Category Archives: Grips
By now you have probably seen, or even hit with, the new concept by Dunlop they have named “iDapt” and for good reason.
If you have not learned much about this series I will try to make it clear as to what the iDapt does.
First is does not come in one (1) piece! Yikes, you say! What can you do with two (2) pieces of tennis racquet? Well, that is the beauty of the iDapt. You can pretty much do anything you like!
Basically the racquet consists of a “head” and a “grip”. These two (2) pieces are held together with a high strength bolt inserted through the grip and torqued to a pre-determined force. The torquing is achieved using the special torque wrench supplied to dealers by Dunlop.
Before any torquing takes place a “shock sleeve” is placed on the head portion then the grip is placed on the “shock sleeve”.
Then the torquing takes place. A click will be heard when the proper torque is achieved. Once this is assembled the racquet behaves like a one piece racquet! This is confirmed by testing on two (2) devices in the shop.
What this means to you is total control over the head size, grip size, and grip length. Head sizes range from 98 to 105 and the option of an “open” string pattern is included. Grip sizes range from “0” to “5” and 27 or 27.5 inches total racquet length. The “shock sleeve” comes in three (3) stiffnesses ranging from Soft (red), Medium (green), and Firm (blue).
There are many possibilities with this many components available. You can start with a small grip size for a junior for example and increase grip size as the player grows. Or you can have two (2) racquets with one being 27 and one 27.5 inches long. The longer length adds significant inertia without adding much weight.
Please stop by to see, understand, and demo this unique racquet concept.
Welcome everyone (in the northern hemisphere) to the first day of summer! You guys in the southern part of the globe will have to wait a while.
For some of you this will be the beginning of your tennis season so take a few minutes to get your equipment ready for the action. Here are a few suggestions that will make it easier and more fun for you.
Get your racquet strung! A fresh string will provide the right start to your season and will perform better than those old things. Fresh strings can cost between $25 and $68 and are certainly worth it!
Replace your grip, both of them! The synthetic grip that normally comes with a racquet needs to be replaced at least twice a year but more often in the heat. I know all of you use “over grips” and this should be replaced after every match, period. That is what they are made for…do it!
Do not leave your racquet in a very hot spot, like the trunk of your car, a hot table at the courts, or in direct sunlight. The elevated temperatures allow the string molecules to relax and therefore string tension is lost. This loss, unfortunately, can not be recovered. I have tried! Elevated temperatures will take a quick and dramatic toll on grips as well.
If you play on soft courts try to brush the grit off of the string before you put the racquet away. Simply use a soft towel for this but don’t rub the string just brush it.
Keep in mind that the “performance” life of string is about 25 hours of playing time for a recreational player, less for tournament players. Strings do not last forever, although some of you have tried. Just because your string is not broken does not mean it is as good as new.
Keeping your racquet in top notch condition is not expensive or inconvenient. If you have any questions about any of this send me a note or call.
Have a great tennis summer!
Do you have something bothering you and your tennis game? Well, join the crowd! A lot of people have tennis issues!
Getting to the root of the issue is sometimes an issue in itself but we must do it if we want to continue playing tennis at our level, or above.
The most obvious issue is pain. Wrist pain, elbow pain, and shoulder pain are the ones I hear about most often and try to eliminate or reduce. This can be done by several approaches which over the years have proven affective. Most issues can be mitigated by slight customization of the racquet. Adding weight is the first modification because it can be accomplished without restringing. The next step is to reduce string bed stiffness, or effective stiffness, by reducing the tension setting on the stringing machine.
Of course using a racquet that is less stiff will help. But what if none of this solves the problem?
Go to the grip! Not only is grip size critical but the grip shape is also a consideration. It is known that most players are using a grip size that is too small! This is tough on your wrist.
This is anecdotal for sure but I have a client that simply must have a grip shape that is more rectangular as opposed to the more rounded style of Wilson, Babolat, Prince, Yonex, and others. A few years ago, and before I knew him, this client bought a very popular racquet but found that quickly the arm/shoulder began to hurt. He of course had several medical meetings but ultimately returned to his previous racquet. With the previous racquet he did not have any pain!
