How to choose the right tennis racket
The length of the racquet, its weight, the balance, the size of the hitting surface, the profile of the racquet, the speed of the swing and the type of string and string pattern are the most important aspects to take into account when choosing between the multitude of options available on the market.
In case you haven’t noticed, all these characteristics are related to two fundamental variables in tennis: the power in the stroke and the control of the ball.
But the right purchase is not only important to get the most out of our technique and qualities, but we must emphasize that the right choice of tennis racket is an important factor in preventing sports injuries, so it should not be taken lightly or opted only for aesthetics or price.
But without lengthening the previous peloton, we pass to detail one by one the factors that determine the right choice of a tennis racket:
The speed of the hitting gesture refers to the speed with which the player moves the tennis racket when executing any of the strokes. Thus, it is possible to distinguish between players with a low stroke gesture speed (slow swing) (usually beginners and intermediate), players with a medium stroke gesture speed and players with a high swing (usually advanced players).
Heavier tennis racquets with a more displaced balance at the head of the racquet are usually intended for advanced players. However, players with a slower swing should use lighter rackets with a lower balance that allows them to move faster when hitting the ball.
Tennis racket length
The length of the tennis racket usually ranges between 68 and 70 centimetres. Apart from these rackets, there are junior rackets and mini-tennis rackets with shorter lengths that adapt to the height of the smallest.
In a simple and easy to understand way, we can say that the longer a tennis racket is, the more power it offers when it comes to hitting the ball, as the angular speed that reaches the ball is greater at the time of hitting. On the other hand, this hurts the control of the ball, as the ideal hitting point is away from the player’s body.
We have to keep in mind that if the player is not able to move a long racquet at the same speed as a shorter one, the power on the stroke will be reduced considerably.
Tennis racket weight and balance
The weight of a tennis racket is an important factor when choosing it, but above all the “how that weight is distributed” (balance) is what will mark the difference between power tennis rackets and control tennis rackets. This factor is also called ‘balance point’, which is the point at which the racquet remains in balance when we hold it with two fingers by the frame or neck. Depending on where this point is, we say it is a high, medium or low balance racquet.
The more the weight is shifted towards the head of the tennis racquet (balance point closer to the head) the more power it brings to the stroke. These tennis racquets are somewhat more complicated to handle, as the weight is very far from the player’s body.
If the weight of the tennis racket is shifted more towards the handle (balance point closer to the handle) the racket gives more control to the player. This type of racquet is somewhat faster to handle, as the weight of the racquet is close to the player’s body.
The weight of tennis racquets usually ranges from 255g – in those intended for beginners, with little force or a slow hitting gesture – to more than 300g – of rackets intended for advanced level players and with a high hitting gesture speed.
Size of the hitting surface
This is another factor that determines whether a tennis racquet is more about control or power. This measure is expressed in cm2 and the size of the racquet head usually ranges from 600 cm2 to 780 cm2.
Generally speaking, the larger the head of a racquet, the more power it provides. An example is a mini trampoline where a person bounces a little, compared to a large trampoline where a person would bounce a lot more. This will also vary depending on the tension that the player brings to the string, being a lower tension that brings more power to the shot.
Profile of the tennis racket
This aspect is one of the most unnoticed when choosing a tennis racket and is also decisive in our choice. The profile of the tennis racket is the height of the frame of the racket. This height is generally defined in millimetres.
A smaller thickness of the racquet profile will give us more control of the ball and a larger thickness of the profile will give us more power when hitting. Therefore, beginners and intermediate players should tend to use racquets with high profiles (between 22 and 28mm) and advanced players should tend to choose lower profiles (between 18 and 21mm).
Racquet String Pattern
The string pattern of the tennis racquet refers to the number of vertical and horizontal strings on the playing surface. In this way, you can find open string patterns (when the space between strings is larger) and closed string patterns when the space between vertical and horizontal strings is smaller.
But how does this affect the choice of a tennis racket? Open string patterns give more power to the shot and more spin to the ball, while tighter string patterns give more control.
The player should be aware that the life of the strings (the length of the strings until they break) will be longer the tighter the string pattern of the tennis racket.
Taking into account all these factors, the player must know what he wants to achieve (power, control …), what are their characteristics and what is best suited to their style and technique to choose the most suitable tennis racket for their game. And remember, not always the most expensive is what suits us best, let yourself be advised by a trusted expert.