Choosing a Tennis Racquet
When choosing a tennis racquet, there are several factors to consider, such as weight, balance, and head size. By learning how to differentiate between several kinds of racquets and what they can offer, selecting one will be much easier. The following is an in-depth guide on the specific characteristics of racquets and how they can influence your game. To view tennis racquets by brand click here.
Lighter in weight (8 to 9.5 ounces)
Larger head size (105 sq inches and above)
Open (less dense) string pattern
Wider frame width
This type of racquet offers a very generous amount of power. This category of racquet is meant for the type of player that does not use a fast or full length swing, but instead one who takes much smaller and more relaxed swings.
Medium in weight (9.6 to 11 ounces)
Medium in head size (100 to 105 sq. inches)
String pattern varies
Medium frame width
Tweener racquets are great for players who are looking for a blend of both power and control from their racquets. These racquets are made for tennis players who have medium to long swing speeds and take medium to long cuts at the ball. This category of racquets is especially ideal for players who are making the transition from junior to full length tennis racquets.
Heavier in weight (11.1 ounces and above)
Smaller in head size (90 to 98 sq. inches)
String pattern varies
Thinner frame width
The control racquet is meant for players who have long and fast swings at the ball. Since the racquet provides very little power, much of the pace must be generated from the player. The benefit of using such a heavy racquet, however, lies in the stability and control that is provided. This racquet is no good for transitioning juniors unless they can handle the weight.
Midsize - 93 sq. inches or less
Midplus - 95 to 102 sq. inches
Oversize - 105 sq inches and above
Arguably the most noticeable physical characteristic of a tennis racquet, the head size also has the most impact on how a racquet behaves. In order to understand why the head size can make such a large impact on the performance of the racquet, consider the dynamics of a trampoline. This comparison is easily illustrated by discussing the differences between a standard large trampoline and the smaller types typically used for running. If you were to jump on the smaller trampoline you would not go very high. Yet, if you were to jump on the larger trampoline, you would be shot a considerable distance into the air. Why is this? The greater the size of the rubber material the more it will bend, thus the higher the person will go.
The same dynamic applies to the interaction between a tennis ball, racquet, and string. Without factoring in other aspects, the larger the head size, the more the strings will bend, thus creating a feeling of more power within the frame. Essentially an oversize racquet can be directly compared to a standard trampoline while a smaller midsize can be compared to a running trampoline.
Another critical component of a racquets design is its length, with standard and extra long racquets each having their own advantages and disadvantages. An easy way to describe the difference between a standard and extra length racquet is to compare swinging two poles of slightly different length. When swung at a target, the longer pole will have slightly more force on impact due to the extra length causing the pole to bend a bit more. The same principal applies to a tennis racquet. The standard length tennis racquet is a bit easier to maneuver around court while the extra length racquet offers more power and reach. Although it may not seem like much, even ¼ of an inch can make a huge impact on how the racquet plays.
Super Light - 8.9 ounces or less (Unstrung)
Light - 9 to 9.5 ounces (Unstrung)
Medium - 9.6 to 10.4 ounces (Unstrung)
Heavy - 10.5 to 10.9 ounces (Unstrung)
Very Heavy - 11 ounces and above (Unstrung)
Yet another crucial characteristic of a tennis racquet is its weight. A heavier frame will provide more stability and control, but a lighter will provide more power and maneuverability. The important thing to remember when considering the weight of a racquet is that to maximize what you’re getting from your racquet you need to use the heaviest racquet that you can without hurting yourself. This is why checking out several demos is very important because all of the factors excluded the weight will have a direct impact on how the racquet feels more than anything else.
The balance of the racquet is the most noticeable application of the distribution of the weight in the racquet and can have a dramatic impact on how the racquet performs. The more head light a racquet is, for example, the easier it will be to maneuver around but may not be as stable on harder hit shots and the user will have to work a bit harder to generate the same kind of pace as someone with a racquet with more weight in the head.
Inversely a racquet with more weight in the head will provide more stability, power, and spin while sacrificing mobility. Unlike other components of a racquets design one can just as easily find an advanced player’s racquet with a head heavy balance just as easily as one can find a beginner’s frame with a head light balance. The balance has no bearing on who the racquet is meant for as much as it just merely impacts how the racquet will feel.
Dense String Pattern (Closed) : 18 mains x 20 crosses
In The Middle (Medium): 16 mains x 19 crosses
Less Dense String Pattern (Open): 16 mains x 18 crosses
When discussing the string pattern of a racquet, you're discussing the number of vertical strings (mains) a racquet has by the number of horizontal strings (crosses) a racquet has. A racquet with a dense string pattern (more strings) will offer more control, while a racquet with a less dense string pattern (fewer strings) will offer more power. To get an idea of how this works, think about it for a minute. When a ball hits a string bed with fewer strings, the strings will bend easier, causing a trampoline effect and the ball to launch off the string bed quickly. When a ball hits a dense string bed, the increased support provided by the extra string causes the ball to give more than the strings. This causes the ball to stay on the strings longer and more surface-to-surface contact between the ball and string bed, allowing you to guide the ball a bit better.
Also affected by the string pattern is the spin potential of the racquet. When a racquet has a less dense string pattern, the open strings will "bite" the ball more and in return put more spin on the ball. In contrast, a more dense string pattern won't bite the ball as much and cause the ball to travel deeper in the court. It's up to you to figure out which type of pattern works for you!