In many sports, the quality of your racquet can be a factor in how well you play. Sure, skill is the most important, but a bad tool can still be a detriment. For instance, a shoddy baseball bat won’t score as many home runs as a well-crafted one, even if the shoddy bat is held by a star player.
A cheap fishing pole isn’t going to hold on to the big catch as much as an expensive pole will. And if you’re into e-sports, having an off-brand controller won’t stack up to a controller built for the game we’re playing.
The same applies to tennis. If you’re new to the sport, you may think that the racquet you use doesn’t really matter, when, in fact, it does. In this article, we’re going to help the newbie tennis player out by giving them a complete guide to racket buying. The quality of your racquet can determine if your ball flies true or hits the net, so think before you buy.
With that said, what do you need to look for when you shop?
6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tennis Racquet
Pricing and materials
Size of the head
Now let’s elaborate on what they mean.
Pricing and Materials
There are many categories of racquets, but the two main categories are aluminum frames and graphite frames? What does this mean? Well, aluminum is the cheaper option, and is serviceable if you’re a casual player.
These racquets tend to have the strings already on them, and are built for those who like to play casually with friends. They’re affordable as well, making it good if you just want to play a few games.
However, if you are a serious, competitive player, you may want to go with the graphite racquet.
Graphite racquets are lightweight and tough, making the racquet powerful, accurate, and able to last a very long time. These racquets do cost a bit more, but if you are serious, it’s a good investment in the long run.
The price ranges from still affordable at $60 to higher quality at $300. If you go to a store that sells used goods, or go online, you may be able to find a racquet that’s still good and is cheaper than a new model.
Size of the Head
Now that you know about the materials you should look out for, let’s talk about the size of the head. This is basically how big the area where the racquet’s strings reside.
The size is usually determined by the square inches, and different size will give you different results. A smaller head will be more fluid and is easy to control, while a bigger head tends to miss more, but be more powerful.
A beginner to tennis should try a small racquet first. Look for a racquet that’s 100 to 115 square inches.
This one is common sense. If a racquet is heavier, it’s going to be slower to swing, and not as fluid, and vice versa. You want a racquet that is lightweight, especially if you’re new to the game.
A racquet’s weight tends to be in ounces, and a lightweight racquet should be around 9-11 ounces. Of course, different people will have different strengths, and one that is too light for you may be a bad thing.
Try out different-sized racquets for yourself and see which is the most fluid for you.
A racquet tends to appear to be a balanced object at first, until you realize that the racquet’s weight is either concentrated towards the handle or the head.
A racquet with more weight at the head is called a head heavy racquet, while a racquet with a heavier handle than a head is called a head light.
Typically, there will be a points system in figuring out a racquet’s balance level, and the balance will change how the racquet feels.
Even if the racquets weigh the same, a head-heavy racquet will feel heavier whenever you swing it, for instance.
Once again, it’s up to you to figure out the balance level you prefer. Different players will go after different racquets, for example. If you’re a newbie, we do recommend picking a racquet between five points head light and head heavy, but you can try out the racquets yourself and see which feels most comfortable.
With length, you want to pick a racquet that is long enough for you. The length will be measured from the top of the head to the end of the handle. So, is a long racquet better or worse than a short racquet? It all depends.
A long racquet has a better reach and better leverage, but a shorter racquet is easier to move around. Try all of them out and see what you prefer.
If you are new, try going for a racquet length that is standard. Look for a racquet that’s 27 inches. Then, find out if you like it long, short, or in-between.
Just one more pointer and we shall be done. For this one, you need to figure out how big the racquet handle will be. This is called grip size. At the handle’s butt, you should see the grip size.
The grip size you prefer may be dependent on your sex. Women tend to prefer a size that’s 4 1/8”-4 3/8”, while a man may prefer 4 4/8”-4 5/8”.
Just grab different sizes and see what is more comfortable to you. If no grip size feels comfortable, you can buy a shorter grip size and add to it until you feel as comfortable as possible.
So, as you can see, there is a lot of factors when determining what kind of racquet you need. To summarize, you need a racquet that is:
Graphite if you’re committed, or aluminum if you’re casual
100 square inches to 115 in the head size
9 to 11 ounces
Between five points head light and five points head heavy
27 inches long
A grip size that feels the most comfortable
Once you get used to a racquet, you can try out different racquets and see what you prefer. And as always feel free to talk to a pro if you’re still unsure what racquet will work best for you.