is any disadvantages. If you know enough to measure the weight, balance, and SW. and you have specific target objectives in mind without going overboard you will always know what you like. If in the future you switch rackets you will have a better understanding of how to reach you target specs.
 

TennisHound

Legend
I am very curious about experimenting a higher static weight and a less head heavy (more head light) setup, so I wanted to ask what are the disadvantages of customizing my current racquet.
I don't want to improve some aspects of the racquet but unknowingly mess up other qualities of it, I want to understand the implications so I don't get confused about the results.

Play style: UTR 8, all rounded 2-handed bh
Racquet: Blade 98 v7 16x19

Thank you all for your advice and knowledge!
I’ve tried adding weight to the handle and in the hoop, but i always ended up playing the Blade stock. Imo adding weight to the handle and or the head does not aid in the playability of the Blade. There are certainly other racquets that benefit from added weight. IMO, the Blade isn’t one of those. Others may disagree.
 

joah310

Professional
I’ve tried adding weight to the handle and in the hoop, but i always ended up playing the Blade stock. Imo adding weight to the handle and or the head does not aid in the playability of the Blade. There are certainly other racquets that benefit from added weight. IMO, the Blade isn’t one of those. Others may disagree.
Personally I think it's a little hh for my taste. Adding a leather grip is good for a blade imo
 
D

Deleted member 776614

Guest
@joule it is a bottomless rabbit hole (IME!), and most likely no solution is perfect for every shot. I've been experimenting for months and I'm sick of it! I wish I could just focus on playing and not the racket, or trying to get used to a new setup every other time I play. I'm sure my partners are sick of it, too. I started off wanting a little better volley performance, but that hurt ground stroke. Then I changed something else and had a 2HBH cannon, but not great control with forehand. Then I went back to where I started but it didn't feel right!

I'm choosing a final setup today and sending my sticks out to be customized once and for all.

Of course, you could find that a little change makes a world of difference, lol!
 

LocNetMonster

Professional
what are the disadvantages of customizing my current racquet.


Off the top of my head and based on my own experience: 1) As @Joe Garfield mentioned, it is a bottomless rabbit hole. It might take a year or years to find your Goldilocks weight and balance. 2) Recording loss after loss and missing seemingly routine shots because your timing is thrown off just a bit. 3) Spending more time on the court practicing/playtesting (ok, this may not be a disadvantage unless you have honey-dos to do) 4) Exponential growth of your racquet collection. I went from two frames after I started mucking around with customization to 13. FWIW, it is a much more painful process if you only have one frame. Ideally, jumping into personalization, you need three frames. You need one as your control racquet - one that you currently play well with - and two more to apply variables and compare performance. When you need to, you can always go back to your control setup to play through important matches. 5) Changing weight and balance may also require you to rethink your string choice as well as tweak string tensions to compensate for the added weight or change in plow-through.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I’ve tried adding weight to the handle and in the hoop, but i always ended up playing the Blade stock. Imo adding weight to the handle and or the head does not aid in the playability of the Blade. There are certainly other racquets that benefit from added weight. IMO, the Blade isn’t one of those. Others may disagree.
My blade ended up at 422g...
 

Arak

Hall of Fame
Pros: customization is cheaper than buying new rackets.
Cons: you will go nuts.

At one time I had like 6 different rackets and I was going crazy as I would play well with one a couple of times then play better with another one. Finally to get peace of mind I gave away all the rackets and kept just one model. I don’t know if it’s the best for me. I’m sure that there is somewhere another model that suits me better. But I don’t really care anymore.
 

puppybutts

Semi-Pro
pb
my comment about the leadtape was "suppose to be in jest". i figure no adult would consider ingesting the stuff. perhaps i am wrong to assume that
people dont know that lead is toxic.
z
er, i know the eating it part was a joke. what i wasn't sure of was if you were saying that as a neutral joke, or as an exaggeration to dismiss danger/concern over lead. i am sure most people by now know lead is toxic, but i often come across people who think that as long as you don't literally eat a block of something, you'll be fine, which isn't necessarily true.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
My game improved tremendously after learning about customization. I played for 7 years and hit a plateau after I reached 4.5 (Probably about UTR7), after learning about customization I was able to optimize my racket for my playing style and body type (Currently UTR9) and also it's helped me to stop spending money on the latest "racket technology" and "spin oriented strings". I can look at the specs of a racket and immediately know if I will like it, it saves me a lot of money & time.

It's not an overnight process, but if you're willing to learn there's a lot that can help you.

I think some people rely on customization too much (i.e changing specs after every practice) and other people hear about some high level player not using lead so they think the same applies for them.

It's always the two extremes.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
@joule it is a bottomless rabbit hole (IME!), and most likely no solution is perfect for every shot. I've been experimenting for months and I'm sick of it! I wish I could just focus on playing and not the racket, or trying to get used to a new setup every other time I play. I'm sure my partners are sick of it, too. I started off wanting a little better volley performance, but that hurt ground stroke. Then I changed something else and had a 2HBH cannon, but not great control with forehand. Then I went back to where I started but it didn't feel right!

I'm choosing a final setup today and sending my sticks out to be customized once and for all.

Of course, you could find that a little change makes a world of difference, lol!
It's really not a complicated process to customize a racket. Here's how I go about it

If the racket is lacking power (most noticeable on serve) add lead at 12 until you feel you have enough pop on serve. If you're a "get in the box" type of player ignore this step. Lead at 12 doesn't really decrease manuverability that much from your stock spec. I would start customizing here as most stock rackets have low swingweights.

If you are shanking balls or the racket feels unstable on groundstrokes add lead at 3 & 9 until your satisfaction. This is easily noticed on backhands & return of serve. If you feel like you are always chipping returns or simply blocking them back you probably need more. Be careful though because too much can make the racket less maneuverable. Be careful with this step because some stock rackets already have high twistweights, you may not need it, I always start with low twistweight rackets (<14) and work my way up as needed.

I don't bother with adding lead on the handle, I would just buy a racket that's comfortably head light (5-9pts HL) unless im matching frames.

I think most rec players are playing with rackets that are too head light anyway and robbing themselves of easier power.
 
Last edited:

aaron_h27

Professional
I am very curious about experimenting a higher static weight and a less head heavy (more head light) setup, so I wanted to ask what are the disadvantages of customizing my current racquet.
I don't want to improve some aspects of the racquet but unknowingly mess up other qualities of it, I want to understand the implications so I don't get confused about the results.

Play style: UTR 8, all rounded 2-handed bh
Racquet: Blade 98 v7 16x19

Thank you all for your advice and knowledge!
The only thing you're going to gain from going more headlight is some additional comfort and added stability on volleys. Despite what most people here think, making a racket more headlight doesn't increase maneuverability. Your frame will play more or the less the same since the main specs will stay the same. You can just add a leather grip to your current frame...

Alternatively can try out a Ezone 98 which offers the same string pattern & headsize as yours but more head light.
 

BGod

Legend
Honestly it's a different world. Other than applying maybe 2-6 strips of lead to sections of the racquet, namely the handle, you should just buy the right model after demo.
 
Top