I often get the question from players about the difference between pro stock and retail racquets. So should you get a pro stock racquet?
The easy answer to the question of should you get a pro stock racquet? No. But it all depends on what you’re looking for of course. A pro stock is most often just an older retail racquet (meaning not the latest) customized to suit the particular player. There are certain pro stock racquets that have unique drill patterns (different spacing or pattern altogether) or layups (what’s inside the racquet, such as a being more flexible or less). Although for most club players this won’t make a difference to your results. You can understand that the pros are picky since it’s their livelihood, but weekend warriors are fine just buying a racquet from Tennis Warehouse and calling it a day.
Still, there is something fascinating about pro player racquets and why they choose a particular model. It usually relates back to their formative junior years where they got used to a certain spec and model. They might change their frame a few times during a longer career, but many also stay with what got them there in the first place.
Are pro stock racquets made from better quality?
No, they’re not. What you can get if you find several pro stock racquets from a certain player is that they’re matched for weight, balance and swing weight. Pro stock racquets come out lighter at first and are then customized using silicone (not always, but often) and lead tape to achieve the desired specs. Sometimes the racquets come with molded grip pallets that are unique to the player. Sometimes you get a HEAD pallet on a Wilson racquet. This depends on what the pro is comfortable using.
So there is nothing really magical about pro stock racquets and they cost a pretty penny. But if you want an older racquet model in a new paint or a racquet who used to belong to your favorite player and you have the money for it, why not?
I would still be cautious about using pro player specs unless you play at a very high level.
More to come about pro stock racquets in particular on my Patreon.