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tennis racket buyers guide

Tennis rackets: A buyers guide


Finding the best racket to help improve your game is a difficult thing to do. There are so many options to choose from that finding the best racket for your game can seem like a game of luck in itself. tennishead has decided to do the hard work for you with our tennis racket buyers guide. Here we explain the key factors to look out for when choosing your tennis racket

 

This tennis racket buyers guide is aimed at being an ‘easy to follow’ basic guide to the key steps you should look out for when choosing a racket. But because we are tennishead, the world’s best tennis experts, we’ve also published more detailed articles on the same subject which you can find here:

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Buying a Tennis Racket

Tennis racket specifications explained

The Ultimate Guide to Tennis Racket Strings: Unravelling the mystery

 


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


 

Now, lets get on with helping you choose the best racket for your game

Types of tennis racket

A tennis racket buyers guide wouldn’t be complete without first explaining that most rackets are defined by your standard of play. You should then base your choice of racket on your own ability.

Improver or beginner rackets: Designed for improvers, complete beginners and recreational players who are quite new to the game or have returned to tennis after a lengthy break. Most of these rackets will have bugger heads so that oyu have more surface area to contact the ball and a lot of them will be on the lighter side allowing you to swing easily no matter how experienced you are.

Intermediate rackets: Aimed at the club-standard player who is no longer a beginner, but by no means Roger Federer in disguise either. The larger head sizes provide a greater sweet spot and the moderate weight makes the racket more comfortable to use.

Advanced rackets: Tournament and performance frames play best when used by highly skilled and physically fit players who have the ability to generate a fast racket swing speed through the ball.

A key point to make is that technology is so good these days hat none of these rackets will be poorly made. In fact an advanced player could happily play with an improvers racket. They will use the same materials and be made using the same advanced processes. So if you like a racket but it’s not in your category of standard don’t worry about, just go ahead and buy the racket you prefer.

 

What are you looking for in a racket?

There are five key factors to consider before choosing your next racket which are detailed below as part of our tennis racket buyers guide:

1) Head size: Typically between 95-110 square inches. Larger heads, generate more power and have a larger sweet spot. Smaller head sizes offer more control.

2) Length: Adult rackets can be anything from 27-29 inches long, though most are nearer the lower end of the scale. Longer rackets are generally lighter than standard frames, and offer more reach and more power on serve.

3) Weight: Heavier rackets (320g and beyond) are more powerful than lighter rackets (310g and below), but are less manoeuverable and can wear a player out. Strings add around 30g to the weight of a racket.

4) Balance: Head-heavy rackets are often lighter, offering added power on groundstrokes, while head-light rackets are generally heavier but more manoeuverable.

5) Stiffness: The racket flex on impact affects power and comfort. The stiffer a frame, the less energy is lost when hitting the ball, but sends more impact shock to your hand and arm.

A more detailed explanation of tennis racket specifications can be found here

 

Are you ready for an advanced racket?

Before heading to your local specialist to price-check the racket your favourite pro plays with, think about your own game before handing over that hard-earned cash.

The ‘advanced’ part of advanced rackets refers to the players, not the frames. In fact, for all their technological wizadry, most tournament rackets are designed to offer players a classic feel – the head size is generally smaller, the frames are heavier and more flexible, and the balance point is closer to the handle.

For many players, these changes actually make tennis more difficult – the smaller head means a smaller sweet spot, the heavy frame can be tiring, and the head-light balance cuts down on power. So why do the pros choose these rackets over lighter, more forgiving models?

In short, because they have the physique and ability to make the most of those advanced features. Weight is not an issue to an athletic player, nor is power. In fact, many benefit from having their natural strength curbed to keep the ball in play. Instead, the premium is on control – the result of a more manoeuverable frame.

 

Grips

Every racket is offered in a range of grip sizes – the circumference of the handle, which is most typically between 4 1/8in and 4 5/8in. That may not seem like a huge range, but find two rackets a grip size apart and you’d be surprised how distinct that 1/8in can feel.

Getting the right grip size is important to prevent injury – too large a grip can strain your hand muscles, while a small grip can put pressure on your wrist and elbow.

To find your grip size, hold your playing hand out flat, take a ruler and measure the length between the tip of your ring finger and the second of the three main creases that run across your palm. That measurement indicates the grip size you need.

When buying a racket, bear in mind that while it is possible to fatten a grip up- marginally with overgrips or more substantially with grip enlargement kits – it is very difficult to go down a grip size

 

Junior rackets

It can be easy to rush into buying the wrong racket, but it is crucial that the racket you buy suits the height and strength of the player.

tennishead’s top tips on how to make the right choice…

1) The player should be able to comfortably hold the racket out to the side of them at a right angle, if they can’t their technique will suffer.

2) Ideally the player needs to be able to stand up straight with the racket touching the floor by their side.

3) Similar to buying an adult racket, make sure there is room for a little finger to fit in between the player’s thumb and forefinger when gripping the handle.

Grips: Junior rackets tend to have 4in grips which can be easily increased with the addition of a cushioned grip should it need adjusting.

Considering cost: The material of the racket is the main contributor to its cost. Aluminium is cheaper but because it is lighter, it suits younger, less experienced players. The bigger rackets (25-26in) are often graphite, which is more expensive but suitable for the more experienced player.

 

Junior size guide

Choosing the right sized racket can be a challenge, follow our guidelines…

 

Age Under 6 6-8 8-10 10-11 11-12
Height (cm) 105-120 121-135 136-150 136-150 151 & under
Racket size (inches) 17-21 23 25 26 26-26.5
Mini tennis category RED RED ORANGE GREEN YELLOW

 

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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