Light or heavy racquet?

Think this has been covered quite a few times by now, but I'm still seeing and hearing even better players talk about light or heavy racquets, and with that referring to static weight.

However, except for block volleys the racquet is usually in motion, and the measure for how heavy that feels is swing weight- one could argue the most important spec! Tennis-Warehouse e.g. measures and then lists this on their racquet pages (e.g. 2019 Head Radical Pro @ 325). This key measure has been MIA on other websites like Tennis-Point, but I wouldn't be surprised if we start to this popping up in 2019...

To get a quick sense for values and range here, check out my post about the racquet spectrum. You'll also see that lightweight racquets are usually head-heavier, which brings the swingweight back closer to the heavyweights.

It is true that heavier racquets are harder to get into position and to get going - you're basically lifting more weight. For example I still struggle sometimes when pushed around and/or having to quickly change direction. Conversely, I also sometimes feel like lugging around 350+ grams slightly changes the way I move, even compared to 330 or so.

But once in motion those heavier racquets can actually feel easy to swing. Examples would be Wilson's heavy Pro Staffs over the years, especially the stock versions of the small head / thin beam 85 that Sampras, Courier, and Fed used as a base frame. If you pick up a true to spec (or even lighter and/or head-lighter version) of a SixOne or even an RF97 and start swinging you can still sense that just describing them as "heavy" is not sufficient.

There are also flipsides to having a light and maneuverable racquet, e.g. what happens to the swing paths. Your racquet should both support and guide your natural swing paths, in other words help and develop your strokes. If it feels like there's next to nothing in your hand there won't be much support or guidance!

In addition, if you fiddle around too much there's increased risk of repetitive stress injuries. Plus lighter racquets are usually stiffer and lose most of the impact battle with the ball, so extra shock occurs.

I'm a big proponent of playing with all sorts of racquets, balls etc - to make things easy, interesting, and/or build skill. However for your "normal" play, I would strongly advice against just going out and getting the lightest racquet that you can find.

As an experiment and experience, these days I would actually try to find the heaviest stick possible, stay loose, and see what happens to strokes and the resulting shots...

In general, try a few different options along the spectrum, and take along a few dampeners to play around with weight, balance, and thus swing weight, as suggested here.

For some guidance on how to choose a tennis racquet, there's also a post for that!

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