Most tennis players never really consider when they may need a new racquet (wanting a new one is quite a bit different!). We thought it might be good to pass along a list of reasons why a new stick, aside from being desirable, might actually be necessary.
1. You Had the Wrong Racquet All Along
Believe it or not, this may be the most pressing reason to make a racquet change, especially if you’re new to the game. Many new players see a racquet advertised at a tremendous markdown and think it’s a real bargain (“It was $300; now it’s $79. What a deal!”). However, it may very well be the wrong one for their game: a strong, big-swinging player may have wound up with an ultra-light, game improvement stick, for example. Have one of our Tennis Express racquet experts see if your current frame suits your style of play.
Ultra light and/or stiff frames are not your friend if you have an injury. Arm or shoulder problems can necessitate a change in racquets to alleviate discomfort. Shock absorption technologies like ProKennex Kinetic or Babolat Cortex Pure Feel or Wilson FreeFlex may be the missing piece to allow you to play pain-free.
3. Change In Style of Play
If you were an aggressive serve-and-volleyer as a junior, but now play a more thoughtful baseline game, a new racquet may help you do it better. The head-light racquet you used to snap off shots at net may not have the kind of baseline power and stability you need today.
4. You Grew or Got Older
Many times, a 12-year-old kid will come out to play tennis with the exact same racquet he or she used at age 5. Obviously, the kind of growth they had in that time period should put a larger, heavier racquet at the top of their list of needs. We can help you with size determinations for your budding stars here at Tennis Express, but growing kids should have their racquet size changed every year until they reach adult (27 inch) length. Also, as adults age, their equipment needs may change: weaker muscles that come with aging may mean you should get a lighter, easier-swinging racquet, or loss of vision may mean a larger head size is in your immediate future. Maybe you play mostly doubles now, rather than singles, and a more maneuverable frame might help.
5. Your Current Racquet is Worn Out
Modern racquets are quite strong, but they’re not indestructible. Years of hitting, dragging on the ground, being thrown (yes, I’m looking at you!), and restringing can break down the fibers of even the best frames. If your racquet is more than 5 years old, it’s most likely ready to be replaced. Also, after that period of time, one of the reasons listed above has probably come in to play: you’ve gotten older, had an injury, your game has changed, etc.
A constant assessment of where your game stands could help you make the equipment changes necessary to continue playing solid and enjoyable tennis. Our Tennis Express racquet experts are standing by to answer any questions you may have about how well your current racquet suits your game, and to advise you on what frames to demo if you’re in need of a new one.