What Is The Right Racquet For You?

woody raq LThere is an amazing array of choices for which tennis racquet someone could use (and they change the models every year or two, to make things even more complicated); so, what are some of the factors to considering in picking the best one to play with?

Singles vs. Doubles – For me, the first consideration should be whether you play mostly singles or mostly doubles. For doubles players, the play is much quicker with shorter strokes; so a lighter racquet with more control is best. Singles players have the luxury of being able to take a longer swing; so they can use a heavier racquet and frequently are looking for a little more power in their strokes.

Style of Play – Then, within all that is your personal style of play and physical abilities. It is usually a good idea to talk with your local pro who knows your game. They can give some good observations on how you really play (which is sometimes different from how you THINK you play) and which type of racquet best suits you.

Head Size – This is the very basic place to start in picking a racquet… should the square inches of the racquet head be traditional, mid-sized, or over-sized. Again, it comes down to what you play and how you play.

Balance and Weight – There are some fairly big differences in the overall weight of a tennis racquet, with some models being 25% or more lighter or heavier than others. Without getting too technical, racquets can also be: head heavy, head light, or balanced. This is where you can swing a racquet to get the ‘feel’ of it and get advice which suits you.

Power vs. Control
– Manufacturers are now designing frames that theoretically give you either more power in your swing or more control in your strokes (some claim to give you both).

In addition to talking with your local pro, most shops and online services will let you test out different racquet frames. That is the best way to really get a feel for what best suits your game – before making an investment of $100 – $200.

What factors do you choose in selecting the right frame to play with?

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7 thoughts on “What Is The Right Racquet For You?

  1. My thought is that using a lighter racket in doubles will only make your volleys weaker. On most shots, blocking or chipping a volley will be more controlled and stronger, deeper, if the racket has more weight to it. It’s very seldom that you don’t have enough time to get your racket in position to return a shot because your racket is too heavy. The racket will twist less if you don’t quite hit it in the center, if the racket is a little heavier. Ideally, use a racket that is light but put lead tape either on the sides or at 4 places, 2,4,8, and 10 o’clock positions. This will give the racket head the most stability and the largest sweetspot.

    Fred – thanks for another view. george

  2. George, another factor that you do not mention is the type of court or court surface that you play on more regularly. For example, players tend to stay back much more on a clay or Har-Tru surface than on a hard court or grass or artificial grass court. That presupposes that groundies will be emphasized over volleys, certainly in singles and even to some degree in doubles (unless the player’s style is bang bang get to the net at all costs all of the time). In fact, as I am about to go out and play a tournament match as I write this comment on a grass court in Philly, my mental preparation is consisting of reminding myself of trying to take pretty much every ball that I can in the air, even if it means diving all over the court like Boris Becker used to do. So, to the extent you are right that one would not want too heavy of a racquet playing that kind of game, the court surface is also relevant.

    Marty – Good point and good luck! george

  3. “Demo”-ing is a *really* good idea. But, to me, testing a range of string tensions is at *least* as important. I find the tension being right (for what I like) is more important than the racket. I can make just about any racket work if the tension is where I want it.

    Kevin – I agree… sting type and tension makes a much bigger difference in how the ball comes off your racquet. george

  4. I agree with Fred. I’ve found that, as we age, the pace of our shots declines far faster than our reflexes, overturning the “conventional wisdom” supporting a lighter racquet for doubles. Instead, the reasons that Fred cites come into play.

  5. Another good source of info is on the Tennis Warehouse website entitled “Selecting the right racquet”.

  6. Hint: To find Selecting a Racquet on the Tennis Warehouse website: Click on “Improve”, then click on “Racquets”, then click on “Selecting a Racquet” under latest blogs and articles. It’s worth the trip.

    Bob, thanks! George

  7. Testing a racket is only useful if using a ball machine or having a hitting partner and NOT playing points or sets. I always used a ball machine on a half court hitting lane with over 300 rackets strung up so my customers could only feel the racket and strings. If one demos a racket against a player, one or the other could be having a great day or a bad day and win or lose having nothing to do with the racket. Get the racket that will give the most power and have the largest sweetspot, and then just get used to it!

    Fred – great suggestion! I found demo-ing not very helpful. thanks. george

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