When is a racquet too headlight?

pico

Semi-Pro
I have a Vcore 95 that I like a lot. I put on a Wilson leather grip as I do with most of my racquets. I then have a 5g overgrip on top. I do have about 6g of lead in the hoop and countered this with lead in the handle. While I like the balance, is there a possibility that I made my racquet too headlight? I noticed this when I played the biggest server I faced. I found it hard to return serve - my racquet was pushed back a bit even though I felt I had made it stable enough. My one hand backhand also doesn't have too much punch. What are the symptoms of a racquet that is TOO headlight? Thanks.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
You are not lowering the swing weight or stability or twist weight by putting weight in the handle, so you should not notice you racquet getting pushed around any more than normal. However, putting enough weight in the handle will change the balance, which could effect plow on your backhand, but most 1HBH players prefer a more headlight balance. That one is your own personal preference.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
It sounds like lack of hoop mass if it gets pushed around. For not packing the punch it could either be - same - low hoop mass, or it can be too much of static weight slowing down the swing.
Try several grams of lead at 12 o’clock and see how it goes. Particularly related if you tend to make contact closer to the tip.
There’s also a chance you lack stability on unclean contacts mostly, no? You can help it a bit with extra lead at 3&9 positions.

PS I actually doubt the “too low” balance point may be an issue by itself, apart from being not used to it. However, supposedly there’s only so much mass you can wield in a racquet, and if you put too much to the handle you either don’t keep enough for the hoop and throat, or you exceed your static weight threshold:unsure:
 

pico

Semi-Pro
It sounds like lack of hoop mass if it gets pushed around. For not packing the punch it could either be - same - low hoop mass, or it can be too much of static weight slowing down the swing.
Try several grams of lead at 12 o’clock and see how it goes. Particularly related if you tend to make contact closer to the tip.
There’s also a chance you lack stability on unclean contacts mostly, no? You can help it a bit with extra lead at 3&9 positions.

PS I actually doubt the “too low” balance point may be an issue by itself, apart from being not used to it. However, supposedly there’s only so much mass you can wield in a racquet, and if you put too much to the handle you either don’t keep enough for the hoop and throat, or you exceed your static weight threshold:unsure:
The static weight is around 356g which i have been able to manage before but i am getting older. I am thinking of replacing my leather grip with a synthetic and will then assess if more lead is needed.
 

yonexRx32

Semi-Pro
The static weight is around 356g which i have been able to manage before but i am getting older. I am thinking of replacing my leather grip with a synthetic and will then assess if more lead is needed.
Why not just remove the lead in the handle and keep the leather?

It sounds that the issue is you're late on the shots, not that the racket is pushed around. And that is because the racket is heavier than what you can handle. Either practice and adjust timing or lighten the racket. I know because I've been there.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Could it be you were just "late". Most rackets will get pushed around with late contact and few will get pushed back if you hit in front and off your front foot.
It doesn't sound like your adjustments made the racket that much HL. Maybe take the lead off the handle and see if that suits you better.
 
For me, I like a certain amount of pull by the racquet when swinging it. I need it to pull my arm forward and kinda straighten it out. When a racquet is to head light this doesn't happen as all the weight is in the handle close to my hand.
 

MasterZeb

Hall of Fame
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind a headlight balance. Surely if you like a specific swingweight, you’d want the minimum possible mass on the racquet to obtain that swingweight so that you have max racquet head speed and aren’t swinging around unnecessary weight? So why would someone want to have a 340g 320 sw racquet when you can have a 310g 320sw racquet? Can anyone explain?
 

aaron_h27

Professional
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind a headlight balance. Surely if you like a specific swingweight, you’d want the minimum possible mass on the racquet to obtain that swingweight so that you have max racquet head speed and aren’t swinging around unnecessary weight? So why would someone want to have a 340g 320 sw racquet when you can have a 310g 320sw racquet? Can anyone explain?
The 340g racket would have more stability on volleys and arm comfort.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind a headlight balance. Surely if you like a specific swingweight, you’d want the minimum possible mass on the racquet to obtain that swingweight so that you have max racquet head speed and aren’t swinging around unnecessary weight? So why would someone want to have a 340g 320 sw racquet when you can have a 310g 320sw racquet? Can anyone explain?
The 340 racquet with the HL will be more maneuverable. For an extreme example pick up a hammer backwards and move it around.
 

pico

Semi-Pro
For these reasons, I find that the RF97 is inefficient in its specs. Sure it is stable at 365g or so but it could have had a higher stock swingweight.
 

