Choosing the right tennis racket for your game
File Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Choosing the right tennis racquet 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-earned cash, here are some tips to help you in your quest for the perfect tennis equipment.
Weight of the tennis racquet: The lighter the better?
A weight comparison between racquets is usually the first exercise an individual conducts when purchasing a racket. A lighter racquet is not better than a heavier one. Here are some points to consider:
1. Characteristics of light racquets:
- Usually weighs between 9 – 9.4 ounces (Approximately 255 to 270 grams)
- Generally provide for easier control
- Generates less power
2. Characteristics of mid-weight racquets:
- Usually weighs between 9.8 to 10.9 ounces (Approximately 280 to 310 grams)
- Provides a combination of power and control
3. Characteristics of heavy racquets:
- Usually weighs more than 11 ounces (Approximately 330 grams)
- Provides more power in shots
- Helps to maintain control over a player’s swing
Head Heavy or Grip Heavy / Head Light racquets: 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 racquets:
- A racquet is head heavy if the majority of its weight is in its head
- 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
- A head heavy racquet is usually favoured by players who generally favour baseline shots
- Smaller players who require additional power boost in their shots also tend to favour head heavy racquets
- 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 shot
However, such racquets tend to feel clumsier and are not ideal for volleying. Intermediate and advanced players tend to view head heavy racquets as overpowered
2. Grip heavy / Head light racquets:
- A racquet is grip heavy/head light when the majority of its weight is in its grip
- A grip heavy/head light racquet provides increased manoeuvrability and increased control over a shot
- Generally such racquets are favoured by net and volley players
- Grip heavy/Head light racquets are generally more suited for advanced players who are able to generate power and spin in a shot
Racquet 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 racquet head size:
- Measures between 106 square inches and 135 square inches
- Large sweet spot, therefore a more forgiving racquet
- Generates the most power and spin in a shot
- Usually favoured by smaller sized players and beginners
2. Mid Plus racquet head size:
- 95 to 106 square inches
- Moderately sized sweet spot
- Balance of power and control
- Usually favoured by intermediate players
3. Mid racquet head size
- Racquet head size below 95 square inches
- Small sweet spot
- Provides a player with more control and less power
- Usually favoured by advanced players
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.
Beam Width of a tennis racquet: Thick or Thin?
The Beam of a racquet 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.
In general, the length of a tennis racquet is between the ranges of 27 to 28 inches. The shorter a racquet the greater its manoeuvrability and the longer the racquet, the more power it produces (while sacrificing manoeuvrability).
General preferences of a tennis racquet
In general the following are the main racquet attributes which a beginner, intermediate and advance player would prefer.
Beginners often prefer a racquet that is:
- Lighter weight racquets
- Head heavy: Power oriented racquets
- Oversized size racquet head
Intermediate players often prefer:
- Moderate weight racquets
- Head heavy (if the player is small in stature) or Grip Heavy (if the player is athletically built)
- Mid Plus size racquet head
Advanced players often prefer:
- Heavier weight racquets
- Grip heavy/head light: Control oriented racquets
- Mid size racquet head
Ultimately when it comes to choosing the right racquet for you, it comes down to what feels good in your hands. You ought to be comfortable with the racquet you are using to play a good game of tennis!
Where can I shop for tennis racquets in Singapore?
Many major sporting goods retailer such as World of Sports or Royal Sporting House do carry a wide array of tennis rackets to choose from.
If there is any particular brand and model you’re looking for, you may wish to check out Tennis Hub:
587 Bukit Timah Road
Coronation Shopping Plaza
#02-44 (Opposite UOB Bank)
They carry a wide range of brands from Babolat, to Yonex, Pacific and Prince.
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