Racquet customization can be as simple as changing your replacement grip to completely change the specs of your racquet. Some players like to extend their replacement grip because of a two handed backhand, or build up their butt cap, or use a rubber band instead of a vibration dampener. Everyone is different, so it makes sense that they will like different racquets and different set ups. The playing characteristics of a racquet can be altered to fit your playing style and ability. My racquet is heavy, but not so heavy that I can’t swing it comfortably without being fatigued. I found what I like best by trying different setups and by adjusting the racquet specs to help my style of play. An experienced racquet technician can help you get the best performance out of your racquet by helping you find your ideal weight, swing weight, and balance point.
How many of you have had multiple racquets and had one that just felt better than the others? I remember when I was younger I played with a Prince CTS Lighting. I loved that racquet and over a few years ended up with four. I remember thinking that the older ones I had felt different than the newer ones. I thought at the time that they changed the specs. Now I know that the older ones could have been produced at a different factory and could have been at different ends of the range for that racquet.
Manufacturers allow up to a 5% swing on weight, swing weight, and balance point. The only thing they seem to be consistent on is the flex of the racquet. Some manufactures have a tighter range than others, but in the end no matter what racquet company you prefer you may need them customized. If you buy two racquets off the wall, they look the same but they are not. Even though your racquets are made by the same manufacturer and they are the exact same model. They could and most likely will be off a little in weight and swing weight. If you break a string in a match and go to your back up it could take you several games to adjust even if it’s only a slight difference between the two racquets. That could be the difference between winning and losing. That’s why the pros have all their racquets customized. When there is money on the line, every point counts. Serious players should definitely have their racquets customized.
How do you get your ideal specs? The answer is find an experienced Racquet Technician that has the right equipment and is willing to go on court. If getting on the court with you isn’t an option a lot of racquet techs will allow a time frame for some trial and error to help you find what works best for you. They can get a pretty good idea of how to help you by asking a few questions. USRSA has a list of Master Racquet Technicians in the find a stringer section so you can find someone near you. The website is www.racquettech.com. Once you find someone near you make sure they have a machine to measure swing weight. Swing weight in technical terms is dynamic inertia. To the rest of us it’s the weight you feel when you swing the racquet. This is the most important measurement, because it measures the weight you feel when you swing the racquet. I use a Precision Tuning Center made by Prince, but there are several good machines for checking swing weight.
Some aspects of customization of your racquet can be done on your own very easily, like changing replacement grips, adding over grips, using vibration dampeners, and my choice of using a thick rubber band as a vibration dampener. When you start altering the specs of your racquet you are better off getting professional help. Some alterations could void the warranty of your racquet. You could also put yourself at risk for injury if you don’t know the specs of your equipment and you’re not experienced with adding weight. Leave that part of customization to the professionals.