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tennis racquet
File Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Choosing the right tennis racket may be a rather daunting task with the endless array of options available in the market today. Before you go out to the shops to hand-over your hard earn cash, here are some tips to help you in your quest for the perfect tennis equipment.

Weight: The lighter the better?

A weight comparison between racquets is usually the first exercise an individual conducts when purchasing a racket. A lighter racket is not better than a heavier one. Here are some points to consider:

1. Light rackets:
a. Usually weight between 9 – 9.4 ounces (Approximately 255 to 270 grams).
b. Generally provide for easier control.
c. Generates less power.

2. Mid-weight rackets:
a. Usually weight between 9.8 to 10.9 ounces (Approximately 280 to 310 grams).
b. Provides a combination of power and control.

3. Heavy rackets:
a. Usually weight more than 11 ouches (Approximately 330 grams)
b. Provides more power in shots.
c. Helps to maintain control over a player’s swing.

Head Heavy or Grip Heavy / Head Light rackets: Power or Control?

In general most racquets are head heavy or grip heavy / head light. In addition to the weight of a racquet, this determines if a racquet is power or control oriented.

1. Head Heavy rackets: 

a. A racquet is head heavy if the majority of its weight is in its head
b. A head heavy racquet produces more power as the higher mass at the head of the racquet enables a racquet to be swung with greater momentum than a head light racquet
c. A head heavy racquet is usually favoured by players who generally favour baseline shots
d. Smaller players who require additional power boost in their shots also tend to favour head heavy racquets
e. In general a head heavy racquet paired with a light racquet frame is more suitable for beginners and smaller built players as such a racquet is easy to swing and assists the player in generating power in their short
f. However, such racquets tend to feel clumsier and are not ideal for volleying. Intermediate and advance players tend to view head heavy racquets as over-powered

2. Grip heavy / Head light rackets:
a. A racquet is grip heavy/head light when the majority of its weight is in its grip
b. A grip heavy/head light racquet provides increased maneuverability and increased control over a shot
c. Generally such racquets are favoured by net and volley players
d. Grip heavy/Head light racquets are generally more suited for advance players who are able to generate power and spin in a shot

Racket head size: The bigger the Better?

There are generally 3 racquet head sizes: Oversize, Mid Plus and Mid. In general, the larger the face of the racquet the more power and spin it will produce, and the larger the sweet spot (The area on the strung surface of the racquet’s head which produces the most amount of power with the least effort.).

1. Oversize:
a. Measures between 106 square inches and 135 square inches
b. Large sweet spot, therefore a more forgiving racquet
c. Generates the most power and spin in a shot
d. Usually favoured by smaller sized players and beginners

2. Mid Plus:
a. 95 to 106 square inches
b. Moderately sized sweet spot
c. Balance of power and control
d. Usually favoured by intermediate players

3. Mid
a. Racquet head sized below 95 square inches
b. Small sweet spot
c. Provides a player with more control and less power
d. Usually favoured by advanced players

Grip Size: The neglected consideration

The most commonly neglected consideration and ironically the most import one, is grip size. Choosing a racquet with the wrong tennis grip size will not only affect your performance but will also cause injury (Etc: Tennis elbow).

The most common method to measure your grip size is to hold your master hand out flat with your fingers alongside each other and measure the distance between the middle crease of your palm and the tip of your ring finger as seen in the picture below.

tennis measurement
Image credit:
The grip sizes most common for women will usually be between 4 1/8” to 4 3.8”, for most men between 4 3/8” to 4 5/8” and juniors will usually measure less than 4”.

Beam Width: Thick or Thin?

The Beam of a racket is the area of a racket on either side of its head. In generally the thicker the beam the more power the racket will generate.

tennis racquet overview
Image credit:

Racket Length: Longer is better?

In general, the length of a tennis racket is between the ranges of 27 to 28 inches. The shorter a racket the greater its maneuverability and the longer the racket, the more power it produces (while sacrificing maneuverability).

General preferences

In general the following are the main racket attributes which a beginner, intermediate and advance player would prefer.

Beginners often prefer a racket that is:

1. Lighter weight rackets
2. Head heavy: Power oriented rackets
3. Over-sized size racket head

Intermediate players often prefer

1. Moderate weight rackets.
2. Head heavy (if the player is small in stature) or Grip Heavy (if the player is athletically built)
3. Mid Plus size racket head

Advanced players often prefer:

1. Heavier weight rackets.
2. Grip heavy/head light: Control oriented rackets
3. Mid size racket head

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