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Question: To use a stiffer/slightly lighter racquet or a flexible/heavier racquet?

So I have finally found an acceptable stiff racquet that is maybe 12 grams lighter than my regular 360 gram Head Pro Tour 280. It is the Tecnifibre 325 VO2 max. Somewhat the same specs otherwise: 98 headsize, 20 vs. 21.5 mm beam, 18x20 vs 18x19 pattern. 

Difference is that I get more raw speed out of the Tecnifibre and sharper cuts on the ball, plus faster racquet head speed, greater spin. The venerable Head Pro Tour 280 gets bigger plow and weight on the ball, is more stable and the flatter kill shots are much better, my serves are heavier.

So far, I don't feel any jarring vibrations that would give me wrist or elbow problems with the Tecnifibre, and I like the idea of being to hit a faster ball. But I maybe giving up producing a heavy ball which is harder for my opponents to return.

Anyone with this same problem?

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Sampras had a heavy serve because of both reasons. He wanted both weight and spin. I actually got to feel his real racquet at the shop. It was weighted to 14 oz. 

Sampras got such heavy spin on his serve because his fully rotated in his stance, feet nearly parallel to the baseline. He had a deep arch and went straight up on the ball.

I am certain that if Sampras tried the same serve with a lighter racquet, although he has the same 4500 rpms, he wouldn't have the same mass behind the serve, and his serves would be less weighty. This is why he still leads his Babolat Pure Storm Tour, which I held in my hand.

And there is no contradiction here, Michael. You are defining it wrong. Heavier ball does not necessarily mean a fast ball with lots of spin. It is possible to have a heavy, FLAT ball. When I hit with heavy, flat ball hitter, those balls feel very heavy, heavier than someone who hits fast and spinny shots. Alot of junior players hit fast and spinny shots. I have no problems hitting through those shots. But against the said heavy, flat ball hitter, I prefer a stable racquet.  

Have you used a racquet from the 80s and 90s with the specs, I mention, Michael?

So you mention:

Racquet A is the Technifibre. It gets, as you say, faster ball and more spin.

Racquet B, the Head, gives a heavier ball. But it is not defined as fast ball with lots of spin. It is a slower ball with more weight and drive.

The Head hits slightly flatter and goes through the ball more, because the mass is pushing through the slot. It is still possible to get as much spin, but I have to go up on the swing path angle more steeply.

The truth can only be ascertained with demoing the racquets with partners returning serves, describing what they felt. I did this with seven partners with the same two racquets, hitting the same serves. They all say the same thing, Technifibre gets to them faster and higher. Head gets to them slightly slower, but heavier. Racquet turns in their hands if I hit it right.  

Those descriptions are not what I define the racquets to produce, but what you define them as. I merely point out they mean the same thing.

For definitions of a "heavy ball" see http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=84973

What you are describing is a difference in technique, not the racquet, as to why you are producing different types of shots.

And I use the pro staff 85 as my racquet of choice. Some hitting partners have commented that I hit a heavier ball with that over my K90, but ultimately it has nothing to do with the racquet, but confidence that I can swing faster while still keeping the ball in play.

Of course, you can hit heavier with the Pro Staff 85. It has a smaller head and the frame produces a more bullet like effect. The smaller head also lets you swing faster. I used the Prestige Mid 93 before this demo for a year and half. Same effect. 

Not a difference in technique. I hit the same exact way to my partners. The racquets do something different to the ball. Not too hard to figure out. 

Heavy means mass, spin can make it "feel" heavy through greater deflection. But heavy is what is generally ascribed to weight. 

I see your TW thread. I agree with Joe Sch post 4: "When players play against old school flat hard hitters for the first time, they are often not able to handle the pace. Same goes for playing somebody that hits with lots more spin than you are used to handling. Both types of balls are often labelled "heavy". Two guys on the tour that fit these categories are Blake & Nadal. Both of these players present huge problems for most of the players on the tour since the hits are not in their comfort zones."

I tried the Tecnifibre 320 VO2 max, the 16x19 version yesterday. Has a thoroughly modern feel, stiff and spinny frame. Because of the hoop being even more lighter, I could get even speedier, spinnier balls into the corners. But my partner said even though it was harder to get to the balls, if he could get there, the balls had less weight and easier to hit through.

A flexible heavier racquet is much better for your arm and has better control, touch and feel. . A heavy racquet can still be maneuverable and fast at the net if it has a head light balance; the balance does more for maneuverability than actual weight. A flexible racquet might have less power than a stiffer racquet but you can make up for that with lower string tension and a more elastic string. A heavier more flexible frame with a head light balance is the best of all worlds. Go to http://tenniselbowracquet.com/tennis-racquets/ for a list of the top arm friendly racquets.

Good luck and finding the best racquet to keep you playing your best tennis for the long term.

 

I have found that, by keeping my grip loose at contact, the flex/stiffness characteristics of a racquet are irrelevant to the usual arm injuries.

Warren Bosworth, long time racquet tech guru to the pros said "You should play with the heaviest racquet that you can still comfortably swing on all strokes"    A racquet that is too light does not win the collision with the ball quite as well, and your joints will suffer for it.  Wrist, Elbow, Shoulder. 

I agree to this as much as possible. I am still at around 350 grams. But I am not sure if I should be at 360 grams because of the fatigue factor. Also, harder to use wrist flicks on the forehand/ backhand run.

Try Donnay!

Where is the physics doctor to enlighten us? You know, the two racquet guy? Seriously, speed and force are two different things. So speed or velocity is a function of acceleration. And acceleration is a function of Mass and Force. Force (what we call heavy) is a function of mass and acceleration. So while different concepts, however intertwined as they contribute to each other. A flat fast ball will not have the same force on impact with the racquet as a ball of the same speed, however with more spin and will feel heavier (more force). This is because the ball also has rotational acceleration contributing to more force.  And the opposite is true with same spin but faster ball will feel heavier (more force). Sorry, I promise not to do physics anymore! I'm totally up for a room of racquets though!

Yes, that maybe the case and I agree with you, Shereef. The only thing is the spinnier ball will travel slower over distance due to wind resistance added by a higher trajectory. So it is entirely possible the spinnier shot may have less force at the time of the next hit. 

However, a Federer type forehand with a lower trajectory and high rpms will have more force than a regular flat blaster hit by a junior at the same speed. Ditto with Nadal. But it is well known these players weight their racquets well above 340 grams. 

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