Manufacturers design tennis rackets with different playing styles in mind. However, as players become more skilled, they often prefer to customize their rackets -- and one way is by changing how the weight is distributed. Weight added to different areas of the racket's head or handle alters how it performs. Locating where and how much weight to add may take several attempts before the racket feels and performs the way you prefer.
Things You'll Need
- Lead tape (1/4- or 1/2-inch wide)
- Fishing weights
- Roll of cotton
- Staple gun
Racket Head Locations
Measure and cut several pieces of lead tape. Typically, one inch of 1/4-inch tape equals 1/4 gram and one inch of 1/2-inch tape equals 1/2 gram. The length of the tape should not exceed six inches.
Apply the tape to the top of the racket on the inside of the frame. Tape in this location makes the racket more head-heavy and more powerful; however, it is less maneuverable. The sweet spot, where there is little to no vibration when making contact with the ball, will also be raised toward the top of the racket.
Put sections of lead tape at 10 and 2 o'clock, the upper shoulders of the racket's head, to raise the sweet spot and increase racket stability. The racket becomes more powerful but some maneuverability is lost.
Place lead tape at 9 and 3 o'clock to widen the sweet spot. This helps players who tend to hit the ball on the sides of the string bed. Twisting or torque of the racket when hitting off-center shots is reduced and the racket is more stable.
Apply lead tape at 6 o'clock, the throat of the racket, to lower the sweet spot. Tape at this location increases the overall weight while maintaining the balance of the racket.
Remove the tape holding the grip to the racket's handle. Unwind the grip and completely remove it. Removing the butt cap is not necessary.
Cut strips of lead tape to apply to the bevels of the racket's handle or wrap the handle with the lead tape. This causes head-heavy rackets to become more evenly balanced while increasing overall weight. The method you use depends on how much weight you want to add. Wrap a new grip around the handle.
Remove the butt cap to insert fishing weights as an alternate method for adding weight to the handle. Look at the bottom of the handle to see if there are holes available for the weights. Not all rackets are designed with holes, in which case you can only add weight to the handle as outlined in Step 2.
Widen the holes, if necessary, to accept the weights. Carefully remove some the of handle's material using a screwdriver.
Stuff the handle with cotton and pack it tightly until there two inches of space remain. Decide on how many weights to insert and wrap them with cotton so there is no rattling when they are inserted into the handle.
Pack in more cotton to finish filling the handle cavity. Replace the butt cap. Shake the racket or tap it on the floor. If you hear or feel rattling, remove the butt cap and pack more cotton into the handle.
Attach the butt cap with a staple gun once the weights are secure and there is no rattling. Wrap a new grip around the handle.
Tips & Warnings
- Use a hot glue gun to permanently hold the fishing weights in place.
- Racquet Sports Industry; Made to Order; Crawford Lindsey; May 2006
- "Stringer's Digest 2009;" Racquet Tech USRSA; 2009
- Tennis Warehouse: Customizing Racquet Weight & Balance
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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