As a teaching pro I get a lot of tennis questions. They run the spectrum from equipment to injuries but, the single most asked question is: How do I choose the best racquet for me? I love this question. Like everything else, there is a method to chosing the best racquet for every player.
First, go to a sporting goods store that has a good selection of racquets. Most retailers will carry the three top brands: Wilson, Head and Prince. They may also carry one or more of the other brands such as Dunlop, Yonex or Babolat. At this point in the process, the product mix isn't important. If you have a favorite brand thats fine, if you don't thats fine too. Keep in mind that all racquet manufacturers work hard to produce quality products. As you're looking over the selection, ignore the price tag and pick out the racquet that "looks" the best to you. Yes, I did say the one that looks the best to you. You know, the one that will make you feel like a top pro when you walk out on the court. You have to like your racquet because if you don't, it will never play right. Everytime you miss hit the ball or feel that the grip is just not right, then guess what gets the blame?
Racquet manufacturers spend a significant amount of time and money into research and development and racquet cosmetics are very important. In fact, they don't guess, they know, what colors will sell best in different countries, among different age groups and between genders. I'm telling you, this is serious stuff. So, when you begin looking over the selection, you can take pride in that you have just entered the mind game portion of playing tennis.
The next step is to find the best grip size for your hand. If you are not sure how to do this get a sales associate that knows tennis to help you with grip sizes. Most people use the "handshake" grip with the index finger from the non-racquet hand between the middle finger and the fatty part of the thumb on the racquet hand. That's one way to find your grip although, its not the best. Unfortunately, I don't cover this process when writing articles and instructions because It is too confusing to attempt a written description of how to do this, so I suggest that you get someone at the store or check out some of the better web sites that have some excellent videos that cover this area. You can also get a teaching pro to show you. When you're trying different racquets, take your time and don't make it too difficult. When trying to decide between grip sizes, always go for the smaller size. You can always add size to a small grip to make it bigger but unless you're a talented craftman you can't reduce the grip size.
At this point you have covered the important steps in finding the right racquet and now you're ready to move on to price and brand. I specialize in teaching beginners and I tell my students that the cost of their first racquet should reasonably be somewhere around $50.00, give or take. The point is that there is no need to spend several hundred dollars on a first racquet. And don't get caught up in the mind game that you're going to buy the same racquet that your favorite pro player uses. Top pro players are using custom made racquets that are specificly designed and suited for their game and style of play. The closest you'll ever come to a top players' racquet is the same model.
One last thing, most sporting good stores have programs that allow potential buyers to take out a demo racquet. Thats a great way to help you with your decision and I'm in favor of using every advantage possible to get new players to the top of their game as quickly as possible.
Well, I hope this will provide some help for those of you just getting into the game. So go out there and get that racquet and start your life long journey of fun and fitness.