5 Common Mistakes When Buying a Tennis RacquetPublished on 06/14/2023 · 7 min readAvoid common pitfalls when purchasing a tennis racquet. This article highlights 5 mistakes to steer clear of, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your game!
Photo by Bear Fotos
Buying a new tennis racquet is an exciting time for a tennis player! Whether you’re a beginner just getting started or an advanced player looking to improve your game, a new racquet is always a big investment. Nowadays, there are new technology and racquet types, and it can be overwhelming to research and find the perfect racquet for you without any help. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when deciding on which racquet to buy. Let’s look at the five common mistakes you need to avoid to buy the right one for you.
Top 5 Typical Errors Made When Purchasing a Racquet
1. Ignore Playing Level
Maybe the most common mistake new tennis players make when buying a new racquet is that they don’t consider their level. There are different racquet heads, racquet weights, and racquet lengths. It is important to know what you can do on the court before deciding on a new “weapon.”
If you are a beginner, jumping into the sport with a smaller head-size racquet is unwise. For example, the most common frame size is a 100-square-inch frame. Depending on the racquet's weight, that size is good for all types of levels and shots.
It is recommended that beginners begin with an oversized racquet head. So instead of a 100, a beginner can start with a 105 or a 110 frame. A larger frame will allow new players a larger sweet spot to hit with and a more forgiving racquet. Beginners usually prefer a light racquet, as well. A lighter racquet is easier to maneuver and usually has more control.
Beginners should avoid a racquet with a head under 100 or a heavier racquet, such as a 98-square-inch frame weighing about 10.6 ounces. That would be a no-no! It would be unforgiving and cause too many mishits for a beginner. A 10.6oz racquet is the average or medium weight for racquets. Above that is heavier, and below is lighter.
For advanced or intermediate players, the choice depends on your style of play. Are you a baseline or a net player? Do you like to play defensive or aggressive? Flat or spin? There are control-oriented racquets like the Wilson Blade 98 and power racquets like the Babolat Pure Drive. Know what you are looking for and narrow it down from there. Head-heavy racquets add more power, and head-light/lightweight racquets have more control, comfort, and maneuverability. It's worth thoroughly researching and not rushing in to buy the first racquet you fall in love with.
2. Choose the Wrong Grip Size
You ordered a new racquet online. You have been waiting for several days and are super excited. You can’t wait! The day has arrived, and the racquet has been delivered. You take it out of the box, and it feels too big/small for your hands.
Tennis grip size is an under-talked-about part of tennis. Unless you are seriously into the sport, chances are you have never thought of what grip size your racquet is. You grabbed the nearest racquet you could find and went out to hit. Unfortunately, many people go their entire lives playing with a racquet they have no idea might be too big or small for them. Finding just the right grip size for you can prevent shoulder and wrist problems in the future. (We all hate tennis elbow!)
The most common racquet size for men and common for women with larger hands is a 3 or 4 ⅜. However, a size 4 or 4 ½ is recommended for men with bigger hands. A size 2 or 4 ¼ is the most common for women with average-sized hands. For women with smaller hands and teenagers, size 1 or 4 ⅛ is recommended.
It can be tricky to figure out your exact grip size, but you can measure it using the palm of your hand: How To Measure Grip Size.
3. Buy a Racquet for Aesthetic Reasons
I see this one happen all the time as a Curated Tennis Expert! They say, “You look good, you play good,” and tennis players certainly take that to heart. With cool gear and many different ways to customize your look, tennis fashion is on the high end of the spectrum. But your racquet is one part of your gear you shouldn’t turn into a fashion accessory.
Many players want a racquet to look a certain way, prioritizing look over performance. This is another big no-no! Just because your favorite player uses this one or you like the color blue doesn’t mean you should overlook the right racquet for you. If it comes in a color you like, that’s a bonus! Not only are you risking the racquet not being right for you style-wise, but it can be too heavy and cause injuries as well. The right racquet should always trump personal preferences.
4. Go Cheap
Inflation is hard on everyone these days. The economy has seen better days, and saving money is very important. But if I told you that after buying a $20 racquet, you’d have to buy a new $200+ racquet in the near future, you’d probably just buy the more expensive racquet now! This is especially true for intermediate and advanced players that have not graduated from the cheaper racquets to the more elite ones. The benefits racquets over at least $150 have over the pre-strung, cheaper racquets under $100 weigh more than the pros of buying a cheaper racquet.
Cheaper racquets don’t last as long. The durability of racquets under $100 is not comparable to the more expensive ones. The more expensive racquets can handle power and pace much better, too. The value racquets' lack of stability will hurt you as you move up in play quality.
5. Disregard Age
Some tennis players don’t consider their age when buying a tennis racquet. However, your racquet can help or hurt a lot!
If you are a senior that has been playing for most of your life but now, at an advanced age, you are starting to feel your body break down. A light oversized racquet is the safest option for seniors, especially doubles players. Oversize heads racquets aren’t just good for beginners; they are very popular among senior players who want something easier on the arm. There are usually lighter racquets and oversized options of standard racquets for players looking into the oversized market.
The Babolat Pure Drive 110 is an example of a very popular racquet for senior players, and it's an oversized version of the very popular standard Pure Drive. It allows them the power they used to have without exerting themselves too much or feeling like they have to keep playing with a heavy racquet.
There are junior racquets specifically made for children, like the Babolat Pure Aero Junior 25. Junior tennis racquets are usually aluminum based, which makes the racquets lighter than the usually graphite-made racquets adults use. They also come with smaller grips for small hands and an oversized racquet head so kids can have a forgiving sweet spot to hit with as they start their journey with the game.
Within junior racquets, there are different sizes. Just like adults have different grip sizes, kids have different racquet sizes corresponding to different ages. Children between ages 2 and 4 should use a 19” junior racquet. If they are between 4 and 6, then a 21” frame is recommended. Kids ages 9 through 11 should get a 26” junior racquet. After age 12, they are ready for smaller adult racquets.
Finding the Right Tennis Racquet for You
We’ve all been there before, so don’t worry! It’s a lot of information and many options to sort through. But it is all worth it when you find the right racquet. Demoing several racquets to see which one you like the most can help save you any disappointment. Researching thoroughly and comparing reviews is a smart thing to do as well. Another option is to chat with one of my fellow Tennis Experts or me right here at Curated, and we can help pick the perfect tennis racquet for you!