The Best Tennis Rackets for Beginners
Novice tennis players should choose a racket that makes learning the game of tennis easier and more enjoyable. Racket manufacturers refer to these types of rackets as "game improvement" rackets. Generally speaking, they are lightweight, they have an oversize head and they tend to have a medium-to-stiff flex.
According to Tennisnuts.com, rackets can be divided into three weight classes: light rackets 7.9 to 9.7 ounces, medium power rackets 9.8 to 10.5 ounces and heavy rackets 10.6 to 11.9 ounces. The lightweight rackets produce the most power and spin, which often helps a beginning tennis player who has a slower swing speed. A lightweight racket also provides more maneuverability. However, as players become more skilled and develop faster swing speeds to create power, they often opt for a heavier racket to gain more control.
Tennis Warehouse classifies an oversize racket as having a head size of 107 to 135 square inches. The benefits of using a racket with a larger head size include increased power, a larger "sweet spot," and more forgiveness on off-center hits. Tennis players just beginning to learn the game will frequently have off-center hits, and the forgiveness of a larger head will provide them with more consistency on the court.
As reported by Tennis Warehouse, the amount a frame deflects or flexes during ball contact directly affects its power potential. A stiffer racket flexes less, which depletes less energy from the ball. A flexible racket has more give, resulting in more energy loss. Therefore, players with slower swing speeds, such as beginners and intermediate players, can benefit from a stiffer racket to provide more power. However, a very stiff racket can often be less comfortable to use, as it transmits more impact through the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Players with a history of injury or pain might want to buy a racket with a medium flex to combine power and control and to absorb enough of the ball's impact to avoid muscle fatigue or injury.
Highly Rated Beginner Rackets
When it comes time to choose a racket, you should find a demo racket to try out. This helps players ensure they will get a racket that they feel is right for them. There are many rackets from various manufacturers that meet the criteria of a good game improvement racket. Tennisrackets.tv says two rackets are highly rated and favorably reviewed as beginner tennis rackets: the Wilson n1 and the Head Liquidmetal 8. The Wilson n1 has a slightly larger head and is lighter, which results in it having a bit more power. The Head Liquidmetal 8 provides more control and may accommodate players better as their skills improve.
Aaron Hawley is a licensed physical therapist and freelance writer based in the state of Minnesota. He has been a practicing clinician for the past seven years, with a master’s degree in physical therapy from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn.