How big is your head?

No not that head silly. It's the head of your racquet I'm talking about here. I'm often ask for racquet recommendations and my experience has been that the women are more open to larger head sizes than the men are. Call it a testosterone problem if you will, but on this one I have to agree with the women. The underlying question to be answered here is why would anyone limit themselves to something like a 90, 95 or even 100 square inch  frame? I'll agree that with a smaller frame when you hit it "sweet" it's a very solid feeling and you get a lot of pop on the ball BUT, how many recreational players can take a smaller frame and consistently hit that sweet spot? Now you get the picture right?

Let's take a great example and look at the different models of racquets that Federer has used throughout his career. Starting when he first appeared in 1998.

Wilson Pro Staff Tour 90

1998-2002----Wilson Pro Staff 85 6.0 Mid
In 2002 nat the French Open he used a Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.0, the first time he used a 90 sq in frame on tour and he stuck with this head size for most of his career.
2003-2004----Wilson Pro Staff Tour 90
2004-2006----Wilson n6.1 Tour 90
2007-2009----Wilson K Factor Six One Tour 90
2010-2011----Wilson Six.One Tour BLX 90
2012-2013----Wilson BLX Pro Staff Six.One 90
2014-present-Wilson Pro Staff RF97

Wilson Pro Staff RF97

The big change for Federer came in 2014 when he added a full 7 sq inches to his frame with the RF97. The racquet went through a few upgrades but all were 97 sq inches and the difference in his game has been noticeable, if not remarkable. Fewer mishits and a retooled backhand that without a doubt can be attributed to a new found confidence in his 97 square inch racquet. So what's the point? The point is that the proof is, as they say, in the pudding. Federer increased his major titles to 19 in 2017 winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He's also reversed roles, dominating Nadal in every final they've played in 2017 including a 6-4, 6-3 straight sets win in Shanghai.

Now, I nor certainly any of the rest of us are remotely close to the talent of a Roger Federer BUT, I think it's clear to see the difference in the transition laid out with the Federer frames that the more space you give yourself to hit with, the better your chances are of significantly improving your game. I tried this myself this year and started off using the new Wilson Burn 100 CV and while I hit ok with this frame, I was also mishitting too many balls and failing to get the depth I desired on my ground strokes. So, I switched to the Donnay Superlite 114 and the difference was immediately noticeable. Not only to me but my hitting partner commented that the improvement was glaring. My ground strokes were more penetrating and my volleys were more crisp and had much more depth than before. As I worked through the change there was also another addition; my confidence rose and I began hitting even better with the larger frame so for me personally, there's no going back.

In conclusion I would just say this, If you're in the market for a new frame don't be afraid to try a larger head size. Take several out and demo them all and I think you'll be surprised at the results.

Written by Tim Strawn

Executive Director, IART

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