Choosing a tennis racquet or racket is a crucial part of your tennis career. Whether you are a beginner, hobbyist, intermediate, going pro or a pro, you need to choose wisely or you ended up wasting money.
First, you need to decide what type of player you are. Do you need more control, power or are you in the middle?
Once you figure out what type of racket you will need that will help determine the head size, weight, and length.
Third, is an open or closed (tight) string pattern. Mostly this will also be decided on by the head size of the racket. Last, your grip size; we will talk specifics below.
So, what type of racket should you be looking for?
I want Control!
These rackets are usually used for the higher end players, I would also go as far as saying more for men than women. The head sizes are typically smaller (85″-98″) creating that tighter string pattern, thus more control. These rackets are also typically heavier (11-13 oz) than the others. Pair it with spin strings and you got yourself a very nice controllable racquet.
A heavier racket gives you more racket head speed as you swing through the ball. I am not a professional on rackets, but I have played long enough and used enough different rackets to know that the use of a heavier racket needs to be done with caution.
If you are not strong enough or do not have the correct strokes, using a heavier racket can really lead to some bad habits and possibly injury. Because the rackets are heavier it takes more strength to swing and can cause stress on your joints (elbows and shoulders) if not used correctly.
A racket that is most familiar to me is the Wilson Six.One. It has a head size of 95″ and comes with two different string patterns, a 16×18 (fairly tight) and a 18×20(VERY tight).
I used this racket growing up and loved it, but wonder how we got away with using this heavy ‘ol thing being so small. One thing to remember too, the smaller the head size the less of a “sweet spot”, or room for error you will have on the racket.
These are the racquets that can be used by most all different types of players, “tweeners”! This is the type of racket I use and I love it! Growing up I always used the Control rackets, but after I finished playing in college I started teaching more and needed a lighter racket; my arm got tired feeding so many balls!
My entire college career my coach tried to get me to use the Babolat PureDrive. I constantly refused, until I finished playing and she saw me hit a serve and asked me, “why didn’t you use this in college?!” By switching to a racket more in the middle of the spectrum I gained at least 10 MPH more on my serve.
The rackets in the middle usually are lighter and have slightly bigger head sizes, 9.5-11 oz(weight) and 95-102″ (head size). Because the rackets are slightly lighter you are able to maneuver the racket easier.
I use the Babolat PureDrive now and would recommend this racket to almost every player. Andy Roddick was the Pro to make this racket famous. He was a big hitter and most known for his big serve, his fastest serve was 155 MPH!!! If he can use this racket so can you!
Also, the Babolat AeroPro is a popular racket, and used by Raphael Nadal. The difference between the two is the weight, the AeroPro is slightly heavier giving slightly more punch to your ball. Partner it with a tennis ball machine and you will surely improve.
The need for Power!
These are great rackets for very beginners and older players that need the extra power. The head size for these rackets ranges from 107”-135″ and are significantly lighter than even the “tweener” rackets. Combined them with natural gut strings and its power will greatly increase.
I am not an expert in this area at all so I can’t make any good recommendations. However, in the ladies groups I have taught I have seen a lot of them with the bigger, lighter Prince and Wilson Rackets. Once you pick your racket you can then pick your grip size.
To measure your grip size, open your hand, keep your fingers close together and your thumb extended. Take a ruler and measure from the bottom crease of your hand (about the middle of your palm) to the tip of your ring finger.
Having the right grip size makes a HUGE difference! You can always make your grip bigger by using over grips, but you can’t make them smaller. Using a grip that is too large makes it hard to have a good grip and can cause you to hit the ball improperly and lose control.
To Sum It up…..
Most cities have local tennis shops, tennis/ athletic club pro shop’s or even your coach can help size you up with the right racket for you!! I hope this can help you in making a good choice for your racket! The right racket will make a huge difference in how you hit the ball. Good luck on your journey to finding your perfect match!