How can you get more out of your racquet? Well, there are several ways to do that. Let’s look at a couple.
Most players answer the question: How can you get more out of your racquet? with: Let’s buy a new one!
Buying a new racquet is fun, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done this on MULTIPLE occasions, which is how I became (kind of) “the tennis nerd”. I think the the reason I feel somewhat confident in writing about this topic is because in my quest for “the perfect racquet” (which doesn’t exist, sadly) – I’ve done all the mistakes. I highlighted some of them in this post/video.
How can you get more out of what you have?
It all depends on what you want. If what you want out of your current racquet is very different from what you have, it might be impossible. But in most cases, slight tweaks can make players of all levels happy.
There are two ways to impact of how your current racquet plays. Either re-string it with a new string/tension and/or customize it. Customization might not be for everyone, but in its essence, for home purposes, it’s not that complicated. If you want to be a customization pro, maybe it’s worth looking into a course.
But you can do a lot with the string. The string is what makes contact with the ball, so a new string can breathe new life into your racquet.
What do you want?
Let’s say you want more control. How can you achieve that?
To start off, you can use a more control-oriented string. If you’re using a multifilament string, maybe it’s time for a polyester string? If you’re using a polyester, maybe it’s time to change it to a more control-oriented one or to increase the tension?
If you on the other hand want power, you can string your racquet with a more powerful string, like a natural gut or a multifilament. Or you can drop the tension on your polyester setup. If Adrian Mannarino can use 25 lbs on the ATP tour, I’m sure you can drop a few lbs and still control the ball?
To give you an example…
I mainly use the HEAD Prestige MP 2019 for my more serious match play. One of the downsides with the racquet is that it’s not the easiest to generate topspin with. Also, it can feel a bit underpowered at times.
So I started by adding some weight to the head, it needed about 3 grams at the top of the hoop to reach my desired swing weight (328 strung, anywhere around 327-330, I’m happy). At first I liked a hybrid string setup, but then I felt like I wanted more bite and spin on the ball so I went for a shaped poly (currently TopSpin Max Rotation, but I also enjoy Lynx Tour a lot) but the important thing is to string low. I’m down at 44 lbs or 20 kg and can probably go lower to open up more pocketing and some free depth. The shaped poly will help grab the ball, which gives more confidence to swing out freely, even at a lower tension (check out this post for the pros and cons of lower tensions).
This is a setup I’m generally happy with. A control racquet (I like thin beams) with decent swing weight and a shaped poly at a low tension. It feels like a balanced racquet setup that works for my game. If I work more on my tennis and my playing evolves, then I will need to reasess, but for now it works well.
I hope this gives you an idea of how you can take a racquet and using light customization and stringing, optimize it for your game. Sometimes what you want and what you have is too far away and then you might need to look for a new racquet, but give it a try first.