The current/previous racquet is the antithesis of what I would recommend. Why? Because is is very light, very stiff, very dense string pattern, and rectangular grip shape! But, it worked for him. To understand why he took a racquet to try that was heavier, softer, more open pattern and a rounder grip shape. Guess what! Arm pain!
The take away, then, is this player needs a rectangular grip shape! Who would have thought a grip shape would be a major factor when selecting a racquet.
Take a look at your grip and be sure you are using the correct size and shape for your playing style. Most racquets are fitted with a synthetic grip material that will mitigate shock a little. A good leather grip will contribute to definition and feel.
You probably haven’t had the opportunity, or desire, to hack off a portion of your racquet to see what is really in there. Well, I have. On many occasions, actually, when customizing a clients racquet to get the exact specifications they want.
You may be surprised. I thought I would give you a peek at some of the things you may find. First you need to understand why there is anything at all in your racquet! The reason is weight, or the more technical term, mass. But why?
When a racquet is “molded” the graphite composite “tube” has a certain weight and distribution of that weight. If no weight is added to the “rear end” of the racquet you end up with what Wilson termed a “hammer” (head heavy) system. Not everyone wants to play with a “hammer” system so the manufacturers need to add weight.
Where and how much depends on what style the racquet will be. We normally think in terms of “player”, “tweener”, and “game improvement” with “game improvement” having no weight in the rear end.
Let’s take a look at some “weight”.
This is a quick overview of the variations. Can you tell which “style” each piece represents?
Here you can see both steel plates on the inside of the tube. Also included is a “foam” that is normally used to prevent any rattling caused by the metal. This pallet is a molded polyurethane over a carbon fiber tube.
Here is a view of steel pins that are molded into the center membrane during manufacturing. In case you don’t know, a tennis racquet is a long tube made of a composite held together by a resin system that is forced into a mold that has the shape of the finished racquet. So, where the two tubes come together in the grip area is a perfect place to put steel pins or steel plates. When the racquet is molded under heat and internal pressure the weight is permanently installed.
This is a good example of steel and silicone. The steel adds a gross weight and the silicone is added to fine tune the weight if necessary. This is an example of a single tube grip pallet. That is the grip size and shape are formed by the carbon fiber tube during molding. Obviously this grip size can not be reduced.
This is an example of silicone only weight. This racquet was a “game improvement” racquet so very little weight was required. You can see how thin the material is at this position of the racquet.
This is the view of a racquet that has not been cut off. You can see the bulges that are caused by the “molded in” steel pins. This is a one piece molded grip pallet.
This is an example of using more fiber and resign to create the desired weight. This is a two (2) piece bonded on grip pallet. You can see how thin the molded pallet is at the corners. This is another example of a grip that can not (should not) be reduced.
I just received a shipment of Fairway grips! These are new Fairway grips, not old ones that have just been discovered.
Fairway grips are expensive! They are, however, the finest leather grips in the world!
If you have ever wanted a Fairway grip, and who hasn’t, now is your opportunity!
In this installment of “Technology” we focus on racquets. When it comes to tennis the racquet represents the major initial investment. Of course shoes, clothes, bags, etc. add up but the racquet is gong to be in the $150.00 to $200.00 range. Add in string and you are looking at a sizable investment.
So, lets make this investment really count. By that I mean lets make sure the racquet is right for the player. That is a tall order! With so many brands and models available you need help.
Starting with material, you can be sure, most current “performance” racquets are graphite composites. A raw racquet “tube” may weigh only 240 grams before all the other stuff is added on. About 40% of that is graphite with the remainder being epoxy resin and maybe some small percentage of other material, like BLX, Titanium, Kevlar, and others.
A finished racquet will weigh between 270 (9.52 oz) and 350 grams (12.34 oz). String will add about 17 grams (.6 oz). Add a vibration damper (3 grams) and an over grip (6-8 grams) and you have a significant impact on “feel”. Anything that is added at the butt end will have a minimum affect on dynamics.
