There are few things more important when playing tennis than your racket. Without one, it would be near impossible to play, let alone win. It’s not just about having an old tennis racket either, especially when you’ve only been playing for a short time. . Choosing a tennis racket is an important step in your tennis playing journey and the choice is equally important whether you are just starting out or have been playing for years. However, playing frequency will obviously influence your decision and you’ll also need to take into account your needs when playing and the feeling you have when you hold the racket.

Factors to take into account

While it could seem like the best idea to buy the tennis racket with the coolest design and most vibrant colours, it’s actually better to initially focus on yourself instead of the racket.

Thinking about factors such as your size, playing style and how often the tennis racket will each be used, will mean that finding the perfect racket will be that much easier.

Let’s have a look at the specifics.

  • Your size and strength. Everybody’s different, so of course certain tennis rackets will suit your certain body type and strength. In general (although not always), the taller a person is, the longer their arms are and the longer their swing will be. This will usually mean they will be able to generate more speed and power, than someone with shorter arms and smaller swing. When looking at tennis racket’s it’s generally accepted that the wider the frame, the more power you’ll get from your shot. This width is found just underneath the surface area, in the gap that is known as ‘the throat’, and is the area that has the most effect on the ball when you hit it. However, if you check out a professional's racket, they are rarely that wide, showing that the more you play, the less you should rely on your racket for power.
  • How often do you play, or plan to play? It’s a question you could ask yourself whenever a piece of sporting equipment is bought for the first time, and especially with an integral instrument such as a tennis racket. This is primarily to save you money where necessary. While you should always be looking for the tennis racket that works best for you, there’s no need to go completely over the top for something that is going to be used once every two months.

For an occasional player, above everything else,your main focus should be control. By choosing an aluminium or composite racket with a large surface area and balance point, you'll make your time on the court that much easier.

For someone that plays regularly, it’s important to feel comfortable. Look for a graphite racket with the balance point at the head and a surface area of 645cm². If as a regular player, control is something you want to improve on, opt for a tennis racket weighing between 260 and 280g. If you want to bring power to your game, it’s worth it, opt for a racket weighing between 280 and 295g.

See yourself as an intensive player? Power and precision should be at the forefront of your thinking.A graphite tennis racket with the balance point at the handle and a surface area of between 630 and 645cm², with a racket weight of more than 295g.

  • Are you an aggressive or defensive tennis player? You may not have thought about it, but it’s rare that a player isn’t one or the other. Defensive players like to use the pace of the ball against their opponents, and in turn should look for a narrower racket. If, on the other hand, you like to play aggressively and create power from your own shots, you’ll be wanting a racket that lets you hit the ball harder. While your playing style is important, it should never come ahead of what tennis racket works with your body shape
  • What’s your swing style like? If you don’t play hugely regularly, or are yet to have a lesson, it may be worth speaking to a tennis instructor or even going into a Decathlon store and asking one of our experts about your swing style. Essentially you will have a slow, average or fast swing. Unsurprisingly, a faster swing generates more power than a slower swing, meaning you don’t need to look for a powerful racket if you have the former. You should instead be looking for a narrower, more controlled racket.

Specifications

Weight

It plays a major role in the effectiveness of your swing, and should be an important factor in the tennis racket you buy. It’s more than likely that you will be able to find the model of racket you like in your suited weight, so make sure you enquire about varying sizes with your chosen manufacturer. Heavier, more powerful rackets are largely seen to be around 320gs and beyond whereas lighter rackets are anything from 310g and below. It’s also important to note that strings themselves will add around 30g to the racket.

Length

For adults, tennis rackets can be anywhere for 27-29 inches long, although it’s common for them to be on the lengthier sides. In general longer rackets are lighter than the standard frame. They also offer more reach and power on serve, as you can hit the ball from higher up, and in turn are able to steepen your angle when hitting downwards. however, longer rackets are harder to control so it’s worth trying them out before you buy one,

Head

The surface area of your racket is an important thing to keep in mind. Below are the three types of surface area available and what they mean in terms of your game.

Racket With A Small Surface Area

When it comes to rackets, a small surface area means around 600cm². This surface area is aimed at intensive players. You need good control to play with these rackets as they’re a bit harder to use.

Racket With A Medium Surface Area

Rackets with a medium surface area are usually between 630cm² and 645cm². They are suitable for all kinds of players, whether beginner or more seasoned.

Racket With A Large Surface Area

Rackets with large surface areas vary between 660 and 740cm². Rackets with a large surface area are perfect for beginners or players who like to use lots of spin. These surface areas increase power.

Stringing

Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, a senior or troubled by tennis elbow, a multifilament stringing is what you want for your tennis racket. For advanced players, you should look for polyester stringing.

When multifilament strings, you should begin with 53 to 55lbs, and then adjust accordingly. The higher tension of the racket the more control, whereas the lower means more power.

However if you decided to go for a half polyester half multifilament hybrid, it needs to be a little different. You’ll want to string the polyester 2lb lower than the multifilament. Polyester is seen to be stiff material so you should avoid stringing it above 54 lbs.

Tennis racket size guide

Size 0 : Suitable for children

Size 1 : Suitable for teenage beginners or people with small hands.

Size 2 : Standard women's size or for people with small-ish hands.

Size 3 : The most common size for men.

Size 4 and 5 : Suitable for anyone taller than 6ft.


How to find your tennis racket grip size

An integral part of finding your perfect tennis racket and how you play is getting your grip size right. Below are two ways of finding it. It’s recommended that you use both to get that perfect handle.

Ruler test

  • Start by making sure you have a ruler (a very important step!)
  • Place the fingers of your racket hand together, then align the ruler’s edge with the bottom horizontal crease of your palm.
  • In general the measured length will be between 10.16 cm and 12.7cm. This will give you a great starting point when looking for the right size.
  • To get it as correct as possible, hold your chosen racket with the grip size that is closest to what you measured, then employ the index finger test (see below).

Index Finger Test

  • Hold the racket in your swing hand, with your palm placed on the same grip level as the strip face.
  • Place the index finger of your non hitting hand in the space between our ring finger and palm. Be mindful that if there is not enough space to fit your finger, the grip is probably too small and can mean more hand strength, which can result in tennis elbow. You’d want the index finger to fit nicely between the palm and finger of your hitting hand, with little to no space, this should give you the most comfortable, secure grip on your tennis racket.

Stringing

Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate, a senior or troubled by tennis elbow, a multifilament stringing is what you want for your tennis racket. For advanced players, you should look for polyester stringing.

When multifilament strings, you should begin with 53 to 55lbs, and then adjust accordingly. The higher tension of the racket the more control, whereas the lower means more power.

However if you decided to go for a half polyester half multifilament hybrid, it needs to be a little different. You’ll want to string the polyester 2lb lower than the multifilament. Polyester is seen to be stiff material so you should avoid stringing it above 54 lbs.

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