Tennis Racquets

Tennis has been a sport that I have watched for long, yet surprisingly I had only attempted to play the game twice in 28 years. Yet in the last few years tennis has become a favorite hobby. Here is a list of pointers to help you choose a racquet and get started on this wonderful game. The first racquet that I ever got was from a sports store in Chennai, I picked the racquet based on the color and the price range. If you ever want to play the game seriously I can tell you from experience that this approach is not going to get you far. Picking up an expensive racquets is not probably going to help you a lot as well. It also does not help that the racquets come in all forms, shapes and price ranges.

Tennis racquets are broadly categorized into Power based, Control based or Tweeners (combination of both). The racquet is ideally an extension of your arm and it has to complement your playing style and strengths. A fairly good indicator of your game style is as how you approach sports (cricket, badminton,etc). If your plan is to beat the opponent into submission then you will be better served by racquet that allows for powerful strokes, whereas if your game plan is to wear your opponent with well crafted points then you are more likely to perform better with a control oriented racquet. If you think that you are a bit of both styles then I would recommend a tweener stick. Note control based racquest will have lesser power and power based racquest will have less control.

Understanding the following technical specifications will also help you pick the right stick.

  • Head Size
  • Balance
  • Length
  • Weight
  • Swing weight
  • Stiffness
  • String Tension
  • String Pattern

There have been papers written about each of these parameters and how they affect performance, but I believe that we can cover another day. Today let us look at how these parameters affect the racquets.

Head Size: Racquet’s are categorized as standard, mid-plus and over sized. The smaller the head size the better the racquet control, but it is less forgiving as well as the sweet spot is smaller. The over sized racquet’s are ideal for beginners as you have a larger sweet spot. Most racquet’s today are mid-plus (100 Sq)
Weight/Balance/Stiffness: Control oriented racquest are generally on the heavier side, are more balanced, less stiff and offer more swing weight. This allows the player to have really big swings and ensures that the ball does not fly off the court. Power based racquets are the opposite and these expect players to take low Note most advanced players prefer low power racquets. Tweener racquets are slightly stiffer, are not very heavy and allows the players to take medium – fast swings.
String Pattern: Denser string patterns offer more contact points and hence more control.
String Tension: String tension is yet another parameter that helps the racquet perform better. General rule of the thumb is lesser the tension more the power and therefore less control. Each racquet has a recommended tension range and can be strung at the preferred tension to get optimal results.

The following table compares three racquets and their specifications.

Racquet Level Category Unstrung Weight (g) Head size (sq in) tension (lbs) string pattern head balance Stiffness
Head Prestige MP Adanced Control 320 98 53 18 X 20 -12 64
Dunlop Aerogel 4d5 Fifty Beginner Power 270 100 60 16 x 19 4 70
Babolat AeroPro Drive Intermediate Tweener 300 100 53 16 x 19 -7 68

Hope this overview has provided you with sufficient insights to go into the store, demo out a few racquest and pick the one that suits your game the most.

Until the next one, see ya.

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