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python racquetballs

Launchpad Bedlam 190 Apocalypse 190's Technology Chart Ratings

Welcome to another year with more racquets and new technologies (2013). We’ve expanded the number of racquets we’re tracking to exceed two hundred. We go back over 10 years now with some of the most popular models still active. Making sense of it all is getting harder and harder as the manufacturers take technologies in different directions. So in the few instances when the numbers may seem skewed one way or another…there is an actually human hitting component in the mix…being me.

As always, I spent a good deal of time making sure that all our ratings ring true to the theories of racquetball we hold dear and our play testing experience. We believe in the old standard formula Force = Mass X Acceleration. I also believe in the old wife’s tale as you age you get a little slower. We put these notions together and we take them to the courts and test them out. We can show that the younger players tend to move lighter masses fast enough to produce a greater Force, while older players need a greater amount of Mass to produce a greater Force. You’ll notice on the court that some of us older guys just can’t hit as hard as those youngsters anymore (Good thing we still have wisdom on our side) It’s the acceleration component of their swings that produce the huge amount of Force that converts into overpowering ball speed.

We’ve added the initial year a racquet was released to our charts. 99% of the racquets are simple…2007 means the racquet came out in the summer of 2007…but there are rare cases when the name was keep but a major upgrade were performed or the company used the same name on two completely different products. I only mention this because if something seems funny, just contact us…I’m sure there’s a story.

As before, we broke the control rating into two different measurements and then we added a “Bang for the Buck” rating. Below I explain the way we think and how some of these numbers are computed.

The numbers in the charts this year reflect general ratings. The average player will be hard pressed to feel the difference if a rating falls within a single point of the same rating on another racquet. Please also remember these are guideline ratings…they are not the law of the land. 

The Bang for the Buck ratings are based on classic racquets that we feel are the best deals if money is a major concern. Most of these frames were the elite models of their time and proved to be so popular that they are still manufactured new today.

Control 1 represents how the racquet handles upfront in the court. We’re basically looking at how certain components stacked together produce good (or bad) racquet maneuverability. To figure this out we look at the weight, balance point, and shape of the frame. We throw all this info into Pat’s brain along with a couple hours of hit testing and out pops the rating. This value is useful especially for doubles players who find themselves covering the upfront court a lot. It’s also good to know if you’re a good server and find yourself quickly putting away returns off your serve without leaving front middle court.

Control 2 represents the traditional control rating when taking a full shot from mid to back court. Our goal with control is to redirect the Force of the ball. We again focus on weight, balance point, shape, string pattern and tension, frame stiffness and on court experience.

FYI…A racquetball weighs approx 45 grams…it travels anywhere from 1 to 180+ mph. Trying to control it has become a lifelong obsession for many.

Durability is based on weight, stiffness, shape, thickness, and concavity of the frames. It also considers technologies (like grommet holes or slots, roller insertions, fat zones etc.) and of course our experiencing examining broken frames. We return more broken frames than 99% of the Pro Shops sell in a year.

Overall ratings take all these numbers and make some sense out of them. This rating is a weighted average of Power (for a given age), both control numbers, and overall durability. 

Have fun comparing all of our racquets and ratings. Email or call with any questions or concerns.

Pat Bernardo