Wilson Blade V9

The swingweight of a tennis racquet

The swingweight is a measure that helps evaluate the maneuverability of a tennis racquet.

On this page, I talk about this notion that is relatively unknown to most players and which nevertheless gives an interesting idea of the maneuverability of the racquet that goes beyond the balance of the racquet.

What is the swingweight ?

To get an idea of the weight of a racquet, we tend to take the racquet in the hand by the handle, holding it in front of us, more or less horizontally.

When holding the racquet in this way, the balance of the racquet plays a very important role and distorts the impression that one has of the weight of the racquet.

If you hold a head heavy racquet this way, you will feel that it is heavy, whereas if you hold the same way a heavier but more head light racquet, you will find it lighter.

The feeling of weight you get when holding the racquet in this way is what is sometimes called the "pickup weight".

If now we make shadow swings, forehand/backhand type, we can have the feeling that the racquet is even heavier or difficult to handle.

This is what corresponds to the swingweight, the feeling that we have of the weight of the racquet while we make an almost horizontal swing of the forehand type flat / backhand flat.

That is more or less how the swingweight is measured; with a machine that makes the racquet move horizontally around an axis that goes by the handle of the racquet.

It's possible to measure the swingweight by oneself, but it's not very easy, you can read the explanations here : https://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/howto_swingweight.php

How to choose the swingweight of a tennis racquet ?

The swingweight of a tennis racquet corresponds to a combination of the weight of the racquet and its balance point, this value is expressed in kg per cm².

  • the higher the swingweight value, the more difficult the racquet is to swing but provides power,
  • the lower the swingweight value, the more maneuverable the racquet is and gives control but provides less power.

A racquet with a higher swingweight may help generate more power, but it will be less maneuverable than a racquet with a lower swingweight.

This type of racquet can cause fatigue in the arm or shoulder.

These are generally racquets that have a larger profile.

On the contrary, a racquet can be quite heavy but have its weight mainly distributed in the handle: in this case, the racquet will have a lower swingweight, it will not necessarily seem very heavy, it will be less powerful but more maneuverable.

These racquets generally have a thinner profile.

The swingweight of your racquet is a parameter that you can increase by adding lead tape to change the weight and balance of the racquet.

You cannot reduce the swingweight of a tennis racquet, you can only increase it.

To reduce the swingweight of a tennis racquet would require reducing its weight and that is not possible, unless you remove for example the protection band of the frame, which is not recommended.

It is still preferable to take a racquet that does not have an excessive weight in the head, and to add a little lead to the head to increase its balance and its swingweight if necessary.

At the time of writing this article, the minimum and maximum swingweight values of racquets on the market are 269 and 340 respectively, with an average value of 312.

This gives you an indication for your choice, if you want to get closer to an average value.

A swingweight between 310 and 330 is what we often see for versatile tennis racquets.

It's also worth referring to the swingweight when looking to change racquets and find a racquet with similar maneuverability.

In this case, it is useful to know that racquets with different weights but similar swingweights will give you similar handling sensations.

Tennis racquets with same weight and balance but different swingweights

Two tennis racquets can have the same weight and balance point but different swingweight values.

How is it possible ?

Let's consider two racquets that have a weight of 280 grams and a balance located at 35 cm.

If we add 20 grams to the first racquet at its balance point, we make it 20 grams heavier without changing its balance point, and we increase its swingweight from 287 to 299.

If we now add 20 grams to the second racquet by placing 10 grams on the handle side and 10 grams at the head of the racquet at the same distance from the balance point, we keep the same balance point but the swingweight goes from 287 to 324.

Source : Technical Tennis: Racquets, Strings, Balls, Courts, Spin, and Bounce. Auteurs : Rod Cross, Crawford Lindsey