Tennis has long been one of the world’s most popular sports so it should come as no surprise that many people take up the game each year. But taking up tennis is more than borrowing a tennis racket and heading over to a court. Clothing, shoes, rules, and etiquette are just a few of the elements of the game that beginners must learn, but perhaps there is nothing more important to understand than the basics of the tennis racket. Purchasing a racket that best complements your skill and physical abilities is crucial to enjoying early success as a tennis player.
If you are interested in tennis then you have probably strolled though a tennis shop, the tennis section of a sporting goods store, or even browsed the website of an online tennis retailer. And if you have done any of those things then you are probably confused about which tennis racket is best for you. With an understanding of racket basics you can cut through the massive selection and find a racket that suits you, so let’s get started!
The first thing you will want to look at is the size of the head – the frame that holds the strings – of the racket. Between the grip and the neck on most rackets you will find a label that displays the size and square inches of the head. Generally speaking, these measurements will place a particular racket into one of four categories:
* Midsize (85-92 square inches),
* Midplus (93-105 sq .inches),
* Oversize (106-115 sq. inches) and
* Super Oversize (over 116 sq. inches)
The size of the racket head has a direct impact on the power and control offered by the racket. Large heads provide great power, but at the expense of control, while smaller rackets provide less power and more control. Beginning players are usually best served by opting for a larger heads that not only provide power, but offer forgiveness on hits that are not close to the center of the head.
The next aspect of the tennis racket that you need to understand is just as important as the size of the head; the size of the grip. A properly sized grip is not only a key to hitting good shots, it is integral in avoiding injuries such as the dreaded tennis elbow. While having a proper grip size is critical, selecting a proper grip size is quite simple.
Pick up the racket with your hitting hand and make sure you palm is on the same bevel – the ridges on the grip – as the racket face. Take the index finger of your free hand and try to slip it into the gap between your palm and fingertips of the hand that is holding the racket. If your finger just fits then you have a properly sized grip. If the gap is too small for your finger, or so wide that your finger fits easily, then you need to select a different size.
Next you must consider the strings. You will find that some rackets are prestrung, while others require that strings be installed. As a beginner you will probably be well served by a prestrung racket as premium rackets – rackets without strings – are generally expensive and suited to better and more skilled players.
String density is a term that refers to the spaces between the main and cross strings on the racket. The smaller the hole, the denser the racket, and the more power it generates. As a beginner you should focus on dense, powerful rackets that will help you generate power until you develop a more consistent tennis stroke.
Selecting the proper tennis racket will allow you to get the most out of your time on the court. Be sure to keep an eye on the attributes mentioned in this article, and look for a racket that has string tension that is in the middle of the scale. A good grip and medium tension will give you a combination of power and control that will not only help your game, it will help prevent tennis elbow as well.