Choosing a tennis racket may sound daunting or even kind of boring – but we promise there is more to it than matching your skirt. We’ve broken down the various choices you have while making your selection. The three basic types of rackets are built for specific types of play, so knowing your skill level is the first thing you will have to determine when choosing.
“Power generating rackets” generally are best for beginners, as they have more of their weight distributed in the head of the racket. They are ideal for creating extra momentum as a players swing develops and strength increases. Power rackets also generally have a larger racket head and a larger sweet spot to give you the most response when you hit the ball. A power racket helps you create power on your shots so you don’t have to be strong to use it.
A “control racket” is for more advanced players who know exactly where they want to place the ball on the court. They have developed their swing to the point that they don’t need as much help with power so they are able to have more of the weight of the racket in the handle. The heavier handle helps to absorb shock while returning faster balls while the lighter head helps create spin on the ball. The control rackets will have smaller head sizes in order to give players more precision in their placement against an opponent.
If you are between these two categories you will want to go with a “tweener racket.” Just as its name suggests, it falls in between these other two categories. It has a nice even distribution of weight and a midsize racket head which gives you both control and response. A tweener is a great choice for most recreational tennis players who want the complete package in a racket.
Regardless of what style of racket you choose you will have to also know your grip size. If you are buying online, most women are in the L2 or L3 grip size and there are grip size charts you can use to determine yours. The most accurate way however is to hold the racket in your dominant hand and find the size that gives you just about one finger space between your palm and fingertips when your hand is curled around the handle of the racket. If your size falls between two, choose the smaller one.
Now that you’ve chosen your racket type and size you will also have to decide on your string pattern. The pattern strung on your racket helps control the amount of spin, control and power that a racket can produce. The pattern of a rackets strings is defined by the amount of times the strings cross both vertically and horizontally, these are known as crosses. As a beginner it is better to have a have a more open string pattern which will generate more power, as you progress you will want a more dense pattern which absorbs more shock and gives more control and spin. Many hybrid patterns of stringing also exist as players skills improve so I recommend talking to your instructor or pro shop if you feel it is may be time to adjust your strings. As a general rule for a recreational player, you should have your racket restrung at least once a year, and more if you play frequently and more competitively.