Reviewing racquets sounds like fun, but there is also a limit. That is why I wanted to write about testing fatigue.
Testing racquets is fun, but…testing fatigue
I have repeatedly said on my various channels that playing around too much with tennis gear harms your game. You lose your timing, muscle memory, and feel for the ball, and then when you are back with your standard racquet, you need to rebuild that again. It's a part of the process. Once you do this over and over again, a certain testing fatigue sets in. Partly it is physical, because your hitting arm is not a huge fan of new racquets, grip shapes, strings and tension. All regular and somewhat serious play-testers I talk to suffer from the same problem. It's often exciting when you unwrap a new racquet for testing, but if there are too many in a row and they aren't as exciting to hit with as you thought they would be, you can suffer from testing fatigue.
If you're playing tournaments, don't keep switching racquets.
I played an ITF Masters event in Malaga a couple of weeks back and did pretty well. I won all my singles matches except the final against a much better player and won the doubles title with the same guy (Daniel Rutkowski). Then I went to Austria to the HEAD headquarters (a link to a video of the first time I went there) to join Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Warehouse Europe on a global review of the new HEAD Gravity Auxetic, which will be revealed in a couple of weeks.
It's been fun but tiring. And then, when you get back home, you have an avalanche of different racquets to try since there are so many releases during this part of the year. What are you looking forward to the most? And have you ever suffered from testing fatigue?
Wilson Pro Staff 97 V14
Volkl V1 Evo
Volkl C10 Evo
Volkl V8 Pro
Toroline Wasabi string
Babolat Pure Drive 98
I can imagine the issues you are running into while playtesting so many rackets, strings etc.
As an ambitious “old rookie”, started to play tennis in my early 40s last year, and with a history of more than thirty years of tabletennis and maybe hundreds of tabletennis blade and rubber combinations tested back in the days, I know what playtesting means and yes, you can get fatigue from it, in tennis as well as in related sports. But I am very curious regarding tennis equipment now and get a lot of inspiration from your reviews. Already playtested a lot of frames during the last year…always coming back to my first racket ever, my beloved Pure Strike 16×19 3rd gen. I learned that playtesting does anything else but improve your game, no matter if tabletennis or tennis, so I will try to get settled on my favourite racket now and avoid to go on playtesting all the exciting equipment that is available. We will see how long this works… 🙂
I hope you keep going and don’t forget to *enjoy* some tennis. 😉
By the way, regarding upcoming releases, Pro Staff V14 and Shift would be nice to see a review for.
Greetings from Germany!
You should try and implement a stringent test procedure where you actually measure the different kind of performance parameters of the racquets. These endless subjective reviews are kind of pointless since you have your well known preferences. If you are going to do subjective testing, then use a panel of as many players as possible. That may also mitigate some fatigue.
Best way would be testing with the left arm. So you can start from zero an preserve your right arm for competitive tennis.
As a tennis coach, I suffered a serious tennis elbow that cost me arround one year off, because of the pain. That’s when I learned to play with my other hand.
More funny as you feel different, as a regular tennis customer (less muscle and power), and you have much more people to play with as you aren’t so good.
In a few weeks you will discover you are very competitive, as the CPU is the same.
I agree with your observation on testing although I find it more mentally tiring than physical. I don’t test new racquets but find and refurbish older castoffs and take them to the court. At first it is interesting but eventually the novelty wears off, fatgue sets in, and the different frames, strings and tensions become indistinguishable. Unless you are a complete racquet nerd (guilty), it would be far better to settle on one racquet setup and let it become an extention of your arm just as the pros do.