One of the most important pieces of equipment that you have to take onto court is your tennis racket.
It can be quite a daunting experience choosing your first and subsequent rackets as the choice is mammouth.
Choose a racket that compliments your playing style, it is unusual to find two rackets from different manufacturers that play exactly alike. Slightly heavier or a different beam width can have a massive effect on how a racket performs.
There are criteria laid down by the world tennis authorities that govern the minimum and maximum specifications for your racket.
Normally rackets should weigh between 245 grammes and 340 grammes, if a racket is too light or too heavy this will effect your play and using the wrong weight can lead to serious wrist and arm injuries.
The balance point is simply the point in which the racket is perfectly balanced. To measure put one finger on the shaft and where the racket stabilizes and levels out, this is the balance point. It usually ranges from 300mm to 360mm.
The importance of this is that rackets whose balance points are over 330mm are generally considered heavy, whilst under 315mm are considered too light. Anything in between is ranked as perfect weight.
A lot of this is personal preference and a taller stronger person will probably favour a slightly heavier racket. It should be noted that head light tennis rackets are considered more manoeuvrable and are better for playing more technical shots such as volleying and lobs.
Whereas head heavy rackets generally provide more power and are good for top spin.
Balanced rackets are an all purpose game racket and are favoured by players who like base line play.
Rackets come in a variety of shapes and sizes with the head size and shape being the biggest difference. Head sizes are usually defined as:
Mid – 80 to 94sq in.
Mid Plus – 95-104sq in.
Oversize – 105-119sq in.
Super Oversize – 120sq in. plus
Head sizes are important as most rackets have a sweet-spot and the larger a rackets head generally the larger the sweet-spot.
Technically proficient players actually prefer a smaller head as they feel it is more controllable and has better feel and touch. Beginners and less capable players prefer the power of a bigger racket head.
The beam of the racket is basically the width of the beam of the head. Depending on material and the flex of the racket a thinner beam gives you a lighter racket and more control, whilst a thicker beam gives you more power.
Tennis rackets have different size grips obviously for players who have different size of hands. It varies from G1 – G5 progressively getting thicker.
When choosing a racket grip size is highly important, if you select a too small grip then you will apply too much pressure and this can often cause tennis elbow. Whereas if the grip is too large you will not be able to keep it in your hand.
All the above points are incredibly important when you wish to select your racket.
Learning more about the intricacies of the modern tennis racket should help you to improve your game. At the very least you will know what to look out for and choose the right racket that suits you best.