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This site is for the best available objective
data on racquet performance and prevention of tennis elbow. No vague sales puffery,
condescending jocularity, or subjective playtest results -- just hard facts based on
measurements and physics.
If the physics part sounds scary or boring, don't worry. It isn't necessary to
know a lot of math and science to understand what's presented here, and as you read, you
may learn a lot in a fun way. For a short and simple summary of the main points,
read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Choosing a Tennis Racquet.
For an introduction and overview of the technical issues, and a description of the
criteria used for evaluation, please read Twelve
Objective Racquet Performance Criteria. You'll learn there why these criteria
Sweet Spot | Moment | Torque | Impulse
Reaction | Torsion | Shock | Work | Shoulder Pull
| Shoulder Crunch | Elbow Crunch | Impact
Impulse | Polar Moment
You will also find there the answers to these
Frequently Asked Questions:
The Formulas for Racquet Performance are
generalized in order that the evaluation criteria can be computed for any ball speed,
racquet elasticity, etc. These formulas are general enough to be used for any
eccentric impact situation, whether in tennis or elsewhere, such as golf or
baseball. Derivations of these
formulas are provided. Only high school algebra is required to understand the
formulas and derivations. Basic physics is helpful but not necessary, because enough
background is provided to learn basic mechanics and first year physics as you read.
To facilitate meaningful and concrete comparisons of different racquet models, two benchmark conditions were established, with given ball
speeds before and after impact, impact point 16 cm from the tip, a common axis of rotation
on the stroke, and string tension, ball bounce, and racquet stiffness, etc. such that the
coefficient of restitution is the same for all racquets (0.85). Formulas were applied, using the constants supplied by the
benchmark conditions and the variable values given by measurements of the racquets, to get
values under the performance criteria, then the rankings under the performance criteria
were used to determine rankings under the macro criteria of Elbow Safety, Shoulder Safety, Power, and Control.
Finally, these four macro criteria determined the Overall Rankings.
Here are the June 1999 evaluations.
Look up how your racquet ranks: Blackburne and
Cayman | Dunlop
and Fischer | Gamma,
Gosen, and Head | Kneissl
and Mitt | Prince | ProKennex,
Slazenger, and Spalding | Toalson,
Volkl, Wavex, and Weed | Wilson
| Yonex and
One result of applying the principles discussed here to racquet customization can be
found in the superior performance of a Wilson Hammer 6.2 95 extended an inch by a heavy
butt cap. To see these results, click here.
Another useful guide for customizers is the table showing
the results of adding lead tape to the tip of a Wilson ProStaff 6.0 85.
Data used for evaluations and ranking is from published measurements done by the
technicians of the US Racquet Stringers Association (USRSA), for strung and gripped
racquets. These measurements can be seen at the Racquet Measurements Page. To find the
sweet spot on your racquet, click here. Now go to
Racquet manufacturers are invited to send accurate strung and gripped racquet data, or
other information, for inclusion in future updates. Players and researchers are
cordially invited to correspond. Mailing address is:
|Wilmot H. McCutchen P.O. Box 689
All of the material on this site is copyrighted 1998 - 2000
Wilmot H. McCutchen. All Rights Reserved. No warranties are made, express or
implied. Your comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for visiting.
This site first appeared May 31, 1998.
Last updated: January