Racquet Attributes to Consider
Perhaps the biggest concern many new players have inevitably surrounds the price vs. value equation. They worry that a cheap racquet will break, create an injury risk or just plain underperform, making it challenging to learn the game.
It’s telling that each of the best tennis racquet manufacturers, those who provide racquets for professional-level players, all have budget tennis racquets on offer. Some, such as the Wilson Advantage racquet, available under $20, is painted to mimic the $200 Wilson Blade. While the similarities in technology and construction end at the paint job, beginning players can often visually emulate their favorites, a great way to build enthusiasm for the sport.
There are, however, physical attributes that match racquets to individual players, regardless of experience and regardless of cost. The demands of your racquet will grow as your ability does, and these features are still the talking points as you develop your game.
One of the most logical places to start when evaluating a new tennis racquet is which size or length you should choose. If you’re an adult, the answer is easy – 27 inches is the standard length, which is a logical starting point and our recommendation.
You will find some extended length racquets up to 29 inches, but we’d recommend you stick with the standard length to start.
If you’re buying for your child, racquet length is a bit more nuanced. Here’s a chart that outlines how to select a racquet based on age and height.
|4 years or younger||40 inches or shorter||19 inches|
|4-5 years||40-44 inches||21 inches|
|6-8 years||45-49 inches||23 inches|
|9-10 years||50-55 inches||25 inches|
|10 or older||55 inches or taller||26 inches|
|Adult||Any height||27-29 inches|
If your child’s in-between sizes as many are, we’d recommend you drop down to the smaller size.
It’s easy to get wrapped up and overwhelmed by technical details, and the weight of your racquet is a point on which you may find plenty of contradictory advice. For the newcomer to tennis, I’d recommend ignoring all the advice and choose entirely on feel. When the racquet feels good, the details establish themselves.
Many new players like the feel of a lighter racquet. It’s easy to swing and move, but they’re generally harder to control with less stability. Heavier racquets offer more stability, but in the early stages of your development, your skills minimize the advantages of a heavier racquet.
Distribution of racquet weight comes in three varieties:
- Balanced: Even distribution of weight throughout the racquet.
- Head light: More weight in the handle of the racquet.
- Head heavy: More weight in the head of the racquet.
Head light racquets tend to be heavier, but are easy to maneuver because the majority of the weight is toward the handle. On the other hand, head heavy racquets help give lighter weight racquets an increase in power with the added weight in the head – just like a hammer.
As a beginner, feel should again be your determining factor. As your skills advance, you can dive deeper into the nuances of balance and how it impacts racquet performance.
With some quick measurements of your hand, you can determine the right size grip for your tennis racquet.
Be sure to check out our article on selecting the right grip size for more details. Here’s an overview of the different sizes available for adults:
|US Sizes||European Sizes||Sizes in mm|
|4 inches||0||100-103 mm|
|4 1/8 inches||1||103-106 mm|
|4 1/4 inches||2||106-110 mm|
|4 3/8 inches||3||110-113 mm|
|4 1/2 inches||4||113-118 mm|
|4 5/8 inches||5||118-120 mm|
|4 3/4 inches||6||120-123 mm|
Small grips can stress your hand and forearm but can be increased easily by adding an overgrip or two. Larger grips, on the other hand, can’t be reduced easily, and your hand and arm may be overworked as you try to prevent the racquet from twisting on impact.
All kids racquets use a 4-inch grip size.
Once again, selecting the right head size comes down to feel. Generally, larger heads increase your margin for error and make it easier to hit the ball. They also increase the power of the racquet, which is helpful early on as your technique develops.
You can’t go wrong with a standard-sized racquet, but if a larger size feels right, go for it. For adults, we recommend at least 100 square inches or greater.