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Head Size:

Refers to the actual strung area of the racquet’s head, and is usually expressed in square inches. Head size is a determining factor in frame power and stability, as longer strings in a larger racquet head will have a higher “trampoline effect” (which can increase power). A wider head will have a larger “twistweight,” and will resist torque on off-center hits. A smaller head size can increase control (all else being equal), but will reduce sweet spot size, power, and torque resistance. There is no industry standard for head size classification, but a common range would be as follows:

 

Midsize: 85-95 square inches (550-615 square centimeters)
Mid Plus: 96-105 square inches (621-680 square centimeters)
Oversize: 106-115 square inches (686-744 square centimeters)
Super Oversize: 116 square inches and above (750+ square centimeters)

 

Pre-Strung vs. Performance Frame:

As the name suggests, pre-strung racquets come with string already installed. These racquets tend to have less in the way of cutting-edge technology, but they are also less expensive than the performance or “premium” frames. Pre-strung racquets can be a great option for recreational players or those new to the sport. Premium racquets are ideal for those looking to take their game to the next level. With the best in technology, these racquets are designed to help enhance your game. They do not come with string, so you’ll have to choose that with the help of one of our string experts at Tennis Express.

 

 

Balance

This is the point where a racquet will actually balance on a beam or other instrument, and is not normally in the center of the frame’s length. If it is, that racquet is said to be “evenly balanced.” Most frames will fall into the other two categories: “head light,” with the majority of the weight in the handle, or “head heavy,” with the majority of the mass in the head. Balance is most often expressed as “points” head heavy or head light. Normally, heavier racquets will be balanced head light to increase stability in the grip and maneuverability in the head, while lighter ones will tend to be head heavy to provide the necessary momentum on the follow through. Racquet balance can be altered with the placement of weight (usually lead tape) in the desired location, and can drastically affect racquet feel and performance.

 

Cross Section

Refers to the width of the racquet’s beams, and is an indicator of racquet stiffness and power. A racquet with wider beams will tend to flex less than one with more narrow beams (all else being equal), and as such will lose less energy to that flex and transfer more power to the ball. Cross section width is generally measured in millimeters, and is normally termed in the following groups: Control frames will generally have beam widths of 22mm or less, Tweener racquets will usually have beam widths of 23-27mm, and Power frames will tend to have the highest cross sections of 28mm and above.

 

Flex

This is a measure of a racquet’s stiffness on a scale of 0-100, though most racquets fall into the 45-75 range. The higher the number, the stiffer the racquet; the lower the number, the more flexible.  A flexible racquet absorbs much of the ball’s momentum coming into the strings, providing more control and often a more comfortable feel for the player wielding it. As you might imagine, flexible frames are more common in the “Control Racquet” category. Power frames tend to be stiffer and may transmit more vibration to the wrist and forearm, but, as the name suggests, they produce more natural pop on their groundstrokes, volleys, and serves.

 

Final Notes

These are only generalized guidelines and not all frames will match every characteristic of its category.  This helpful guide should not be considered a substitute for personal experience.  We do highly recommend taking advantage of our demo program to help find the perfect fit for your game.

 

 




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