The way the fibers are “arranged” determines the stiffness of the racquet. The characteristics of the racquet are determined by the various angles of the fiber layup. So, when you look at a racquet it is hard to “see” how stiff it is so you rely on marketing information.
The are several stiffness “areas” but the primary is longitudinal stiffness, which is from the butt cap to the tip of the racquet. Another, and less “considered” stiffness is the “in-plane” stiffness. This is how stiff the racquet is across the middle of the head area. One way to get a handle on the in-plane stiffness is to know that if the top of the section is flat it will be stiffer than if the top is very narrow.
The major characteristics of racquets that are positive are:
Weight: a heavier racquet will generate more power, absorb more shock, be more stable.
Swing Weight: is the characteristic that determines how forceful the racquet will “drive” through the ball. A larger swing weight is an advantage.
Stiffness: is the primary “spring” in the equation. Stiffnesses range from 50 to 75 as tested on the Babolat RDC. If you know the racquet stiffness it is easy to arrive at a string bed stiffness that will compliment the player. This is “effective stiffness”. For example a racquet with a stiffness of 69 and a string bed stiffness of 56 will have an effective stiffness of 30.91. I know, for example, that anything over 34.00 is too stiff for most players.
Grip size is another significant consideration. I believe, and it has been confirmed by some in the medical profession, that the grip should be as large as possible for the player.
We will continue with this “technology” series with a session on string!
Grip size and shape comes right after proper stringing when it comes to racquet comfort and performance. What you have in your hand can not be secondary to your other selection criteria but it almost always is, it seems.
Right after stringing the next most requested service at Racquet Quest LLC is grip sizing and shape modification. Most grips can be modified but some can not so it is important to know the difference before you, or anyone, starts ripping parts off of your racquet.
This brings me to the reason for this post!
Below is an image of the typical racquet grip pallet systems. It is obvious that the grey pallets are easily interchangeable and the amber grip pallet would require considerable effort to change it.
As of now there are a few racquet manufacturers that offer interchangeable grip pallets but there are more that don’t! Why not, you are asking.
One reason is that the racquet company simply does not trust most racquet stringers to remove and replace grip pallets. Some pallets are attached with mechanical fasteners (screws!) and others use chemical adhesives (glue!). The grey pallets are used by Head and Head does not make it easy to get these pallets.
Great care is necessary when removing pallets that are glued. It is easy to crack or totally destroy pallets. This becomes a big issue for the racquet company. Therefore, many racquet companies don’t want anyone messing with grip pallets.
So, I ask you, would you be more likely to purchase a tennis racquet that had “interchangeable” grip pallets? That means the grip shape and size could be changed quickly and easily but not necessarily cheaply.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most likely where would you be?
Are you into leather?
If not maybe you should be! Leather grips are becoming popular, again, for a few reasons. One reason is there are a few manufacturers that are doing a really good job producing leather grips that won’t break the bank. I purchase leather grips from Head, Becker, Kimony and others. The Kimony is a great example of a top quality leather grip. The Head leather grip is Calf Skin therefore very supple whereas the Becker leather grip is more robust and comes in black.
Another reason is, that under normal tennis playing conditions, they never wear out! This durability is enhanced when an overgrip is used. A good leather grip can be cleaned, if necessary, with any number of leather conditioners. If cleaning is desired do it on the racquet. Once a leather grip is removed it is really difficult to get it back on the racquet perfectly.
A leather grip will add about 10 grams of weight to the rear-end of the racquet which adds stability without *increasing the swing weight.
A leather grip looks really great on most racquets. Expect to pay about $22.00 for a good leather grip installed. Installing a leather grip requires a little more time and care to produce a good fit around the butt cap and long lasting adhesion to the grip pallet.
I know looks don’t mean much to you but the other reasons should be enough to persuade you to try leather…on your racquet.
*Calculated swing weight (from the butt cap) will be affected by the additional grip weight but electronic devices that calculate swing weight from a point 4 inches (10 cm) above the butt cap will not exhibit an increase.