Deeper grooves cut into the throat area of the racquet shaft increase stiffness and improves torsional stability. The result is 20% more face stability than a conventional racquet, and greater energy return and comfort, for better performance on shots struck outside the sweet spot. The increased stability results in more accuracy and power. Delivers precise control at impact and greater bite, for the most efficient transfer of power.
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3D Vector Shaft: Deeper grooves cut into the throat area of the racquet shaft increase stiffness and improves torsional stability. The result is 20% more face stability than a conventional racquet, and greater energy return and comfort, for better performance on shots struck outside the sweet spot. The increased stability results in more accuracy and power. Delivers precise control at impact and greater bite, for the most efficient transfer of power.
Tennis racquets typically come in three headsizes: midsize, midplus, and oversize. Guidelines say that a midsize racquet should offer 85–95 square inches of hitting area, a midplus racquet about 95–105 square inches, and an oversize racquet more than 105 square inches.Larger heads have more weight farther away from the long axis, making it difficult to move the racquet around it. The sweetspot is thus bigger on larger racquets: off-center hits on large racquets cause less twisting. But not always: smaller headsizes may have more weight nearer to the axis. On center-line hits, a larger racquet alone should not make any difference to the power. Indeed many mids and midpluses will provide very high power for hits along the center of the racquet because of their mass distribution. In fact, many so-called player’s racquets are near the top, and are usually characterized by higher weight and lower headsize, balance, and stiffness. It is the higher distribution of mass near the head that more than makes up the difference, resulting in higher power potential.
Racquets are 27 to 28 inches in length. The longer the length of the racquet, the greater the leverage on a swing, and thus the greater power given to the shot. The advantages of longer racquets are extended reach (covering more of the court) and greater leverage on the serve, which generates more power. The main drawback of longer racquets is their reduced maneuverability and the greater difficulty controlling ball placement.
Weight is related to resistance to movement in a straight line. For example, the racquet resists your lifting efforts until you apply a force equal to its weight; only then can you lift it. You can feel the racquet’s weight by picking it up by the tip or handle, allowing the other end to hang down, or by picking it up at its balance point. Weight influences balance and swingweight, but it is rarely what the player experiences directly when interacting with the racquet.
An alternate way of measuring balance. A 27 inch racquet is evenly balanced at 13.5 inches. If the balance point were at 12.5 inches, the racquet would be 1 inch, or 8 points, head-light; a 28 inch racquet with a balance point of 15 inches is 1 inch (or 8 points) head-heavy. Static balance ultimately affects swingweight (q.v.)—a dynamic measure of racquet maneuverability.
Even the smallest racquet details have noticeable effects on performance. For handle grips, leather is more or less obsolete because of its uneven friction resistance. Synthetic fabrics are now more widely used as they can be textured or patterned to improve friction. Texture analysis of various fabrics can be used to assess how different patterns of handle grip affect performance. The shaft connecting the racquet head to the handle is another important feature. Shaft flex ratings can be determined in a similar way to the head. A flexible shaft will better absorb shock, while a firmer shaft will deliver greater power by holding the head and strings correctly. Whatever their choice, players are affected by the flex of the shaft and the head; the characteristics of that flex vary by the materials used.
Until the 1970s, almost all racquet sports employed wooden racquets with leather gripped handles and natural gut strings. The introduction of aluminum and steel frames paved the way for increasingly lightweight and durable materials. Now most racquet frames are light-weight graphite or graphite composites, incorporating materials like titanium, Kevlar, and fiberglass. These increase frame flexibility, while remaining cost effective.
Much of a tennis hit can be seen as a battle between the player and the ball to move the racquet in a circle. Swingweight is the racquet’s resistance to movement in a circle. Circular motion occurs around the center or rotation—e.g. the handle’s butt. When you apply equal forces to the handles of racquets with different swingweights, the racquet with the higher swingweight will accelerate less and rotate slower. The lower swingweight racquet will accelerate more quickly. So higher swingweight means less maneuverability, and lower swingweight means more. The ball also applies a force to the racquet, so the lower the swingweight, the more easily the ball will move the racquet; the higher the swingweight, the less easily the ball will change the racquet’s motion. So the tradeoff is this: lower swingweight means greater racquet acceleration and final swing speed, but more shock—due to greater racquet deceleration and higher impact force due to greater speed. Higher swingweight results in slower racquet acceleration and final swing speed but less shock—there is less deceleration from the ball pushing the racquet in the opposite direction. Power is also affected. With lower swingweights, power must be generated more from the swing speed. At higher swingweights, more of the power comes from the racquet itself. The beauty of customization is that you can easily experiment and find the best tradeoff for your style of play.
Simply, how fast you swing the racquet. If you have a high swing speed, you generate more power and don’t need the racquet to do this. A high-powered frame will send the ball flying, and your shots will go far. If your swing speed is slower, you may need a racquet that generates more power. Adjusting string tension will also impact how the ball comes off the racquet, and can be used to fine-tune your “power setting”.
The punch the racquet packs. A high power racquet will generate lots of pop on the ball, but will give less control; whereas a low power level racquet will leave it up to you to provide the power through a more aggressive swing—while giving you more control.
The number of mains—strings running from handle to head—and crosses—strings running from left to right—in the string bed. A denser string pattern puts more strings in contact with the ball. If you want more control over your shots and are less concerned with power, you want a dense string pattern, such as 18 mains × 20 crosses. An open string pattern, like 14 mains × 18 crosses, gives more power but less control.
The choice of two or one-piece stringing is a matter of preference. Two-piece stringing holds tension better, and is recommend by all pro players. But to see the benefits of the two-piece tension retention, it must be tied with a very good knot. If you’re not comfortable with knots, or if you’re unsure of your ability with them, then one-piece may be the way to go for now.
Every racquet has a suggested string tension range. The manufacturer has tested the frame to determine the optimal range of tensions for best play and frame longevity. Generally, if you string at the lower end of the recommended range, the same stroke will make the ball fly farther. Low tension = deeper shots. High tension = shorter shots.
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