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Lightweight Tennis Racquets
  
 Space age materials and technology have brought lighter racquets into the
mainstream. Graphite was the first real big break through that allowed
racquet manufacturers to make a stiffer racquet. Since racquets could be
made with more stiffness, weight could be removed and not weaken the
frame. Since then companies have been trying to make lighter and lighter
racquets like it was a competition.
  Are lighter racquets really better? Yes, lighter racquets do let you swing
faster at the ball. Creating more swing speed is a good thing but at what
price. Lighter racquets have more power because of the stiffness and larger
head sizes. Older model racquets gathered most of their power from their
weight. So lighter racquets are probably better for senior players or petite
ladies who actually could use more swing speed.
  This time Wilson came out with the first lightweight racquets. It was called
the “Profile�. It was widebody frame that created a lot of stiffness from
the thick beam that weight could be removed. Later Wilson, came out with
the “Hammer� which took weight out of the handle and put it higher in
the head. This head heavy design is still with us today because these
racquets produce good power with lightweight, creating faster swing speeds.
  So light weight racquets might be better but not for everyone. Advanced or
intermediate players usually like a heavier racquet because they like the
flexibility of these frames. Racquets with more flex and smaller head sizes
need to get their power from weight. Power is not always an issue with better
players. What they really want to take big swings and control their shots.
  The final problem with light weight racquets is pain. Most people with arm
pain from playing tennis comes from equipment that is too light. Having
something light collide with a tennis ball traveling at 50 mph is a lot of stress
and shock put on the arm. I like to think of hitting a tennis ball with a
badminton racquet. If one could make a badminton racquet strong enough
not to break when hitting a tennis ball then you would see how swinging
something so light and fast can hurt. There is not much mass in a badminton
racquet.
  Finally, the best weight of racquet for you is the one that is heavy enough
to keep your arm from hurting and allows you to swing repeatedly during the
course of a match without fatigue.

Doug Hofer, USPTA & USRSA        February 14, 2007        hofertennis.com
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