September 14, 2012

How Many Vibration Dampeners Can You Have On Your Tennis Racquet?

I recently got a great question from Tina S. asking if you can have more than one dampener on a tennis racquet.

I really didn't know the answer to this question which made me feel a little stupid since I consider myself "Queen of Tennis Rules, Codes and Other Court and Equipment Related Issues." So, before doing any kind of research on the question, I thought I'd ask some of my tennis pals to see if they knew the answer.

Well, let me tell you - people were adamant on this one. Yes! Of course they knew the answer! The problem was - some of my friends were unshakable in their belief that you could have one, and only one, dampener on your racquet. Others were just as insistent that you could have just as many dampeners on your racquet as you want, dammit!

So what's the answer? Well, I first looked at the ITF Rules of Tennis. Rule 4 governs "The Racket" and pretty much just states that racquets must comply with Appendix II of the Rules. Case 3 of Rule 4 is a little more helpful:
Case 3: Can vibration damping devices be placed on the strings of a racket? If so, where can they be placed?
Decision: Yes, but these devices may only be placed outside the pattern of the strings.
Case 3 refers to "damping devices," plural, being placed on the strings of "a racket." So that seems to me like its inferring that more than one device could be used. I'd say the answer is yes, more than one dampener can be used on a racquet.

If you look to Appendix II, paragraph a, you learn that devices "utilised solely and specifically to limit or prevent wear and tear or vibration" are permissible, but you don't get much info beyond that.

I think the best answer can be found on the USTA's website. Richard Kaufman, USTA Director of Officials, states: "Dampening devices may be located on the outside of the last cross string on the sides, top and/or bottom of the racket face. Multiple devices are permitted. The device may not be placed inside the outside cross strings but the device may touch the outside cross strings." (Click here to see his answer on the USTA's website.)

So Tina, use just as many vibration dampeners as you want!

If you'd like to know more about vibration dampeners and why you might use one (or more!), check out this Tennis Fixation post: Using A Vibration Dampener On Your Tennis Racquet.

Thanks to Tina for submitting her question. And if you have a tennis question, please send it in. As you can see, I love researching this stuff!

© Kim Selzman 2012 All Rights Reserved

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