The racket

A selection of Babolat tennis rackets

Time to get started: Rackets for beginners

Similarly to kit, your first racket doesn't need to cost the earth. There are hundreds of rackets designed for recreational use, and plenty within a £10 to £25 price range. However, to ensure you have the best experience when stepping into the sport, we’ll give you a few pointers. 

Try starting out with a racket that has a larger head size. This gives the racket a bigger sweet spot in the middle of the frame, giving you more chance of hitting a clean shot as you begin playing.

Adults may want to test different grip sizes too, with grip sizes 1, 2, or 3 recommended for women, and 3, 4, or 5 for men. When you wrap your hand around the handle, there should be a 1cm gap (or the width of your forefinger) between your thumb and first finger.

Time for detail: Rackets for improving players

As you improve, you'll have gained more experience with tennis and how rackets feel. Weight is an important factor to start thinking about. A heavy racket can give you tennis elbow, but a light racket can cause you to strain your wrist, which means it’s essential to get a balance that suits you.

Large-headed rackets weighing in at around 320g or more are generally harder to move but have the potential to unleash more power. If you want to focus on improving control, you may want to consider getting a racket with a smaller head size, because having a bigger surface area makes hitting the ball easier, but may not improve your technique.

Time for technicality: Rackets for advanced players

To get to the next level and start winning more of those matches, you’ll need to start analysing your game. This is the time to think about a racket that really brings out the best in you. Whether you want an even smaller racket head which will force you to hone your technique or one that’s more generous and forgiving whilst allowing you to release powerful shots with less effort.

You might want a vibration dampener to improve comfort as an aggressive baseline player, or prefer to have ultimate control, or desire speed and spin in your shots. It is therefore important to scrutinise the racket you are buying to see if it will suit you. But, to top the lot, you can even get rackets that log your every shot so you can watch them back, such as, the Babolat AeroPro Drive Play as used by some of the top professionals.

Fun fact: Until 50 years ago, all racket frames were made from wood.

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