The Natural Racquet – Dear Diary Part 5

Yesterday I took “Tiger” to the courts to face our final MxD foe of the season.  “Tiger” is the name I have given the racquet, because with the advantages it provides for me,  using it is a lot like cheating.  (Insert groan here!)

Anyway, this was the second match using the racquet and first time I have unveiled it away from the friendly confines of our home courts.  I have to admit,  I was absolutely NOT prepared for the reaction.  As we warmed up my opponents were obviously distracted.  There was a lot of chatter between them attempting to figure out if it was legal and if I was going to actually use it in the match.  The chatter spread to their teammates on adjoining courts.  They were calling everyone to look at it and asking all teammates and spectators if it was legal.  (It is, by the way!)

By the time the match got underway, almost every eye in the facility was on me.  I could hear the snickers and feel the pressure of being watched.  As an introvert who is happy with methodically dismantling opponents in relative obscurity this was a new phenomena.  My game is just solid, steady and attracts very little attention.  If anything I am boring as I plod around the court retrieving balls patiently waiting for a high percentage shot at a winner or for my partner to end the point.  Yesterday with the pressure of so many eyes upon me, I was actually a little nervous, a feeling I rarely experience.

After the first few games were complete, I could feel some of the attention and focus drift away, a welcome relief for me.  Still, throughout the match I noticed several people watching who wouldn’t otherwise give my play a passing glance.  This is something that users will need to be aware of and may have to get used to.  The racquet is so unique and different, it creates commotion.  Fortunately on this day, with the help of my dynamic partner, we improved my league match record using Tiger to 2 – 0 with a three set victory.

Since the weather did not allow practice, the performance was similar to the previous week.  I did get caught with an incorrect grip a couple of times and did hit an underhanded service winner to end the second set after another marathon service game.  Since this tactic annoyed the woman so much (I used it on her partner) I waited until an opportune time in the 3rd set and gave her one of her very own!

League tennis is over for us until men’s season begins in March.  We will likely provide one or two more diary entries and then culminate with our review that will be posted under “The Natural” tab in this blog.  Thanks for reading and be sure to check our previous entries on this racquet if you haven’t already caught them.

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14 Responses to The Natural Racquet – Dear Diary Part 5

  1. fsilber says:

    It’s been a few months since you last wrote on this topic. Any updates? I just got mine today.

    • Peder says:

      Are you still hitting with the Natural?

      • fsilber says:

        Yes, I’ve been using this racket exclusively for a year. I’m finally developing an OK serve (for the first time in my life) — not sure whether the racket helped or not (I’ve been working on it for over a year). Overhead is much improved, provided I twirl the racket in time. Rising balls are easier because of the greater stability against miss-hits. Volleys are a little better, for the same reason. I can hit good topspin but not massive topspin — if I jerk up on the handle too vigorously it tends to close the racket face.

  2. ggtennis says:

    Shortly after writing this entry I suffered an injury (not related to the racquet in any way!) that has prevented me from playing tennis. In fact, the last time I played was in the match referred to in this blog entry. I hope to resume play in a few weeks, but will not likely regain form until much later in the year. When I resume play, I will be using “The Natural.”

    I am EXCITED that a blog reader purchased one of these racquets. I hope it brings you as much joy as it has brought me. I love the racquet. Please post your thoughts here or send me private email message. I am anxious to hear about your experiences.

  3. fsilber says:

    Still injured?

    • Peder says:

      Hi fsilber,

      I’ve been hitting with this racquet for two weeks, and here are my findings so far:

      Volleys are much improved, mostly because technically they are so easy to do, that I finding myself seeing the ball much better rather than worrying about technique.
      Serves are harder with much mor spin. I’m hitting twist servers for the first time in my life, with the ball curving right to left in the air, and then going sharply right when hitting the ground.
      Ground strokes: very odd thing is happening. I traditionally hit one handed on both sides, but now my two handed backhand is superb. I get a very distinct relaxed and effortless flick at the ball, but I don’t get as much top spin as with my one hander. My two handed forehand is generally good with a traditional racquet, but with the Natural, I don’t get the same flicky relaxed feeling. But I love the standard one handed forehand with this racquet, it has more leverage and punch for sure.

  4. ggtennis says:

    Resumed in limited action. Was able to playtest a series of new string products. Currently injured and not able to play. 😦

  5. Peder says:

    Hi, I just picked up a Natural Racquet. It would be great to keep the discussion going….if anyone on this thread is using the racquet, and want to keep in touch to share information and tips, let me know.

    Peder
    Ottawa, Canada

    • Chris says:

      Hi Peder,

      I just got the natural last week. I am really enjoying it, but I still haven’t figured out the serve. do you have any tips on making the transition? I find if i try to hit the ball straight up into the air that I get some decent spin, but it sits up on the bounce. I am using the 26″ version (the only version naturaltennis.com currently has available) and if I don’t try to hit the ball over the back fence I can’t get it over the net.

      Over than the serve, all other strokes feel very solid. I feel like I have more options. I also like that I can easily hit a biting forehand slice as a changeup.

  6. fsilber says:

    I suspect that with time and practice on the serve you will adjust. For the Battistone brothers the serve is where they are strongest; I’m still developing my serve but my overhead is much better than with a regular racket.

  7. fsilber says:

    I was practicing yesterday, and I was hitting some really good shots. I was also making a great many unforced errors. Even though this is a very good control racket, imo, unfortunately there doesn’t yet seem to be a racket technology that provides good control when you try to hit the ball without looking at it…

  8. ggtennis says:

    @Chris, What handle are you using for serving? I found the front handle works best for me. The contact point is different than with my regular racquet. I am not hitting up for flat serves but instead tossing a little higher and making my point of contact a little higher as well. I am snapping my wrist downward. The serves are quite good with this racquet, at least the 27″ version. I have not tried the 26″.

    @fsilber – I too find the overhead to be the most challenging shot. For me the reason is simple, I have to twist the racquet so the front handle is in my right hand. Normally my right hand has the back of the handle when I am rallying and volleying.

  9. michaelklachko says:

    Do any of you still play with a two handled racket?

  10. ggtennis says:

    No longer playing with The Natural.

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