Swing weight is the balance of a tennis racket. The center of mass (COM) is where all the weight in a racket is concentrated and it’s located somewhere near the grip end of the racquet.
A good racquet should have its COM at least 85% towards the grip end, to provide greater control on shots. The closer the COM is to the grip end, the lighter the racquet will feel and easier it will be to swing.
The ease of swinging a racket depends on many factors:
1) The weight of a racket:
The more weight in a racket, the more powerful but slower your shots will be. Less weight means more speed, but less power.
2) The balance of a racket:
The balance is the relationship between weight on the head and weight on the handle. A good racquet will have most of its weight concentrated around or above the hand area.
3) Swing weight:
Swing weights describe how heavy a racket feels when you attempt to swing it.
How Does Swing Weight Affect Your Performance?
A tennis racquet is an extension of your arm and if you use a racket with bad swing weight, it will affect your game performance in many ways. Here are the things that happen when you play with a badly balanced racquet:
1) You struggle to generate enough power on serves, forehands, and backhands.
2) When you hit the ball, most of your energy goes towards moving the racquet’s weight around instead of focusing on accelerating the racquet head speed. This is especially true for off-center shots. With a heavy swing weight, it takes more effort to rotate the racket around its axis lessening your chances of hitting the ball cleanly. It may also cause you to send the ball out even if you make contact with it squarely!
3) The racquet becomes distracting and tiresome during long matches. Heavy rackets are often difficult to maneuver and even harder to control, which means it’s more likely that you will miss-hit shots at the most important points in the game.
A racquet that has poor swing weight will certainly affect your swing mechanics and can lead to injuries such as tennis elbow or shoulder problems. You may also experience wrist, arm, or back pain due to inefficient energy transfer from your body to the head of the racquet, which is why it’s important to find a racquet with good swing weight for best results.
How Can You Determine the Swing Weight of a Tennis Racquet?
There is no universal method to determine the swing weight of your racquet, but here are some tips that you can use:
1) Hold the racquet with both hands and make sure it’s in an outstretched position so you can easily feel the weight and balance.
2) Bend your arms slightly and slowly swing the racquet in a pendulum motion. If it swings smoothly, the head of the racquet is light and it has good swing weight. A stiff racquet denotes poor swing weight.
3) Start with your arm hanging down at your side, then swing the racquet up to your shoulder. You should be able to feel the weight of the racquet while it’s resting on your shoulder.
How can you change the swing weight of a stock racket?
There are at least three ways:
1) Adjust the balance point of the racket. This is a pretty effective way to make a heavy racket feel lighter, but it makes the racket head-heavy which could lead to control issues.
Advantage: Cheap and easy.
Disadvantages: Head-heavy feel, possible loss of control.
2) Add lead tape to the top of the racket head. This will definitely make the racket feel heavier than it is already, possibly too heavy for some players who are not used to it. It can be an effective way of adding weight though, especially if you only need to add a little bit.
Advantages: Cheap and easy.
Disadvantages: Heavier feel, possibly adding too much weight to the head without realizing it.
3) Replace the grommets with heavier ones. This is a big job that requires special equipment, but it will definitely make a racket feel significantly heavier than before if you do a good job of it. Some players might actually prefer this, as it gives them a much more solid feel.
Advantages: Significant weight added to the head of the racket, feels like a different racket altogether.
Disadvantages: A big job that requires special equipment, not for beginners or those without experience in grommet replacement.
You can also try a combination of options 1 and 2. Add some lead tape to the top of the racket head, then adjust its balance point, this will make it head-heavy without losing control.
What Swing Weight Perfects Your Game Style?
Every player has his or her own style of play whether it be defensive, aggressive, or somewhere in between. The size and shape of the frame are ideal for some players while it may not be so great for others who need to hold on to their racket a little bit tighter.
The most important thing to know is which grip suits you best because it is the grip that will determine the overall size and weight of your racket. It is ideal for a player to have a grip in between the midsize and oversize grip because it allows them more control over their shots while also being able to generate some power on serves and groundstrokes.
The swing weight of D-1 would suit this type of player because it will make a racket feel lighter without sacrificing too much control.
A player who would benefit from a swing weight beginning at E-1 would have an oversize or jumbo grip that the player uses to generate power from baseline shots and hard-hitting serves. This type of player needs more torque on their racket to be able to power through their shots without losing control.
The player who uses the Eastern grip would need a swing weight beginning at E-2 so that they can generate enough power to drive through balls without sacrificing too much control. The oversize or jumbo grip would be perfect for this type of player as well because it allows them to hold on to the racket a little tighter which is their style of play.
FAQs (Frequently Ask Questions)
How do you measure swing weight?
To determine the swing weight of your racket, you must first balance it on a finger. It should balance perfectly in the middle. If it is balanced closer to the top or bottom, you will want to add lead tape in that area until it balances in the center.
There are precise weights for particular models which conform to their reference grip size but, as a general rule, you can add or subtract weight from your racket according to your playing style. For every 1/8 ounce that the racket weighs, it will change swing weight by 1 point.
Does swing weight matter in tennis?
The swing weight can matter to some players because it influences the feel of the racket. For example, if you want to hit with more power you will want a heavier racket head so your shot won’t fly long every time you try to go for a winner. Players who do not like heavy rackets should stick to rackets that are made using lighter materials such as Titanium.