What to Look for When Buying a Tennis Racquet Video
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Video:What to Look for When Buying a Tennis Racquet

with Jeff Cooper

Looking to purchase a new tennis racquet? Make sure you see these tips from About.com before you head to the store.See Transcript

Transcript:What to Look for When Buying a Tennis Racquet

Hi, I'm Jeff Cooper for About.com, here to help you choose a tennis racquet for an adult.

Important Factors When Buying a Tennis Racquet

The most important factors in a racquet's performance and arm safety are its weight, its balance, its flexibility, and its head size. You'll also hear about swingweight, which is how heavy it feels when you swing it.

Tennis Racquet Specifications

A racquet's balance is measured as the distance from its midpoint lengthwise to the point at which it balances. Let's say that's 5/8"; that would make the racquet five points either head-light or head-heavy, depending on whether there's more weight toward the handle or toward the head. More weight in the head gives you more resistance to the shock of the ball hitting the strings, and it also gives you more resistance to the twisting force that results when the ball hits off center. That's called torsion, and torsion can cause arm injury. Torsion also reduces control, because when the ball hits off-center and turns the racquet, it then comes off the strings at an unintended angle.

Frames of Tennis Racquets

A more flexible frame will absorb more of the ball's impact, reducing the shock and torsion, but because it twists and bends more, it'll change the racquet's angle more, and because it's absorbing some of the ball's energy, it will reduce the power on your shot.

A larger head increases power, and it reduces torsion at a given distance off-center, but it also reduces control at a given tension.

Weight of Tennis Racquets

For better control, power, and arm safety, you want a reasonably heavy racquet that isn't too head-light. For a pretty strong adult player, you want at least 10.5 ounces, and for every 1/10 ounce away from 11 ounces, you can be up to one point head-light or head-heavy. On higher-end racquets, you can find the specs printed right on the frame, near the throat.

The main argument for head-light racquets is that they're more maneuverable, but maneuverability really isn't that much of an issue for most players. You don't want a racquet that's too light, because it will transmit more shock and more torsion to your arm, which is likely to cause arm injury.

You shouldn't buy a racquet just on its specs. You need to take it out, see how flexible a frame you like, and see how it feels.

For more on racquets and everything else in tennis, visit About.com

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