How to Choose the Perfect Tennis Racquet

January 6, 2013

The old adage goes that it is the player’s skill not the equipment that determines how good he or she plays. The ability to hit shots will always determine how good a player is but playing with properly fitted and suited equipment help enhance your game.

 

How to I choose the right racquet?

 

Shifting through the many articles written about how to choose the right racquet can be confusing. The articles you read about what equipment is available may add to your confusion about determining the right racquet for you. Your tennis professional is the best person to advise you in selecting the correct racquet for your level and ability. Several important factors determine which racquet will best suit you:

  • Your swing length

  • Your swing speed

  • The weight of the racquet

  • The grip size

  • The string tension

 

Should I use a stiff racquet or flexible racquet?

 

A person with a short compact swing will benefit from using a stiffer frame, as it will give more power. A person with a long swing needs a flexible frame since their swing length will create the needed power. Racquet stiffness or flexibility is measured by the Swing Index (SI) or by power levels. A lower number Swing Index or a higher power level number mean the racquet is stiffer and will add more power to your swing.

 

Do I need an oversized or midsized racquet?

 

If you are in need of power and a more forgiving racquet then you need an oversized frame. The larger sweet spot makes it easier to generate power. Smaller head sizes are for players who are more accurate.

 

How can I determine my grip size?

 

In general, the rule of thumb is when you put your dominant hand around the grip, there should be space for an index finger to slide in the gap between your thumb and your fingers.

 

What is the best string for me?

Choosing your string is like choosing gasoline for your car. Better string quality produces better playability. You should make the decision based on your budget and your ball striking ability. If you are someone who breaks a lot of strings then you need a more durable string. However, if you are someone who does not break strings often, then you want a string that will give you more feel. String thickness is measured in gauges. A lower number indicates a thicker gauge and a higher number indicates a thinner gauge. They range from 15g to 18g. The average player plays with a 16g or a 17g string.

 

How do I know which tension to string my racquet?

 

Tighter strings give you more control while looser strings give you more power. Think of it as a sling-shot. All racquets come with a recommended tension which is usually in the middle of the tension range. Based on the power your swing naturally generates and your level of control you will want to get your racquets strung tighter or looser.

 

What are the different types of strings?

 

  • Synthetic Strings - The majority of the strings on the market are synthetic strings. There are several kids of synthetic strings. Higher end synthetic strings provides very good feel at a lower price compared to gut strings.

  • Polyester Strings - Polyester strings are durable strings primarily used by hard hitting advanced players. These strings do not provide much feel and are stiff by nature.

  • Gut Strings - The ultimate feel strings. These strings are expensive but with the price comes an impressive feel. The downside to these strings is that they are not very durable.

  • Hybrid Strings - These strings combine polyester strings with synthetic strings to balance out the feel and durability factors. This type of string is popular among hard hitters who want the best of both worlds.

 

General Stringing Guidelines

 

  1. Always keep racquets at room temperature. Strings do not react well to extreme weather changes.

  2. String your racquet at least once a year. After a few months your strings become loose and lifeless. As a general rule: How every many times you play tennis in a week is how many times you should have your racquet strung in one year.

  3. When you switch to playing primarily on soft courts please get your racquets restrung. It is better to loosen your tension by a pound or two.

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