A Beginners Guide to Picking a Good Tennis Racket
The most important piece of tennis gear you need is the racket. Take a look at this beginners guide to learn how you can pick a good tennis racket for you.
Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. In 2017, approximately 17.6 million people played tennis in the USA alone!
Each one of those players had to pick up a tennis racket in order to play the game.
While a racket is necessary to play the game, it's just as important that players pick the right racket for their needs.
Tennis rackets have come a long way from the single-size wooden rackets of the 1920s. Though new technology has made the game easier and more fun to play, it does make selecting a racket more difficult.
Not sure where to start? In this guide, we'll walk you through how to pick a good tennis racket so you can focus on the rules of the game rather than worrying about your gear.
Think About Skill Level
Tennis rackets are available with different sized heads, which determines how much power the racket contributes to each hit. Different head sizes often correspond to different skill levels.
Look for rackets with larger heads. These models offer more surface area for the ball to hit with each swing and add more power to each hit. This helps you focus on your form without worrying about sending the ball over the net.
If your accuracy is good or you want to improve further, choose a racket with a slightly smaller head. This will help you improve accuracy without making the game too challenging to enjoy.
Advanced tennis players may prefer rackets with smaller heads. These models give you more control over each hit and let you focus on making accurate scores rather than simply hitting the ball.
Pick the Right Length & Head Size
The tennis racket is the most important piece of equipment you need when playing tennis. Clearly, it won't be much of a match if you can't hit the ball back. Kid racket sizes include:
- 21 inches for 4 - 5 years old
- 23 inches for 6 -8 years old
- 25 inches for 9 - 10 years old
- 26 for 10 years and older. Or until ready for an adult size.
Modern adult tennis rackets range in length from 27 to 29 inches. Longer rackets give each swing more power, but shorter rackets are often easier to control.
For players just starting out, a 27-inch racket will be ideal. These rackets give you enough power to move the ball across the court, but also give you better control over each swing.
As your game improves or your preferences change, you can always try a longer model.
For more intermediate players, a long racket can help you improve the power in each swing. You'll already have the experience in controlling the ball, so you can focus on adding more power behind the hit.
After you find the right length, think about what racket head size you'd be most comfortable with. Typically there are 3 categories of racket head sizes: standard, midplus, and oversized.
The bigger the head the more power. But bigger is not always the best choice. As the racket head gets bigger, it is harder to control where the ball goes.
If you naturally have a lot of power, you may want a smaller head for more control of the ball. And vice versa, if you can control the ball well already, you may want to opt for a bigger racket head to get more power.
Measure Your Grip
Grips are used on the handle of the tennis racket. These are simply a matter of fit and feel.
Everyone's hands are different sizes and the type of grip you choose needs to work with your hand size.
A grip that's too large or bulky will be tough to handle. A grip that's too small can get uncomfortable and put strain on your wrist after a few minutes on the court.
To pick the right grip, measure your hand. Spread your hand flat and measure from the tip of your ring finger to the tip of the heel of your palm.
This measurement will correspond to a grip size. For most people, this measurement will be between 4 and 4.75 inches.
Once you know your measurement, try a few different grips to see how they feel in your hand. If the grip that matches your measurement feels too small, try the next size up. Measurements are more of a guide rather than a hard and fast size.
Consider How Flexible the Racket Is
A good tennis racket will offer the perfect balance between flexibility and stiffness. The more flexible a racket is, the more power it will give each swing. The stiffer the racket, the easier it is to control each hit.
Why? When the tennis ball hits the racket's strings, the force of the impact is absorbed by the racket itself. Stiff rackets absorb less of the impact, causing the ball to go farther when the player follows through with the hit.
Flexible rackets absorb the impact through the strings. This slows the ball down and forces players to use more muscle behind the hit to move the ball the same distance.
For players just starting out, a stiffer racket may be easier to work with. More advanced players or those with stronger swings may prefer a more flexible racket.
Pay Attention to the Weight of the Racket
When buying a tennis racket, you'll notice that some are heavier than others. Heavy rackets, often called "power rackets," weigh more than 11 ounces on average.
Much of that weight is centered around the head of the racket. This is what gives it more power.
Lightweight rackets weigh about 9 ounces and are ideal for small players. They're easier to control and let you practice for longer periods of time without getting tired.
Mid-weight rackets fall between 9.5 and 10.9 ounces. For players just starting out or those that don't know what weight they prefer, this is the best option.
Mid-weight rackets offer a balance between easy control and more powerful swings.
Choose the Right Material
Tennis rackets are often made from graphite, fiberglass, aluminum, or a composite (combination) of these materials. The type of material you choose will determine the weight and stiffness of the racket.
For example, graphite is among the lightest weight, but also tends to form the stiffest rackets. This gives beginners more power and control over their swing when just starting out. The light weight makes it easier to control the racket even if your muscles are tired.
When combined with aluminum or fiberglass, the material becomes more flexible. This makes it ideal for intermediate and advanced players.
Aluminum and fiberglass rackets are more affordable. However, they also tend to be heavier than graphite models. For beginners, they offer a solid balance between affordability and stiffness.
If possible, try different materials out to see what feels the most natural. If you can't, pick a racket that's both lightweight and slightly flexible. This way, it can grow with you as your skills progress.
Look at String Patterns
String patterns on the best tennis rackets help with ball control and speed.
Open string patterns have wide gaps between the strings. This pattern puts more spin on the ball with each hit, making it harder to control where the ball goes.
Closed string patterns have less space between the strings and let the ball move in a more controlled way. For beginners, closed string patterns are best. They're easier to control and are less likely to break if you hit the ball a little too hard.
Rackets come pre-strung or unstrung, depending on your preference. If you purchase an unstrung racket, make sure to pick up strings before checking out.
Why a Good Tennis Racket Matters
Tennis may be a game of skill, but buying the wrong racket can make the game harder to play.
When you're first learning the game, a beginner-friendly racket will let you focus on the rules and your form without worrying about hitting the ball just right.
This can make the game more fun and help you stick with it.
Learn About - How to Choose the Best Tennis Ball
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