Selecting a Tennis Racquet
The tennis racket head size refers to the size of the actual hitting area within the tennis racket frame. Tennis racket head sizes are usually defined as follows:
- Midsize: 85-95 square centimetres
- Midplus: 95-110 square inches
- Oversize: 110 -115 square centimetres
- Super oversize: 115-135 square centimetres
The power a player generates from a tennis racquet goes hand in hand with the head size of the racquet. In other words, the larger the head size of a racquet, the more power the racquet can generate. Larger head size provides a greater area to hit the ball, but also has a larger sweet spot. This is ideal for beginners, as making contact with the ball is one of the most important aspects of the game in the early stages. Beginners should select a racquet with a Midplus head size because it provides a balance of power and control. More experienced players and professional tennis players with greater power, precision and skill will usually opt for rackets with a smaller head size i.e. midplus or midsize.
The weight and balance of a racquet are the most important factors when deciding which racquet to use. These two components determine how the racquet feels in your hand, and more importantly, how the racquet feels when you swing it.
Tennis rackets come in a large range of different weights from 225g to 340g.
Lighter rackets (225g to 280g) are generally more powerful and so suited to juniors moving to a full-sized racket, beginners and ladies.
Medium weight rackets (280g to 300g) offer a little less power but more control and are suited to intermediate players.
Heavy rackets (300g to 340g) offer much more control and are used by more advanced players.
A Racquet balance is the weight distribution along the length of the racquet. There are three types of balance distributions used in tennis racquets:
A head heavy racket will generate more power at the expense of maneuverability, so less experienced players should choose this type of racket as they are likely to have a shorter swing and less strength.
Even Balance racquets are for players with all round play who play from behind the court and also come close to the net.
Head light racquets are great for generating spin, maneuverability and net play, something a more experienced player will be looking for from their tennis racket. Professionals and advanced level players prefer these kind of racquets.
The traditional length of racquet is 27 inches, but you can get longer racquets of up to 29 inches. The longer the length of the racquet, the greater the leverage on a swing, therefore giving more power to a shot.
Various junior tennis racket sizes are also available. The list below gives an indication of the appropriate junior tennis racket size only. The most appropriate size will also depend on factors such as the ability and strength of the junior.
- For Age 12 and over (over 5 ft 2 in.): 27 inch racket (adult racket)
- For Age 10 to 11 (4 ft 8 in. to 5 ft 2 in.): 26 inch racket
- For Age 8 to 10 (4 ft 4 in. to 4 ft 8 in.): 25 inch racket
- For Age 6 to 8 (3 ft 11 in. to 4 ft 4 in.): 23 inch racket
- For Age 6 and under (under 3 ft 11 in.): 21 or 19 inch racket
The thicker the beam, the more powerful the racket will be. Most control rackets have beams between 18 and 21mm with most power rackets having beam widths of 25 to 28mm. Rackets with beam widths between 22 and 24mm provide a mixture of power and control.
A stringing pattern is the number of mains and number of crosses.
- 16 x 18 or 16 x 19 = Open string pattern
- 18 x 20 = Dense or Closed string pattern
An open string pattern will offer more speed and spin but the durability of string is less
A dense string pattern will offer more control and will last longer
Tennis racket grip sizes/measurements available are shown below. The most common grip size is 4 3/8”.
- 4 1/8” = 1
- 4 1/4" = 2
- 4 3/8” = 3
- 4 1/2" = 4
- 4 5/8” = 5
Most juniors using full size tennis rackets choose grip size 1 or 2, most women opt for grip sizes 2 or 3 and most men opt for grip sizes 3 or 4. It is important to choose the correct size grip when buying a tennis racket in order to prevent strains and injuries and also so that the racket feels comfortable to hold and play with.
If you are able to try out different racket grip sizes then the easiest way to select the right size is to hold the racket in your normal forehand grip. You should then be able to fit in a finger from your other hand which will touch both your palm and the tips of your fingers.
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 your thumb and fingers. The length from here to the top of your ring finger is roughly the right size.