Tennis Racquet Head Sizes
The head size of a tennis racquet is the area of the racquet head where the strings create the face or stringbed of the racquet, measured in square inches.
There are three different categories for racquet head sizes, which roughly speaking coincide with the different types of tennis racquets.
- Mid / Control
- Mid-plus / Tweener
- Oversized / Power
Here are a few examples of racquets that fit into each category:
Let’s review how a racquet’s head size impacts performance.
When it comes to racquet head sizes, there are two primary considerations:
- Hitting surface area
We’ll take a look at each of these individually.
Generally, the larger the head size, the more power the racquet will offer, while a smaller head size will provide less power, and therefore, more control for a player.
An easy way to understand why this happens is to think of your racquet like a trampoline. The larger the trampoline, the more spring you get, and therefore the higher you can bounce when jumping.
In other words, a larger racquet head will allow the ball to sink deeper into the tennis strings, which results in a more significant rebound effect and, all other things being equal, more power.
As a racquet head size shrinks, the power potential of the racquet shrinks along with it. Consequently, players will have a greater sense of control with a small racquet head because the racquet doesn’t generate as much power.
Even a small bump in a racquet’s head size from 98 to 100 square inches, can provide a noticeable impact on a racquet’s power.
In 2014, Roger Federer made a substantial shift in his tennis racquet, moving from 90 to 97 square inches to help increase his power and margin for error as his performance slumped.
Beyond power, racquet head size also has a direct impact on the hitting surface area of a racquet. Larger racquet head sizes increase the surface area, which provides players with a higher margin for error when swinging to make contact with the ball.
On the other hand, a smaller racquet head size will provide players with less surface area, and ultimately, a lower margin for error when hitting.
Similarly, larger tennis racquet head sizes provide a more prominent sweet spot. The sweet spot of a tennis racquet is a small area toward the center of the strings. When struck, there is less shock sent to a player’s arm and hitting feels relatively effortless feel.
Players describe a similar feeling in other sports, such as when swinging a golf club or baseball bat.
All other things being equal, the larger a racquet’s head size, the more difficult it becomes to maneuver due to the extra mass at the end of the racquet as well as minor added wind resistance.
To some degree, manufacturers can combat this through lightweight materials and adding more mass to the handle for a more head light balance. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting as you consider opting for an oversized tennis racquet.