What qualities do you look for in a tennis racquet?
Choosing the right tennis racquet can be a daunting task even for experienced players. A key approach to rewarding yourself with a suitable racquet is to know exactly what you are looking for and your strengths .
Is it comfort, power, speed, or a combination of all these factors? What is your sporting level and what is suitable for that level?
Give a thought to things such as grip size string pattern, balance point, string material, string tension, swing weight, string gauge, frame stiffness, head size, and weight. Let’s get started.
1. Grip Sizes
Grip is all about how your hand grabs and maintains control of the racquet. This affects your comfort while you play and determines the response of your hand to various situations during the game.
Thus, if the grip size you choose isn’t right for your hand, you are likely to record a poor performance.
To be more practical while choosing a racquet, hold it in your hand and try to twist it in different directions to determine how comfortable it feels. You can also measure using the index test and the ruler test.
European grip sizes have a range from 0 to 5 and it is usually indicated of the frame’s throat or at the butt of the racquet. In the United States, grip sizes range between 4inches (101.6mm) to 4.75 inches (123mm).
2. String Pattern
Tennis strings come in either open string pattern or closed string pattern. String pattern refers to the vertical-horizontal intersection of the strings. The difference between open and closed patterns is that that the open string pattern has fewer intersecting strings than a closed string pattern. How does this affect your play?
With lesser stings crisscrossing, an open string pattern tends to give an easier swing and bounce to the ball because it is naturally more elastic. Due to the wider spaces, the ball bounces easily on the strings.
However, it is not as durable as the closed string pattern racquet which has more strings on it. On the other hand, the closed string is more firm and rigid, thus the ball doesn’t bounce as much on it. It lasts longer.
3. Racquet Weight
The weight of your tennis racquet affects several aspects of your game. Generally, heavier racquets are more powerful, stable and deliver better shots if rightly handled.
Racquets with lesser weight are better for quicker swings, easy maneuverability and flexibility. Such racquets are good for beginners as they give you the ability to exercise your hand and know your strengths.
There are a number of ways to determine where racquet weight lies. Some racquets are head heavy, which means that most of its weight lies in its head. These are good for really powerful shots especially when swung with intense momentum
Others are grip heavy/head light: This simply means that most of its weight is found within its grip. These racquets are flexible and give increased maneuverability. Players at advanced stages who can spin in a shot find these racquets favorable.
4. Swing Weight
Racquet weight also affects the swing weight, which is simply the ease and ability to swing the racquet in any direction while playing. Although the gross weight of the racquet is a primary factor in dictating the swing weight, other elements such as length, balance point, and head size also determine the swing weight.
5. Head Size
The head size is a factor that should be given careful consideration when selecting a racquet. Head size determines the kind of shots you pull and influences the power you give to every shot. Racquet head sizes are further categorized into oversize, mid-plus and mid-size.
The larger head sizes (mid-plus and oversize) are good choices for beginners since they offer more power. Pro players, however, prefer small head sizes because they have an easier control.
6. String size and gauging
How thick/thin are the strings on your racquet? String size determines the elasticity, spin, power and overall feel of the racquet.
Besides, the thickness plays a role in determining the weight of the racquet. Your choice of strings will mainly be determined by your style of play.
Thinner strings tear off and break faster than thicker strings, but you can choose either depending on your level of experience.
7. How flexible /stiff is the frame?
The more rigid and stiff the racquet is, the lesser it bends, allowing as much power to be exerted on the ball. A more flexible racquet allows easier spinning but results into energy loss. All the same, this is better dictated by how comfortable you feel with any kind of frame.
8. Make your choice
Every player has different strengths depending on their level and what exactly you are looking for. Use these tips to outline the best fit best choice for your racquet. Importantly, ensure that the racquet choice is comfortable to handle and play.