StanAO14

Rookie
remove the leather from the vcore 95. It is still plenty Head light without. I did not work for me either. The set up of Marcus giron does work for me, Refer to the TW post in section of players gear.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind a headlight balance. Surely if you like a specific swingweight, you’d want the minimum possible mass on the racquet to obtain that swingweight so that you have max racquet head speed and aren’t swinging around unnecessary weight? So why would someone want to have a 340g 320 sw racquet when you can have a 310g 320sw racquet? Can anyone explain?
There are different types of swings, and different swing stages. There’s a type of swinging where you uniformly accelerate your arm and racquet around until the ball is hit. But in many shots there are segments:
- where racquet is accelerated, typically in some degree of laid back position;
- where racquet pivots around to meet the ball.
The latter part works in a way that the rate of rotation will be higher for racquet with more mass close to the rotation axis, all other things being equal. So if you manage to accelerate a racquet with extra 20g in the handle to same speed before final pivot, the pivot would be faster. If you cannot support same speed - well, that one is too heavy for you.

The most evident benefit of faster pivot due to HL balance is present with various flick shots, including BH overhead. Serve and flip FH generally favor HL balance as well, in my opinion.
 

BumElbow

Rookie
How tightly are you stringing it? A too tight string job will decrease stability. Also, are you frequently mishitting the ball? If so, maybe you need a head size larger than 95 sq. inches. A racquet is too head light when your strokes are consistently short and lack power. Also, too head light a frame will be unstable in your hand and prone to twisting. Sometimes, if you are playing someone with a big serve then you have to give them credit for their skill. It may not be the racquet that is at fault. Your competition is too good. However, if you have the same problems on the return of serve with other players, then you have to conclude that it might be your strategy or skill level that is lacking and examine how you may need to strengthen your game, e.g., use a more secure grip when returning serve or shovel the ball back on the return of serve rather than trying to take a big swing at it, saving the big swings for your groundstrokes.
 

pico

Semi-Pro
remove the leather from the vcore 95. It is still plenty Head light without. I did not work for me either. The set up of Marcus giron does work for me, Refer to the TW post in section of players gear.
Will do. I saw the Marcus video. Do you know his lead setup? What is your setup?
 

pico

Semi-Pro
How tightly are you stringing it? A too tight string job will decrease stability. Also, are you frequently mishitting the ball? If so, maybe you need a head size larger than 95 sq. inches. A racquet is too head light when your strokes are consistently short and lack power. Also, too head light a frame will be unstable in your hand and prone to twisting. Sometimes, if you are playing someone with a big serve then you have to give them credit for their skill. It may not be the racquet that is at fault. Your competition is too good. However, if you have the same problems on the return of serve with other players, then you have to conclude that it might be your strategy or skill level that is lacking and examine how you may need to strengthen your game, e.g., use a more secure grip when returning serve or shovel the ball back on the return of serve rather than trying to take a big swing at it, saving the big swings for your groundstrokes.
Very interesting. I actually string very tight - 58lbs. Also, I normally dont have issues with ROS. this one guy has a lefty pro serve. Its amazing. I am being hard on myself.
 

pico

Semi-Pro
I sold tennis racquets for several years at Paragon Sporting Goods in NYC - a premier sports retailer. Yes, strings that are too tight will make the sweet spot smaller and will increase racquet instability.
How tight would too tight be in a Yonex 95 sq in frame you reckon?
 

Ryebread

Rookie
I crave a HL balance

There are racquets with all sorts of balances for a reason. It’s a matter of preference.

I want a certain amount of stability which I get from the overall weight of the stick.

A 330 swing weight and 9 points HL combination of my 98 Clash gives me an amazing combination of being very stable while being extremely maneuverable.... more so than the 330 swing weight Pure Strike or 18x20 Blades that are close to being evenly balanced. If I play with these two, I’m late (when playing with folks at my pay grade or better).

Hope this helps.
 

BumElbow

Rookie
How tight would too tight be in a Yonex 95 sq in frame you reckon?
Depends on the string type and gauge. You say you have added weight to the frame so that needs to be taken into consideration too. You do not say what string you are using. I think a poly strung at 58 lbs. is tight for a 95 sq. inch head size. Personally, I think you may need to change your strategy against that big lefty serve that is giving you problems. You might be better off with defensive returns rather than an offensive one, e.g., spin it back in and get the return deep. Basically, nullify his serve by getting it back in and effectively restarting the point. Or, shovel it back with slice so that it stays low. There is no need to add additional power if he is supplying it to you. He will be frustrated if he is used to hitting winners with it and you get it back and force him to play.
 

pico

Semi-Pro
Depends on the string type and gauge. You say you have added weight to the frame so that needs to be taken into consideration too. You do not say what string you are using. I think a poly strung at 58 lbs. is tight for a 95 sq. inch head size. Personally, I think you may need to change your strategy against that big lefty serve that is giving you problems. You might be better off with defensive returns rather than an offensive one, e.g., spin it back in and get the return deep. Basically, nullify his serve by getting it back in and effectively restarting the point. Or, shovel it back with slice so that it stays low. There is no need to add additional power if he is supplying it to you. He will be frustrated if he is used to hitting winners with it and you get it back and force him to play.
I have 3g of lead at 12 and 3g at 3 and 3g at 9. I use Big Hitter Silver 7 Tour 1.25mm. I also use Kirschbaum Max Power 1.25mm in my other frame.
 

