How to Choose a Beginner’s Tennis Racquet?
An advanced player is quite sure about his/her need and probably does not need to know anything beforehand about the buying factors. But if you are a beginner or want to buy a racquet for a beginner you should clearly know what you are going to buy and why it is good for you. To answer a number of questions related to your buying decision we have prepared this article on “how to choose beginner tennis racquet”.
We will discuss what will be the price range you should go for a beginner’s racquet. In fact, we have a comprehensive guide on the best tennis racquets for beginners to advanced players here on this website.
To be able to be a good racquet for a beginner it must meet the following criteria.
- That must provide power.
- That should be light in weight.
- The price should not break your bank.
But before anything about the price let’s learn the different segments of a tennis racquet and how they play a major role in your performance as a beginner.
So let’s start.
Yes, the weight of a strung racquet plays a major role if you are a beginner. You should not go for heavyweight ones as you will face difficulties to maneuver and swinging them properly. On top of that, it may cause injuries to your arm.
So, to play with the comfort we recommend you to go for a lighter racquet as a beginner.
Now, what weight would you call light, and what weight would be heavy for you?
Generally, the weight of a racquet varies from 8 oz to 13 oz. Anything lower than 10 oz is considered lighter and above 10 oz is considered heavy.
So, if you are an adult you should go for 9 – 9.8 oz and if you are a kid you should go for 8 – 8.9 oz. That’s the best option for you a beginner.
Although lighter racquets tend to provide less control than heavier ones and vibrate a bit during the tennis ball contact. But you can easily solve the vibration problem using a vibration dampener and as a beginner, you need more power than control. You will get the power if you buy a racquet that has a larger head size which we will discuss later.
As you can solve the power issue with larger head size and shock issue with a dampener so, you should go for lighter ones for the sake of maneuverability and swing to prevent arm injuries.
A larger head size provides more power and a forgiving sweet spot.
The smaller head size provides less power and a less forgiving sweet spot.
No, you tell me, which one should you choose as a beginner?
Of course, the one that provides more power and forgiving sweet spot, right?
Yes indeed. So you should go for the larger head size instead of the smaller head size.
Before going into more detail about the head size, let’s discuss the sweet spot a bit more in detail in case you don’t know what that is.
The sweet spot is considered as the place or point of a head where the maximum power is transferred to the ball during the head-ball contact. Meaning when you are hitting the ball if you can hit the sweet spot the ball will get the maximum power and the minimum force will be transformed to your hand. That means you will feel less vibration and will be safe from injury.
Now, what is the exact head size in measurement you should go for as a beginner?
Well, the size of the head varies from 80 – 135 sq inches. As per the standard 80 – 94 sq inches is called the mid-size. 95 – 105 sq inches is the mid-plus, 106 – 119 sq inches is considered as oversize, and 120 – 135 sq inches is said to be the super oversized head.
So, as a beginner, you should go for any oversized or super oversized head meaning anything in the range of 106 – 135 sq inches is good for you.
Frame Stiffness / Flex
Stiffness / Flex is a parameter that defines how much your racquet can produce resistance against bending once the ball contacts the racquet. That means how flexible or stiff your racquet is.
Racquet frames are given a number ranging from 0-100 to denote the stiff/flex. If the number is greater than 69 then it is called a stiff racquet, below 69 is considered a flexible racquet.
As a beginner, you should go for the stiffer ones as they produce more power. Of course, it is better to use a vibration dampener to reduce the vibration in this case.
Balance can be defined in three terms; head heavy, headlight, and balanced.
For the beginners, either head heavy or balanced racquets are good to go.
Let’s see why.
Head heavy means there is some extra weight at the head that helps to provide extra power and keep the head stable. As a result, the head will not move or twist during the ball contact.
The headlight ones have got the weight distributed at the handle hence provides less power, although they reduce the vibration and shock for your arm.
On the other hand, in balanced racquets, the weight is distributed evenly throughout the whole racquet. Undoubtedly this should be the best choice for you. But you can go for a head-heavy one with a vibration dampener in place.
The standard range of length of a tennis racquet is 27 – 29 inches, whereas the standard length is 27 inches. Anything lower than 27 inches is considered the junior racquet. Higher than 27 inches is considered a longer racquet.
Although ½ – 1 inch longer than 27 inches do not matter a lot and quite ok to select one that has a length of 28 inches. But as a beginner, you should restrict yourself to the 27 – 28 inches range. 29 inches will not be suitable for you until you are too tall, even if you are too tall, 27 – 28 inches will be the perfect size for you.
Longer racquets help you to play groundstrokes better and also help to serve well, but it can affect negatively in terms handling and maneuverability of the racquet.
So, better go for 27 inches, at most 28 inches.
16×18, 16X19, 16X20, and 18×20 are some of the string patterns the first one is called an open string pattern and the last one is called the closed string pattern.
Before we describe which one does what, let me recommend to you the pattern you should choose as a beginner. You should go for the open string pattern.
Because it provides more power than close string patterns.
If you are not sure what the string pattern is, it is the number of cross strings that you are on the racquet. 16 x 18 means there are 16 vertical (main) strings and 18 horizontal (cross) strings.
Open patterns grab the ball better and help its way to rebound with power. That is why we recommend open patterns to beginners. That means go for 16×18 or 16X19 or 16X20 but not the 18×20 because it is a closed pattern.
Beamwidth is simply the width of the racquet if you measure the beam sidewise. Thick beam and thin beam are the two types of beamwidth.
The thicker beam is the one that you should go for as a beginner player as this provides more power and makes the racquet stiff.
Beamwidth ranges from 22mm to 28mm.
As far as the racquet construction is concerned these are all to take into your consideration. Now let’s recommend the budget you should spend to buy your first racquet.
As a beginner, we must recommend you to go for a good quality beginner-friendly racquet based on the criteria we mentioned above. But you should NOT spend more than 100 USD to buy a beginner’s one.
You will find a number of good-quality racquets that are under $100, in fact under $90. If you are in doubt about which one you should buy read our reviews on different beginners racquet here. Major brands like Wilson and Head manufactured some ideal racquets for beginners. We listed them on our racquet review page as well.
As we said it should be the topmost priority to get the knowledge first and then buy a racquet when you are a beginner or just about to start tennis. Hope this guide and our review page will help you to find your desired one based on your budget.