How to Choose a Tennis Racket – Ultimate Beginners Guide

One of the most important parts of starting to play tennis is definitely the right choice of a tennis racquet for a beginner. Your tennis racquet affects all aspects and makes a big difference for your game. Therefore, if you are planning to play tennis frequently, the right racquet is an investment worth researching.

Nowadays, there is a wide selection of various tennis racquets, designed for all levels and purposes, so finding the most appropriate option can be quite challenging for you. Sometimes, the beginners face a temptation to buy an expensive racquet loaded with features or the model their favourite player uses. But you should focus on racquets designed for beginners, as most beginners won’t feel the difference between the two racquets but could save a lot of money when choosing wisely.

Our ultimate beginners guide will provide useful information to ensure you find the ideal equipment to make progress in your game.

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right racquet, take a look at the main characteristics of the racquets for newcomers.

  • Head size
  • Weight
  • Grip size
  • Balance

Head size

This is one of the first things you should check when buying a racquet for beginners. Players, who just started learning to play tennis, do best with rackets that have a bigger head size, starting at the 98 to 105 square inches (advanced players use mid-size racket head below 100 sq inches). Tennis coaches recommend choosing a racket with a larger head size, as it will have a larger “sweet spot”. This is the area on the strings in the middle of the racket where you get the maximum response from the racket. The racket with a larger sweet spot is generally more suitable for beginners, as they are still mastering their technique and need to make contact with the ball consistently. In addition to this, rackets with a larger head size or so-called “oversize rackets” enable players to generate more power and this is a great help for players, who are still learning to perform a powerful swing. Overall, sticking with a racquet of at least 98 sq. inches is a good choice for beginner players. 

Weight

The weight of the racket for beginners is another important factor you should take into consideration. The mass may differ, it depends on gender and age, of course, for kids tennis you should choose the lightest one and specially designed for them (For more info about kids tennis equipment click here). For an adult beginner the racket should be lightweight as well, as they are learning new techniques and using muscles in a different way. A lightweight racket will help beginners to improve new movements and is less harsh on your muscle and joint, In addition to this, they are easier to manoeuvre than heavy rackets. For example, it would make it easier for a beginner player to quickly switch between serve, forehand and backhand positions.

Heavier rackets (above 310g) are suitable for advanced players, who already have correct technique and a fully developed, powerful swing motion. Players, who just started learning tennis will find difficulty in swinging them, what is more, they can cause injury and ache.

So, if you are a beginner it’s a good idea to choose the racket under 290 grams for women, and under 310 grams for men. As a rule of thumb, generally light tennis rackets are considered to weigh between 240-290g (unstrung published weight). 

Grip size 

The size of the grip is another key consideration when choosing a racket, so it’s important to get the right size. The grip is the only part of the racket you touch, it has a big influence on your success in learning tennis. The right size of the grip will help you improve control over the racket. If your grip is too small, you will squeeze the handle too much, which can tire muscles and as a result cause an injury. If the grip size is too large, it will be difficult for you to use your wrist and make changes to your grip. Racket grip sizes are measured from 0 to 5, most women find success with grip size 2 or 3, while men usually choose grip size 3 or 4.

There is a simple but effective way to find the right size of the grip:

  • Hold the tennis racket as a forehand
  • You should be able to place the index finger of other hand between your fingers and palm

In case there isn’t enough space for your index finger, the racquet grip is too small, if there is a lot of extra space, the grip size is too large for you. If you are unsure between two sizes, tennis trainers would recommend choosing the smaller grip, as you can always add an overgrip on top of the actual grip. These soft, padded, cloth-like tapes are cheap and can be replaced regularly.

Balance

Another aspect you should pay attention to when searching for the ideal racket for a beginner is the balance of the racket. This element of the racket is not as important as the characteristics mentioned above, but it can influence how effective your shots are.

The balance of the racket measures where most of the racket’s weight is distributed, more towards the head or the handle. There are three types of balance: head light (most of the weight is centered in its grip), balanced (the weight is equally distributed between the head and the grip) and head heavy (most of the racket’s weight is located in its head). According to most tennis coaches, somewhere between a head heavy and a balanced racquet is generally the best option for beginners, as they will add natural power on groundstrokes, stability and they are often lighter. 

Choosing a perfect racket is an important step in your tennis journey. As a player gets better, their preferences might change. After all choosing a racquet can be compared to choosing a car. In fact, some cars might be better than others, but it is the specific characteristics of the racquet that some people might love while others might not like at all. Hopefully the tips above can help you make a more informed decision about buying your own tennis racquet, help you find the best option for you and thus, enjoy your tennis lessons much more!

Tennis School International

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