Tennis How To Choose A Tennis Racquet Size?

How To Choose A Tennis Racquet Size?

With literally hundreds of tennis racquets to choose from, selecting the right one for you is no easy task. Different brands, varying weights, and head sizes can make it confusing and daunting.

The three main factors to consider are head size, weight, and balance of the racquet. There is no “right’ racquet for everyone, as we are all unique in our abilities and characteristics.

This article takes an in-depth look at choosing the right head size for you. We look at factors such as power, weight, and player level and take a look at the three head size categories, mid, mid-plus, and oversized.

Head Size Categories

A tennis racquet’s head size refers to the racquet surface area where the strings or gut are embedded in the frame. The racquet head size is measured in square inches and is found printed in several places.

Generally speaking, there are three sizes of racquet head which are categorized as follows : 

  • Mid
  • Mid-plus
  • Oversized

Head Size Recommendations

Beginners

When buying a tennis racquet, there are several things to consider: age, player level, materials, and price.

Whether you’re a junior or an adult, most beginner players benefit from a racquet with a larger head size or even an oversized head; however, personal preference does play a big part in choosing the racquet, and this aspect is too often overlooked. 

Bigger head sizes provide more power and give beginner players a larger surface area to make contact with; this is often referred to as the “sweet spot.” The larger head provides beginner players the confidence they need to make clean contact each and every time, making tennis a much more enjoyable one for them and their partner.

Beginners benefit from the larger head size, and anything over 100 square inches is recommended, and the larger head size provides for a more significant margin of error while playing. 

Advanced And Intermediate Players 

Players of a higher level who have developed stable, reliable techniques will benefit from smaller head sizes.

These smaller head sizes make the racquet more controllable and more comfortable to handle in fast high-paced games. 

The size recommended for advanced or intermediate players is 97 square inches up to 100 square inches. Another factor for these high-level players to consider is the style of tennis the play; for example, a baseline player would benefit from a heavier racquet with a smaller head while a player who likes to volley would benefit from a lighter racquet with a larger head.

Surface Area

The surface area of a tennis racquet plays a pivotal role in power, control, and comfort. As mentioned earlier, the larger surface area helps players make a clean, consistent strike on the ball; this is especially crucial to the development of junior players and adult beginners.

Conversely, racquets with smaller head sizes provide less margin for error and are only recommended for advanced or professional players. 

The “sweet spot” is a term we are all familiar with, and the larger head size offers the best chance of hitting the sweet spot. When you make contact in the sweet spot, the strike feels effortless with little to no vibration, almost as if you hadn’t even hit the ball.

Power

The larger the head size, the more power the racquet offers, while the smaller head size provides for more control, but that comes with the sacrifice of losing power. 

When the ball strikes the string bed, the strings act as a trampoline, and as with a trampoline, the bigger the area, the more significant the spring is or, in this case, power. 

On the other hand, the smaller racquet head size offers less power due to the head’s smaller surface area. Making small incremental changes either up or down in size can significantly affect a player’s game level. 

Control

Generally speaking, control is directly affected by the racquet head’s size, with larger head sizes being less maneuverable than their smaller counterparts. 

Although manufacturers can combat this through lightweight material construction and the racquet’s length, the head size is the most crucial factor to consider. 

Head Sizing Chart

When considering which head size is best for your game, the following chart acts as an excellent reference guide considering power, control, and sweet spot.

SpecMidMid-plusOversized
Squared Inches85-9798-104105+
PowerLowMediumHigh
ControlHighMediumLow
Sweet SpotSmallMediumLarge

Other Useful Tennis Articles

Frame Characteristics

String Pattern

This crucial component of the tennis racquet is more often than not overlooked by beginners and recreational players. The string pattern plays an incredibly important role in the feel and performance of the racquet.

There are two types of string patterns that we refer to as “open and “closed.” An open string pattern allows the ball to reflect off the string bed at a much greater velocity. The pattern allows for greater spin placement on the ball as the ball can grip the more expansive open spaces between each string bed. 

The downside is that as the strings are wider apart, which generally means they are looser and freer to move around, making the open string pattern’s durability less than optimal. The string bed’s continual movement produces friction and heat, causing the string bed to break or snap.

Conversely, the “closed” string pattern is denser by nature because the string bed is closer together. The closed string pattern offers less spin potential than open string patterns and less power.

Closed string patterns will benefit players looking for improved control and durability within the string bed.

Head Balance

Racquets heavier in the frame and have heavier heads are the preferred racquet of choice for most professional players. These racquets are known by many names but typically are referred to as “players racquets.” They are aimed at players who can control the ball and have the ability to create their power without having to rely on the racquet. 

These racquets come in varying weight ranges from 11-13 ounces, and the center of gravity or “balance” is 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches toward the head, keeping the head lighter, which helps with control of the racquet.

The other option is to go with a racquet which is light and has a lightweight oversized head. These racquets are perfect for beginners as they are incredibly light and easy to maneuver, allowing for a fun, enjoyable experience. 

They offer larger head sizes, and because of their lightweight material, they are easy on the body, which helps prevent injury in the wrists and elbow.

FAQ

What Is The Best Racquet?

This is a question that most coaches and shops get daily. The answer is there is “no one” racquet for everyone. Body size, shape, personality, tennis level, and tennis style play a vital role in selecting which tennis rack to buy.

Test an array of different racquets to find which one suits you best, and don’t make the mistake of purchasing the expensive racquet just because they look good.

Should I Buy Mid Plus Or Oversize?

There are three head sizes, mid, mid-plus, and oversized. Choosing the right head size for you is a personal choice, but some things to take into consideration are:

– Level of player
– Style of player
– Strength of player

Generally speaking, advanced players are better off choosing a smaller head size, which helps with control, while beginners are better suited to an oversized head, which offers a larger sweet spot for consistent, clean contact.

How Many Types Of Strings Are There?

Although nowadays there are many types of string, the two main categories are synthetic and natural.

The natural gut comes from a cow’s intestines, and most professionals use it as their string of choice as it offers excellent feel and comfort, especially important when playing day in day out. Nylon and polyester are the most popular of the synthetic strings and provide superior durability.

The 5th Set

So as you can see, when choosing the right racquet for you, there are several essential aspects to consider, such as head size, player type, and player level.

Do I need a heavy racquet with a heavy head or a lightweight racquet with a light head or mid-sized or oversized? So many questions to consider.

Ultimately which racquet head size you choose comes down to personal preference. Testing several racquets over time is crucial to selecting the right racquet and getting the best value for money.

Brenton Barker
Brenton Barker
Brenton hold's a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute. He has held Managerial and Head Coaching roles with Australia's National Governing Body Tennis Australia and served on the Dunlop International Sports Advisory Board for eight years. Brenton currently consults with several professional athletes and clients in the areas of Self-Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.

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