Tennis Rackets at Sweatband.com
Tennis equipment has come a long way since the days when the only rackets you could buy were made of wood and the head size of most rackets was more or less the same, advances in materials and manufacturing processes first lead to rackets being made with metal frames, and then the transition to Graphite composite frames lead to the head sizes, the weight of rackets and the power provided by these rackets all changing dramatically, it also lead to quite a wide variety of options for the player to consider when looking for a racket to suit their game, with specific design features aimed at different levels of player.
All brands have different technology which offer different benefits, some rackets incorporate vibration dampening technology, which is particularly useful to know if you are prone to injury such as tennis elbow, some rackets are more suited to the player who likes to play with heavy top spin, you will find mention of these technical specifics when you look at individual models.
On a more general level, whether you are new to the game, or you are simply looking for a new racket to help advance your game, here is a basic guide to some of the main features you should consider, which are, head size, weight / balance, and grip size.
There are basically four categories of head size we would advise you to look at, the difference between the extremes of head size from the smallest to the largest options is that smaller head sizes offer more control, larger head sizes generate more power.
98 square inches and below
Generally used by more advanced players, very proficient players are able to create all the power they need in their game through good technique, they will have long fast swings and their priority becomes controlling the power that they generate, smaller head sizes give them this extra control.
100 square inches to 105 square inches
This head size offers a good compromise between power and control and will still be ideal for good and intermediate level players to retain control over their shots, there is a little more forgiveness in frames of this size and they will certainly be easier to use than the smallest rackets available, this is a very popular head size and you will find that most of the top brands premium rackets will be 100 square inch, or very close to that, because it offers such a good power and control balance.
106 square inches to 110 square inches
A racket of this size is ideal for the player who needs to add more power to their game, if you take a short or quite gentle swing at the ball then the larger sweet spot will help generate extra power to your shots, these oversize rackets are perfectly suited to the average club player who does not hit so hard at the ball and needs the racket to assist in generating enough power to trouble your opponent.
110 to 115 square inches
At this head size the power generated is very dominant, a 115 square inch head size racket will have an extremely large sweet spot and you will notice considerable difference in the power level, this helps the player who does not hit hard at the ball or with a short compact swing, they are extremely forgiving and wonderfully easy to use but they are not for the hard hitting, or even moderately powerful player, who would find such levels of power very difficult to control on a consistent basis.
Racket Weight and Balance
Racket weights vary from about 225g up to 330g and weight is usually quoted for the frame only (so unstrung), when considering what weight suits you, we would suggest there are four main categories for you to consider.
• Racket weight 300g plus
Usually chosen by the more advanced player, the weight will add power to shots and ensure the racket stays stable but good technique is needed to get the benefit of the weight, hence the suitability to the more advanced player, these rackets will be balanced head light.
• Racket weight 280 to 299g
At around 280g a nice compromise is given, there is enough weight in the racket for an enhanced feel and they are a good blend of power and control. Ideal for the competent player who needs a bit more forgiveness than the heaviest rackets can give, these will be slightly head light.
• Racket weight 250 to 279g
This weight will be a great help to the player with a more compact swing, they are very easy to manoeuvre, so will also be a good choice if you are still learning and developing your technique, very forgiving and will likely be balanced even or head heavy.
• Racket weight below 250g
Wonderfully easy to use due to their very light weight and usually combined with the larger head size rackets, they can generate effortless power, so are ideal for the older player or the player who does not swing hard at the ball, they will be balanced head heavy.
To give you an idea of the grip size you need, hold the racket with a forehand grip and place the index finger of your other hand into the gap between your fingers and your palm, your index finger should just fit into that gap, if you cannot get your finger into the gap, you need a larger grip, if the gap is too big for your index finger to fit snuggly, you need a smaller grip. In most models of rackets, the grip size options are:
Grip 1 (4 1/8 inch)
Grip 2 (4 1/4 inch)
Grip 3 (4 3/8 inch)
Grip 4 (4 1/2 Inch)
You may see mention of grip 0 (4 inch), and grip 5 (4 5/8 inch), the grip 0 is often considered a junior size grip, (although some senior length rackets are available in this grip size), and grip 5 is still available on some rackets but most of the rackets produced today are made in grip sizes 1 to 4.