• Mon. Mar 1st, 2021

Hey guys, I’m Clay Ballard with Top Speed
Tennis, in this next series of videos we’re going to talk about rackets, and how to set
up your racket. What’s the best racket for you, what’s
going to get you the most power, the most spin, the most control, and really picking
a racket that’s right for you? The reason I did this, is I got really frustrated
probably about three months ago, I started looking more into racket technology and how
that’s going to affect your play. I got really frustrated because every time
you read and ad, or you see a new racket comes out, the racket’s going to be the most powerful,
and it’s going to have the most control, and the most spin of any racket that that
company’s ever made.

Then they release another racket and that
one’s going to have the most power, and the most spin, and you hear a racket from
another company and it’s got the most power, and spin, and all that kind of stuff. So what is the real science behind it? What creates power, what creates spin, what
creates control, and how can we pick a racket that’s right for our game, and not just
some marketing that’s trying to sell us something.

What’s really going to be good for us? That’s the first reason that I decided to
make this series. The second reason was that when I started
to research this more, I got all kinds of different answers, and I contacted a lot of
the major companies. I contacted Wilson, I contacted Babolat, Prince,
Yonex, Technifibre, some scientists, I read a couple books and I contacted them on what
creates spin, what creates power, what creates these different things, and I got all kinds
of different answers. So for major manufacturers, one company told
me the tighter you string your racket, the more spin it’s going to get. Then the next company told me the looser you
string your racket the more spin you’re going to get, and a third may have told me
that it doesn’t matter what tension you string the racket, it’s not going to affect
spin at all.

So from a science standpoint, only one of
those correct, and I had to get to the bottom of what makes spin, what makes power, control,
and those kind of things. That’s what we’re going to do here today. Now a couple things to keep in mind while
we doing this series. Number one, we’re talking about from a scientific
standpoint, so what we’re doing here, let’s say that we’re using weight as an example. So is weight, more weight going to give you
more or less power. Let’s pretend we have a robot that’s hitting
with this racket at 50 miles an hour, with two rackets that are exactly identical other
than the weight. Then we’re going to test and see which one
has more power. That’s kind of what the idea is behind it,
we’re not actually using a robot or anything like that, but that’s the idea. We’re testing it from a science standpoint. Then there’s always a little bit of the
player standpoint, whether you get it, are you going to swing faster or slower.

That kind of brings me to the second point,
which is the number one thing that is going to create any of these is yourself — your
swing and your technique. So if you’re a powerful player, if you’re
hitting it hard, you’re going to be able to create power with any racket. What the racket can do is help to boost that. So let’s imagine that you have a little
bit of topspin, but you want some more.

Well the racket can get you a little bit more,
but it can’t create top spin if you’re not getting any currently. That’s kind of where we’re at. Then the last thing here before we get started
that I want you to keep in mind, is that no matter what I say, no matter what anybody
else says, it’s all about the racket that you like. So if your pro tells you, you need a 95 square
inch racket, and you like 105 square inch racket, absolutely nothing is wrong with that. This video series is about kind of letting
you know the fact behind the racket so that you can choose on your own and pick the racket
that you like the best with no hype, and no marketing, or any of that kind of stuff.

So let’s go ahead and get started, and let’s
find out a lot about these rackets. All right, so the first thing we’re going
to talk about is the weight of the racket. We’re going to go over in each one of these
different characteristics, whether it’s weight, racket head size, string type, string
pattern, all these things we’re going to go through. We’re going to talk about how it’s going
to affect power, how it’s going to affect spin, how it’s going to affect control,
and then finally how that’s going to feel to you.

The feel it’s going to get, and then I’m
also going to recommend what type of player would be best-suited for one extreme or the
other. So it’s not about whether a heavy racket
or a light racket is good for everyone, it’s about whether it’s right for you. So once person may want a light racket, another
person may want a heavy racket based on what they need. So first off, let’s take an example here
with a couple of different hammers. I’ve got ahead and cut out with some cardboard
the same size and shape as a regular hammer, but this is really light. This is a cardboard hammer. What I want you to visualize here, is let’s
imagine I’m going to swing this hammer at 10 miles an hour, and I’m going to hit this
tennis ball with this cardboard hammer.

