Expert Review: Head Instinct MP 2022 Racquet · Unstrung
This review is my honest opinion of the tennis racquet, which I tested for 5 days in August of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the tennis racquet, which I tested for 5 days in August of 2022.
The Head Instinct MP is a great value racquet for rising junior players and intermediates looking for a good mix of power and maneuverability with a more comfortable feel than other similar racquets. It offers a big step up in playability from pre-strung racquets on the market and is a fantastic choice for those looking to maximize performance for their money.
About the gear
- Model: Head Instinct MP 2022
- Grip Size: 4 ⅜ / EU 3
- String and Tension: Gosen Polylon Clear 56 lb.
- Head size: 100 sq. in.
- Racquet Length: 27 in.
- Any Customizations: Yonex Super Grap Overgrip and Head Logo Dampener
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 185 lb.
- Previous Racquet Played With: Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP
- Experience: 28 years of playing tennis
- NTRP/UTA Rating: 5.0
- When I tested these: August 2022
- Days tested: 5 days
- Court Surfaces: Hard
- Match Play/Practice Session/Both: Both
- Where I’ve used it: Kingsford High School, Kingsford, Michigan; Iron Mountain City Park, Iron Mountain, Michigan
How it performs
What I was looking for
As one of the best-priced unstrung racquets on the market with an enticing spec list, the 2022 Head Instinct MP is a racquet that I recommend to Curated shoppers very often. I had tried previous versions of the Instinct MP but not the 2020 Graphene 360+ Instinct MP or the newest 2022, which is the same construction as the 2021 with updated graphics. In order to give Curated shoppers the best advice, I wanted to run this racquet through a test and see how it performs.
Why I chose this gear
Based on specs alone, I knew the Instinct MP wasn’t going to be a great fit for my game, but during the test it definitely surprised me. I currently play with a Head Graphene 360+ Gravity MP that I really like. It offers great feel, controllable power, and easy access to spin. Its one downfall is stability against heavy-hitting opponents and the Instinct MP has an even lower swingweight, which led me to believe stability would be an issue with it too. This was confirmed in the test and I am going to stick with my Gravity MP.
What I love about it
- Power: In the past few weeks I’ve tested some of the market’s premier powerful modern player’s racquets including the Babolat Pure Drive, Yonex EZONE 100, and Head Boom MP. The 2022 Head Instinct MP stands tall with all of those racquets in terms of easy power from the baseline and on serve with the added benefit of not being nearly as stiff as the Babolat or Yonex, which makes that power easier on the arm. It lacks some of the mass-based pop of racquets with heavier swingweights, so the ball doesn’t drive through the court quite as well as with the Babolat Pure Strike 18x20 or Head Speed Pro, but the ball does jump off the racquet with ease.
- Maneuverability: With a 313RDC swingweight, the Instinct MP begs the player to generate racquet head speed. This allowed me to generate plenty of topspin and also helped me make aggressive shots from defensive positions. The maneuverability was also on display when coming to the net where reacting to hard-hit passing shots was easy.
- Serves: The easy power and extra racquet head speed combined to make serving a joy with the Instinct MP. My first serve had extra pop and the maneuverability let me make last-second spin changes on second serves. The lower 64RA flex compared to the Babolat Pure Drive or Yonex EZONE 100 gave me a better feel of where the ball was on my strings, which improved my targeting on serve and was also easier on my arm.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Control: As someone who generates plenty of power on my own, powerful racquets like the Instinct MP tend to be a bit difficult for me to control at times. With such a light swingweight it can be easy to overswing and I have to adjust to hitting bigger targets rather than going for lines and tight angles.
- Stability: With an even lower swingweight than my current Gravity MP, I knew the Instinct MP was going to struggle against some of my heavier-hitting playing partners and this suspicion was confirmed. Big first serves and deep groundstrokes with pace tended to push the racquet around leading to weak replies. This racquet isn’t necessarily targeted to 5.0+ players though so for its intended users, the stability likely wouldn’t be an issue
Favorite moment with this gear
The Head Instinct MP really stood out to me when I was on the run and was able to hit a fairly offensive shot back due to the great maneuverability. My wife really likes to step in and flatten out any short ball even when we are just casually trading groundstrokes so I am often forced to run to respond and the Instinct MP made getting the ball back deep much easier.
Value for the money vs. other options
The 2022 Head Instinct MP is an absolute steal for the price. It is at least $100 less than racquets such as the Wilson Ultra V4, Babolat Pure Drive 100, and Yonex EZONE 100 and offers no discernable drop in performance in my opinion.
I can’t recommend the Head Instinct MP 2022 enough for aggressive juniors and intermediate players looking for great bang for their buck. With easy power, fast-moving maneuverability, and a comfortable feel at an incredible price, it easily competes with the big names in powerful modern players’ racquets.