When picking a tennis racquet, the most important factor by far is – Swing weight of racquet
Picking a tennis racquet is not as complicated as it seems. How a racquet feels like and how it plays is largely dependent on only one factor, and that is the swing weight of the racquet.
Swing weight is a combination of weight and balance of the racquet. Just pick a racquet that has the swing weight that best suits you. This is highly dependent on your strength/conditioning level. Style of play, type of stroke are also factors one should consider.
The swing weight must never be too light nor too heavy, one must find his/her balance.
To test swing weight, one must take the racquet out for a swing.
Heavier swing weights, gives more power, more ploughthrough, more stability/control , etc BUT make sure that the swing weight is light enough that it does not reduce your swing speed. Even if your swing speed is not compromised, it is important that it is light enough that its does not overly fatigue you for longer games.
Yes heavier swing weights are superior and most ATP pros use racquets that have extremely high swing weights, but most leisure players often pick racquets with swing weights that are way too high for them.
( Note : The negative effects of going too heavy, far out-weighs the positive effects from a heavier swing weight )
Its way better to buy a lighter racquet which can be easily customized later on. ( e.g weights can be added at different areas to change swing weight )
Players whose strokes are slow/medium swing speed can go for 5% heavier swing weights and players with full and fast swing speeds should go for 5% lighter swing weights.
Probably the second most imporant – Head Size
Head size of 100 sq inch used to be extremely big 30 years ago, but by today’s standard, its the average size! Most pros use racquets that at 100 sq inches!
Reason why racquet head size are small 30 years ago is simply due to weaker materials. The tension from each string in the racquet can effectively add up to over 2000 pounds of force on the racquet head frame and as such , racquets heads had to be made much smaller 30+ years ago.
Bigger head racquets are much more forgiving, powerful and a lot easier to use. Just pick a bigger head racquet ( 100 – 115 sq inch), and trust me, you will be a lot more satisfied with your game.
However if you are extremely particular about feel, response/feedback, control and are high level enough to very consistently connect the ball with the sweet spot of the racquet. Then you might be happier with a racquet that is of head size 90 – 100 sq inches.
Other factors to look for in a racquet are –
Flexibility of raquet
Beam size of racquet
Length of racquet
But there factors are not nearly as important as swing weight.
Make sure to pick a racquet with the right swing weight first, head size 2nd then worry about these other factors. I have explained the effects of these factors here – Racquet and Tension ( Intermediate 2 )