Friday, July 31, 2009

Hitting with John

It feels great to be back on the court. Had a nice rally session with John. We both has some rust, but really the only major issues with my game was the footwork. I was a bit lazy, and had trouble moving quickly on the court. My forehand was a bit underpowered but consistent and my when needed, I didn't have trouble turning up the power for winners. I did though have issues with high forehands, just had timing issues. Backhand wise I'm pretty happy, shoulder feels great and I can get some pace on it now. Slice is floating up a bit too much but I need to step in more instead of chop the ball.

Service wise... well my 2nd serve is getting better, but I'm having issues with my timing on my 1st serve. Need to put in alot of work on it this weekend. All in all, not bad for such a long layoff!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Racquet History - Prince Precision 730

Prince Precision 730

In my haste to find more copies of the Precision Response, I stumbled across the Precision 730. Basically it looked like a POG but in longbody form and lighter in weight. It served great, but then again all I've always served well with longbody frames. I just couldn't get much pop off my strokes with it. My shots would be either way too big, or way too soft. It must of been the strings strung too low. Regardless it was a nice frame to have and I kind of felt like my idol Michael Chang out on the court with it (crossbar stabilizer). I should of given it more of a chance but it just didn't feel right to me.

Racquet History - Prince More Control

Prince More Control

When I realized the More Response wasn't really the sucessor to the Precision Response line, I found out about the More Control. Definitely more of a players racquet than the More Response, it was only 11.5 oz but felt much heavier. It also had a slightly smaller headsize at 97. Generally I was ok with the frame except for its stiffness. It made impact like a rock, almost pure driverish... Still it was a decent racquet but around this time, I was wary of the "More" line and wanted something with grommets and still in production. I will note that the color scheme was pretty sweet, with the white and black halfs.

Weight - 11.5 oz
String Pattern - 16 x 20
Headsize - 97 sq in
Flex - 71

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Racquet History - Prince More Precision

Prince More Precision

I hated this racquet. After not being able to find another More Response, I picked this up. Thinner beam, felt even stiffer than the Response, and more heft. At this point I was taking huge cuts on the ball and it was definitely underpowered. Everything went over as powder puff shots. This didn't last long. I think if I would of dropped the tension it would of been ok, but it felt way too stiff for my liking despite the fact it had a thinner beam. It came with a leather grip too so that just threw everything even more off for me.

Weight - 11.5
String Pattern - 16 x 19
Headsize - 95 sq in
Balance - 7 pts HL
Flex - 66

Racquet History - Prince More Response

Prince More Response

Sadly though, after giving up tennis in college, I lost my precision response. after about a 5-6 year absense I set out to look for a new racquet. Sticking to what I knew, I found the next iteration of the Response. What I got was the More Response. I honestly took a huge liking to this racquet. It was light, but not too light (11 oz). HL but not too HL (4 pts). It had a nice open string pattern and although it had a thin beam, it had a 70 stiffness rating. I have to say it was the best racquet for me coming back. Not exactly a players racquet, but light enough and easy enough to play to get my strokes back (and I was basically starting from scratch...).

I actually will go on to say I loved this frame and I went through many loops to secure and hunt down backups for it. Ultimately though the grommetless design worked against the racquet. My many off center shots (more specifically, on the serve, hitting close to the upper hoop) would cause the strings to press against the edge of the holes. Since I was stringing polys on the mains at 61 lbs, this led to frequent breaks (sometimes days apart).

Since I couldn't find more backups (at a fair price) I was forced to really ramp up my quest for my next racquet. I still have fond memories of this racquet, and credit it for being there for me while I got back into the game I love, but I'll be the 1st to say it... it's a tweener stick and big departure from the Precision Response tradition.

Weight - 11.1 oz
String Pattern - 16 x 20
Headsize - 100 sq in
Balance - 4 pts HL
Flex - 70

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Racquet History - Prince Precision Response

Prince Precision Response

For a long time, this was my holy grail. I loved this racquet. It took some initial getting used to b/c it was my 1st players racquet and with my skinny arms swinging around an 11+ oz frame. Plus it was my 1st headlight balanced racquet. It was also around this time ironically I transitioned my game from playing at the net to your basic counter puncher. My forehand was pretty much all spin, but my backhand was flat and hit most of the winners; this racquet was able to play both styles perfectly. This racquet gave me a ton of spin, and a decent pop on my strokes. I can't explain it, but it just felt right. The balance (headlight, but not too headlight), the spin (open 16x20 string pattern), the power (heavier but not too heavy), the flex (not too flexy, not too stiff), just everything. From here on out every racquet that I've liked has had specs that almost mirror the Precision Response.

Weight - 11.6 oz
String Pattern - 16 x 20
Headsize - 97 sq
Balance - 8 pts HL
Flex - 65

Racquet History - Prince Thunder 820

Prince Thunder 820

After messing around with aluminum frames, my parents finally decided I was worthy of upgrading to graphite. I knew I wanted a longbody (shorties like me and Michael Chang had them) and the thunder was within my parent's price point. I had some fond memories of this stick, but too bad it didn't last. What I do remember was I hitting blasts from the baseline. It was nice and light, and the extended length gave me something to really hold onto on my 2 hander.

My fondest memory of the racquet was a night time match I had against my dad. There was a thunderstorm brewing and I was on serve. It was Ad out, and I had to hold serve to force a tiebreaker. I remember tossing the ball up and about to strike, when my dad yelled out as loud as he could "BOOOOM!!!". Thinking I had been struck by lightning b/c of my longbody racquet, I let go and dropped to the floor. Then I heard the laughter, followed by "fault". I went on to double fault in anger and lose the match... good times.

The love affair didn't last long as I kept breaking the strings on this sucker every couple of days. Now I know I have always hit with alot of topspin, but I was only 14 years old... Alas, and luckily enough I ended up moving onto a frame that would influence my game in so many ways...

Length - 28"
String Pattern - ? ~ open
Weight - 10 oz

Racquet History - Wilson Air Kannon

Well being that it won't stop raining, I decided to go on a journey through memory lane. As you can probably tell I'm a huge gear head. I've played with a ton of frames and I thought I'd give my opinion on them.

Wilson Air Kannon

Yes, I had one of Wilson's aluminum knockoffs of their own Sledgehammer line. I remember it being really light (relatively), lots of vibration, and huge! I think while learning the game, I really can't provide much insight into the frame. Nevertheless you have to start somewhere and I started here.