If you have been playing tennis for any length of time, you probably know just what type of racket would be best for you. Depending on your level play, you may need a racket that provides better comfort, control, or more power, maybe you need one that combines all of these aspects. However, choosing a racket is not so easy especially if you are not a professional. With so many rackets from so many companies out there, it is hard to select a racket that will fit your playing style or do what you want it to do. This article breaks down how to choose a tennis racket the different characteristics of rackets and how going for one over another can affect performance.
Since you hit the ball with the head of the racket, a heavier head will give you a more powerful serve and shot. Racket head sizes come from between 85 to 135 square inches, even though most nonprofessional players use 95 to 110 square inch rackets. The bigger the surface area of the head the larger the hitting area which makes it easier to hit the ball even if it is off-center. The 95 to 110 square inch rackets combine power and control. If you are an intermediate or beginner player, it is better to go a racket with a heavier and larger sweet spot which will provide power and better off-center hits.
The regular tournament grade racket will be between 27 to 29 inches in length. The standard racket for a professional player will be 27 inches. For the beginner or intermediate players, a great racket will typically be longer as it provides more power, added leverage on serves, and provides better reach for backhands and forehands on groundstrokes. Nonetheless, you need to remember that longer rackets will typically be lighter than standard weight rackets and hence will not provide as much power, though they are more maneuverable.
Weight & Balance
The feel of your racket depends a lot on the balance and weight. As previously noted, a lighter racket will typically be more maneuverable though it has less power than a heavy racket, which is also more stable. Most modern rackets use Wilson Hammer technology and have head-heavy balance so that they can be more powerful, even as they are light. Nonetheless, lighter is not necessarily better given that how well you play will ultimately depend on your level of proficiency in the game. If you are a seasoned professional, a traditionally balanced and weighted racket should serve you well, since these have light heads making them easy to maneuver and faster to swing. Given that you have years of experience, maneuverability is more important than power, which you can provide yourself. For a beginner, a head heavy racket is more appropriate as power is typically more important as opposed to control for this type of player. Nonetheless, you need to remember that head heavy rackets may transfer more shock to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
You can either have a stiff frame or a more flexible frame the choice of which will affect how much power will be transferred to the ball when you hit it. It is always better to go for a racket with a stiffer frame as it transfers more energy to the ball. Contrary to popular myth a more flexible racket will not act as a catapult to provide more power as the ball will be on the racket face for 3-5 milliseconds, barely enough time for the frame to spring back. Nonetheless, a more flexible racket is easier to control and is more comfortable even if it absorbs a significant amount of power. Overall the type of stiffness or flexibility you go for will depend on your level of proficiency or style of play. If you are an intermediate or beginner player, a stiffer racket may be more appropriate as it provides more power and control for the untrained hand. If you are an advanced player, with plenty of power, a fast and long swing a flexible racket will be appropriate as it provides just the right amount of power to not overshoot the court. However, you need to know that stiffer frames will be less comfortable, as they will transmit more shock to shoulders, wrists, and elbows.
The density of the strings on your racket plays a huge role in the overall feel and performance on the court. Strings can either be open or closed (dense). Open string patterns are generally looser than dense patterns and provide some great rebounds. Open pattern rackets are generally suited to advanced professionals who are looking for a better spin on the ball. However, you need to remember that these rackets are less durable as compared to the dense string pattern counterparts. With open strings, the ball embeds itself in the strings due to bigger spacing and provides a nice spin on the ball with much less effort. For intermediate players, a denser string pattern for more control rather than spin. Hard hitting players may also prefer denser pattern rackets for their better durability.
Rackets have come a long way and yet, while there have been great improvements in the features such as power, easy maneuverability, control, and comfort, finding one with all these features is not easy. Nonetheless, depending on playing style or level of proficiency, you will only need a few of these features to find a good racket.
Once you find the tennis racket that suits all your needs you will need a tennis court to get some games in. If you live in the South Florida area we recommend The Preserve at Ironhorse. They are located in West Palm Beach, Florida. This is a membership only country club that not only features top notch tennis courts but also an amazing golf course and much more. For more information on memberships at The Preserve at Ironhorse contact us today at (561) 227-3970