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Tennis racket specifications explained

Tennis racket specifications explained


Blinded by the numbers? Confused by the terminology? Not sure how you can tell if a racket is right for you without trying it out? Then look no further as we explain the meaning and implications of the tennis racket specifications used when the tennis brands describe their rackets

 

Normally found on the inside of the frame of your racket or on the promotional material you receive with your racket, the manufacturers tennis racket specifications are designed to give you more information about the racket you are about to purchase. The categories of specification used by the different manufacturers are normally very similar but does the average tennis player know what they really mean?

 


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Racket head size

Measured in ‘square inches’ or ‘sq. in.’

This basically denotes the total surface area of the strings & frame or the size of the head including the frame. The important point with this is that the bigger the tennis racket head size then the more surface area you have when trying to hit the ball. In it’s simplest form, the bigger the head size then the easier it is to hit the ball.

But actually hitting the ball isn’t really the hardest part of tennis, it’s more to do with what you actually do with the ball once you’ve hit it. Hence why the head size becomes more important.

  • A large head size, anything over 100 square inches, will generate moire power in your shots because of greater trampolining effect. A larger head size means longer strings and therefore more spring in them when you contact the ball.
  • A head size between 96 – 100 square inches is considered average size
  • A head size below 96 square inches is considered small and will therefore generate less power in theory allowing oyu to control the ball better

Tennishead suggests…

Go for a larger head size (over 100 sq. in.) tennis racket if you are a smaller framed person who doesn’t possess natural strength. Maybe you are a small slight woman or you are an elderly player or a younger player who is still growing. Also if you have a short swing you might want the extra power of a larger head size.

Choose a medium size head (96 sq. in. – 100 sq. in.) if you consider yourself neither very strong or very weak and have an average length swing. (Ask a coach or good player if oyu don’t know how long your swing is)

If you are an advanced player or are reasonably strong or tall with a long swing then a smaller head size (Less than 96 sq. in.) might be right for you. for example, we’d suggest that most men between the ages of 17 and 60 who are over 6 feet tall and in good shape will probably only need a medium or smaller head size racket.

(There is no right or wrong by the way, we are just offering some advice)

 

Tennis racket weight

Measured in grams or just ‘g’ or sometimes in Ounces or just ‘oz’

This is exactly what you think it is… The total weight of the racket! Simple as that…

With the tremendous advances in technology and use of new materials the average weight of a racket has reduced significantly over the years and this trend will probably continue. However, as a general rule:

  • 300 grams (or 10.6 ounces) is an average weight for a racket
  • Less than 285 grams (10 ounces) is considered light
  • More than 310 grams (or 11 ounces) is considered heavy

Tennishead suggests…

As you’d expect, a heavy racket in general means more power but less manoeuvrability and vice versa with a light racket. But extra weight also mean more stability, so in theory you can hit the ball harder and still control the racket. Therefore you’ll tend to find advanced players will look for a heavier racket and beginners will opt for something lighter.

 

String pattern

Show as 16/19 which means 16 main strings going down the racket head vertically and 19 cross strings going across the racket head horizontally

The simple rule of thumb here is that the smaller number of strings in a tennis racket normally equates to more power and spin whereas a higher number of strings in a racket equates to more control and less spin

  • 16 main and 19 cross (16/19) is an average string pattern
  • 16 main and 18 cross (16/18) is an open string patter for spin and power
  • 18 main and 20 cross (18/20) is a closed string patter for control

Tennishead suggests…

Unless you specifically know what you want or someone with experience has told you, go a a 16/19 string pattern in a racket or as close as possible to that. If you consider yourself a big spinner of the ball go for 16/19 or less like 16/18 and if oyu hit the ball hard and flat then try something with more strings such as 18/20

 

Balance

Measured in Millimetres (mm) or centimetres (cm)

This measure shows where most of the weight is in your racket. Either its perfectly balanced with equal weight across the racket head and the handle, or its head heavy with more weight in the racket head or its head light with most of the weight in the handle.

More wight in the head of the weight will mean more velocity in your swing when the ball connects so more power in your shits. And similarly a head light racket will have less power but offer you more control.

The balance point of a racket is measured from the butt or handle end. If the balance measurement is less than half the length of the racket that means the balance point is towards the handle and therefore its a head light racket. If the balance measurement is more than half the total length of the racket then the balance point is towards the head which means its a head heavy racket.

Most rackets are 27 inches or 69cm or 690mm:

  • If the balance is less than 345mm (34.5cm) then the racket is head light
  • If the balance is more than 345mm (34.5cm) then the racket is head heavy
  • If the balance is 345mm (34.5cm) or very close then the racket is perfectly balanced

Tennishead suggests…

As you’d expect, a head heavy racket in general means more power but less manoeuvrability and vice versa with a light racket. But extra head weight also mean more stability, so in theory you can hit the ball harder and still control the racket. Therefore you’ll tend to find advanced players will look for a head heavy racket and beginners will opt for something with a lighter head.

But please note that there are plenty of beginners who want extra power so they plump for a head heavy racket.

 

Beam

Measured in millimetres (mm) showing head, shoulder and handle of the frame e.g. 23mm/26mm/23mm

Modern tennis rackets aren’t all straight if you look at their frame. Often the width differs as you go along the frame. The 3 measurements for the beam will show you if the frame stays straight or goes in our out as you move along the frame.

In general a wider beam width means a more powerful racket as their is more material in the racket therefore giving you more strength when you contact the ball.

  • 22m or less is considered a narrow beam
  • 22-24mm is considered an average beam
  • 24mm or more is considered a wide beam

Tennishead suggests…

As you’d expect, a wider beam racket in general means more power but less manoeuvrability and vice versa with a narrow beam racket. Therefore you’ll tend to find advanced or stronger players will look for a narrow beam racket and beginners will opt for something with a wider beam to give them more help when trying to generate power.

 

Length

Measured in inches (in) or centimetres (cm) or millimetres (mm)

The variance in the length of a tennis racket hasn’t really changed over the years apart from a short trend towards extra long rackets. This means that nearly all rackets are 27 inches in length

If you do find a racket that isn’t this length then we would suggest that a longer racket will create higher swing velocity and therefore a more powerful shot, but will be harder to control. Therefore a player looking for help with their power of hitting might like a longer frame (if oyu can find one that is)

 

Recommended string tension

Measured in pounds (lbs)

Racket manufacturers will always recommend the tension range that you should use when stringing their rackets. Often oyu will have bought a racket with strings already in it so you don;t need to worry about this. but if oyu have bought just the frame or if you restring a racket then you might want to pay attention to the manufacturers recommend tension.

However, a lot of players have their own preference in terms of string tension so will ignore this manufacturers advice. If you did string a racket outside of their recommended tension and it broke then they might refuse to replace it but we’ve never heard of that happening.

Click here to buy tennis rackets, balls, clothes, strings and shoes with a 5% DISCOUNT on the lowest internet price PLUS a free string upgrade (worth £30) from our trusted retail partner All Things Tennis

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