When to Buy Racquets

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
After a long search my 15 1/2 year old has finally settled on a racquet / string setup. It has taken a long time of demoing racquets / restringing / Tungsten Tape / try out / restring / take back, etc. He also needed to take breaks for the high school season and bigger tournaments. He tried just about every racquet made.

His current setup is Wilson Ultra 97 / Luxilon 4G. He is not making a big move but he finally settled on the Wilson Blade 98 Countervail 16x19 with Solinco Hyper G.

We are planning to purchase quite a few racquets so this will be a big investment for us and so we are checking with his coaches who are affiliated with a local University on pricing. As I am not familiar with the product cycle from Wilson, is there a certain time of year when racquets are discounted from the retailers like Tennis Warehouse that would be best to time to purchase (i.e. the holidays/end of year) ?

Is it worthwhile to wait for the next model year given it is November as a newer model may be coming out?

Thanks for your help.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Typical life cycle for a racquet line is 2-3 years. I think the current Blade is at or going on 2 years old at this point. Which, could mean a new Blade is coming sometime in 2019. I’m not certain but I have some memory of Blades typically releasing in the fall. So you might have almost a year to wait.

Holidays are a mixed bag as far as racquet purchases. IMHO the best time to purchase racquets is when the current line is about to be replaced by an updated set of racquets. Other than that, you can check prices frequently and may get lucky to stumble on a temporary sale on the line you want. For example, right now there is a sale on Ultra racquets, even though the line is not being replaced anytime soon.
 

ricki

Hall of Fame
I dont understand your "need" for change of racquet? If he is comfortable with it, leave it. He can periodially check whats new in basically free "tryouts" and if he likes something that much then you can do change...
 

Big Bagel

Professional
You should check how fit he is for his racquet every 2-3 years. Test out some new racquets and test out different weights added to his current racquet. He doesn't necessarily need a new racquet every 2-3 years, but his racquet and string setup should be re-evaluated every 2-3 years to see if he should stay the same or change it up.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
My 15.5 y/o son moved to a Pure Strike (16x19) last in January. We initially just got him two racquets. Then saw how much he beats them up (mostly scraping the ground on TS FH). I have to change his head guard every 3rd stringing. I got him a 3rd one to put into the rotation to slow down the wear. I'm guessing we'll probably have to buy another racquet or two before the next season and take his first two out of rotation and donate it.

I was messing around with the first one we got him and noticed some "creaking" around the butt cap when doing a BH slice. Also, it's on its 2nd full set of grommets and I can see a few failed. So after I'm done testing (I'm just satisfying my curiosity), I'll replace the full grommet again, re-string and put back into his rotation.

Bottom line, if all he had was 2 racquets, it wouldn't last him 2 yrs. Also, I'm sure some boys grow quite a bit in that time too and so can their needs change.
 

SavvyStringer

Professional
After a long search my 15 1/2 year old has finally settled on a racquet / string setup. It has taken a long time of demoing racquets / restringing / Tungsten Tape / try out / restring / take back, etc. He also needed to take breaks for the high school season and bigger tournaments. He tried just about every racquet made.

His current setup is Wilson Ultra 97 / Luxilon 4G. He is not making a big move but he finally settled on the Wilson Blade 98 Countervail 16x19 with Solinco Hyper G.

We are planning to purchase quite a few racquets so this will be a big investment for us and so we are checking with his coaches who are affiliated with a local University on pricing. As I am not familiar with the product cycle from Wilson, is there a certain time of year when racquets are discounted from the retailers like Tennis Warehouse that would be best to time to purchase (i.e. the holidays/end of year) ?

Is it worthwhile to wait for the next model year given it is November as a newer model may be coming out?

Thanks for your help.
Wilson, and blades in particular are so popular that they don't really discount. If memory serves, last time they switched the lineup, they went down like $20-30 per racket. That isn't a huge discount. I would attempt to get in through a coaching contact, speak with a local proshop that maybe able to order at a discount based on quantity, or just go ahead and bite the bullet. I also try to wait on racket discount cycles but Wilson doesn't do it as severely as companies like head, prince, and volkl, who will drop 40% on an older model.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
After a long search my 15 1/2 year old has finally settled on a racquet / string setup. It has taken a long time of demoing racquets / restringing / Tungsten Tape / try out / restring / take back, etc. He also needed to take breaks for the high school season and bigger tournaments. He tried just about every racquet made.

