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If you’re just getting started with tennis you may be asking yourself the question, “should I use a tennis dampener in my racquet.” The truth is, there is no single correct answer.
Rather, the choice to use a vibration dampener is extremely subjective and if you were to ask 10 different tennis players, you’d likely get 10 different answers based on their own personal experience.
In this article we’ll walk you through all the details of vibration dampeners so that you can make an educated decision for whether they’re a good fit for you.
What Is A Tennis Racquet Vibration Dampener?
You may already be familiar, but just in case you’re aren’t a vibration dampener is a small device, typically made of some sort of rubber material.
Vibration dampeners are inserted into a tennis racquet string bed outside the pattern of crossed strings and typically below the bottom most cross string of a racquet, which falls directly above the throat of a tennis racquet.
What’s the Purpose of a Vibration Dampener
The main purpose of a tennis racquet vibration dampener is to reduce the vibration of a racquets strings and subsequently reduce or eliminate the “ping” sound you hear when you strike a ball.
What Won’t A Vibration Dampener do for You?
One of the primary misconceptions with vibration dampeners is that they reduce vibration and shock generated when hitting a tennis ball, to the extent that would help reduce common tennis injuries such as tennis elbow.
However, contrary to much of the marketing you’ll find that goes along with vibration dampeners, there is little evidence supporting the idea that vibration dampeners reduce the shock enough to help prevent tennis elbow.
Racquet Research has a great write up, which takes an objective look at the physics of tennis racquets and makes it clear that you shouldn’t rely on tennis racquet dampeners to reduce shock to the extent that it would have any impact on preventing injury.
You can also be sure vibration dampeners won’t help you play like Novak Djokovic in this video, but it’s a nice thought… right?
Types of Vibration Dampeners
There are two primary types of tennis racquet vibration dampeners. The first and most common type of vibration dampener is typically referred to as a “button” dampener, since they’re roughly the size of a large button and frequently circle in shape.
Popular examples of button dampeners include the custom Novak Djokovic vibration dampener and classic Pete Sampras dampener.
The other common type of vibration dampener is frequently referred to as a “worm” dampener. Aptly named, these dampeners are long and thin in the shape of worm.
How to Install Vibration Dampeners
Button vibration dampeners are usually pretty easy to install as they simply need to be inserted in between two strings, which typically ends up being the two center most main or vertical strings and then pushed up against the lowest cross or horizontal string.
Worm dampeners on the other hand come in a few different shapes and sizes, but generally speaking they are woven in between the main strings to help reduce vibration across many of the strings that most frequently come in contact with the ball. Some of these tend to be a little more of a pain to install, but most come with sufficient instructions on the package.
Tennis Racquet Vibration Dampener Rules
The two most common questions and rules about vibration dampeners that frequently come up are: where they can be placed on the racquet and how many a player can have on their racquet at once.
To answer the first, vibration dampeners can actually be placed anywhere on the racquet as long it’s outside the pattern of crossed strings. That means they can be placed on the top, left, right and bottom of the stringbed.
Furthermore, a player is not limited to just one vibration dampener as many players believe. Rather, a player can have as many vibration dampeners as they want, assuming they follow the above rule.
You can check section 4 of the ITF rulebook for details or Exhibit I of the ATP rulebook for exact language used to describe these rules.
Most Popular Vibration Dampeners
While there are thousands of different types and colors of vibration dampeners, some of the most popular include:
Novak Djokovic and his custom vibration dampener complete with his falcon logo.
Pete Sampras and his classic donut shaped Tourna vibration dampener.
Forten Inch Worm vibration dampener
Gamma String Things vibration dampeners
Wilson Pro Feel vibration dampener
Wilson Emotisorb vibration dampeners
Muzitao vibration dampeners
Head Smartsorb vibration dampener
Gamma Shockbuster 2 vibration dampener
Do Vibration Dampeners Work? Should I Use One?
There’s a long standing debate whether or not vibration dampeners provide an real benefit, but I believe this depends on both the player and what you’re looking to use the vibration damper for.
The most important recommendation I can give is try one – if you like it, use it. If you don’t, don’t.
When I was younger I absolutely hated the ping sound and didn’t feel like I was hitting “solid” without one in my racquet. Then in high school when I moved to a new type of string I tried hitting again without a vibration dampener and never looked back…
Beyond preference, a vibration dampener definitely helps silet the “ping” sound when you hit, so if that’s what you’re looking for then yes, I’d say that vibration dampeners definitely work for this.
However, if you’re asking do they work for preventing tennis elbow, I’d first recommend looking at the type of tennis racquet and the type of tennis string you’re using. A racquet that’s too heavy for a player, a frame that’s too stiff or a string that’s too rigid and harsh like polyester or kevlar can have a big impact on injury with players.
As such, placing a vibration dampener on a racquet would more likely be a mental bandaid to an a deeper issue that could involve your tennis equipment.
Questions? Let us know in the comments, we’d be happy to help!
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