Tech Corner By Ron Rocchi, Advanced Innovation Manager- Player Insights & Pro Tour
I often get asked the same questions about our new racket technology Countervail – “Is it really in there?” or “Does it really do anything?” The answer is YES. In fact, it is doing more than you can feel, and helping your body more than you know. The trouble is that as consumers we are conditioned to seek the famous “WOW” factor, and we all want it now. But Countervail is different. It is very high tech, and extremely effective. It does take a little time to get the benefits but be patient! To better understand this exceptional material, let me offer some thoughts into the technology and its development.
Let’s begin with some insights. At the very basic level, playing tennis is an exercise in collision management. The ball strikes the racquet (and strings) delivering shock and vibration to the hand and into the body. As the player, you automatically expend energy to combat those forces, and over time this lowers your energy levels and increases fatigue and the risk of injury. Additionally, the game of tennis has evolved. It is more physically demanding than ever before, with greater shots hit per point and per match. Also, competitive juniors are training more days on court for longer periods of time. In fact, according to a recent USTA Clinical Research Study, 41% of players aged 10 to 17 years old reported at least one overuse injury that limited tennis play and competition in the past 12 months. The question then becomes, how can a racquet help a player keep more energy, train harder and play longer? The answer is Countervail, improving human performance through racquet technology.
We worked on this project for over 2 years before it was released into the market. There was extensive research into this technology including an independent double blind study by the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. One of the main goals was to improve human performance without sacrificing the “FEEL and PERFORMANCE” of the racquet. This was an absolute must. Check out these behind the scenes photos…
What did all the research conclude? With Countervail the muscle fatigue is about 10% less. At first that may not seem like much, but in context it’s huge. That’s 10% more energy in long matches, 10% less fatigue in your body over long training sessions. That’s equivalent to hitting only 90 balls to your opponents 100! The other astounding result of the study was that, due to less fatigue, players using Countervail were also more accurate than those without, especially when nearing exhaustion. Late in the training session, players using Countervail were 40% more accurate with their shots. So, how about being able to have 10% more energy and 40% more accuracy in the moments that matter most. That will swing a lot of matches your way!
When I tested this with Milos Raonic and Serena Williams, their reaction was so positive that they switched immediately. Milos switched to Countervail only 3 days before the 2016 Australian Open and went on to make the Semi-Finals, his best Grand Slam performance to that point, and then followed that up with a Finals appearance at Wimbledon! Just one year later, Serena Williams captured her 23rd Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne, using Countervail for the first time in a Grand Slam.
Bottom line…Countervail is the real deal.
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