How to choose the perfect tennis racquet
Finding the perfect racquet for your style, taste and goals.
Over the last 35 years, a common mistake I’ve seen people make when choosing a tennis racquet is to buy whatever their favourite player is using, instead of looking at what will actually suit their own style of play. We’re all different, so when it comes to choosing a tennis racquet it’s important to choose one you like the feel of. Whether or not a racquet works for your game will depend on what style of player you are, what you like to do and what you want to achieve.
My advice has always been to try and find a racquet that feels comfortable, because if you feel comfortable and confident then you will play better. The first test is in your hand – if a racquet feels comfortable when you hold it, that’s a good start. The next step is to have a hit with the racquet to see if you like the racquet or not.
Here are the 5 things to consider when choosing a racquet
The weight of the racquet you should use depends on your strength and how you swing. A lighter racquet is easy to move and swing, and has the balance of weight in the head – so when you hit the ball, the head drops and that’s where the weight comes into play. A heavier racquet has more weight in the handle than the head, and overall is more solid for those harder, faster balls that come towards you.
2. Head size
A smaller head size gives you more control, while a larger head size gives you a bigger sweet spot, so the style of player you are will determine what size you should try.
Narrow-bodied racquets give you more control, and wider racquets give you more power, so again, your swing style will determine which is better for you.
4. String tension
Strings are the most important element – they’re what I call the motor of the racquet. The string is what gives you power and control depending on the tension. The tighter the strings the more control you have, the looser the strings the more power. If you have a big swing then you’ll need tighter strings that give you more control, but if you have a slower swing you should have looser strings for more power.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having the right grip. If the strings are the motor, then the grip is the tyres. The wrong grip size can cause tennis elbow, and a worn grip will cause you to grip the racquet too hard and too firm and stiffen your arm up. If you hold the racquet in your hand, you should have about a finger’s width distance between the tips of your fingers and the base of your palm.
Choosing a racquet for a child
When you choose a racquet for a child, you have to be careful not to choose something which could injure them. Adult racquets are generally too heavy for kids. There are smaller racquets in different lengths and weights, so things like the child’s height and how strong they are will determine the racquet that is right for them.