His current setup is Wilson Ultra 97 / Luxilon 4G. He is not making a big move but he finally settled on the Wilson Blade 98 Countervail 16x19 with Solinco Hyper G.

We are planning to purchase quite a few racquets so this will be a big investment for us and so we are checking with his coaches who are affiliated with a local University on pricing. As I am not familiar with the product cycle from Wilson, is there a certain time of year when racquets are discounted from the retailers like Tennis Warehouse that would be best to time to purchase (i.e. the holidays/end of year) ?

Is it worthwhile to wait for the next model year given it is November as a newer model may be coming out?

Thanks for your help.
I think one of our local pro shops gives 10% discount on racquets for HS kids. Our club will match any price on Wilson frames.
 

Louis33

Semi-Pro
What is he looking for in a racket? Given that racket technology has hardly changed I don't think your going to have a lot of luck buying the latest and greatest.
 

Kevo

Legend
Buying frames is just about crazy these days. New frames sell for well over $200 from some brands. It's crazy. I recently bought some new old stock Rossignol frames from the 80s. They were about $100 each, but they were in good condition and I don't think there is a modern frame that has that sweet flexy feeling of a graphite fiberglass frame. There's also the old Pro Kennex Copper Ace. I got some of those for $30-$40. My kid has a ways to go before he'll need full size frames, but I wish I had found out about these frames back when I was just starting tennis. I don't think I would have ever bought a new frame. When I started everything was widebody or oversize and usually 100% graphite or graphite and kevlar. One kid on our high school team played with a pro staff, but it was rare in my time.

Anyway, the best time to buy a new frame these days is after it's been discontinued. I got my last modern frames from TW I think two years after they stopped selling them. I think they were $129 each if I recall correctly. Bought 3 of them. Unless something changes drastically I don't think I'll ever buy a new frame again. There's really no point. Nothing new is noticeably better than the old frames and if you look around enough you can find the old frames for sale used on these boards or other places online. I think it makes a lot of sense to buy used or clearance.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
I dont understand your "need" for change of racquet? If he is comfortable with it, leave it. He can periodially check whats new in basically free "tryouts" and if he likes something that much then you can do change...
Well several factors.

1. He has grown about a foot since he bought his current racquets and his hands are larger.
2. His coaches who work with him roughly 6 times a week feel he needs more swing weight as his racquet can be pushed around when facing bigger players in tournaments.
3. As anyone who has kids between the ages of 12-15 would know his current racquets are absolutely completely trashed. I am pretty sure he has a side gig digging trenches and uses them for that.
4. He needs to stay somewhat current as his racquets are ready for another grommet change and as time goes by the grommets are going to be more difficult to locate/purchase.
5. What was a good number of racquets for a 12 year old is not enough for a boy well on the way to 16. He needs more racquets in his bag. He snaps string like crazy. My wife and I get so nervous at tournaments as he snaps strings in warmups, etc. that he has enough racquets to get through his current match and not get DQ'ed with associated suspension points. He knows to call the official over and give him/her his reel and racquet to give to us when he breaks a string. The first thing we do when entering a town for a tournament is make sure the club or town has a stringer and find him/her.

What is he looking for in a racket? Given that racket technology has hardly changed I don't think your going to have a lot of luck buying the latest and greatest.
He is not concerned about the latest technology. If anything he had an "old-school" control oriented players frame/setup with the Ultra 97/4G and part of the issue he had was finding something that gave him that same feel. Today's graphene, countervail, this-and-that wasn't cutting it for him. It took him a while to come to like the blade. One racquet he was considering was the Technifibre 305 with some weight added.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Wilson, and blades in particular are so popular that they don't really discount. If memory serves, last time they switched the lineup, they went down like $20-30 per racket. That isn't a huge discount. I would attempt to get in through a coaching contact, speak with a local proshop that maybe able to order at a discount based on quantity, or just go ahead and bite the bullet. I also try to wait on racket discount cycles but Wilson doesn't do it as severely as companies like head, prince, and volkl, who will drop 40% on an older model.
Thanks, his coaches, who coached / played for the local university are checking. Like most universities they also are sponsored by Solinco so perhaps we can get a break on string. The local pro shop knows us pretty well and we have been demoing from TW so they take some $ off the price. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't buying the racquets to only find them go on sale a week later.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Can he get sponsorship from Wilson?
He may be able to and we are exploring that. It is close and we will apply. A friend of his who is lower ranked got help from Babolat but his coach was well connected with the company.

