What is it today? Racquet 1 or Racquet 2

How many of you carry two or more racquets in your bag? Are they the same make and model or are you carrying two different racquets and consider one your back-up and the other your "go to" racquet? For competitive players the first scenario is more the norm if you're level of play is higher and you're a tournament player. For the average recreational player, however, the second scenario is much more common and it's something I see quite frequently. So let's talk about both and draw some conclusions that might be helpful.

First, can we all agree that for the most part, tennis players are a bit, shall we say, peculiar when it comes to how they view and approach their tennis game? Here's an example. How many of you can pop a string in your "go to" racquet and then pick up your back-up and not miss a beat if your back-up racquet is not identical to your #1? Is it immediately in your head that you can't play as well with your back-up as you can with your #1 racquet? My experience has been that over 90% of you will lose confidence if you have to switch from racquet #1 to racquet #2 in the middle of a match. This becomes even more complicated when I deal with players who carry 3 different racquets and explain to me "Oh, is use these two for doubles, one when I'm serving and the other one when I'm returning serve and I use the third one for singles. WHAT? So where am I going with this? If you're trying to save money by using a different racquet for your backup but you have zero confidence in that backup racquet what's the point? In essence, you really don't have a backup do you? The question now becomes what to do to remedy the problem. Consider the following options:

  • If your racquet is over one year old but not older than three then you have a very good chance of finding a brand new one, exact make and model, for a fraction of what you originally paid for your #1 racquet. Do some online research and just type in the exact name of your racquet as in--Wilson nCode N1 and you'll be surprised at what you can find.
  • If your racquet is more than three years old the percentages of finding an exact match drop dramatically. So what can you do? Enlist the services of a trained racquet technician with the proper equipment to spec out your old racquet. Now, take those specs to your local tennis retailer or call your favorite online retailer and give them those specs.  Ask them to give you some demo options to try, same make & model first and then maybe one or two other brands with specs identical or as near identical as possible to your old racquet. Typically you can find frames with close matches to length, head size, string pattern, balance & swing weight. The one spec that will most often be harder to match is the stiffness of the frame.
  • For those of you who carry two of the same racquet I would recommend that you too, find a trained and qualified racquet technician with the necessary equipment and have them provide you with your racquet specs. Tuck that information in your back pocket and the next time you're ready to buy new racquets you'll know exactly what to look for.

This is a topic that I address often in my shop and to say it is a situation that many players experience would be an understatement. Most players feel that changing racquets is akin to visiting the dentist for a root canal. They have little motivation to start the process and they can be easily frustrated because many times they're not working with trained and knowledgeable people to guid them through the process. There's link HERE on the IART website with over 40 local tennis shops around the world that have qualified racquet technicians that can help. Hopefully you can find one in or very near to your immediate area.


Written by Tim Strawn

Executive Director, IART

Leave a Reply