It’s going to hit the ball, it’s going
to go out and travel some distance, but it’s not going to have a lot of force behind it,
it’s not going to have a lot of speed behind it, because the cardboard hammer is going
to be so light. Now if I throw that away and I take a real
metal hammer. This is probably 20 or 30 times heavier than
the cardboard hammer, maybe even more than that, I haven’t measured them. But if I swing this hammer at the exact same
speed as I did the cardboard hammer, let’s say 20 miles an hour again, it’s going to
propel this ball a lot farther.

That shot’s probably 10 times the difference
with about the same amount of speed, because this has a lot more mass to it. The same thing happens in a tennis racket. The heavier a tennis racket it gets, the more
energy it has built up in that racket, and the harder it’s going to hit that tennis
ball. That’s something to keep in mind. Now one other thing to keep in mind is that
just because a heavier racket will get more power from a size standpoint, there’s no
doubt about it. If you swing two rackets, one of them light,
and one of the heavy, both of them at 50 miles an hour, the heavy one’s going to hit it
a lot harder. But one thing to keep in mind is that we have
to pick a racket that we can control. So one of the stores, the store that I go
to, to get all of my tennis stuff done, racket stuff is e-tennis online. A great store here in Orlando, really helpful. One of the things I like about that store
a lot, when you have their rackets set up, is on one side of the store they have this
giant wall of rackets, they’ve got every racket you can think of.

On one side of the wall there’s really light
rackets. All the light rackets are on this side of
the wall, then you walk down the wall and all the heavy rackets are on the other end. That’s what I think people should really
get a good feel for, is do you want a heavy racket, or a light racket, or somewhere in
between, and to really feel that and understand that. So for example, let’s say an 85-year old
grandmother who doesn’t have a lot of strength and a lot of speed, she’s probably going
to want the lightest racket possible so she can just move the racket around and it won’t
be that difficult for her to make a stroke, or make a swing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, so you
can visualize that for the very lightest rackets around, those come in about 250 grams is the
lightest ones.

Now rackets range all the way up to about
350 grams, which is much, much heavier. The player that would need a racket light
that, or use a racket like that, would be more of your professional player. So if you envision Roger Federer, he uses
a heavy racket. Other players use even heavier rackets than
that, professionals, but those are really strong, fast athletes. So that’s the kind of player that might
want the 320 to 350 gram racket. Now somewhere in between is where most other
people are going to fall.

So your average age person that has not a
lot of strength that may want to a 270, 280-gram racket if there not very fast, not very powerful,
all the way up to 320, most people are going to fall in that range. Again, it’s not about saying this is the
perfect racket for you, but it’s about testing that out. So if you go to the store, if you’re in
Orlando, you go to e-tennis, what’s going to happen is what I’d recommend, is grab
the lightest racket.

Walk to the other side of the store, grab
the heaviest racket, and really feel the difference. You could even do a demo program. Most places have this, a lot of tennis stores
have this, where you can try those out, rent those rackets for a small fee. I think there they do it for 90 days for like
$40, and you can try out all these different rackets to see which weight racket that you
really like.

One thing to keep in mind with that also,
is you can always add weight, but you can’t really take it away. If you buy a heavy racket, it’s going to
be a heavy racket. If you buy a light racket you can put a little
extra weight on there with some lead tape, or something like that. But that’s how the racket weight is going
to affect power. Now the next thing that racket weight is going
to do is it’s going to affect spin. In general, the heavier the racket you have,
as long as you’re swinging it the same speed, everything else is the same, one’s heavy,
one’s light, the heavier racket is going to get more spin. Here’s the reason why. As you hit a tennis ball, the ball actually
flexes into the strings. They call this cupping, or they call it dwell
time, different things, but I’ve got a racket here that I’ve strung with rubber strings
to really show this example.

As I make contact with this tennis ball, what’s
going to happen is the ball’s going to sink into the strings like this. You can see how it sinks into the strings,
and then it’s going to rebound back out. I like to call that the trampoline effect,
that’s probably the easiest way to visualize this. That’s also the reason the heavier the racket,
because there’s so much more mass in this racket, it’s going to plow right through
that ball, some people call that plow through, but that means the ball is going to sink into
these strings more.

