Tennis Racquet Selection
Each one of us relies on different factors when selecting a tennis racquet; some choose the model our favorite player uses, some others follow the recommendation of a tennis coach or a pro shop dealer and some choose a racket simply because of its shape and/or color. The best choice, however, will come from a detailed analysis based on your style of play and the improvement you wish to have in your game. In General, racquets are divided in 5 categories:
Control Oriented: In General heavy frames (310-350gr) are being used by male high level professional tennis players with a big swing style. These tennis racquets can generate powerful and at the same time very precise shots given the player has both adequate body strength and very good level of technique. Their main disadvantage is the difficulty of the player to maneuver them if the level of his technique and/or body strength isn’t adequate. Most times heavy rackets have small head sizes (88-98sq.in.), small beam width 17-22mm and balance lower or equal to 320mm.
Control oriented with some power: Usually these racquets weight from 290-309gr and are being used by advanced male tennis players and professional women tennis players with big swing styles. Their main advantage is precision with some power. Most of these rackets have medium head sizes (95-105sq.in), beam widths (21-24mm) and balance between 310-330mm.
Perfect blend of control and power: Usually the tennis racquets in this category weight from 270-289gr and are best suited for intermediate male tennis players or advanced female ones with medium swing styles who are seeking for the perfect blend between power and precision. Also young tennis players aged 12-14 years old use them as transition racquets from junior to control oriented ones. These racquets most often have medium to quite big head sizes (102-110sq.in.), beam widths (23-26mm) and balance between 325-340mm.
Power oriented with some control: These frames weight 250-269gr and are suitable for beginner male tennis players or beginner/intermediate female ones with small to medium swing styles who wish to have a powerful yet controllable racquet. They usually have big head sizes (106-115sq.in), beam widths (25-28mm) and head heavy balance (335-345mm).
Power Oriented: these tennis racquets weight 230-249gr and suitable for both men and women with small swing style who lack body power (especially women or elderly men) and/or have a low/medium level of technique and want a frame that will add power to their game. Most times the racquets in this category have big head sizes (113-128sq.in), beam widths (28-32mm) and head heavy balance (>340).
It is important to know how the various characteristics of a tennis racquet (head size, weight, balance, beam width) influence your performance and game.
The dimension of the impact surface influences directly the velocity of the ball being hit. A large impact surface generates more power with respect to a smaller impact surface, all other conditions being equal. A large impact surface also provides a bigger “sweet-spot” and therefore reduces the risk of off-center shots. This is very useful for beginners who generally need more power and a generous “sweet-pot”. Advanced players looking for control, on the contrary, should choose a tennis racquet with a small head size that is more maneuverable.
Weight and Balance
Weight and balance are the 2 values which mainly influence the performance of the racquet and as a consequence you performance on the court. In general, heavy frames generate more power given the player has adequate body strength and technique to accelerate the racquet towards the ball. Heavy frames with a low balance offer advanced players optimum control. Club players, intermediate and beginners should choose balanced tennis racquets that are not very heavy.
The beam width has an influence on the outgoing power of the ball from the strings. A wide profile generates more power and vice-versa. Players with big swing styles (rotational movements), with extreme grips who use a lot of spin should avoid using wide profiles because the reduced impact angle results in frequent hits on the frame of the tennis racquet.