Welcome to our second blog instalment, it’s great to have you back. Today we are going to help you wade through the myriad of rackets and info out there and help you choose a racket that fits you like a glove. We’ll be covering everything from head size and length to weight, string and brands.
Buckle up, a long read but you’ll be all the wiser for it.
- This is the area used to do the hitting of the ball. The larger the head, the larger the surface area, meaning, you are less likely to miss a shot. Consequently, larger racket heads are best suited for beginners struggling with hand eye coordination. There is one downside to larger head sizes as it gives less control over the ball. For more experienced players we advise a smaller head size. The most popular head sizes are 98 to 100 sq. inches
- Standard lengths for adult rackets are between 27-28 inches with the most popular length at 27 inches. The longer the racket, the more reach you achieve when serving. The extra length can help generate extra power however, it can also make the racket harder to manoeuvre as it takes a little longer to get into position.
- With junior players, smaller rackets are strongly advised which range from 19-25 inches for between the ages of around 4-11. As this is a period of growth, it’s very important to protect their arms as they adapt to the extra power longer rackets provide.
- There are three categories used to determine the weight of a racket: 'heavy’ weighing more than 11 ounces (312 grams); 'mid-weight', ranging from 9.8 to 10.9 ounces (278 to 309 grams) and ‘light’ rackets which range from 9 to 9.4 ounces (255 to 266 grams).
- The heavier the racket, the more power and control it affords, but of course, it’s less manoeuvrable. Lighter rackets, more popular with beginners, are a lot easier on the arm as it builds strength gradually. Even though a little control is lost with a lighter racket, doubles players often use them to make super speedy movements at the net.
Top tip: if you start with a lighter weight, you can always load it up with lead tape as you gain more strength.
- This is something you’ll want to look out for! Particularly in the case of mid-weight and heavier rackets we suggest keeping the weight and power shifted more towards the handle which allows for quicker movement at the head of the racket.
- The standard string pattern is 16x18/19" which is an open pattern set up. With wider gaps between the strings, it allows for more power and spin in shots but gives less control. These open patterns also absorb shock a little better, so are kinder to arms.
- 18/20" is a denser or closed pattern with smaller spaces between the strings. These strings move less, so this gives more control on shots hit with spin. Typically, you’ll get less power and spin with this string pattern so, bear it in mind.
- Standard grip sizes range from 4 1/8th (also known as grip 1) to 4 1/2 (also known as grip 4).
- Much like the weight of a racket it is easier to build up to a larger handle size with wrap over grips, but it is much harder to reduce the size. We recommend changing your grip frequently to give you more control and an overall better feel.
- When it comes to brands, we all have our favourites. SHR features all the top brands from Babolat and Yonex, to Wilson and Prince just to name a few. There are some subtle differences to look out for in terms of head shape, materials etc. Ask yourself –what type of player am I?
- Lots of brands classify their rackets based on player type: ‘baseline player’ loves a heavy topspin; ‘attacking player’ likes to hit half court balls and get to the net often, ‘all court players’ who like to do it all and combine a range of styles.
There you have it a lot to look out for, but once you understand each characteristic and what it means for your game, you should feel a lot more confident in making the right choice.
Of course, if you are after value when shopping for your perfect racket, don’t venture far, you’ll find it right here on our website. Shop smart :)
P.S. We are a social bunch and love hearing from you, so ask us anything you want here or across our social channels. See you around!