Racquet & String Terms

Balance: Static measure of weight distribution in a racquet and measured from the butt end in inches and/or centimeters. Commonly referenced in "points" head light or head heavy - each "point" represents 1/8 inch. Generally speaking, heavier racquets are head light to maintain maneuverability, while most of today's super-light racquets are head heavy to supply enough mass (which translates into power) to the area of the frame where the ball is being contacted. A 27 inch racquet with a balance point of 12-1/2 inches is 1 inch, or 8 points head light (even balance would be 13-1/2 inches). A 28 inch racquet with a balance point of 15 inches is 1 inch (or 8 points) head heavy. Static balance ultimately affects swingweight (see below), which is a dynamic measure of racquet maneuverability.

Cross-Section: The width/diameter of a frame or string. Usually measured in millimeters. Frames - a wider cross-section frame will be stiffer than a thinner frame, all things being equal (ATBE). Strings - a thicker cross-section string will be more durable than a thinner string, ATBE.

Damping (or Dampening): Generally refers to vibration and/or shock damping. Handle systems, such as Prince's Air+ Comfort Handle, Wilson's Triad Technology with Iso.Zorb and Head's ShockStop are designed to reduce frame shock and vibration before they reach the player's hand. Weight is also effective in decreasing shock and vibration. Rubber string dampers reduce string vibration only - they have no effect on frame shock or vibration (it's simple physics - a 2 gram string damper versus a 250-350 gram racquet striking a 60 gram ball...).

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