Tip of the Week Archive
 As the high school’s boy’s tennis teams begin practice for another year, I am amazed at the
selection of tennis racquets begin used today. Most are make from very modern high tech materials and
are very light weight.
   When choosing a tennis racquet, I find people usually pick one that is very lightweight. It feels good, itâ
€™s light and they can swing it around easily. They like the lightness of a tennis frame.
   The problem with a very lightweight racquet is physics. Mass produces power. In a tennis racquet that
means a heavier racquet will produce more power. Swing speed produces power. In tennis the faster you
swing the more power you generate. Lightweight racquets allow you to swing faster, but this power is
coming at the expense of your body. YOU, must provide the power with a light racquet. The racquet will
provide some power itself by having an oversize head and frame stiffness but without the “mass� or
weight most power is coming from the speed of your swing. Faster swings require better timing to contact
the ball.
   There is not much room for error when swinging a light racquet. Heavier racquets are more stable; they
twist less on miss-hits and supply plenty of power with medium pace swings. Imagine trying to hit a tennis
ball with a 27� ruler made of graphite, the ruler would be strong enough but with so little weight you
would need a wrestler’s grip to hang on during impact.
   The only drawback to a heavier racquet is time. The more time you use a heavy racquet the more
fatigued your arm gets. If you cannot play a 3 set match with a racquet because your arm feels like it’s
going to fall off then your racquet is too heavy. On the other hand, if you can play all day with a light racquet
without any arm fatigue then you could use additional weight.
   I know we are not tennis touring professionals but these players use heavy racquets. The racquets you
see the pro’s using are customized for weight and balance. Most will have significant amount of lead
tape inside the hoop of the head. If you were to pick up and try to play with Pete Sampras’ racquet, youâ
€™ll be puffing in less than 1 minute. The pros are much stronger; their arms are trained to use such
weight for long periods.
   So what’s the bottom line you ask?
   Well, I like to advise people to choose a racquet that feels good when hitting a tennis ball. Picking up a
racquet in a store and swinging it without ever hitting a ball and then buying it is a poor method. ALWAYS
play test a racquet before buying. It must have enough weight to supply you with the power you want and
the stability you need.

Doug Hofer, USPTA & USRSA      February 18, 2004