You are probably wondering: are dampeners really necessary?
So did I! As a D1 college player, I personally love playing with a dampener, but many of my teammates don’t. When asking around, there seem to be 3 reasons to use a tennis dampener:
- To suppress the “ping” sound when the ball hits the strings.
- To reduce the vibrations of the racquet at the contact point.
- To make you feel confident and trust your racquet.
Here is the deal: The principal purpose of a “shock-absorber” is to reduce the vibrations of the racquet when the ball hits the strings.
However, most dampeners are significantly small compared to the racquet, and only do a poor job at pinching the strings.
The most common reason why tennis players love vibration dampeners is to not hear the “ping” sound. Now that I am used to it, I would hate playing without one.
The truth is: Tennis racquets are already built-in with an anti-vibration technology.
So, it begs the questions whether or not, a tennis vibration dampener is needed.
Do You Need a Vibration Dampener on Your Tennis Racquet?
From a “vibration” perspective, you do not need a dampener to play tennis.
But, my advice to you is: Try playing with a “shock-absorber” and feel the difference! It can help you mentally, and can also give you more control.
We’ve established that dampeners have little to no effect on the vibrations felt by the player. However, many characteristics come into consideration.
How old is your tennis racquet? Is your racquet cracked or broken? Which brand is your racquet? What kind of strings are you using?
All of those questions will influence whether or not you should use a dampener.
For example, older racquet models are more likely to let the vibrations go through your body than newer versions. The technology used to manufacture the racquet evolved a lot between 20 years ago and today.
Today’s racquets use a technology called vibration damping technology (VDT), designed to mitigate frame vibrations. Check out the science behind vibration dampening later in this article.
It is common to say that tennis racquets have a life of 2 years. However, most tennis players I know would keep their equipment for longer than that. After this 2 years period, the racquet slowly breaks down from the inside, and loses the benefits of this composite technology, losing some dampening power. In this case, I would recommend you use a dampener.
Two different types of dampeners are available on the market, the “button-type” dampener, and the “worm-type” dampener. Below is a list of our top 5 vibration dampeners and their effectiveness.
Our Top 5 Tennis Vibration Dampeners and their effectiveness.
#1 – ADV Tennis Vibration Dampener
The ADV Tennis Vibration Dampener is the perfect fix for your game. It allows you to choose between 3 different levels of dampening. The ADV dampener set offers a choice of different sizes, shapes and densities so you can choose between dampening, feel and stiffness to suit your playing style.
OVERALL TennisColony score : 9.5/10
#2 – HEAD Smartsorb
Smartsorb from Head offers a great dampening level and comfort. It will very rarely fall off your racquet compared to a round one. This dampener is weaved on your racquet to cover 6 strings and have a maximum impact.
OVERALL TennisColony Score: 8.5/10
#3 SORBZ Dampeners
If you are looking for some style and to customize your racquet, Sorbz dampeners are made for you. They are not the most effective, but their looks and their price will make up for it. It is also an amazing gift idea for kids that love tennis.
OEVRALL TennisColony Score: 8/10
#4 TOURNA SAMPRAS
The classic Sampras donut vibration dampener. It has a very simple design, and that’s why we love it. It is not as effective as the “worm” dampeners, but it will do the job. They come in a pack of two and in black or red.
OVERALL TennisColony Score: 8/10
#5 Just Tennis VIBRA WORM
“Vibra Worms” from Just Tennis are very effective as they will cover 6 strings. They are also at a good price and come in packs of 6. Make sure to not overstretch them during the installation or they might break.
OVERALL TennisColony Score: 7.5/10
The Science Behind Tennis Dampeners.
Today’s racquets are built-in with VDT technology, which makes it rather physically useless to have an extra dampener. However, if you have an old racquet, or a used one, you might want to consider adding an extra dampener.
This study from the Sports Medicine and Health Science Journal tested the VDT technology’s effects on vibration transfers to the arm, muscle fatigue, and tennis performance.
First, the study starts by stating that the evidence of the effectiveness in reducing vibration transfer to the hand/arm of string vibration dampeners is at best inconclusive.
“They only dampen the audible frequencies of the strings (>200 Hz) but do not attenuate the lower-frequency vibration of the frame that is in the range of 80–200 Hz.”
The results of this study showed 3 interesting conclusions about the VDT ( Vibration Damping Technology) built-in the racquet itself:
- The VDT substantially dampened racquet vibration.
- There is initial evidence that VDT racquet use might prolong the onset of muscle fatigue.
- There is inconclusive evidence that VDT preserves tennis performances when fatigue sets in.
So, no, tennis vibration dampeners that you place on your strings do NOT reduce the transmission of vibration to your arm efficiently. But, they do catch the audible vibrations( the “ping” sound”). And, VDT technology in racquets is effective at substantially dampening the racquet vibration.
Do Dampeners Help Prevent Tennis Elbow?
NO, dampeners no dot help prevent tennis elbow. It is a myth of tennis that needs to be exposed. Those devices dampen string vibrations, and not frame vibrations. They have an effect on the sound you hear when hitting the ball but do not have an effect on tennis elbow whatsoever.
Another misconception is that tennis dampeners reduce the power level of your racquet. Well, they simply do not have a significant effect on the power generated by the racquet.
You should look at it as a device that eliminates the “ping” sound and gives your racquet a certain vibe or style. My reason to use a dampener is that it makes my racquet special, and some even consider their dampeners as “lucky”.
Do Professional Tennis Players Use a Dampener?
Despite the fact that dampeners do not actually dampen the vibrations transmitted to your hand/arm, a fairly decent amount of ATP and WTA players use a dampener. Around 60% of male players and 80% of female players use a dampener.
For example, we can note that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have different preferences. Federer does not play with a dampener, but Nadal does. Here is a list made just for you of which professional players use a dampener, check it out.
The answer to the question “do tennis vibration dampeners really work?” is yes, and no. Dampeners can be beneficial for tennis players, but they physically only reduce the string vibrations that make the “ping” sound, and not the frame vibrations going into your wrist/arm. Usually, people do not use a dampener for its dampening effect, but rather for comfort, superstitious, or esthetic reasons.
To be honest, I could never play an actual match without a dampener even if y life depended on it. And you, are you using a dampener? I am curious to know what the overall consensus is on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment below with your preferences, or any suggestions to be made for this article. I hope this was helpful.