How to Choose the Best Tennis Racquet for Your Game
YOUNG PLAYERS OFTEN ASK: “WHAT’S THE BEST TENNIS RACQUET FOR ME?” WE TRY TO ANSWER THAT COMPLEX QUESTION AS SIMPLY AS POSSIBLE.
There are a few reasons why you might be in the market for a new tennis racquet. Perhaps, you have just started playing and need some basic guidance on where to begin. Or maybe you are an experienced player who needs an upgrade to take you to the next level. You might even have broken your racquet in a McEnroe-like display of on-court petulance. Whatever your reason, we can give you some handy tips to make sure you get the right racquet for your game.
Types of tennis racquets
If you have started looking for a new racquet, you have probably already noticed the vast amount of makes and models that are available across a wide range of prices. To help you narrow down your selection, you should understand the basic differences between racquets and then decide with characteristics best suit your requirements.
When looking for the best tennis racquet for your particular game, you need to decide what you want form your racquet. If you want to hit the ball harder without too much much effort, you should choose a power racquet.
These racquets feature oversized heads to help you hit the ball cleanly. They are long and lightweight, reducing the effort needed to strike the ball.
And they are evenly balanced, to provide sufficient power to the large contact zone.
If you are not a natural big-hitter, these racquets can help to compensate by converting your stroke into more powerat the racquet head.
These large-headed power racquets require less precision so beginners and players who are looking to improve their all-round game may also find them useful. The length of the racquet provides greater leverage when striking the ball, further adding to their power-boosting potential.
To deal with the extra rebound created by the oversized head, these racquets generally have very stiff frames. A stiffer frame means that all the power is retained within the strings when striking the ball. All these features are packed in a lightweight product that is easy to swing and produces a minimum amount of stress on your elbow and wrist.
Control tennis racquets
If you are new to the game and have read the description of the power racquet, you may be wondering why you would need anything else. But once you have reached a certain level of ability, you may prefer a racquet that sacrifices some of those power-boosting abilities in favour of more control and greater accuracy.
Control racquets are sometimes referred to as player’s racquets because they allow players to fine-tune their game for the competitive environment. In that respect, they are very different from power racquets and are more suited to intermediate or advanced players. If you are a beginner, you might find a control racquet too restrictive initially as there is less margin for error when striking the ball. This can be frustrating and even hinder development during the early stages of a tennis player’s journey. However, if you have already learned how to strike the ball cleanly and with power across a full range of strokes, and have good levels of fitness and technique, you might be ready for an upgrade.
Control racquets are popular amongst many tennis professionals and some of the most expensive racquets you will see in your local store are likely to be of this variety. They are generally heavier, have smaller, lighter heads and slightly more flexible beams. If you opt for this type of racquet, you must be confident in your own ability to create power through your swing, while your racquet gives you the control you desire.
If you feel the need for more control but want to retain some of the benefits of a power racquet, an in-between (or tweener) racquet might provide the perfect solution.
It won’t surprise you to hear that a tweener racquet sits somewhere between a power racquet and a court racquet. They have also be described as all-round racquets and that name probably sums them up the best.
Offering a good mix of power and control, these racquets are great for intermediate players but some professionals may also use them because they suit their style of play. The mid-sized head, average length and firm, mid-weight construction is the most comfortable combination for many players.
Choosing the best tennis racquet for you
To make the right choice, you need to ask the following questions:
- What level do I play at? If you are a beginner, you should probably choose a power racket. This will help you to get comfortable with your overall game at a much quicker pace. If you are an intermediate or advanced player then you should probably look at the other two options.
- Can I strike the ball with power? If you are an intermediate or advanced player but you still struggle to hit the ball with a lot of power, an in-between racquet will probably suit you best. Many top-level players, who have great control but lack power, choose this type of racquet. Quite often, your physical build may determine what the best tennis racquet is for you.
- Can you hit the ball well but need even more control? If you answer yes to this question, the chances are you should be looking at control racquets. Depending on your size and build, your ball striking power will improve the more you play and will eventually reach an acceptable level for most recreational, league and college tennis players. At this stage, a control racquet could provide you with the extra control that could turn you into a winner.
Of course, these basic rules do not apply to everyone and some players may fit the control racquet profile but prefer the balance and feel of a tweener. At the end of the day, there has to be some element of personal choice. That is why it is important to get your hands on a few racquets and if possible, try them out. If you cannot try them out, at least give them a swing to see how they feel. Sometimes a certain racquet just feels right to a player and that is generally a good sign!
If a racquet feels too heavy, it should probably be avoided. You can always add weight to a racquet that is slightly too light but you cannot take away weight from a heavy racquet. Players with lighter wrists and smaller limbs could find that a heavy racquet adds extra strain on their arms and shoulders during play. If you suffer in any of these areas, a lighter, more flexible racquet could ease your discomfort.
What about strings?
As you first start out as a tennis player, you probably won’t have to worry about strings. In fact, it may not be until you reach competition level that this even becomes an issue. However, the string pattern on your racquet can have a direct affect your performance. You may have seen players switching racquets in professional matches because their strings do not feel right. When you get to a certain level of ability, you may become more sensitive to such factors.
The strings on a tennis racquet can be open or closed (dense). An open string set-up will give greater rebound when the ball hits the sweet spot of the racquet. As a result, these racquets do not feel as tight when striking the ball. These racquets also offer better potential for spin as the ball sinks slightly deeper into the racquet face, offering a split second longer to manipulate the shot with the wrist.
When the strings are more densely arranged, there is less rebound created, resulting in slightly less power. There is also less spin potential from this type of racquet. However, they do offer more control and accuracy and the strings generally last longer in such a pattern.
If you have never felt you have a problem with your strings, then you may not even notice the difference. But it may be worth buying a racquet with a string pattern geared towards your style of play. You may find that your game improves as a result.
We hope that you now have a better idea of how to choose the best tennis racquet for your game. If you found this article useful, please share on social media.
Remember, if you want your child to receive professional tennis training this summer, we can help. Our team of advisors are always on hand to answer your questions and offer honest, expert advice.
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