Tennis players who want to achieve maximum results in the game – whether they are children, tennis players or tournament players – must be able to choose the right tennis racket for themselves.
The level of the game, the comfort of hitting, the ease of learning tennis and the absence of injuries depend on how accurately the racket is chosen for the player.
If you are going to buy a tennis racket, you need to know what parameters and characteristics you should consider when making such a purchase.
The structure of the racket for tennis
First of all, I draw your attention to what parts a tennis racket consists of.
The place where the main power is concentrated on impact.
Racket heads vary in shape and size.
They are of the following types:
- oversize (rim area over 106 sq. inches or over 684 sq. cm of the string surface), Such rackets have a larger sweet spot, however, it is more difficult to control the accuracy of strikes with a racket with an oversize head, since it has a higher ejection effect, maneuverability is worse;
- midsize, midsize plus (rim area 70 – 105 sq. inches or 452 – 677 sq. cm), such rackets represent a compromise between a large string surface, a sweet spot and racket maneuverability, which provides them with good speed when hitting;
- standart (rim area 66 sq. inches or 426 sq. cm), such rackets are outdated today, they have a smaller string surface and a sweet spot, which makes it difficult to hit.
Racket rim (beam)
Racket rim covers both sides of the head. If you look at different rackets from the side, you will notice that some of them have a wider rim (cross-section of the rim). A wide rim increases the size of the sweet spot, which adds power to your racket and reduces the risk of injury (used in amateur tennis rackets), but with a larger rim, the racquet’s aerodynamic characteristics deteriorate, making it difficult to control the direction of the stroke, so the width of the rim of rackets of professional tennis players rarely exceed 2 cm. With such a narrow rim, a very accurate hit of the ball in the center of the stringed surface of the racket is required, but for professionals who know how to control the stroke, this is not a problem.
When choosing a racket, it is necessary to choose the handle of the racket correctly, according to the size, which is defined as the circumference in inches.
The size of the handle is printed on the racket next to the indication of the weight or on the plug on the handle.
There are two options for designating the size of the racket handle:
in inches (rounded to the nearest ⅛ inch), US system;
according to the number that corresponds to a certain size, according to the European system.
The correspondence between the first and second designations is shown below.
|Europe G000 G00 G0
|United States 31/2 3 ⅞ 4
|cm 9.5 9.8 10.1
Proper racket grip is one of the fundamental requirements of tennis!
If you play with a racket that does not fit your size:
- with a too small (thin) handle, there will not be enough support area for the palm, and you will not feel the ball, in addition, such a mismatch of the handle can cause injury – “tennis” elbow;
- with a handle that is too large, then the racket will turn in your hand, naturally, you will squeeze it harder, which will lead to enslavement of the muscles of the shoulder and forearm, deterioration in the quality of strikes, fatigue and injury to the arm (hand, “tennis” elbow).
Tennis coaches usually use the analogy of a bird in your hand – you have to hold the bird firmly so that it does not fly away, and at the same time not too hard so as not to crush it. With this grip, you will be able to hold the racket quite freely and at the same time the muscles of the hand will be relaxed, these factors are the components of a free and biting stroke.
There is a generally accepted method for selecting the correct handle size for a tennis racquet. To do this, take the racket in your hand the way you hold it for forehand (forehand, a right hand for a right-hander; for a left-hander, a left hand). The optimal size of the handle will allow you to butt up, put the index finger of your free hand between the “pad” of your thumb and the middle finger of the hand that holds the racket. If there is not enough space for the finger, then the handle is too small. If you put your finger in, but there is still free space, then the pen is too big for you.
You can also calculate the size you need using a ruler. Open your palm, pressing 4 fingers together. Attach a ruler to the lower transverse crease of your palm and measure the distance in millimeters from it to the tip of your ring finger. Then use the table above to find the right pen size.
Children usually play with 00-2 handle size tennis racquets (although children 4-6 years old can use 000-0000 handle size racquets), female tennis players usually use 2 or 3 handle size racquets, male tennis players use size 3,4 or 5 pens (rarely 6)
The material from which tennis rackets are made
In the manufacture of tennis rackets, materials such as aluminum, graphite, basalt, kevlar, ceramics, titanium, fiberglass, carbon are used.
Rackets can be made entirely from one of the above materials, or they can be an alloy.
- The cheapest rackets are made of aluminum alloy or aluminum, such tennis rackets are more affordable than rackets made of other materials in terms of cost and their weight is very light (200-250 g), so the tennis player’s hand does not get tired for a long time and is less prone to injury compared to heavier rackets although aluminum racquets are less powerful than graphite tennis racquets, so they are only suitable for beginner tennis players. More experienced amateurs, tournament players and professionals most often play with graphite rackets, as graphite tennis rackets have significantly increased power, which increases the force of impact.
- Ceramic – infused tennis racquets are stiff and heavy and are suitable for hitting power training. The disadvantage of this material is its brittleness.
- Combined and composite materials, they mean an alloy of aluminum, fiberglass (fiberglass), titanium, graphite, kevlar, carbon (in various proportions, to obtain the specified characteristics of a tennis racket).
