There is a dizzying range of tennis rackets out there on the market. The major brands are Head, Wilson, Babolat, Prince, Dunlop, and Yonex. And like cars, each racquet comes with its own unique name and number to add a little glamour to the product.
The marketing departments of the relevant brands will come up with names like the Head “XT Instinct” or the Babolat “Pure Drive”, one of the best Babolat racquets for an intermediate player and even the star wars themed Prince racquet called a “Thunderstick”.
Now all these names are meant to reflect your style or anticipated style of game. I hit it hard therefore I need a thunderstick or I am more of touch player so perhaps I should go for an Instinct. There are so-called beginners racquets, intermediate and advanced too!
There is a wide range of racquets that will suit your game. And just to complicate things there is further information that you can research and review as regards the weight of the racquet and the tension of the strings. Oddly enough the looser the tension the harder you can hit the ball ( it’s the trampoline effect) and the tighter the strings the more control and spin you can impart.
As an example, a racket which is strung at 55lbs is at the looser end of the scale. As regards the weight of the racket – there are more complications. If it is too light then you will start flicking at the ball and this will result in poor technique and tennis elbow and if too heavy this will also reduce your technique and knacker your arm at the same time.
And then there is the grip – should it be a thick handle or a thin one depending on the size of your hands. Ideally, you should be able to fit your little finger in between your thumb and your other fingers when holding your racket and that can be determined by your grip that goes around the handle of the racket.
If you are like most people you will also have a look to see what your favourite player uses. Andy Murray uses a Head Graphene Radical Pro. Caroline Wozniacki uses a Babolat Aeropro Drive. Roger Federer has stuck with his Wilson Prostaff for many years with adaptions and Serena Williams also uses a Wilson.
Her rival Maria Sharapova, for example, favors a Head Graphene XT Instinct. Now when I say favor what I probably also mean is that these giant brands are probably paying a lot of money to these tennis superstars to play with their rackets.
And the real truth is that if you asked those individuals to swap rackets – they would probably achieve exactly the same results. In other words, it is more the talent of the individual rather than the technology of the racket that is the critical issue.
Lastly, of course, there is the price. If you pay more – do you get a better racket or more significantly if you pay more – will you play better. There are some rackets on the market for as much as £300 and there are some quite decent products for less than £50. Ideally of course you want a quality racket that feels right for you and at the cheapest possible price. You are not necessarily going to play any better by throwing money at the technology