Tennis rackets come in three basics styles: Game Improvement, for lower-level players; Tweener, for intermediate players; and Player’s, for advanced players. Each racket type offers different manufacturing characteristics to enhance each type of player’s game. Understanding the differences among tennis rackets will help you choose the right frame for your game.
Tennis rackets come in different weights, lengths and head sizes
Game Improvement (Beginner) Rackets
Choose a Game Improvement racket if you are a beginner, advanced beginner or senior. These rackets feature a larger head size to provide lesser-skilled players with more hitting area. The rackets also have a longer length, lighter weight and more stiffness.
Tweener (Intermediate) Rackets
Choose a Tweener racket if you play the game once a week or more and are playing in a league with an above-average level of success. These rackets have many of the characteristics of Game Improvement rackets, but have slightly smaller heads to increase racket speed so you can generate more power.
Player’s (Advanced) Rackets
Choose a Player’s racket if you a highly competitive player with excellent athletic skills. These rackets have the smallest heads, most flexibility and are shorter and heavier than other rackets. They are unforgiving on mis-hits and are made for players who will not have many errant shots.
Try Before You Buy!
Many sporting goods stores and tennis pro shops let you play-test rackets before you buy one. You might have to secure the racket with a credit card imprint, or a pay a small fee each time you demo a racket (but that money is usually taken off the purchase price if you buy a racket from the store).
Play-test the several models of the type of racket you have chosen as your preferred type. A variety of manufacturers make all three styles of rackets using different materials and other proprietary manufacturing techniques. Many tennis pro shops have play-test, or demo, programs that allow you to hit with the racket on site or leave a credit card number so you can take the racket and play a match with it. Try testing two rackets of the same model with different grip sizes to learn what grip size feels best for you.
The String’s the Thing
The same racket can feel awesome or awful, depending on how it’s strung. Make a note of the string tension and type of string in each racket you play test. Stringing the same racket looser or tighter by even a few pounds of tension or with a different type of string can greatly change its playing characteristics. Talk with a professional stringer about your game, the racket you are choosing and what type of string you should use.