Tips on how to select the right tennis racket

There are many ways of getting better at tennis, but novice and intermediate players often overlook the importance of their tennis racket. If the racket is too advanced or powerful, beginners can find it difficult to play with accuracy. Likewise, high control rackets don't offer the speed that some players need in order to hit winners against better opponents. There are some basic things all tennis players should know when choosing their next racket.

Tips on how to select the right tennis racket

1. Materials

  • Wood, graphite and metal are the most common materials for modern rackets.
  • Wooden ones have been around for a long time and are often designed to be quite forgiving. Ideal for beginners or players without a big return, they tend to help with placing shots.
  • Graphite is a super-lightweight material that allows for greater arm speed and faster returns and serves. These are great if you play long matches over several sets, because your arm does not get as tired as it would with a heavier racket.
  • Finally, metal rackets offer a good balance between lightness and strength. This will improve the game of intermediate and recreational players.

2. Holding rackets

  • It is always preferable to hold a racket to get an idea of how balanced it feels before making a purchase.
  • The size of the head will give players an indication of how easy it will be to hit the ball. Generally speaking, larger heads are more forgiving and make it easier to find the 'sweet spot'.
  • However, for better balance, larger heads often have longer shafts. Longer shafts allow for greater power but often cause novices problems with accuracy.
  • For many players, it is all about the balance between head size and shaft length that makes the difference.
  • Holding a racket will help you better judge this, but when buying online it is good to check both of these dimensions against your current racket in order to understand the potential differences a new racket will make to your game.

3. Power or high control?

  • Players don't have to choose between a power racket, with a stiff frame and large head, or a high control one, which has a soft grip helping them to place the ball into the corners of the court.
  • Many good club players will opt for an in-between racket. These are usually marketed as 'middle rackets' and are great for teenagers who are learning, as well more advanced players.
  • A middle racket can often offer the best of both worlds. At the very least, they can help players develop their style so they know which direction they should move in for their next racket purchase -- one with more control or one with more power.
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