Choose a Racquet by Skill Level
The further along you progress in your tennis career, the more important choosing the perfect racquet becomes.
When you’re first learning how to play tennis, you’ll make more significant improvements in your game through regular practice than by buying expensive gear.
If you gave Federer a $20 racquet, and you gave a novice the most expensive racquet in the world, who do you think would win a match?
There’s no replacement for hard work, but the proper racquet can help maximize your potential.
If you’re a beginner looking for a new racquet, the exact specs of your frame are less important than making sure it’s comfortable and not too heavy.
It’s tempting to start with an expensive racquet loaded with features or to copy the model your favorite player uses. However, this strategy can hurt your game because you’ll likely end up choosing a racquet that you don’t have the skill to use properly.
One of the first things you should check when using a new racquet is the grip size. Using the proper grip size lowers your risk of developing hand or arm issues and gives you a more solid grasp. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to find what size you should be using. We’ll explain the process of finding your grip size later in this article.
Beginners often do best with racquets that have a head size larger than 100 square inches. The large head gives you a big target to hit the ball with and increases the size of the sweet spot.
The downside of using a bigger head is the additional size means you’ll have to sacrifice some control. However, if you’re a novice, it’s a tradeoff that will likely improve your game during the learning stages.
Another important factor to consider is the weight of your racquet. If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to stick with a racquet under roughly 11 ounces (312 grams). Racquets generally start at about 8 ounces (227 grams). If you’re a smaller person, you might want to start with a racquet on the lower end of this weight range. A light racquet is easier to maneuver and can help prevent injury from using a racquet that’s too heavy.
Here are a few other racquet attributes beginners do well with (we’ll explain what each of these means in more detail in the sections to follow):
- Oversized head
- Extended length
- Stiffer frame
- Lightweight construction
Popular Beginner Racquets
Once you’ve made it past the beginner stage, you’ll have more control over your shots and will be better at producing power. If you’re at the intermediate level, you’ll likely want to start experimenting with smaller head sizes and heavier racquets.
If you opted for a larger head size as a beginner, then you might want to move down to racquet’s in the 98 to 100 square inch range for extra control as an intermediate player.
You’ll typically find intermediate level racquets with medium head sizes while maintaining solid maneuverability and sacrificing some power. However, if you’ve been playing for a while, you’re likely able to produce more power yourself than when you were a beginner to make up the difference.
You can also try moving up to a slightly heavier racquet if you feel like you have the strength to use it. The heavier racquet will give you more stability when you hit the ball. You may also want to experiment with several other aspects of your racquet, including going with a heavier swingweight, using a more flexible frame, and trying a tighter string pattern. We’ll cover each of these attributes later in this guide.
Popular Intermediate Racquets
If you’ve been playing tennis competitively for years, you probably already have a good idea of what type of player you are. Advanced players have more strength, better stamina, and more control than lower level players. If you’re at this level, you can handle heavier racquets and smaller head sizes.
However, just because you can use smaller and heavier racquets doesn’t mean you should. Ultimately, the racquet you should be playing with is the one that feels the best to you.
If you’re at this level, you’ll improve your game the most by matching your style of play to the type of racquet you’re using and tweaking the specs to maximize your performance.
Almost all advanced players go with a control (player’s racquet) or a modern player’s racquet. If you have the technique that allows you to generate plenty of power, you might want to go with a control racquet. If not, there are different types of racquets for you to choose from.
Popular Advanced Racquets
Let’s walk through each of those next.