Buying a Tennis Racket
Choosing a Tennis Racket
Written by OTB Sport
Whether you are a beginner or fancy yourself as the next Roger Federer, buying a tennis racket can be a huge investment, and selecting the right one can make a big difference to your game. Here’s a guide, covering everything from racket size to string tension, to make sure you don't make the wrong decision!
1.Step 1: Grip Size
Adult grip sizes range from 4 to 4 & 5/8ths. This is a measure in inches of the line from the middle crease of your palm to a point equal to the height of the tip of your ring finger.
A good rule of thumb is to hold the racket in one hand and slide the index finger of the other hand in between the tips of your fingers and the base of your palm. If there isn't enough room for your index finger the grip is too small, and if there is a lot of extra room the grip is too large.
Top tip - Get a slightly smaller grip size than you need and then build it up with grip tape for improved playing comfort.
2.Step 2: Head Size
The size of racket head you need will depend on what sort of playing standard you are. Oversize Rackets have a surface area of between 105 and 130 square inches. This makes them ideal for beginners as the larger sweet spot means less miss-hits. A larger head also allows for more spin to be put on the ball and greater power to be transferred to a shot. Traditional to mid-sized rackets are used by more accomplished players and have a surface area of between 85 and 105 square inches. The smaller head size offers more control over a shot, but will require the player to generate more power themselves.
3.Step 3: Racket Weight & Materials
Most rackets are made from graphite as its light weight but also provides good power as well as control, making them perfect for any beginner. Other rackets suitable for beginners are made from light-weight aluminium or titanium, as these also provide good power but a better feel for the ball when striking it.
Boron or Kevlar rackets are even lighter than graphite rackets, but are also much stiffer. This means they transmit more shock and vibrations to the arm and shoulder, especially if you're not hitting the sweet spot, so are only recommended for more advanced players.
4.Step 4: Racket Length and Beam Width
A traditional length of racket is about 27 to 28 inches, but you can get longer rackets of up to 29inches. The longer the length of the racket the greater the leverage on a swing, therefore giving more power to a shot. The beam is the area of the racket on either side of the head. A wider beam will give more power to a shot by enhancing the trampoline effect of the strings, but it will reduce the amount of control over the ball.
5.Step 5: String tension
Most rackets you buy will be pre-strung with the strings at the middle of their tension range, but you can get racket strings adjusted for you depending on what you're after. Tighter strings mean more shot control and spin, so probably better for a beginner who's trying to improve their accuracy. Loser strings mean more power but less control.
6.To choose the correct tennis racket for children
It is important that children start learning tennis with a good tennis racket. The most important asset of a good tennis racket for a child is the correct frame length. The ideal tennis racket for a young tennis player has a direct relation to the height of the child. The tennis racket has the ideal length for the child if the tennis racket reaches down to the ankle, hanging from the hand, but does not touch the ground. A rough indication of the length of the racket for the age is below.
Age: Racket Length
12 up: adult size