5 Biggest Mistakes when Buying a Tennis Racket

5 Biggest Mistakes when Buying a Tennis Racket
What they are and how to avoid the biggest mistakes when buying a racket

1. Not knowing your play style or level.

The first and most important thing before you buy a tennis racket is evaluating your own level as a tennis player. I have seen many players who think they look like a stylish elegant tennis player but are anything but. One recent story comes to memory when I had a player ask me to string their new racket. This person had clearly done a lot of research into this racket and spent a lot of time deliberating before making this choice. The biggest mistake the individual made was evaluating their own level. In the politest terms possible the player believed they were way better than they actually were. This obviously skewed what rackets the player was looking at. The racket was approx. 340g unstrung with a 95 sq. inch head.

As we all know the customer is ALWAYS right so of course I said nothing and strung as requested. If you are unsure of what your level is or what type of play style you have then please ask. There are a raft of mid weight and headsize frames available all designed to fit with a huge range of play types. These are safe bets for any purchase. 

2. Being unaware of tennis racket characteristics.

With such variety and choice out there there are a huge amount of rackets for sale.  There are many variables when choosing a tennis racket but the biggest two are tennis racket weight and head size. Logic would dictate that a heavy racket will be harder to move than a lighter frame. A smaller head will also be more difficult to hit with than a more plentiful head.

Tennis Racket Weight courtesy of Tennis Head

as a general rule: 300 grams (or 10.6 ounces) is an average weight for a racket

Less than 285 grams (10 ounces) is considered light

More than 310 grams (or 11 ounces) is considered heavy

Tennishead suggests a heavy racket generates more power but is less maneuverable than a light racket. A heavier racket should mean more control under impact too. Advanced players tend to gravitate towards heavier rackets.

Courtesy of Tennis Companion

Tennis Racket Head Size 

Smaller head sizes make it harder to hit the ball as these rackets have a smaller sweet spot. 95 sq inch and below

Rackets with a larger sweet spots usually have larger head size 106 sq inch and above

Mid Plus ( MP Rackets cover rackets from 96 sq inch to 105 sq inch

3. Choosing your racket as your favourite player uses it.

This is a bad move. Although many pros play with a particular pro stock model the chances are that just selecting a racket on this basis alone is a bad move. Many an illinformed purchase has been made by buying your favorite players racket. Roger Federer for example began his career with a Pro Staff 88 which weighs approx 340g unstrung. I have no doubt Wilson did very well from wannabe Federers trying to emulate their hero. But let’s be realistic a finally tuned machine like Federer and any other pro player can handle a heavy beast with a tiny sweet spot.

Do your research and find a racket that is both manageable in terms of weight and headsize. 

Serena

4. Buying the wrong grip size.

Tennis rackets come in different grip sizes. Big hands little hands, middle sized hands all need different grips. When purchasing a racket you are given the option of chosing G1 to G5. 1 being the smallest and 5 being the largest. 

The standard grip is g3. You can measure your tennis racket grip size this way.

If you buy the wrong grip size you could be asking for trouble. It could cause a tennis elbow or arm issues. Holding the racket too tightly due to the incorrect size could also cause similar issues.

Alternatively according to Tennis Nuts

A rough way of finding out is by holding a racket in your normal forehand grip. If the racket is of the correct grip size, the distance between your palm and longest finger should approximately be the width of a finger. If the gap is too small it means you will need a larger grip size, and if the gap is too big you will need a smaller grip size.

If you play with the incorrect grip you risk causing yourself an injury. Tennis elbow/ tendonitis are common injuries from having too small or too large a grip size.

5. Buying a racket because of a huge discount

Lets face it we all love a bargain . There is a particular racket that I come across quite a lot but I will refrain from naming it here. This racket is really popular with all players and it just happens to have almost 70% off the recommended retail price and has had so for well over a decade. The popularity is down to the sale price and many many players fall into the trap of buying the wrong racket. This is a good racket for certain players but its large head size and lightweight hoodwink players into believing this is the best racket for them.

A lightweight and powerful racket is not always the best racket for everyone. Those with long swings that require control and feel rather than ridiculously easy power will not have any benefit from using this racket. In fact it will probably hurt development. Lesson here is do not buy a tennis racket based on the biggest discount. We would certainly advocate buying the most expensive racket that you can afford. There are massive performance benefits in an expensive racket relative to a cheap model. Buying the most expensive racket in itself just because of the price is not a good idea. Check the racket style and carry out your research. Expense doesn’t always mean the best racket for everyone.

Final Say.

Here are the 5 most common errors when buying a tennis racket. We have made all these errors before so do not worry you are not any different that the rest of us. Take time to make your purchase. Why dont you ask to try out other players rackets to see how they feel? Perhaps you can note the headsize, weight and grip size. Compare them and see what you like. Once you get that new racket in your hands you will know instantly its the right one!

3 thoughts on “5 Biggest Mistakes when Buying a Tennis Racket

  1. Been a player, stringer (customizing racquets) over 50 years. Including the “woodie” days. So, you demo a friends racquet or one you’ve found on “Demo Day” and you love it! You bring your new stick for stringing. Maybe someone recommended a string, or you brought what you already have or you take what I’ve got and I string within recommended specs. You can’t wait to get it out to the courts and start making history. After a rough and tumble weekend of competition, you call me. “What did you do to my racquet? This doesn’t feel like the one I demo’d at all.” Yes, this happens as often as not. WHY? Because when you found the wand that was going to make you famous, you failed to determine 3 very important things. 1. What was the demo racquet strung with? 2. How long has it been in the racquet? 3. What was the tension? Further: IF this was a 2 piece job, were the tensions the same for M’s and C’s. Not to mention was it hybrid? And now you have another consideration in answering #1. Truthfully, outside of asking your friend (who you’ve watched play and have an idea how often the racquet is put to work) you don’t have a clue! Much less on demo day. I’ve queried the providers on these days and they don’t have a clue. Maybe, and ONLY maybe, with close string inspection, in just the right spot, with a jewelers loop will I perhaps pickout the mfg’r. Then, with calipers I can measure, the gauge. Bottom line, Don’t be surprised if it takes a couple (at least) string jobs to find the balance you were looking for. Don’t hesitate to ask the 3 questions. The more info you can give your stringer the better.

  2. Richard, excellent comment and one I 100% agree with. As you say it is all about the strings and different strings and tensions can make a racket play extremely differently.
    The trouble is explaining this to the tennis player/ buyer. Quite often they wont have the knowledge about this and go about blaming the stringer, the strings or the racket.
    Its always the stringers fault! Even if they know nothing about strings or stringing its still their fault!

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