BumElbow

Rookie
I have 3g of lead at 12 and 3g at 3 and 3g at 9. I use Big Hitter Silver 7 Tour 1.25mm. I also use Kirschbaum Max Power 1.25mm in my other frame.
IF the racquet plays well against all other players then you just need to adjust to the lefty serve that is bothering you. All that weight should make it stable. Your strings are stiff for control and spin. It seems that the guy with the big lefty serve may be above your skill level. My suggestion is that before making any string or racquet changes that you play other opponents to get your confidence back and improve your game. You need to improve your game before you can really challenge him. As you play with your current strings they will naturally loosen. So, do you play better with new strings or looser, broken in ones? If the latter, then dropping a few lbs. in tension is worth a try. The recommended string tension for your racquet is from 48 to 60 lbs. When using poly string, it is suggested dropping the tension by 10% to accommodate for their stiffness. You have not done that. Generally, looser strings will enlarge the sweetspot and add stability, power and comfort. I am sure that the higher recommended string tension refers to gut and multifilament strings. I have a 100 sq. inch frame that I string with syngut @ 55 lbs. and with poly @ 50 lbs. That works for me. It often takes a lot of experimentation to find the right strings and tension. As poly strings get bagged out fairly quickly, when you restring try 55 lbs. and see if that makes a difference. Adding lead tape affects maneuverability so I would not add too much. Personally, I only like lead tape at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions because I like a stable frame. Lead tape added to the 12 o'clock position primarily increases power. If you're only having trouble with 1 player, don't let it get into your head too much. Play with others and improve your game. Practice your return of serve. Playing above your level will also play with your head because you might be losing and working too hard. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out tricky opponents. Focus on improving your game. Would I string looser? Yes but I am not you; you know best what works for you..
 

StanAO14

Rookie
Will do. I saw the Marcus video. Do you know his lead setup? What is your setup?
I think he has Some at 12 and Some at 10/2. I did exactly that 2@12 and 1@10 and 1@2. Counter balanced with overgrip and 2 gram grip rubberband. Strung with yonex poly tour strike @ around 22kg. This string is perfect imo cause it is crisp but not harsh. The combination of the flex of the racquet with the soft poly tour pro did not work for me
 

Tregix

New User
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind a headlight balance. Surely if you like a specific swingweight, you’d want the minimum possible mass on the racquet to obtain that swingweight so that you have max racquet head speed and aren’t swinging around unnecessary weight? So why would someone want to have a 340g 320 sw racquet when you can have a 310g 320sw racquet? Can anyone explain?
SW, balance and mass are (almost) independant parameters. If you start customizing racquets with lead you will see that you can (to a certain level) get any SW, balance and mass you want. Of course, for that you have to start from the right racquet and put a significant amount of lead.

Regarding SW and mass. A tennis swing, FH or BH, is a combination of rotation and translation. Physically speaking, the rotation part is affected by SW while the translation part is affected by mass.

Depending on your stroke, more or less whippy, more or less compact, you will feel confortable with a different SW - Mass racquet. It's not only about SW.

Mass and SW should be adjusted independently in order to get the best timing in your shots. It's not about maximizing racquet head speed it is, depending on your stroke and you physical hability to get the good timing. Too high SW or mass and you are late, too low and your timing is off. The ratio SW/mass is very dependent on your type of strokes.
 
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pico

Semi-Pro
IF the racquet plays well against all other players then you just need to adjust to the lefty serve that is bothering you. All that weight should make it stable. Your strings are stiff for control and spin. It seems that the guy with the big lefty serve may be above your skill level. My suggestion is that before making any string or racquet changes that you play other opponents to get your confidence back and improve your game. You need to improve your game before you can really challenge him. As you play with your current strings they will naturally loosen. So, do you play better with new strings or looser, broken in ones? If the latter, then dropping a few lbs. in tension is worth a try. The recommended string tension for your racquet is from 48 to 60 lbs. When using poly string, it is suggested dropping the tension by 10% to accommodate for their stiffness. You have not done that. Generally, looser strings will enlarge the sweetspot and add stability, power and comfort. I am sure that the higher recommended string tension refers to gut and multifilament strings. I have a 100 sq. inch frame that I string with syngut @ 55 lbs. and with poly @ 50 lbs. That works for me. It often takes a lot of experimentation to find the right strings and tension. As poly strings get bagged out fairly quickly, when you restring try 55 lbs. and see if that makes a difference. Adding lead tape affects maneuverability so I would not add too much. Personally, I only like lead tape at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions because I like a stable frame. Lead tape added to the 12 o'clock position primarily increases power. If you're only having trouble with 1 player, don't let it get into your head too much. Play with others and improve your game. Practice your return of serve. Playing above your level will also play with your head because you might be losing and working too hard. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out tricky opponents. Focus on improving your game. Would I string looser? Yes but I am not you; you know best what works for you..
Thank you for taking the time to write that. Lots of good points in there for some reflection.
 