- Fiberglass is used as an additive for composite racquets and gives products elasticity, increases the flexibility of the rim, which allows experienced tennis players to better “feel” the ball.
- Kevlar has amazing strength, hits with a tennis racket (with the addition of Kevlar) are strong. the lack of such rackets, increased vibration, so there is a risk of injury to the hand if the player has poor hitting technique.
- Titanium combined with graphite increases the strength of a tennis racket without adding weight. These tennis rackets are easier to strike accurately, easier to control, control rotation and impact.
The degree of rigidity of the racket depends on the material used, which is determined by the stiffness coefficient, which is calculated as the amount of deflection of the racket rim under the influence of load in laboratory conditions. The value of the stiffness coefficient ranges from 1 to 10, the higher the value of this coefficient, the softer the swing must be longer to hit with a softer racket
It should, however, be remembered that a hard racket can cause injury to the shoulder, elbow, and hand. Hard rackets are usually played by professional tennis players, softer rackets are suitable for amateurs. Rigid tennis racquets are capable of delivering powerful shots with relatively short swings, although ball control is poorer for rigid racquets due to the shorter contact time of the ball with the string surface of the racquet than for soft racquets.
The amount of swing is indicated in the characteristics of each model of tennis racket.
Weight, balance and length of tennis rackets
An important criterion for choosing a tennis racket is its weight. Here you need to take into account your own physical indicators and the pace of hitting the ball.
The heavier the tennis racket, the more powerful it is, the recoil to the hand and vibration are less, but the spin of the ball and maneuverability are worse.
The weight of a tennis racket is always indicated without taking into account the weight of the stretched strings (unstrung weight), the weight of the stretched strings ranges from 12 g to 18 g.
You should be aware that the acceleration speed of a “big” tennis racket affects the power of impacts much more effectively than its weight, so when choosing a racket, try to imitate strikes and the racket that you accelerate at a higher speed and, at the same time, having more weight will be preferable for you.
The weight of the most popular 27-inch rackets in tennis can vary from 255g to 340g. Some professional players play with rackets heavier than 340g.
|Racket weight (g)
|Children 10 – 12 years old
|255 – 280
|Children under 15, beginner women
|Men and women with tennis experience
|Professional and tournament players
It is important to bear in mind that when you change the racket to a heavier one (even 10 grams), sensations change significantly and the risk of hand injury increases. To avoid this, it is recommended to use a heavier racket gradually, increasing the amount of time you play with a new racket by 30 minutes daily.
The balance of a tennis racket is determined relative to its balance point (34.3 cm from the end of the handle – neutral balance),
If the racquet is head-balanced, more comfortable to play from the backline (the racquet feels heavier), when balanced in the handle (the racquet feels lighter), and better suited for volleying and serving, neutral-balanced racquets are suitable for all-round tennis players.
The balance of a tennis racket in the American system is calculated from the geometric middle of the racket to the point of its balance and is indicated in pts,
1 pts \u003d 1/8 inch (1/8 inches) \u003d 0.32 cm, after the number the letters are indicated: HH or HL, indicating where the balance is shifted relative to the geometric center of the racket, for example, “7 pts HL” or “3 pts HH”
The balance of a tennis racket is always indicated without taking into account the weight of the stretched strings, stretching the strings on a tennis racket leads to a balance shift in the head of the racket by 10-18 mm
The generally accepted standard is the length of the racket 68.6 cm, which corresponds to 27 inches. There are elongated and shortened rackets. Cropped tennis rackets are designed for children and teenagers and should be sized according to their height. Rackets with a length of more than 68.6 cm give more power, but less maneuverability. The maximum allowable racket length is 73.66 cm or 29 inches. The tournament rules set the allowable racket length as 27-29 inches / 68.58-73.66 cm. Standard rackets approach the lower threshold, longer ones help to “get” the ball when playing with rebound, increase the leverage when serving and slightly force the impact.
Children’s tennis rackets are 17 to 26 inches long. The length of the racket is selected depending on the age of the child, but the height of the child should also be taken into account
|4-5 years old
|5-6 years old
|7-8 years old
|8-9 years old
|9-10 years old
Also, when choosing, you should take into account the level of coordination of the child – the higher it is, the longer the racket you can buy. With the growth of the child and the improvement of skill, in further tennis lessons for children, I recommend increasing the weight and length of the tennis racket in accordance with the above information in the sections “Weight” and “Length”. This will enable the young tennis player to more effectively execute tennis strokes with the correct biomechanics.
“Important! We must not forget that a child should not play with a racket that is longer than the standard, as this can adversely affect the playing technique. The racket should not reach 5 cm to the floor with the child’s hand lowered.”
Recommendations when choosing a racket for tennis
- When choosing a racket, take into account not only your level and style of play, your weight and anthropometric data, but also the possibility of further improvement with such a racket;
- Take a test version of the selected racket in the store (for rent) and play with it to make sure that your choice is correct;
- To preserve the playing properties, store the racket in a thermal case!
Contact for advice!
I will be glad to help you not only with the choice of a tennis racket and tennis accessories, but also with effective and high quality tennis training!
Sincerely, Hennadiy Maloyvan