Tennis Racquet Stiffness

Tennis Racquet Stiffness and Its Impact on Performance

7 replies
  1. henri souchon
    henri souchon says:

    Hi guys interesting articles on tennis elbow ,I on the other hand suffered golfers elbow playing tennis which I now believe was caused through the purchase of a babolat pure drive. I then moved to the pro kennex q5 after 7 months off the court dropped string tension from57 to 54lbs NRG 2 17 gauge ,however I was thinking of the new volkl8 super g and am insure wether to focus on the lighter less stiff 300g or slightly heavier and slightly stiffer 315. My main reason for change is to go away from 16 x20 strings in my pro kennex to the volkl 16 x18 for a softer feel and greater spin, any advice would be greatly appreciated ,thanking you in anticipation Henri.

    Reply
    • clevelandStringer
      clevelandStringer says:

      Know this is old, but if still curious, the general thinking is to utilize the heaviest racquet you can comfortably maneuver throughout a 3-Set match.

      The reason is simple- higher racquet mass= more impact absorbed vs transferred to your arm……….
      You want to play with HIGHEST MANAGEABLE STATIC WEIGHT/ STRUNG HL BALANCE 6pts +/ RA 67 OR LOWER/ rest is preference

      It is also wise to ‘grow into’ a frame vs getting immediate impact if at rec / still improving level, or else you will constantly want to change bc Power becomes less and less desirable……..

      Your current stick is actually very solid overall, and I’d give it some more time, as well as customizing to your preferred specs– almost EVERY racquet should be optimized to the player, with each new backup acquired matched to same specs for seamless transition from one frame to the next

      Hope this helps

      Good luck!

      Reply
      • TennisCompanion
        TennisCompanion says:

        @clevelandStringer – thanks so much for your reply! I appreciate you taking the time to chime in with a great response.

        @henri – looking at your question of “wether to focus on the lighter less stiff 300g or slightly heavier and slightly stiffer 315” I went ahead and pulled some quick stats for comparison which you can find below, but here are some high level recommendations when looking for a racquet if you have tennis elbow:

        • Weight: the heaviest racquet you can comfortably swing and make it through a three set match with is still a good rule of thumb.
        • Balance: more weight in the head will provide more stability on contact when hitting, while more weight in the handle will help reduce shock to your arm. Generally speaking I’d agree with @clevelandString and go a few points head light (HL) to reduce shock in the handle. Of course when looking at Volkl racquets they use a technology called “Bio Sensor” in the handle to reduce shock so you may find with a technology like this in place you can bend the rules a bit.
        • Stiffness: a lower stiffness, i.e. more flexible frame, will generally be better for players suffering from tennis elbow.
        • Head size: it can be beneficial to go with a larger head size, which allows the strings to flex more and absorb impact and deflect energy.
        • Strings, tension and pattern: a softer string at a lower tension with an open string pattern are all worth considering

        For a more detailed analysis of these factors check out our article on Selecting the Best Tennis Racquet for Tennis Elbow & Golfer’s Elbow.

        Babolat Pure Drive
        Head: 100sq in
        Weight: 11.1 oz
        Balance: 4pt HL
        Stiffness: 72
        Pattern: 16×19

        ProKennex Q5 (315 stats in parenthesis… wasn’t sure which you use)
        Head: 100sq in (100sq in)
        Weight: 11 oz (11.9 oz)
        Balance: 4pts HL (8pts HL)
        Stiffness: 66 (67)
        Pattern: 16×20 (16×20)

        Volkl Organix 8 (315 stats in parenthesis)
        Head: 100sq in (100sq in)
        Weight: 11 oz (11.6 oz)
        Balance: 4pts HL (7pts HL)
        Stiffness: 69 (70)
        Pattern: 16×18 (16×18)

        Back to your question if you were to give the Volkl Organix 8 a shot it would be worth starting with the 315. The stiffness rating is only 1pt higher than the 295, so you’d likely benefit from the extra weight assuming it’s not too heavy for you.