When you sink into these strings, let me show
you the close-up here. If you’re swinging up to get topspin, for
example, what’s going to happen is the strings are going to grab on the bottom of the ball
like this. See how the top of the ball doesn’t have
as many strings grabbing it, and the bottom of the ball has kind of bunched up strings
down here. What’s going to happen is as the ball starts
to leave the strings, these bottom strings are going to kick back up and create topspin. That’s called snap back. When you have a heavier racket, the extra
mass of that racket is going to cause the ball to sink into the strings more, the strings
are going to flex more, and then they’re going to rebound more to create more topspin.

So in general, the heavier the racket, the
more topspin. Again, getting back to the player though,
if you’re swinging, if you don’t have a strike that produces topspin, no matter
how heavy the racket it is, it won’t produce topspin. It’s not just topspin, the opposite thing
happens for backspin. If I’m swinging down, now the strings go
up to the top of the ball and then they snap down and they create more backspin. When we’re talking about control, there’s
really two things that we’re talking about. How well I can control the racket, and how
consistently is the ball going to leave the face. Those are the two things that are going to
affect control. With the heavier racket, from a science standpoint,
it’s going to help to balance the face a little bit, and give you a little bit more
consistency when it’s leaving the face. So let’s imagine if we watch slow motion
video of some of the top pros, what you’ll see a lot of times, if they hit that ball
dead center, right in the middle of the strings, the face isn’t going to twist a lot, it’s
just going to move right on through the ball.

If the happen to hit the ball toward the top
of the strings, what will happen is that face will twist open, and it will cause it a little
bit of an errant shot, the shot will fly too high. Or if it hits the bottom it’s going to twist
down, and it’s going to fly too low. Well the more weight I have on the perimeter
of the racket, and the farther I have the weight away from the center of the racket,
so the more weight around the edges, the farther away it is from the center, the most stable
the face is going to be.

This is why oversized rackets are a little
more stable also, but we’re going to get that in the next video. But if I hit this racket off the top, if I
have a very lightweight racket, it’s going to twist open more. If I have a heavier racket it’s going to
twist open a little bit less. So it’s going to give me a little bit more
control from that aspect. It’s also going to give me a little bit
more control, because I’ll have a better feel for the head. If I want to hit a nice easy touch shot, I’m
going to have a little bit better feel for where the racket head is, or if I’m just
trying to hit shots where I’m really moving or manipulating the racket, I want to have
great feel for every piece of the racket.

I feel personally, this is more of a personal
preference based, not really based on sciences much, but I feel like I have a better time
controlling a heavier racket and feeling where it is. Again, if you don’t have the strength for
a heavier racket that may not be for you, and there are great players that play with
very, very light rackets. That’s more personal preference. The only thing that a heavy racket will do
to decrease your consistency, is that it has a higher trampoline effect. So again, let’s go back to the rubber string
racket here. If I have a really heavy racket, as I hit
this tennis ball, this racket is just going to plow right on through that ball and the
strings are going to take a big brunt of the force. So you can see the strings are really going
to flex here. Let’s imagine that I’m swinging up on
this ball. If I have a really heavy racket, it’s going
to flex into the strings, and then it’s going to shoot it a little bit higher. If I have a lighter weight racket, because
they ball isn’t going to flex into the strings as much, it’s not going to have that much
deflection up, it’s going to go a little bit more consistent forward.

So what happens, the heavier the racket you
get, the more the ball is going to cup or have that trampoline effect, and then the
more sporadic it can come out of the racket head, because you never know which string
is going to put pressure exactly where. But when they test this, they find that the
looser the strings get, or the heavier the racket gets, effectively creating looser strings,
it’s going to sink into the strings more, it gets a little bit more sporadic. So when you’re talking about control with
the heavy racket, you have a give and a take. In some aspects having control through the
feel is good, also having consistency on off-center hits as good, but it also causes the strings
to flex more and that can cause a little bit of sporadic, you know, ball flight leaving
the face. You could always tighten up your strings or
do other things to try to counter balance that, but we’re focusing just on the weight
here. That’s kind of it for speed, power, and
control. If you want a lot of power, you want a lot
of spin, you want a good amount of control, a heavy racket may be good for you.

