I have to mention here that, I am not an expert at customisation and I do not have much experience in it. This is just a compilation from different articles that I have read on the internet. 

Almost all the top players customize their rackets according to their needs. Sometimes this is done by the racket manufacturer itself, to meet the specific needs of the player. Just as the pros use customization to create the perfect weapon, you can also use the following principles to ensure that your racket helps you hit the ball with more precision and power. Usually, customization involves the addition of weight to strategic locations on a racquet. This is done to manipulate a racquet’s overall weight distribution, which is the primary variable for controlling how a racquet will swing, feel and play. Customization affects the following attributes of a racket:

1.Actual weight  2. Balance point  3. Swing weight

(How heavy a racket feels when you swing).

By manipulating these attributes we can control the following aspects:

1.Sweet spot location and size

2. Power

3. Control

4. Stability

5. Maneuverability etc.

The first thing that has to be kept in mind is that, the swing weight of the racket can only be increased or kept constant, but cannot be reduced.

Stability of the racket: A racquet that twists or recoils represents lost energy and needs weight to enhance its stability. The ideal location to enhance stability is at 3’o clock and 9’o clock. The ideal location to eliminate racquet recoil is either at the tip (12’o clock) or the handle of the racquet.

Increase the Power: A racquet with higher SW will generate more power for a given racquet head speed. There are two ways to increase power. If you have an offensive game and rely on topspin to dictate play a polarized setup (more weight at the tip of the racquet) is what you need. The premise here is to keep the racquet light so you can swing faster and still have enough power to generate a heavy ball. A polarized setup offers little room for errors in timing your shots; players need excellent footwork, agility and reflexes.

If you are a Serve-and-Volleyer or a Baseliner, a non polarized setup is what you need. A racquet that is evenly balanced or HL (more weight in the handle) has a non-polarized setup. Serve-and-Volleyers need a racquet that has sufficient weight in the handle i.e. HL to minimize racquet recoil. Base-liners should try and aim for an evenly balanced racquet or a few points HL and with a higher SW. The premise here is to have a racquet that has enough mass to counter the pace of the incoming ball and redirect it without sacrificing racquet head speed.

Enhance Sweet spot: Remember that wherever you add weight on the racket, you are pulling the sweet spot in that direction. The best way to enhance the sweet spot on a racket is by adding weights at 3’o clock and 9’o clock first and if required at 12’o clock.

Now let’s look at some basic positions where weight can be added and explain what advantages each could offer to players. Remember that wherever you add weight, it will help reduce shock, which can help relieve tennis elbow.

Handle: Adding weight to the handle will increase weight while having little or no effect on swing weight. This can make a racquet more stable for a player with whippy strokes who does not want to lose maneuverability. More weight can be added here without sacrificing maneuverability.

6 o’clock or throat:  Adding weight here will have the same affect on weight, but will have a bigger affect on swing weight. It will also tend to pull the sweet spot down in the string bed closer to the throat for players who tend to make contact near the throat. The racquet will be more stable, a little less maneuverable, and a little more powerful. If you add the weight at the point where the racquet currently balances or in equal amounts on both sides, the balance point will remain the same.

3 o’clock and 9 o’clock: Adding weight in these two locations will pull the sweet spot out to the sides of the racquet, allowing for more off-center hits. Adding weight here will also have an even bigger effect on swing weight. So, it will make the racquet more powerful and less maneuverable. But, the biggest change will be felt in increased torsional stability.

10 o’clock and 2 o’clock: Adding weight in these two locations will expand the sweet spot up and to the sides for people who hit high on the string face and a little off center. It will also increase swing weight. This position offers increased power and torsional stability.

12 o’clock (tip):  Adding weight here will have the greatest possible effect on swing weight. It will also expand the sweet spot upward for players who hit above the center of the string bed. So, the racquet will be more powerful and more stable. But, it will not help increase torsional stability.

One important thing that a player needs to decide before customizing his racket  is to identify the attribute that needs change. The best way is to experiment with different weights at different locations and try playing with it to know what suits you best. Using the above principles you can customize your racket yourself. All you need is some lead tape, scissors and a weighing scale. The following scale can also help you determine the exact swing weight you need.

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