Technical Tennis: Racquets, Strings, Balls, Courts, Spin, and Bounce
By Rod Cross and Crawford Lindsey
Several years ago, the two authors of this book and I wrote an encyclopedic tome with the imposing title The Physics and Technology of Tennis. Even though thousands of copies of this book have been sold and are still selling, and in spite of the fact that it was a Scientific American Book Club selection, it is not for everyone, and only the most motivated have read it from cover to cover. Who ever thought there was so much science to hitting a fuzzy yellow ball? But there is, and it is all there in its 435, 8.5" × 11" pages, including many hundreds of graphs, charts, diagrams, and formulas. It is a tremendous reference book, textbook, or self-teaching manual, but it is not a casual read.
What is needed now is an up-to-date, reader-friendly book that covers the technical parts of tennis in a far less comprehensive and technical manner. It needs to be written so that a tennis player can pick it up, read it, and understand it. This is that book. It is written for tennis players and tennis fans, not engineers, scientists, or over-motivated super-achievers. It is still meaty and an intellectual adventure, but all the technical language has been translated to people-speak within its human-sized 160 pages.
It addresses questions such as:
- When you want a bit more power in your game, should you go to a heavier racquet or a lighter one?
- What are the advantages of a racquet that has a bigger head?
- What effect does string tension have on your game, and how does it affect power and control?
- What is the difference between gut strings and synthetic strings?
- What is the importance of string thickness?
- What is a "fast" court and what is a "slow" court?
- Should you adjust your equipment to match the court speed?
- When buying a racquet, what features should you look for?
- If you want to put more spin on the ball, what should you do?
In my many years of playing tennis and studying tennis, I have heard a lot of anecdotal answers to these questions. This book gives you the answers that science and technology provide.
University of Pennsylvania