Since our last entry, bad weather has prevented us from significant play time. However, we have been able to get out for a couple of hitting sessions and feel it is time to update our experiences with the playtesting of this racquet.
First…local customers please take note, Guts and Glory Tennis now has demos of The Natural available for playtesting purposes. Contact us if you are interested in taking one to the court for your personal playtest!
Having come to the revelation that hitting the forehand with one hand offered advantages for me, I set out to explore this phenomena further. (If you did not read the previous diary entries, I began the playtesting adventure attempting to hit a two-handed forehand). So far, in hitting sessions with live opponents and the ball machine, I have found more spin, power and control off the forehand side with The Natural than any racquet I have hit. I’m enjoying the experience immensely!!! It should be noted the forehand has always been my weakest side and quite frankly a major liability in my game. The confidence I am gaining in hitting forehands with The Natural is amazing. I have to attribute the difference to the off-centered handle. The 24 degree angle of the racquet handle possesses magic for me. With The Natural on one-handed shots the hand is actually BEHIND the ball at impact. For reasons I am completely unable to explain, this makes a world of difference to me in terms of control and power. In short, I am beginning to believe my forehand liability may become a strength with the aid of this racquet.
Now I have to bring the rest of my game up to speed to actually use the racquet in a match. I am seriously considering using it this weekend, but only if I am able to get enough practice in during the coming week and can overcome some of the aspects that still are not natural for me. The serve, while offering added power, needs work because the contact point has to be higher than my normal point of contact. I also have lingering questions about overheads and volleys. I still have trouble remembering to switch the grip after serving and am thinking the reverse grip switch will be necessary when hitting overheads. I have not hit any overheads in match play and need to get out and hit some soon!
Yesterday our demos of the 28″ and 29″ frames arrived. I took the 28″ frame to the courts and used it for serving ONLY. I could definitely feel a difference. The contact point had to be higher to be effective and I was more prone to hitting long with the longer version. I also fear the added length may not be arm-friendly, but will need to test this.
As I was preparing to leave the practice court a bizarre, yet exciting, discovery was made. I grabbed a couple of spare balls to hit into the corner across the net with the others to be scooped. In so doing I hit them underhand since I had been serving for an hour. Holy smoley…did that just happen??? The spin was so prevalent that the ball landed and hopped as if the strings were of the outlawed spaghetti stringing variety. Of course this piqued my curiosity and I found that with the serving grip and extreme downward motion some crazy biting spin could be imparted. The hop is absolutely nuts. There is clearly potential for this to be a potent weapon as a change of pace serve as well as a change of pace shot in rallies. This revelation certainly warrants additional exploration. The 24 degree angle of the handle makes the extreme and unpredictable spin production possible.
When will I use the racquet in a match? How will my opponents react? Will I find the extra length versions superior to the 27″ version? Will I master the crazy undercut spin action? Will I ever grow comfortable with the grip changes? All of these questions and more will be addressed in future blog/diary entries. Please check back for updates!