With so many racquets on the market, choosing the right one can seem like a daunting task. However, once you know a little bit about the different characteristics of racquets and a little about your playing level and swing style, the task of choosing a racquet becomes much easier. Racquets can be power-oriented, control-oriented or somewhere in the middle. Similarly, players can be beginners, advanced or somewhere in the middle. Each racquet has a specific purpose, a unique combination of specifications and is for a specific playing level and style. Knowing your playing level will enable you to find the corresponding racquet that’s right for you.
The answers to the following questions will help provide clues as to the specifications you need to match your game with the right racquet.
1. What is your playing level?
Are you a beginner, beginner-intermediate, intermediate, intermediate-advanced or advanced player? For example, if you are an intermediate-advanced player, you typically will have solid technique, good hand-eye coordination, and a fuller or longer stroke and have the ability to generate your own power.
2. Do you need help with power or control?
Do you find it hard to keep the ball in the court? Are you always hitting the ball long? Then you need help with control (a control-oriented racquet). Do you find it hard to get the ball over the net? Or make it travel further into the court? Then you will need help with power (a power-oriented racquet).
3. What are the specifications of your old racquet (if you had one)?
Knowing your old racquet’s specifications provides a good starting place. Combined with what you’re looking for (what you want the racquet to help you with) you will have a better idea of which specifications to vary.
4. Do you need help with consistency?
Do you find that you have a hard time hitting the ball exactly in the centre of your strings? Or, have trouble maintaining a rally? This question is designed to determine what size of sweet spot you need. If you cannot hit the ball exactly in the same spot every time, or you find it difficult to maintain a rally, you may need help with consistency and thus a larger sweet spot.
5. Do you need help with spin potential?
This will indicate what type of string pattern you may need. A more open string pattern will help with spin and power. A more closed string patterns will help with control.
6. Do you have tennis elbow, or any other considerations?
Any specific concerns or limitations are important to note to better fit the racquet to your needs. If you suffer from tennis elbow, for example, you will need a more flexible frame to minimize the ball impact that the arm has to absorb.
7. Do you have a brand preference?
There is no “best” or “better” brand from a quality standpoint. Although each brand has their own technologies and unique specification combinations, they typically make racquets in every category.
8. Are you taking lessons regularly?
Or are keen to play a lot more tennis in the future? This indicates whether or not you will be actively improving and strengthening your game. A player who takes lessons regularly will develop better technique, more complete strokes and more power. Thus they would need a racquet that is perfect for now but also has “growing potential”; it will last them through their progression.
At Merchant of Tennis, we offer a convenient demo program that allows you to try a racquet before you buy it.
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