Thank you!
 

CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
Just buy used on the forum, they are usually great condition and way cheaper than any mark down sales on new racquets. Most high end recent models are $120-$150 used shipped around here.
 

Kevo

Legend
@LOBALOT Now's your chance to get some nice frames a little cheaper.

The Wilson one's are 25% off

https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_Blade_98_16x19_Countervail/descpageRCWILSON-B9816C.html
https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_Blade_98_18x20_Countervail/descpageRCWILSON-B9818C.html

I think these Technifibre are just as good.

https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Te...Ltd_Racquet_16x19/descpageRCTFUSA-L31516.html
https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Te...Ltd_Racquet_18x20/descpageRCTFUSA-L31518.html

Also for heavy hitters that play a lot I personally think 18x20 is the way to go. I switched many years ago and it was well worth it. Don't think I would buy a new frame that isn't 18x20. I didn't have any trouble with spin either. That was the one thing I thought might be a detriment, but the swing weight was low enough that I got excellent racquet head speed and felt like I improved my spin with a bit more control allowing me to swing even faster.

Happy shopping.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
@LOBALOT Now's your chance to get some nice frames a little cheaper.

The Wilson one's are 25% off

https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_Blade_98_16x19_Countervail/descpageRCWILSON-B9816C.html
https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Wilson_Blade_98_18x20_Countervail/descpageRCWILSON-B9818C.html

I think these Technifibre are just as good.

https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Te...Ltd_Racquet_16x19/descpageRCTFUSA-L31516.html
https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Te...Ltd_Racquet_18x20/descpageRCTFUSA-L31518.html

Also for heavy hitters that play a lot I personally think 18x20 is the way to go. I switched many years ago and it was well worth it. Don't think I would buy a new frame that isn't 18x20. I didn't have any trouble with spin either. That was the one thing I thought might be a detriment, but the swing weight was low enough that I got excellent racquet head speed and felt like I improved my spin with a bit more control allowing me to swing even faster.

Happy shopping.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Thank you for sharing this.

He got an amazing deal locally yesterday. As far as 16x19 and 18x20 I share your thoughts and he hit with both. My boy is not the biggest kid out there (Think D Goffin vs. Jack Sock) and while his game is more of a control/precision game he needs a little help with some pop. Perhaps a 17x19 1/2 would have been perfect :D.

So what we are thinking is go with the 16x19 and then can use string type/tension to get a little more / less control. We have started at 53lbs on the Hyper G and he just asked for a restring at 51lbs so either the cold temperature or perhaps he just felt he needed a bit more pop. I suppose we could have done the same with 18x20 but in the opposite direction but he liked the 16x19 better and the ball does come off the racquet better for him when you watch him play.

Racquet selection is really an interesting process........
 

Kevo

Legend
Glad you found a good deal, and yeah I can see where he might like the 16x19 better if he's looking for more pop.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Buy an used racquet - $50 range and if anyone ask why you purchased an old frame; tell them that it is "A pro stock frame and "X"(fill in the blank of one's favorite) tour level player use it! That will boost the racquet status to the top of the line with everyone that know about it! Not a lie since nobody knows what the actual player is ;playing with at any point in time!
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Buy an used racquet - $50 range and if anyone ask why you purchased an old frame; tell them that it is "A pro stock frame and "X"(fill in the blank of one's favorite) tour level player use it! That will boost the racquet status to the top of the line with everyone that know about it! Not a lie since nobody knows what the actual player is ;playing with at any point in time!
Right but we need to repaint the racquet to look like a Roger's racquet to achieve the full effect.
 
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Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Right but we need to repaint the racquet to look like a Roger's racquet to achieve the full effect.
You can have a pro stock frame without the latest graphics on their racquet. Many tour level players don’t even play with the same manufacturer’s racquet that the are endorsing but usually it is a old Head model or an internal Head made racquet not available in the retail marketplace. Head does not offer their internal racquets to the public. Wilson lately has begun this too, creating specialized racquets for tour level players only! LOL!
 
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