How to choose your tennis racket?
Whilst tennis rackets may look roughly similar, rackets can vary considerably in terms of composition and performance and are often targeted at a specific standard of tennis player. How then do you choose between them and find the right tennis racket for you?
Entry-level tennis rackets are usually made from steel. The low cost of the material makes steel rackets ideal for occasional players or beginners, but do not offer the same level of performance as other materials on the market.
The next step up on the ladder is aluminium rackets. Aluminium rackets offer a similar level of strength as steel rackets but are much lighter, which makes the rackets easier to handle.
The most common materials used for tennis rackets today are composite materials. Primarily carbon fibre rackets but sometimes fibre-glass or titanium alloys, composite materials offer the greatest performance characteristics. Therefore these rackets are ideal for regular tennis players thanks to the fact that they are much lighter than either aluminium or steel rackets, and also can be moulded into the desired shape more easily.
Lighter rackets (less than 280g) are the more suitable option for beginners or occasional players seeking improvements to their technique, as the lighter weight will make the racket easier to handle.
Heavier rackets (above 280g) are less suitable for these players as well as for junior players with less strength making the transition to using adult rackets, as they will be more difficult for them to handle.
However, the extra weight allows the player to generate increased power in their shots, and so more advanced players will look towards the heavier rackets.
Tennis rackets can be manufactured in such a way as to alter how the weight is distributed in the racket. Distributing the weight of the racket towards the handle provides the player with increased control but decreased power.
Beginner tennis rackets often distribute the weight towards the head of the racket, as this allows increased shot power without increasing the overall weight of the racket.
RACKET HEAD SIZE
As the racket head size increases, the level of power that a player is able to generate will increase, though as head size increases the level of control attainable will decrease.
Beginners should generally choose a medium to large head size, as this will maximise the power they are able to generate and also minimise the risk of the hitting the ball close to the rim of the racket, and therefore they can have more confidence in hitting the ball in the right direction.
Regular and advanced players who are able to consistently hit the ball from the centre of the racket thanks to their refined technique will often choose a smaller head size in order to maximise control.
Handle length is very important in terms of comfort. Generally a matter of personal preference, the most suitable handle length also depends one whether the player prefers to play certain shots two-handed or instead chooses to play all shots one-handed.
Players who play some of their shots two-handed will generally require a slightly longer handle than those that play exclusively one-handed.