The Natural Tennis Racquet – A Diary

It has been several weeks since our last blog entry.  Our customers have been excellent to us during these difficult economic times and we have been blessed to continue growing.  The downside of growth is there is less time to devote to non-essential business functions such as blogging.  2010 will likely find fewer blog entries from us.  While we attempted to post weekly in 2009, we are aiming for twice per month in 2010.  We hope you will continue reading and enjoying when we are able to post.  If you don’t already follow us on Twitter, we invite you to do so.  Micro-blogging (or tweeting) is less time consuming and while we have reduced our tweets, we will keep our followers abreast of twitter specials and deals via that medium during 2010.  Now onto the heart of the post…

Always on the prowl for arm-friendly racquets we came across a double handled racquet called “The Natural” tennis racquet.  The specs were interesting to us so we began researching the racquet.  After some initial reading we learned there was not much information posted about this unusal racquet.  They do have a web site and there are a couple of threads on discussion boards, but that is all the information available.  (Some interesting videos on YouTube also exist.)

We decided to see for ourselves if the racquet might be an alternative for some people.  It arrived two days ago. Our first order of business was to “pimp it out.”  In other words we added a stringbed of red mains and black crosses of the new MSV Hepta-Twist (soon to be available and soon to be a blog topic).  Next we wrapped the grips with purple and lime overwrap and used some red and yellow finishing tape.  Our goal was “gawdy as possible.”  Afterall, we want to attract attention when using this puppy.

Because of the scarcity of information we decided to make an online blog diary of our experience with this racquet.  Our first official hitting session will be this evening where we will form some initial opinions and report back in diary form, however yesterday, January 13, curiosity got the better of us and we took it to the courts at lunch.  Impressions below.

JANUARY 13, 2010 Today we share some preliminary observations after a brief hitting session against a wall and some serving practice.  Note:  Live action will be tomorrow, 1/14/10.

1.  It will take some time to adjust to the angle of the handles.  It is unrealistic to expect to be able to hit at 100% efficiency with this frame out of the box.  It will require some adjustments and muscle memory will have to be relearned.  I suspect it will take several hours of hitting sessions before I am comfortable using this racquet in match play.

2.  Some will use the racquet with the goal of hitting one hand off of each side.  In my case I am learning to hit two handed off of both sides.  I already hit a two-handed backhand and hitting that side with this racquet took just minor adjustments.  Felt really good.  Can’t wait to see how it performs in live action later today.  The two-handed forehand was very akward. Probably because it was not as natural for me.  Will have to work on it. Hitting with one hand was more comfortable for me, and I could rally against the wall with control using one hand, but that is not my goal.

3.  I now understand why it comes in 27″, 28″ and 29″ options.  After just a short wall session, I believe if hitting with two hands, the longer options may be better, although I am not sure what the extra length may mean for arm health. The model I am testing is the 27″ model with the 4 1/4″ grip.  Typically I use 4 1/2, but with two hands the smaller size does not bother me…so far.

4.  Used some different muscle groups in shoulders and upper back.  I expected to be sore today, but surprisingly I am not.  Must be due to the post workout chocolate milk chaser kicking in!

5.  The angled handles are intriguing.  I can see some distinct possibilites of additional leverage on groundstrokes, but it will require some grip work.  This is an area that definitely needs additional exploration.

6.  Serves.  The first dozen or so found the bottom of the net or the fence.  I tried serving with both the front and back handles.  I ultimately chose to focus on using the front handle.  The contact point has to be higher with this racquet when using the front handle in order to clear the net.  Ultimately that is GOOD for power.  By hitting at a higher point of contact, more power is generated.  The angle actually helps here.  I was impressed with the zip I found on serve…that caught me by surprise.  Control and placement will require additional practice due to the new contact point.  Also pronating with this racquet was not as easy for me.  Again, this was a short hitting session consisting of only 5 dozen or so serves.  There is reason to be very optimistic about the serving potential for this racquet.

I came away from the session realizing that one has to be committed to learning how to use the racquet.  It’s not like demoing a typical racquet off the store shelf.  Thus we will keep updating this diary to share our experience with those who may be considering trying this racquet for themselves.

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5 Responses to The Natural Tennis Racquet – A Diary

  1. fsilber says:

    On the one-handed forehand you have to take the ball further out in front. The advantage for serving is that you don’t have to pronate, and maybe you shouldn’t. And maybe you should use a grip a bit more towards the eastern forehand grip. When I look at videos of the Battistone brothers, the string bed on the serve seems to face straight ahead before contact, during contact, and for a bit after contact. In other words, you get the height, power and spin of a proper serve, but with the easy timing of a pop-it-up beginner’s serve.

  2. ggtennis says:

    Well stated. I continue to experiment with pronation and am getting better at incorporating some spin action into the serves.

  3. lionel burt says:

    Hi

    I only came upon this blog today. I am the guy who invented the racquet-design. I think that your observations were valid and unbiased; an unusual occurrence. there are several Futures Tour players using the racquet. I guess you know that Brian Battistone got as low as 88 in the World in individual doubles and 11th among U.S. doubles players before he ran out of money to continue travelling. he is now playing the more-local money events and is doing well. he won both the singles and doubles in a San Diego event last month.

    I have a lot of experience in coaching with the racquet so, if there is anything else I can do to help you to understand the concept, please let me know. thanks again for your open-minded interest.

    incidentally “natural tennis” is no longer connected with the project.

    Lionel Burt (760) 935-4719

    • fsilber says:

      So “Natural Tennis” is no longer connected with the project? I was wondering why their sales inventory was declining. (They indicated to me that they would soon introduce a new generation of the technology.) Who now imports this product?

      Though I mainly volley two-handed, for groundstrokes I hit one-handed forehands exclusively. (Twenty eight years ago I learned that bending, lifting and twisting with both hands on the racket will quickly cripple me with back pain.) I haven’t yet learned to hit one-handed backhands with this racket — would there be any point in that?

      I’ve been using the 28″ racket; what are the trade-offs when choosing between sizes?

  4. Tony Davies says:

    Message to Lionel Burt.

    I currently have 3 Natural Tennis Rackets but want to buy another 3. Any idea where I can buy them ?

    Thanks, Tony Davies UK (qualitydigs2@yahoo.co.uk)

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