Customization simply means making your racquet fit your particular needs and playing style. As a USRSA Master Racquet Technician, We understand the principles and processes of racquet customization.
Here are our top five suggestions for customizing your racquet:
Grip Sizing and Modification
We can build up or reduce the size of your grip, or even change its shape.
A grip that is too small is a possible source of tennis elbow. Although Rafael Nadal famously uses a 4 1/8 inch grip (plus overgrips), most recreational players should use a grip that will allow them to comfortably grip the racquet, not choke it to death.
Butt caps aren't as big as they used to be. We can build up just the butt end of your grip to prevent the racquet from slipping out of your hand. This also works well for people who like to choke up on their racquets.
You like your racquet but you don't like your grip? Some people prefer rounder grips and some prefer flatter grips. We can modify the shape of your racquet to suit your preference.
If you can find a replacement grip that suits your hand, you can save yourself many times the cost of the replacement by not having to contantly buy overgrips.
If you're left handed like us, try replacing your grip with a new grip that is "lefty wrapped" -- wrapped opposite of the standard wrap so that the overlaps on the grip line up with the fingers of your left hand.
Whether you use an overgrip or not, a leather grip provides a firm feel that gives you the feedback you need to know how you are striking the ball. It also facilitates faster grip changes, a must now that we no longer use a continental grip for all our strokes.
Although it is physically impossible to make your racquet lighter, we can add weight to your racquet in many ways to good effect.
For example, excessive shock impact is bad for the arm and is usually caused by a racquet that is too light. Adding weight to the handle of your racquet increases its overall weight without increasing its swingweight too much. Adding weight at the 2 and 10 o'clock positions on the hoop of the racquet can reduce the shock on your arm and add torsional stability to the racquet. And so on.
Matching. Also known as "tuning."
Do you like one of your racquets more than the others? This could be because your racquets differ in some important ways. It is rare that two racquets, even if they come out of the same mold, will actually be identical beyond the "specs."
Tuning racquets is the process of making multiple racquets match each other in terms of (a) overall weight, (b) balance, and (c) swingweight.
Overall (static) weight and balance are easy to measure, but measuring the swingweight of a racquet requires a sophisticated machine like the Babolat RDC or Prince Precision Tuning Center.
A string job that is appropriate to your tennis game is is the most basic form of customization we can perform on your racquet. May we suggest you consider:
Natural gut: Is widely recognized to be the best string available. Why?
Hybrids: Any string job that uses different strings for the main (up and down) and cross (side to side) strings is considered a "hybrid." Hybrids provide the best of both worlds. You can take advantage of the durability of a monofilament main string and the playability of a multifilament cross string, or the power of a multifilament main string and the control of a monofilament cross string.
Any two tennis strings can be mixed together to create a very unique hybrid playing characteristics. The Solinco Hybrid System of Tour Bite and Vanquish is shown here, but any of the strings that we carry can be mixed and matched. Since only a half set is used, the price per half a set is half of the advertised price. Many of the top touring pros are now using hybrids.
Cathy & Gordie Lehman