Ask The Pro – Fast Rackets?
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Question: The top players use very fast rackets and sponge, and rally very fast. If I want to improve, should I also use a very fast racket and sponge, and try to rally very fast in practice?
USA Team Member Sean Lonergan: A lot of players try to upgrade their game by going to faster equipment. While upgrades are needed as you develop your game, improving your timing and technique should be your priority. When you practice, work on taking the ball more at the top of the bounce or even on the rise, and you will see your speed and ability to handle speed improve. If your timing is already sufficient and opponents handle your shots easily, then you may want to go to a faster blade, thicker sponge or spinnier rubber.
One way I evaluate a blade is how well I can push short and return serve. If I cant control these shots, then the blade is probably too fast. It may feel great hitting or looping but every point starts with serve and return of serve. If you can control these, then the blade could be right one for you, or you could try a level faster and see how the control changes.
Fast rallying and power come much more from technique and timing than from glued up sponge or an extra fast blade. If you can control the faster blade, then you can make your stroke more compact and get the same effect, which will make you quicker. Upgrade to faster equipment if you have the control needed; otherwise, focus on improving your technique, and then try incrementally going to faster equipment. Top players that use very fast equipment can do so from years of training to develop their technique, and they learn what blade and rubber will best complement their strengths and weaknesses.
One last thought if you practice regularly, youll be able to handle a fast blade far better than if you play once or twice a week, where a slower blade makes more sense.