Difference in Head-heavy and Head-light Rackets

 

As modern racket technology increases, players find more and more ways they can customize their rackets. Head size, string tension, racket material, length, and weight, and all play crucial parts in racket performance. With the advent of new materials such as graphite, Kevlar, and titanium, rackets have become lighter and lighter. In order to cater to different styles of play, manufacturers have modifying the balance of different models.

The balance point of a racket is the spot on the frame which, when placed on a thin beam, will let the racket sit level, without either end tipping up or down. If this point is directly in the center of the frame, the racket is considered “balanced.” If it is closer the top of the frame, it is called “head-heavy,” and conversely, a balance point closer to the handle classifies the racket as “head-light.” Although the terms “heavy” and “light” are used, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one end weighs more than the other, it means that the mass at one end of the frame is denser than the other, causing the racket to function differently. Since the balance point is measured in terms of distance from the middle of the racket, it is expressed in millimeters, inches, or points—each point representing 1/8 of an inch.

Head-heavy rackets provide more mass to the top of the frame. This mass is converted into power. The more head-heavy your racket is, the more power will be generated from your racket when it strikes the ball, but with this increase in power comes a decrease in control. Many smaller players prefer head-heavy rackets in order to strengthen their shots. However with a lightweight, head-heavy racket, more shock is transferred into the wrist and arm of the player when the racket and ball make contact. Over time this could potentially lead to tennis elbow, or other long-term injuries.

Head-light rackets are less powerful than their counterparts, however they provide you with more control over your shot placement. Many professionals that are able to generate enough power with their arms use head-light rackets in order to maximize their maneuverability. These racquets also tend to be more stable, as an increase in mass decreases the shock that your body receives. Most tennis authorities seem to agree that head-light rackets are the healthiest for your arm in the long run.

Head-heavy rackets make it possible for smaller or weaker players to hit shots just as hard as muscular players. Prolonged use increases the likelihood of injuries, however, for a player who doesn’t spend very much time on the court, it is unlikely that these problems will develop. Head-light rackets diminish the potential power of your racket, but increase control and maneuverability. They also seem to be the safest choice for players who get in as much time on the court as possible. A balanced racket is a solid choice for a beginner, before they figure out what type of player they are.

 


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