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 adult tennis rackets:
Generally speaking, powerful rackets are lightweight, with larger head sizes and have a thick beam. More control oriented rackets are heavier, with smaller head sizes and thin beams. We have classified all adult tennis rackets in to 3 basic types and have also further classified junior tennis rackets. Click one of the links below:
1. Ultimate Control Rackets: Characteristics are: small head, heavy weight, thin beam, head light (or even) balance, frame not too stiff.
- Head Size range: 98 sq.in and below.
- Weight Range: 300g up to 340g
- Beam Width Range: 22mm or less
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. The upwardly mobile range in this type of racket being the Wawrinka Range of Yonex VCore rackets. Our best selling range in this category over a number of years has been the Wilson Blade range.
2. Powerful Control Rackets: 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.
- Head Size range: 98 sq.in to 102 sq. in.
- Weight Range: 280g to 300g
- Beam Width Range: 22mm to 24mm
Classic rackets in this category are the Babolat Pure Drive range or the Babolat Pure Aero range of rackets. Other choices include the Wilson Burn Rackets or the Head Instinct Range. The new range of Prince Textreme Warrior rackets are fast movers in this category.
3. Lightweight, Oversize Power Rackets: Characteristics are: Oversize head, Ultra light weight, thick beam, head heavy balance, stiff frame to offset the light weight.
- Head Size range: 102 sq.in to 110 sq. in
- Weight Range: 225g to 280g
- Beam Width Range: 25mm to 28mm
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 all the latest rackets PLUS all the sale clearance ones.
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.
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.
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.
STILL NOT SURE ? For most women, grip 2 or 3 is perfectly OK. For most men, grip 3 or 4 is perfect.
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
Most rackets we sell come pre-strung. The quality of string will depend on the quality of the racket. Manufacturers are bound to use really good strings on their performance graphite rackets. 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. The tighter the strings the more control, and 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 tight or 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 tension range. Obviously you have to be careful with this as very tight strings would also have an impact on your arm.