Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tennis Myths Busted - Big/Small Grips Are Best

Something we hear fairly often from people in our store goes like this. "I heard a smaller grip won't cause tennis elbow", or, "someone told me a bigger grip is easier on the arm".
Both things are wrong.
Here's the thing. A grip size that is the wrong size, small or big, has the potential to be tougher on the arm. Over the years, the myth about grip size has gone back and forth between big or small being better.  The fact that it goes back and forth gives you an idea that both are wrong.
About ten years ago, we would see guys come in with grips built WAY up. When asked about it, the answer was the same, "it is better for my tennis elbow." No matter how big they made their grip, the tennis elbow never seemed to go away. We're not saying that grip size is the cause of tennis elbow but combined with other factors, can make it worse. 
When a grip is too big or too small, the effect is the same. You will have to squeeze the grip tighter than normal in order to keep the racket from slipping or twisting in your hand. Multiply that by several hours of playing tennis and you're likely to feel it in your arm or hand. Add heat and humidity and it just gets tougher to keep a good grip on your racket.
A properly sized grip allows you to grip the racket firmly, yet without the need to put a death-grip on it to keep it stable. You shouldn't have to squeeze if the size is right. You can see below what the right size grip will look like in your hand.
If you've got more than a finger's width gap between the middle fingers and the base of the thumb, the grip is too big. The above is the desired size.

There should be a pinky-finger width space between the base of the thumb and the middle fingers 
If the fingers and base of the thumb are touching, the grip is too small.

When buying a racket, something to consider is the use of over grip. It will add just about one grip size when added. Many people are now choosing a grip size that is a little small so that when the over grip is added, the size will be right.
If your grip is too small or too large, there are options to get it closer to the right size. There are some limitations to how much bigger or smaller we can make it, but we can get it closer to the right size than it is now. Stop by our Dale Mabry store and we can show you the options available and can show you the right size grip for your hand.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tennis Myth - Adding Weight to the Head is Always Best

So often, a customer will come in and ask for their racket to be made heavier. The mistake they make is wanting to put all of the weight in the head of the racket. A common myth is that when you add weight to the racket, it should always go on the head.
This is very often the worst way to do it.
Here's the problem. You have a racket that becomes to light for you and you'd like to add weight. No problem, so far. But if the racket is already head heavy and they want the weight added to the head.

You will be making a head heavy racket, even more, head heavy. The racket will become less maneuverable and tougher to generate racket speed with. Think of it this way. How maneuverable is a sledgehammer? Sure, assuming you can swing the thing, there may be power, but with the cost being the loss of maneuverability and stability.

The better option is to add weight in both the head and the handle. Done correctly, you can add weight without changing the balance of the racket.

An even better option if using a head heavy racket is to add the weight in such a way as to make the racket both heavier and less head heavy. There is a reason that the racket companies all do the same thing. As the rackets they make get heavier, they also get more head light. This adds maneuverability and the ability to get racket speed while also making the racket more stable. The more head heavy a racket is, the further from your hand the weight is, making it less stable.

Everyone is different. If you need a racket heavier, stop into our Dale Mabry store and we can show you the best way to add weight to your racket to achieve the feel and performance you are looking for.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

One Way to Make Racquetball Strings Last Longer

For those that play a lot of racquetball, string breakage is a fact of life. Often, it is just lots of use or hitting the ball hard that causes strings to break. But there is one cause that can be largely prevented.
Anyone who has played for any amount of time knows that your racket will eventually make contact with the wall. Over time, this wears on the frame. As you can see in the below pictures, with enough wear, the bumper guard will wear down. This will cause more potential damage to the actual frame, eventually leading to a crack or breakage. But it also harms the string.
String exposed by excessive bumper guard wear.

A new bumper guard protecting the strings from
damage from the wall or other rackets.

The bumper guard's other job is to protect the string. The strings should sit below the edge of the guard so that when the racket scrapes the wall, the guard takes the punishment, not the string. Once the bumper wears down to a certain point, the string is exposed to their surroundings. The same scrape to the wall will now damage the strings. Eventually, the strings will look as if sandpaper had been rubbed on it, and they will break sooner than they should.
There are two ways to stop this kind of string wear, and no, not hitting the wall isn't one of them.
First is to use head protection tape on your racket. When the racket scrapes the wall, the tape takes the punishment. When the tape starts to show excessive wear, pull it off and replace it with a new strip. This will also increase the life of the frame itself.
The other way, assuming that they are available, is to replace the bumper guard. Newer rackets are usually easy to find replacement bumper guards for. The guards can be replaced while being restrung and are the best way to reduce damage to the strings and frame. For an older racket, you'll have to go the head tape route to protect the strings and frame.
If you have any questions on rackets, bumper guards or strings, stop in and we'll help you find the right ones for your game.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tennis Myth - Poly "Lasts" Longer

The number one reason we hear for why people use poly is that it lasts longer.
This assumption is true, but only up to a point.
A poly string is likely to take a longer amount of time to break, but that is only telling half the story. While a string may not break, all strings suffer from tension loss. Given enough time, all strings lose their ability to perform and return energy to the ball. When the strings don't perform to their potential, neither will you.
So what strings should you use?
For those who are likely to break strings in a short amount of time, poly strings are a good option. Chances are, those players are hitting the ball with a good amount of power and can benefit from the added durability and control poly strings offer.
If you are playing more than once a week, and can not break a poly string in under six months, they are probably not a good option. For those players, when you get to six months, a poly string will have lost a good deal of tension. This will result in loss of power, spin potential, and overall performance. True, while they have not broken, they are not "lasting" as long as other options might.
Multifilament strings and even basic synthetic gut strings will lose less tension over the same period of time and will perform better, longer. For players who don't break strings often, these strings will also add power and have a better feel than the stiffer, poly strings.
A good rule of thumb for restringing is to replace your strings as many times in a year as you play in a week. If you play twice a week, this means every six months. For those who do not tend to break strings, the softer, non-poly strings will maintain more of their performance at the six-month mark. For a non-string breaker, this may actually buy you a little more time before the string performance drops to the point of becoming a hindrance to your game.
Again, for those that break strings often, you will likely break the string before the tension loss becomes an issue. For the rest of us, a multifilament will be a more arm-friendly, better performing and very likely, longer lasting option when you re-string.

Stop in and we'll help you pick a string that best fits your needs and your game.