Remember a while ago I got a new tennis racquet? And remember I took you through the whole process so you would have an easy time finding your next tennis racquet? (If you want to look over those posts, go to A New Tennis Racquet: Part 6 which has links to the whole series.) Well, one of the things I considered using with my new racquet was a vibration dampener.
So what is a vibration dampener and why would you use one? First, you have to know that every time you hit a tennis ball with the strings of your racquet, the racquet and the strings vibrate and some of the shock of this vibration is transferred up your arm. This might bother you or it might not. If it does, adding a vibration dampener to your string bed can reduce (or dampen!) string vibration.
A vibration dampener (or damper) is a little thing you add to the strings at the bottom of the string bed to reduce string vibration. Is there a specific place where a dampener has to go? Yes! According to the USTA's Official Rules of Tennis, a vibration damping device "may only be placed outside the pattern of the crossed strings" (Rule 4, Case 3). Check out this photo to see what that means:
A vibration dampener will definitely change what happens when you hit the ball. I tried one with my new racquet because the first few times I hit with it, it made a really annoying ping sound. The dampener definitely removed that ping. But the other thing a dampener does is reduce the "feel" you get with your racquet. You just can't feel the ball on your strings the way you can without the dampener. So it's a trade-off. And I was willing to put up with the ping sound (which I don't really notice now) to keep the feel.
If you decide you want to try a vibration dampener, it's easy enough. I suggest you pick something that's cute and cheap. Give it a try and, if you like it, branch out into other dampeners (really - this is a cheap tennis accessory). If you don't like the loss of feel, no problem - you're not out too much money.
You can see from the above photos, there are lots of different kinds of vibration dampeners. Here's my favorite:
Even Sponge Bob plays tennis!
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