Wilson came to Tennis Warehouse last week to show off and share their Spin Effect technology with some of our staff. If you have been living under a rock, then it will be news to you that Wilson debuted two very spin-friendly frames this year — the Wilson Steam 99 S and Wilson Steam 105 S. The rest of you have probably already demoed one of these racquets or are anxious to get these racquets in your hands and are curious if this spin effect is too good to be true.
The Spin Effect technology from Wilson actually increases the RPMs of every shot hit when using these Steam S racquets by maximizing the spin-enhancing string “snapback” during ball contact. It is no secret that one of the biggest changes in the game has been spin. With the new shaped polys and racquet technologies, every player is looking for the best way to enhance their game. Wilson has created a doppler based device to track the ball, spin, speed, trajectory and more. They found that the traditional string pattern actually limits the spin potential in a racquet. With this information, Wilson was able to open up and optimize the string pattern on these Steam S racquets to provide more spin for the average player. Using the Steam 99S or 105S has actually been scientifically proven to automatically add more spin to your shots — up to as many as 200 more RPMs. With these stats, an average tennis player will find that this ends up lengthening the court by a foot and lowers the net by 2 inches. You can check out this technology in depth in this video: Wilson’s Spin Effect
Being a playtester, I’m always up for testing things out, or better yet, trying to de-bunk a product’s technology. And being a born and bred So-Cal tennis child of the ’80s, my groundstrokes aren’t really known for their spin production (luckily, by the time I hit college, I was able to learn how to hit an off-pace, change up ball and now can generate some RPMs on my own). With the doppler technology in place on our TW playtest court, I grabbed a racquet to see what my average, flat balls clocked in at. Averaging no more than 1500 on my spin rate, I grabbed a Wilson Steam 99 S and continued to hit through the ball. Surprisingly, the racquet naturally did add RPMs to my normal rally balls and I was effortlessly getting my spin rate into the 2000s (we found that anyone that could, on average, get their spin rate over 3000 was significantly getting good movement and bite on the ball). When changing the ball up and purposely adding extra spin, the 99 S was able to really go to work and add some jump to my ball.
Several of us tested the Spin Effect, all different levels, all different playing styles. I’m happy to report that on average, yes, the Steam 99 S or Steam 105 S will add more spin to your shots without having to alter your swing. Better yet, when trying to access extra spin, these racquets will amplify the movement and add the spin effect to your shots (where I personally find this racquet to be invaluable).
While I enjoy banging out big, flat groundstrokes and am too stubborn to change my game, the Wilson Steam 99 S (and Steam 105 S) is a fun racquet to play around with and definitely could be a game changer in the right hands. Wilson is marketing this racquet to the baseliner that enjoys hitting a big ball but is looking to add more spin to their game. You won’t need to change your strokes to experience the spin effect, and if you do end up adding some whip to your forehand, you will be pleasantly surprised at how the ball jumps off the court. I highly recommend giving it a demo if you haven’t just to experience the open string pattern and added spin. However, it is worth noting, if you do purchase one of these Wilson spin friendly racquets, be prepared to break strings more frequently than what you are used to (even when stringing with a poly).
Play with heart,