Tennis raquet and ball

Why Do Tennis Racquets Have Shock Absorbers?

Tennis racquet shock absorbers or most commonly known as vibration dampeners are something that does not come with the racquet rather it is something that comes separately.

A common misconception for vibration dampeners is that it absorbs shock. This isn’t necessarily wrong, however, from a technical standpoint, a vibration dampener has too little of a mass to actually mitigate any shock.

If you are looking to mitigate shock then you want to take look into customizing the racquet itself (balance, weight, flexibility). You can also look into a technology that is known as Kinetic System by Pro Kennex which serves the purpose of reducing shock.

So, what does a vibration dampener used for?

Well, it is used to absorb the vibration from the racquet strings after hitting a ball. However, it does not directly affect the performance of its users rather it is more of a personal preference type of thing.

Why Use Vibration Dampeners in Tennis?

According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rules, vibration dampeners can be placed inside the pattern of the cross strings and it has to be a reasonable size. Typically, tennis players would place them at the bottom of the racquet.

So, why would you use a vibration dampener for your tennis racquet?

Reduce Vibration Produced By The Stringbed

Depending on the company that is marketing the dampener you might hear different functionality of the vibration dampener. However, a lot of them have not been proven to be true and the main functionality of vibration dampeners is to simply absorb vibrations off the stringbed.

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Without a vibration dampener when the ball strikes the stringbed of a tennis racquet. The strings will resonate and produce a slight vibration that can be felt all the way to the handle of a tennis racquet.

Now, some players prefer to not feel that vibration while some may also like the feel of that vibration. So, at the end of the day, it is more of a preference thing rather than a direct performance enhancer.

Reduce The Sound Of The Stringbed

Another reason why tennis players might prefer using vibration dampeners is that it changes or mutes the sound of the ball hitting the strings. When a ball strikes a tennis racquet with a vibration dampener it will produce a ”thud” sound as opposed to a ”ping” sound.

Basically, without a vibration dampener, you can sort of hear the vibration produced from the strings upon impact. Again it is more of a preference thing a lot of players prefer vibration dampeners as the sound produced gives them an impression that their hit is more solid.

Now, it may or may not improve your performance as it all depends on your preference and it is more of a mental thing. Just try and see for yourself whether you like it or not.

Aesthetics

On top of preferring not to feel and hear the vibration produced by tennis racquets strings another reason players might use a vibration dampener is simply for the aesthetics.

Similar to the buttons students stick on their school bag as there are all types of fun-looking vibration dampeners out there. To mention a few you have emoji-looking dampeners, animal dampeners, all types of brand dampeners, etc.

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Different Types of Vibration Dampeners

Typically there are only 3 types of vibration dampeners available in the market right now as technology advances further there might be even more types of dampeners for tennis racquets.

There is also the possibility that vibration dampeners may no longer exist in the future as they may just be built into the tennis racquets. However, as of now, there are 3 types of vibration dampeners for tennis racquets:

Button Dampeners

Just as its name suggests this type of dampener has a shape and size that is similar to a button. Typically, it is made out of rubber, it the most commonly used type of vibration dampener and easiest to install.

This type of dampener comes in all types of shapes and sizes. Typically, if you are someone who likes aesthetics and at the same time a minimalist that wants a dampener that does not take up a lot of space then button dampeners are for you.

Also depending on how big they are it will dampen more vibration. So, if you want to dampen enough vibration while still feel some of it to know which space of the stringbed hits the ball then you might want to use a smaller one.

One bad thing about the button dampeners is that the ones that are smaller in size tend to fly out the racquet and you might lose them as you don’t know where they fly out to.

Worm Dampeners

The second type of vibration dampener on this list is known as the worm dampener. A worm dampener is a much longer version of a vibration dampener and much harder to install into a tennis racquet.

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It is typically woven in between the strings and serves the same purpose as the button dampener. This type of dampeners, however, is more serious in terms of how much vibration it dampens in comparison to the button ones.

When you put this dampener on you basically won’t feel a thing. You might find different types of worm dampeners available in the market which can be really confusing, just note that they all serve the same purpose which is to completely eliminate any vibration.

So, if you are one who at least wants to feel some vibration then you might not want touse this type of dampener.

Rubber Band Dampeners

Rubberband dampeners have a similar feel to the button dampeners or depending on the size of the button dampeners the rubberband dampener might dampen less. 

It all depends on the aesthetics as well some may prefer just having a rubber band sticking on their racquet. The one downside of the rubber band dampener is that it will eventually get stretched out.

A stretched-out rubber band dampener would just fall off the racquet and you would have to get a new one.