Static Weight vs. Swingweight
One of the questions that come up as players start to consider racquet weight is the difference between “static weight” and “swingweight.”
Static weight refers to the weight of a tennis racquet as measured by a scale, typically referenced as strung or unstrung weight.
As the name implies, strung weight is the weight of a tennis racquet with tennis strings installed. This weight is measured by placing a strung racquet on a scale to calculate its weight.
For reference, tennis strings will add roughly 15 grams (.5 ounces) to a racquet’s static weight.
Unstrung weight, on the other hand, is simply a measurement of a tennis racquet’s weight without strings installed.
As you shop for tennis racquets, keep in mind that some websites will list the strung weight, while others will list the unstrung weight. Keep that in mind as you compare.
Swingweight is a measurement of how heavy a tennis racquet feels when swinging to hit a ball, which is a function of static weight combined with the balance or distribution of weight. Said another way, it’s how difficult a racquet is to swing.
All things being equal, a racquet’s swingweight will increase as the weight of the racquet is shifted toward the head of a racquet. If the weight shifts toward the handle, the swingweight will decrease.
One of the best analogies for thinking about swingweight is to consider a hammer. If you hold a hammer from the handle and swing, it will feel heavier in the way a racquet with a higher swingweight would feel.
However, if you flip the hammer and hold it from the opposite end and swing, it will feel lighter because the weight is in your hand, which is the same sensation you’d get with a lower swingweight. Wilson put this analogy to use with their popular Hammer line of tennis racquets.
Over the years, manufacturers have modified racquet weight and balance to develop different styles of racquets that cater to certain types of players, while at the same time pushing the limits of overall racquet performance.
A machine like the Babolat RDC can accurately measure swingweight.
While racquet swingweight is an exact measurement calculated by a machine, it’s most beneficial as a comparative data point. That is, if you play with one racquet that has a swingweight of 280 and another that is 325, you’ll begin to develop a sense for the different feel associated with each swingweight.
When evaluating racquets, it’s worthwhile considering this measurement based on your preference.