How To Choose A Tennis Racket and Grip Size
TENNISNUTS GUIDES: How to Choose a Tennis Racket
Each of the manufacturers have their own way of helping you to pick the right racket. We have simplified the decision making process for you by explaining all the jargon in simple terms. If you ignore all the marketing blurb from the brands for a minute, there are only 3 basic types of tennis rackets:
3 BASIC TYPES OF RACKETS
1. Ultimate Control Rackets (tennisnuts power levels 1, 2, 3, 4). Characteristics are: small head, heavy weight, thin beam, head light (or even) balance, frame not too stiff. Classic rackets in this category are the Roger Federer range of Wilson ProStaff rackets, the Djokovic range of Head Speed rackets, or the Andy Murray range of Head Radical rackets.
Head Size range: 98 sq.in and below. Weight Range: 300g up to 340g Beam Width Range: 22mm or less
2. Powerful Control Rackets (tennisnuts power levels 5, 6, 7). Characteristics are: Mid Size head, weight around 300g, thicker beam, Even (or slightly head heavy) balance, stiffer frame. These rackets are control based, but are quite powerful at the same time. Classic rackets in this category are the Babolat Pure Drive range or the Babolat Aeropro range of rackets.
Head Size range: 98 sq.in to 102 sq. in. Weight Range: 280g to 300g Beam Width Range: 22mm to 24mm
3. Lightweight, Oversize Power Rackets (tennisnuts power levels 8, 9, 10). Characteristics are: Oversize head, Ultra light weight, thick beam, head heavy balance, stiff frame to offset the light weight. Classic rackets in this range are the Head PWR range of rackets or the Head TiS6.
Head Size range: 102 sq.in to 110 sq. in Weight Range: 225g to 280g Beam Width Range: 25mm to 28mm
To narrow things down further, we have given each racket a "tennisnuts power rating" from 1 to 10
WHICH TYPE OF RACKET SHOULD YOU GO FOR?
The main factors that determine the type of racket you should go for are skill level, physical strength, physical build and age profile.
We have identified a number of player types within each category to help you choose the category you should go for. After that, the choice is easy...you just have to decide on your budget and any brand preferences. Within the links above, we have identified separately all the latest rackets PLUS all the sale clearance ones.
Player Types - Lightweight, Oversize Power rackets
Recommended for: Beginners and Intermediates, especially players who are not physically very strong or athletic. The majority of regular club players love this category as all they want is an easy to swing, user friendly racket.
Not recommended for: Very physically strong or Athletic players, or very young players. The chances are these player types would take a huge swipe at the ball, hence hitting the ball out because the rackets themselves are very powerful.
Player Types - Powerful control Rackets
Recommended for: All player types...this is by far the biggest category of tennis rackets and suits the majority of players. These rackets give a nice mixture of power and control (sometimes described as "tweener" rackets).
Physically strong or Athletic beginners / Intermediates, who are likely to take a big swing at the ball.
Advanced players who are looking for more power in their game, or hit lots of topspin to keep the ball in control.
First adult racket for juniors of all levels.
Player Types - Ultimate Control Rackets
Recommended for: Advanced players with full strokes, or for Powerful Athletic Intermediates who are likely to take a big swing at the ball. These players generate their own power so its the control that the thin beamed, heavy rackets provide.
Advanced juniors or potentially good juniors (of adult height)....these rackets encourage the development of full flowing strokes and good technique...the slightly lighter ones in this category are probably best for juniors.
WHICH GRIP SIZE TO GO FOR?
A rough and ready way of telling which grip size you should go for is to hold a racket in your normal forehand grip...you should be able to squeeze a finger in which touches both the end of your fingers and your palm.
GRIP 0 is 4 .0 inches
GRIP 1 is 4 1/8 inches
GRIP 2 is 4 1/4 inches
GRIP 3 is 4 3/8 inches
GRIP 4 is 4 1/2 inches
GRIP 5 is 4 5/8 inches
For most adult height juniors...go for grip 0, 1 or 2.
For most women...go for grip 1, 2 or 3.
For most men...go for grip 3 or 4.
Grip 5 for a really big hand.
Other Variables: Players who like to hit a lot of topspin should go for a smaller grip...to enable going "over" the ball. Players who like to hit flat should go for a bigger grip.
An alternative way to measure your grip size is to use a measuring ruler....line up the ruler on your PALM...in line with the intersection of the thumb and fingers. The length from there to the top of your ring finger (next to the little finger) is roughly the right size.
OTHER FACTORS THAT IMPACT THE CHOICE AND PERFORMANCE OF TENNIS RACKETS
All rackets for the European market come pre-strung. The quality of string will depend on the quality of the racket. Manufacturers are bound to use really good strings for their more expensive rackets and vice versa. All rackets have a specified string tension range , so the rackets are likely to be strung at the middle of the range , but will probably have lost 2-3 lbs since then as well. For future reference , the tighter the strings , the more control....the looser the strings ,the more power. Therefore , within the parameters of 'power' and 'control' as outlined above...you can alter the playing characteristics of a racket by having it strung either very tight or very loose. For example , you may like a particular racket for its lightness or vibration dampening qualities , but it may be too powerful for you . You can go some way towards dampening the power by stringing it at the top of its recommended range. Obviously you have to be careful with this as very tight strings would also impact on your arm.