        Strictly looking at the stats for each racquet your ProKennex is actually a great fit for your golfers elbow symptoms. Combined with your multifilament string NRG2, it should be a solid combo. My initial recommendation would be to stick with your ProKennex purely from an injury standpoint, however unfortunately for most players it’s not only about the best racquet for their symptoms… it’s finding a balance between performance and easing their symptoms.

        Hopefully this gives you some extra food for thought. Let us know if you have any follow up questions.

        All the best,
        Jon

        Reply
    • DENNIS GOODWIN
      DENNIS GOODWIN says:

      Hope not too late to respond and ask a question of Henri. I too am suffering from “golfer’s elbow” (medial side of elbow) as a result of tennis…in my case caused using I believe the Head TiS6 titanium racquet with a stiffness rating (RA) of 76. Brought the string tension to 55lbs and this was more comfortable but still not elbow friendly enough. Now playing with a Prince 110 EXO3 and this seems the best, except pace on my serves seems lower.
      My real question is: Have you recovered from the golfer’s elbow yet and how long did it take? What procedures did you follow to aid in recovery? It’s been 6 months for me and still no relief and playing very little tennis.
      If ANYONE, Henri or otherwise can help or suggest here, I would very much appreciate it. I have been to Orthopedics, did”re-hab” exercises etc, but it returns with a vengence when I return to playing. There is lots of information on the web about these conditions, but nothing really definitive. HELP!
      Thanks.
      Dennis

      Reply
      • TennisCompanion
        TennisCompanion says:

        Hey Dennis,

        Thanks for joining the conversation. I’m sorry to hear about your case of tennis elbow. “Returns with a vengeance” just about sums it all up.

        Hopefully we can get a few people who have had bad cases of tennis elbow to chime in to talk more about their experience.

        A few things I can recommend:

        • Technique: I don’t want to jump to conclusions here, but technique is often over looked when working to improve tennis elbow symptoms. Generally speaking it plays a huge role in the onset and recovery of tennis elbow. If you haven’t had the opportunity I’d recommend finding a local tennis instructor who can help evaluate your technique and make suggestions for alleviating the symptoms you’re experiencing.
        • Your Racquet: Looks like you’ve already made an adjustment here and it looks like you’ve stepped in the right direction. There are still some further tweaks you could probably make to your racquet in service of alleviating symptoms, so you might want to check out some of my notes in my reply to Henri above.

        Wishing you the best of luck!

        All the best,
        Jon

        Reply
  2. pongchai poopichpong
    pongchai poopichpong says:

    I got hurt about one year ago. After I went to physiotherapist it turned out ok. Now I change to Prince esp 105l stiff 65 w280 Head Fl 17 gauge at 45lb and my arm is free from pain about 6 months. Last week I tried oversize 115 260 stiff 70 for 3 days it pained again. I go back to 105l again. To gain more power from this racket I add lead tape 20grm to the handle and chang string to Wilson shockshield 50lb. I do not know it ok or not. I am 58 years old need more power from racket without te. Thank for your suggestion… Pongchai from Trang Province Thailand…

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Ponchai! Thanks so much for visiting and sharing your challenge :)

      For starters, you’re definitely doing the right thing – experimenting with different racquets to get a first-hand feel for the difference. There is no better way to gauge the performance of a racquet. To be honest, you’re dealing with a super common struggle for players in balancing the power that often comes with a stiffer racquet for the comfort of a lower powered racquet with more control, so I’m glad you asked.

      Out of the two options, I’d definitely recommend the Prince 105 ESP, which it sounds like your already gravitating toward. The lower stiffness rating will provide you with more comfort as the frame flexes and absorbs impact on contact with the ball. Lead tape and some extra weight is a great way to help increase stability and further reduce vibration and shock. The handle is a great place to experiment, but I’d also recommend you test lead tape inside the upper portion of the racquet’s head.

      Beyond that, I love that you’re also experimenting with your strings and Wilson Shockshield is a worthy option for anyone struggling with arm pain. It’s a multifilament, and this category of strings is the best for anyone struggling with arm pain. Here are three others worth checking out:

      – Technifibre X-One Biphase
      – Wilson NXT
      – Babolat Xcel

      Since you mention a desire for power, Technifibre would be my top pick of those three for you. Best of luck with your arm and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any other questions.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply

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