Choosing Your Tennis Racket: A Guide for Beginners – Part 1
New to tennis but have no idea where to start?
If you are new to tennis and have no idea about which tennis racket you should be getting, then you have come to the right place. Selecting a suitable tennis racquet for yourself depends on a few key factors: the racket weight, head size, balance, grip size and string pattern.
Here’s everything you need to know about choosing your first ever tennis racket!
Tennis Racket WeightTennis rackets normally fall into 3 categories:
- Lightweight Frames: 250g to 285g
- Medium Frames: 285g to 310g
- Heavyweight Frames: 310g and above
So, if you are a tennis beginner who has never swung a racket, lightweight frames are likely to be more suitable as they will allow you to play (or learn) the game while giving time for your muscles to adapt to the motions. The Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite is an excellent choice for young players to standard rackets, while the ProKennex Ki 15 280 is another lightweight frame that's suitable for adults who are new to tennis!
The good thing about racket weight is that it can be modified. Racket String Solutions offers professional racket modification services to increase your tennis racket weight. Getting a lighter racket does not necessarily mean that you are stuck with it as you improve!
The head size of a tennis racket is the combined surface area of the strings plus the frame. Normally measured in square inches, the head size of a racket determines the surface area you have available when you try to make contact with a ball. This can be classified into:
- Oversize: 105 sq in or more
- Mid-plus: 98 sq in to 104 sq in
- Midsize: 85 sq in to 97 sq in
Essentially, the larger the head size, the easier it is to hit the tennis ball. Why? Because when the tennis ball comes into contact with a tennis racket that has a larger head size, it is subject to a greater rebound effect from the strings, resulting in more powerful strikes. Therefore, a bigger head size will generate a lot more power since the strings will be longer and will give more spring (think trampoline effect), but this also means that you have lesser control on your shots.
This should, however, balance out for beginners who choose a more forgiving lightweight frame since it naturally comes with less power. If you are new to tennis and have a smaller build, go for an oversized lightweight frame, such as the Head ti. Radical Elite. If you are more built, then opt for an oversized or midplus medium frame, such as this Mizuno C Tour 290 tennis racket.
Many beginners struggle with determining the appropriate balance for their tennis rackets or the best weight distribution for tennis racquets. A head-heavy tennis racket will have more weight in its racket head, while a head-light racquet will be heavier towards the grip. Head-light tennis racquets offer more control and tend to be medium or heavyweight frames so as not to compromise too much on power. These are specially designed for those who can generate most of the power on their own, making these head-light tennis rackets a popular choice among professional tennis players.
Head-heavy rackets are often lightweight, with the bulk of their weight concentrated on the racket head. These rackets maintain manoeuvrability and make up for the lightweight frame’s lack of power by adding to the racket’s swingweight. This means that these are easier to swing, making them a good choice for beginners. Some head-heavy lightweight tennis racquets recommended for beginners are the Head Extreme Team L and the Babolat Boost D.
Tennis racquet grip sizes are measured from 0 to 5:
- L0 – 4 0/8 inches
- L1 – 4 1/8 inches
- L2 – 4 1/4 inches
- L3 – 4 3/8 inches
- L4 – 4 1/2 inches
- L5 – 4 5/8 inches
Women typically use L1 or L2 grips, whereas men typically prefer a grip size 3. It is important to remember, however, that grip sizes are subject to each individual's comfort and can be increased with over grips.
When in doubt, go for a smaller size grip and adjust along the way.
When it comes to tennis strings, it boils down to string pattern and string type (which you can find out more about here). String pattern refers to the number of mains (strings running down lengthwise) and crosses (strings running perpendicular to the racket) on a tennis racquet. String patterns can be dense, where the spaces between strings are smaller, or open, where the spaces are bigger. For now, let’s look at string pattern.
The 18 x 20 (mains x crosses) pattern, like the one on the Head Prestige Pro 2021 and Head Speed Pro 2022, is a dense pattern with more string-ball contact that enables more stable shots with higher directional control but gives less spin. The most popular string pattern, 16 x 19, is a slightly more open than the 18 x 20, which giving players extra power and spin. Tennis rackets with this pattern, like the ProKennex Q+ Tour and Babolat Pure Strike 16x19 3rd Gen, allow players to hit deep in the court with little effort.
What are some of the characteristics of open string patterns?
Open string patterns, such as the 18 x 16 and 16 x 15, produce maximum power and incredible spin. These strings have more snapback and move more than dense pattern strings, providing superior feel and power while reducing impact (thanks to the trampoline effect). Strings will likely break much more frequently in open weaves due to such advantages. Open string patterns, on the other hand, may be preferable selections for beginners looking for an edge in power and spin.
Ultimately, what is the best tennis racket for someone new to tennis?
The fact is that it will take a few tries for you to figure out what exactly you want in a tennis racket. If you're a beginner with no tennis experience, not understanding anything about tennis rackets in general can be quite frustrating, as many will be unclear if they require more power, control, spin, or feel. This can be intimidating!
Take a deep breath and head on down to Sportsshop SG or register for one of our racket demonstrations, and be guided through the process of choosing your first tennis racket.
Or book a free tennis trial session at Arrow Tennis where you can learn to play tennis with their trial racquets AND get a tennis racket recommendation based from their experienced coaches based on your basic style of play at the end of the session!
Have fun choosing your first ever tennis racket!