How and why should you apply
lead tape to a frame?
Courtesy of TENNIS Magazine | January 1, 2017
How and why should players apply lead tape to a frame?
Using lead tape is a simple way of adding small increments of weight to a racquet. Depending on where on the frame the tape is applied – a clock face is the most used analogy – it can have a differing impact on the racquet’s performance.
The tape is usually either ½ or ¼ inch wide. A four-inch strip of the ¼ inch tape weighs one gram. There’s no rule against using longer strips, but it’s easier to work with whole numbers. If more weight is desired, it’s generally done by adding another strip right on top of an existing one.
The most common areas of a racquet face where players apply lead tape are:
3 and 9 o’clock
When players first experiment with lead tape, this is typically the location they start. The perks are more stability on off-center hits and extra pop.
Putting tape here can affect swing weight and tip the balance more toward the head.
2 and 10 o’clock
The farther you move up the clock face, the more power you add. Putting the tape at these positions can raise the sweet spot, which is helpful for players who tend to make contact toward the upper part of the frame. Adding weight here will make the frame more head heavy.
The very top of the frame is where you’d put the tape if you’re looking for power and a more head-heavy balance. If you find that your racquet feels nice but is too whippy, putting tape here is a good option.
It’s not common to see tape at this position, but it’s a way to add to the overall mass of the frame without messing much with the balance or swing weight.
If you add tape to the head of the frame and want to maintain the same balance, the same amount of tape needs to put under the grip. Also, if a player simply wants a more head-light balance, along with added mass for better stability and shock absorption, then putting weight solely under the grip is the way to go.
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