Power to strike the ball and control over swings are the main factors in choosing a beginner’s or advanced player’s tennis racket. Although each individual has to figure out what design enhances his play, generally a beginner, who has yet to develop his power, benefits from a racket that helps him strike strongly. The advanced player, on the other hand, is probably looking for a racket he can control.
Racket Head Size
The head of the tennis racket, its hitting area, ranges from 85 to 135 square inches divided into different size categories: An oversize to super-oversize racket has a head that is 107 to 135 square inches. The head of a midsize one starts at 100 square inches and goes to 106 square inches. Rackets with small heads are no larger than 100 square inches. Heads in the midsize to the larger end of this spectrum are better for players starting out, because the bigger hitting area increases the chances they will strike the ball even if it’s off-center. The bigger rackets also create more power, increasing the ball’s travel speed. Despite these advantages, advanced tennis players with the skills to control the ball are better off using a smaller head size, a better racket for an advanced play.
Pre-Strung Vs. Unstrung
The density of a racket's string pattern determines the power with which the ball rebounds. Rackets strung with strings of thicker gauge have a dense pattern that causes the ball to bounce back to the opponent with less force and less spin. On the contrary, a racket strung with thinner strings sends the ball to the opponent with greater force and spinning action. Manufacturers sell pre-strung and unstrung rackets. Advanced players who prefer a racket with customized density to meet their individual style on the court usually go for unstrung models they can customize themselves.
Tennis rackets range from 9 ounces to more than 11 ounces. The heavier they are, the more striking power they offer, but the weight makes it harder for a beginning player to handle them. Light rackets are easier to control, making it possible for a less-skilled player to swing fast. That’s why you usually see them in beginners’ hands while expert players may choose to go with heavier ones.
Degree of Flexibility
The frames of tennis rackets come in varying degrees of flexibility. The firmer the frame, the less shock absorbent it is. Stiff frames help beginners by causing the ball to fly back to the opponent with almost the same amount of power as it had on arrival without great effort on their part. But a more flexible racket offers better control to advanced players with fast swings.
Right Grip Size
A proper grip size not only influences how well a player handles the ball with the racket, but also it prevents tennis elbow, a painful tendon inflammation. By the time a player reaches an advanced level, he has figured out the right grip size for his hand. If you are beginner, on the other hand, do some measurement to find your ideal fit. With an open hand and extended fingers touching each other, find the two creases that run horizontally across your palm. Place a ruler in your palm’s center aligned with the bottom crease and measure the distance to the tip of your ring finger. If the result turns out to be in between two grip sizes, you should get the racket with the smaller grip, as well as an overgrip or heat shrink sleeve to increase its size. Generally, overgrips add 1/16 inch and the sleeve 1/8 inch to the racket’s grip.
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