It's the tennis season and with Wimbledon just round the corner, now is a great time to brush the dust off your racket and get out on the courts!
If you're new to the sport, or in need of a new tennis racket, Newitts provides a comprehensive guide below on how to find the right one.
What is my ability?
Before you buy a racket, think about your ability. Are you new to tennis and therefore a beginner? Are you a recreational tennis player who is fairly new to the game? Or, are you a club standard player or a professional tennis player? The type of player you are will affect the type of racket that is best suited to your needs.
Tennis rackets come in three different categories:
Improver tennis rackets - for players who are improvers and who are fairly new to the game or who may have returned to tennis after a long break.
Intermediate tennis rackets - aimed at club-standard tennis players who are no longer a beginner. The intermediate rackets contain a larger head size to provide a greater sweet spot. Their moderate weight makes them more comfortable to use.
Advance tennis rackets - if you're reading this guide, it's unlikely you'll be looking for an advanced tennis racket as this would indicate you are a highly skilled and physically fit tennis player who has played tennis for a number of years and has the ability to generate a fast racket swing speed through the ball.
What components should I look for?
There are many different elements that make up a tennis racket, so it is worth considering the key components to find the right one to suit you. Some of the main features of tennis rackets are listed below:
Head size - most tennis rackets have a head size that is between 95-110 square inches. The larger the head size, the more power can be generated. Larger heads also have a larger sweet spot, whilst smaller head sizes offer more control over the ball.
Weight - The heavier the tennis racket, the more powerful it is, for example, tennis rackets that are 320g or more will generate more power on the tennis court than lighter rackets of 310g and below. However, the heavier rackets are harder to manoeuvre and can wear a player out.
Length - If you're purchasing an adult tennis racket, you will find that most rackets are approximately between 27-29 inches long, although most are nearer the shorter end. The longer the racket, the lighter the tennis racket, and longer rackets can often offer more reach and more power on serve.
Balance - tennis rackets with a larger head are often lighter and able to project more power on groundstrokes, while smaller heads are generally heavier in weight but easier to manoeuvre.
Firmness - the stiffer the frame of your tennis racket, the less energy is lost when hitting the ball, however, if using a stiffer frame, you may experience some level of impact shock to your hand and arm.
What is grip?
Every tennis racket is offered in a range of grip sizes. Grip is measured by the circumference of the tennis racket handle, which is normally between 41/8in and 4 5/8in. Getting the right grip size is essential to prevent injury - too large a grip can be a strain on your hand muscles while the smaller grip can put additional pressure on your wrist and elbow.
How do I find my grip size?
To find your grip size, follow some simple steps below:
1. Hold your playing hand out flat
2. Take a ruler and measure the length between the tip of your third index finger and the second of the three main creases that run across your palm.
3. Record the measurement - this is the grip size you will need.
NB: It is worth bearing in mind that when buying a racket it may be possible to increase a grip up with overgrips or a grip enlargement kit, whereas it is very difficult to reduce the grip size.
Do not get carried away thinking you're Andy Murray or Tim Henman just yet - before you search on the Newitts website, think about your own game and whether it warrants an expensive racket. Most advanced tennis rackets are designed to offer players a classic feel, so the head size is generally smaller whilst the frame will be heavier and more flexible.
For some tennis players, these adaptations can actually make the game of tennis more difficult to play. Smaller heads equate to a smaller sweet spot, the heavier frame can cause early fatigue and the head-light balance can reduce power.
The reason the pros choose this type of racket is mainly down to their physical ability to make the most of the advance features. The weight of a racket will not slow down an athletic player, nor the reduction in power, the focus in on control which comes with a more manoeuvrable frame.
Junior tennis rackets
Before purchasing a junior tennis racket, it is essential that you consider two components - the height and the strength of the player. Below are some tips on how to purchase the best racket for a junior tennis player.
- Junior players should be able to comfortably hold the racket out to the side of them at a right angle.
- Junior players should be able to stand up straight with the racket touching the floor by their side.
- Like an adult racket, there should be room for a little finger to fit in between the player's thumb and forefinger when gripping the handle.
- We'd recommend purchasing a 4 inch grip for a junior tennis racket - grip can easily be increased with the addition of a cushioned grip.
- To minimalise costs, choose an aluminium tennis racket. This type of material is cheaper due to its lighter weight and suits younger, less experienced players.
Junior size guide:
|Age||Under 6||6-8 years||8-10 years|
|Racket size (inches)||17-21||23||25|
|Mini tennis category||RED||RED||ORANGE|