The last thing is the feel. A lot of times people want to know what it’s
going to feel like if I have a heavier racket. Obviously it’s going to be much more difficult
to swing. So if I don’t have tons of speed, and tons
of strength, I don’t want to use a heavy racket because that’s going to be tough
for me to swing that racket.

But it’s going to make the strings feel
very soft. So the heavier the racket is, the more what’s
called plow through. So imagine again, this racket weighs 30 pounds,
and I’m going to hit this tennis ball, it’s going to plow right on through that ball. The ball isn’t going to slow down the racket
at all, it’s going to just muscle right on through it. Since it’s flexing the strings more because
of that extra weight, it’s also going to feel a little softer, almost like this trampoline
face here, very, very soft.

And it’s going to create a little bit more
of a solid feel when you come into it. Now a lighter weight racket, or a racket that
doesn’t have as much momentum, is going to feel a little bit more crisp. So as you’re swinging the force of the ball
is going to be a little bit greater because the racket is lighter, and it may, you may
feel like it’s manipulating the racket a little bit more. You may be able to feel the hit a little bit
more, and the strings are also going to be a lot more crisp sounding, so let me grab
a tighter stringed racket here. So if you can, I don’t know if you can hear
this in my mic, but as this ball bounces, it’s got a very crisp, clean feel to it. The opposite of that would be a much softer
feel, which we would get with a heavier racket.

So if you like that crisp, clean feel, a lighter
racket would be better. If you like a soft, solid feel, which would
be the opposite end of the spectrum, a very heavy racket, you may enjoy that. So to recap on the heavier racket. It’s going to have more power, it’s going
to have more spin. Control is to be debated, there’s a couple
things from a scientific standpoint that gives you more control, there’s a couple things
that give you less control, so it’s tough to tell on control with a heavier racket. The feel is going to be more solid, almost
like you’re hitting a tennis ball with a 30-pound sledge hammer. On the opposite end of that, if I want to
use a lighter racket, it’s not going to have quite as much power, it’s not going
to have quite as much spin. But because it’s lighter, I might be able
to swing it a little bit harder, that’s going to be dependent on the person, and make
up for that loss of power and spin. Also with control, depends on the person,
and it’s going to feel more crisp and clean rather than solid and soft with the heavier

So the crisp, clean contact with the lighter-weight
racket, it’s going to feel like it has a lot more high-frequency vibrations. So I hope you guys enjoyed this video. This is the first video in a series, so in
the next video we’re going to talk about racket head size. How large headed rackets and small headed
rackets are going to affect your game, and what that’s going to do for you. Now as I mentioned in the beginning of this
video, really the number one thing, more important than any other aspect, is what you can do
with the racket. Do you have speed, do you have the right technique,
can you create topspin, the racket will help to boost those aspects but it really comes
down to what you can do as a player. In order to really help get you started creating
a lot of topspin and a lot of power with your forehand, I have a great series called the
Topspin Forehand Series. If you click the ink that’s going to pop
up on the bottom of your screen, you’re going to be able to see that entire series
free of charge.

I’m even going to play a preview from one
of the videos in that series, and you want to watch that entire thing, watch the full
series, never going to cost you a dime. Just click the link below, or down below in
the description, that way you can take your new information with these rackets and apply
it to some great strokes with your forehand. So good luck, I’ll see you in that series,
and good luck with that forehand. …topspin with your forehand. And in this video we’re going to talk about
how to use the lower body correctly to get some leverage from the ground, really create
a lot of power, so that you start ripping some of those forehands, not only with topspin,
with a lot of speed. So let’s go ahead and get started. OK, so this video is about the lower body
as I mentioned, and we’re going to talk about how to leverage the ground for some

It’s a motion that I call the power U. Basically your hips and your body are going
to be making this U-type shape as we’re hitting the shot, and it’s going to help
you to really transfer energy from the ground through your body and out to the ball, and
result in a lot more speed. So let’s go ahead and get started on the
basic motion first. So as you’re waiting for the ball to come,
you’re going to be standing fairly tall, and then as you begin your forward momentum,
you always want to be moving forward through the ball as we come into contact if at all

As we start our forward momentum, we’re
going to let our hips drop down. So you can imagine my hips are starting to
go down, and they’re making the first half of this U-type shape. Now as I begin the forward swing with my racket,
now my lower body’s going to be driving upward….

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