pico

Semi-Pro
SW, balance and mass are (almost) independant parameters. If you start customizing racquets with lead you will see that you can (to a certain level) get any SW, balance and mass you want. Of course, for that you have to start from the right racquet and put a significant amount of lead.

Regarding SW and mass. A tennis swing, FH or BH, is a combination of rotation and translation. Physically speaking, the rotation part is affected by SW while the translation part is affected by mass.

Depending on your stroke, more or less whippy, more or less compact, you will feel confortable with a different SW - Mass racquet. It's not only about SW.

Mass and SW should be adjusted independently in order to get the best timing in your shots. It's not about maximizing racquet head speedy it is, depending on your stroke and you physical hability to get the good timing. Too high SW or mass and you are late, too low and your timing is off. The ratio SW/mass is very dependent on your type of strokes.
I am a strong believer in the SW / Mass ratio idea!!! Thank you for mentioning that.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
I crave a HL balance

There are racquets with all sorts of balances for a reason. It’s a matter of preference.

I want a certain amount of stability which I get from the overall weight of the stick.

A 330 swing weight and 9 points HL combination of my 98 Clash gives me an amazing combination of being very stable while being extremely maneuverable.... more so than the 330 swing weight Pure Strike or 18x20 Blades that are close to being evenly balanced. If I play with these two, I’m late (when playing with folks at my pay grade or better).

Hope this helps.
There's no one size fits all. Horses for courses, as they say.

I took my Clash 98s out to almost 12pts head light (strung) and they were magical at net, but have since brought them back to about 9.5pts (313mm) and think that's just about ideal for all round play.

Blades just feel like swinging a club to me, but if you have a two handed backhand and spend all your time on (or 10' behind) the baseline, I guess that's what you want.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
I agree that stringing tighter does make the sweet-spot smaller, which can be compensated for with lead at 3 & 9.

Stringing loose for a larger sweetspot is counter-productive. If you want more stability add lead at 3 & 9. If you want more height over the net loosen your tension. If you want more control increase your tension.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
Add me to the list of players who like a very headlight racquet - 6-7 points HL works well for me. I want a heavy 12 oz racquet for stability and then want it to be very headlight so that I have enough maneuverability for serves and volleys. If you have a serve-dependent and/or frequent netplay kind of style, you probably like a HL racquet. If you spin your serve in, bash from the baseline and go to the net only to shake hands, you might like HH balance.
 

tata

Hall of Fame
I've been down there before. Added too much weight under the butt cap before on a phantom 100p. I think once it gets too headlight it starts to come around a bit too flat and the slices start to float and fly a bit.
 
bumelbow is no rookie... I agree with all that he/she said. I will add that people should play with the heaviest racquets that they can swing and not be late on strokes and still have the strength to generate some power. For me 7-10 points HL is best for me. Playing with the PS97 original. My old go to racquet was the PS 6.0 85. I would still be playing with that today but return of serve has been a weak point with all the power that modern frames are allowing people to generate (fair/not fair? lol). I will also say that generally the lighter static weight of a racquet the HH it needs to be to add stability. So a super light weight racquet that is very HL doesn't really exist because it'll be like wielding a feather.

Try blocking powerful serves back or slicing them. Main objective is to get the ball back in play and wait for an opening to attack.

To add to the string tension discussion while poly does provide more spin the downside to it is head stiffness and tension loss. I much prefer syn gut. Next Spring I will try syn gut and gut hybrid again. That was the holy grail for me.
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
I've been down there before. Added too much weight under the butt cap before on a phantom 100p. I think once it gets too headlight it starts to come around a bit too flat and the slices start to float and fly a bit.
But what was the balance point on that? I bet it was something crazy like 15 points HL.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
rackets with a low twistweight (<13) will be pretty manuverable at any balance point IMO. People say I must have 7-9pts HL for maneuverability but in reality they probably just like a low twistweight racket
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
rackets with a low twistweight (<13) will be pretty manuverable at any balance point IMO. People say I must have 7-9pts HL for maneuverability but in reality they probably just like a low twistweight racket
Hmmm... I don't think you know what twistweight is... twistweight is the MOI around the longitudinal axis of the racquet.
 
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