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PostHeaderIcon Ask Marla #9 – Tips for the Off-Season (Part 3: Equipment Changes)


This is the third of a three-part series (Take Stock/Take Time Off, Training Tips for Upcoming Season, and Equipment Changes) that will focus on things you can do to help your game during the off-season.

Question: Is this a good time to make equipment changes?

Answer: With regards to equipment, this is definitely time to think about making changes. Start doing some research, find out what’s new and what’s coming out (that may help your game), and talk to someone who knows about the equipment you’re interested in i.e. racquets, strings, etc.

If you’re going to demo a racquet I’d highly recommend waiting until the first of the year. That’s when the new products will be out and in the stores. It’s the best time to demo and hit with all the latest and greatest! So hold off on any new racquet purchases until then.

Question: How about changing strings. Is this the best time to make a change or is it okay to experiment throughout the season?

Answer: If you’re going to get a new racquet, I would hold off strings because it all depends on your game and the racquet. Talk to a local pro about your game and what you’re looking to achieve. Do you need more control? Do you want to develop more spin? Get advice on strings that might be able to help you achieve the goals of your game.

With respect to racquets, there are many factors that can affect your strings such as open/closed string patterns and racquet stiffness. Are you looking for durability, or are you looking for playability. Keep in mind that changing your string tension can also make a big difference in your game without changing strings. Just remember that you have to be willing to experiment to find what works best for you.

(SFTF Note: I wholeheartedly agree on talking to a trusted local pro before making any major equipment changes. Because I’d previously taken lessons with Marla, she knew my game, knew my goals, and successfully guided me to my current racquet (HEAD Speed MP 315).

Marla also convinced me to string my racquets with a hybrid combo that gives me great playability yet also helps my string jobs last for more than three weeks. Lastly, her familiarity with my shoulder issues led to a push for reduced string tension from 60 pounds to 52. Besides feeling better on my shoulder, the reduced tension helps my string jobs last even longer.

These are the type of customized suggestions you could never get from random online reviews. I love my racquet, love my strings, and feel like my game continues to evolve and improve. All thanks to the help I received from my local pro.

You want my advice? Take the time to get help from a trusted pro/coach in your area. Any type of equipment changes you want to make, and their associated mental/financial costs, will be well worth the effort when you successfully come out on the other side!)

Got a tennis question? Send it via email or tweet for “Ask Marla”, a (hopefully) weekly (or biweekly) question-and-answer with Marla Reid of San Francisco’s City Racquet Shop.

About Marla

Marla Reid is a respected tennis pro/coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s coached nationally-ranked teams and players, and has over 15 years of experience at the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels. Marla owns and operates City Racquet Shop in San Francisco CA.

About City Racquet Shop

City Racquet Shop offers, superior products/services, outstanding customer service, and a community-oriented destination for tennis players to shop, hang out and talk about tennis.

City Racquet Shop online: www.cityracquetshop.com
City Racquet Shop on Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/city-racquet-shop-san-francisco
City Racquet Shop on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cityracquetshop

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