Although the physics of racquet/arm interactions are very complex, Wilmot McCutchen has done some excellent work aimed at deriving ratings for racquet comfort from the static measurements of the racquet itself.
The informational table that follows is based this work, which can be found at Wilmot’s Racquet Research website. On this site, Wilmot gives all the formulas, definitions, and reasoning behind his method of calculating racquet comfort. The specifications that serve as the basis for these calculations are from the United States Racquet Stringers Association, which as far as I know is the only organization that measures and publishes this data.
Because Wilmot’s site describes everything, I have stripped down the information provided here to the manufacturer, the racquet, its total “score” as set out on Racquet Research, and how that racquet compares against the “best” racquet in the list — i.e., the most comfortable racquet, which is shown at the top of the listing.
The lower the “score,” the closer to the top of the list, and the more comfortable the racquet should be for the average person. In the interest of brevity, I am omitting the individual rankings for sweet spot, moment, torque, shock, work, and the others, as well as the actual values obtained by working through the calculations.
Also note that where Wilmot gives ordinal rankings, I am giving the raw total score and a comparitive percentage. This, I believe, helps in that you can see how far apart racquets actually are.
Please note that although Wilmot’s approach seems to have some validity, and is the only empirical method we currently have for calculating racquet comfort, different people will interact differently with different racquets. So, a racquet that some might think is comfortable might not seem that way to others. Likewise, a racquet that some might find painful to use might be fine for someone else.
Finally, you will note that I have included in this listing every racquet for which I could obtain the specifications. This means that many of these racquets are not currently sold. While this does tend to make the listing large and unwieldy, it also allows those with older racquets to participate, and to compare older racquets against newer offerings.
Updated May 2010. Racquet listing contains 1,298 racquets.
|Racquet||TL||% of ‘best’|