Conventional tennis wisdom is all wrong, says a physics professor who has found that a racket has 3 “sweet spots,” not one, and that loose rather than taut strings will yield more cross-court winners.
Howard Brody, a University of Pennsylvania professor and weekly tennis player, has spent thousands of hours over the last decade using lasers, oscilloscopes and other scientific instruments to understand how rackets work.
Brody found more than one “sweet spot"--the place on the strings where it feels good to hit the ball.
One spot is where there is the least initial shock to the hand; the second is where uncomfortable vibrations to the hand and arm are smallest, and the third is the where the ball bounces off the strings with the greatest power.
Contrary to popular belief, tighter strings mean less, not more, power, Brody said. He said he also discovered that stiffer rackets give more power than more flexible ones.
Brody, who has written two books on the science of tennis, said that the biggest breakthroughs in tennis technology will come in improved strings.