parts of the racquet described below:
Key components of the tennis racquet
Head and the Sweet Spot
The head of the racquet is where the ball must be hit
to properly served and returned; it is where the
strings are contained. Specifically within the
head area is an area within the strings known as the
"sweet spot" - the area of the strung surface that
creates the most amount of power with the least amount
of effort. The sweet spot is where the player
aims to always hit the ball, unless deliberately
trying to mis-hit the ball (e.g., after charging the
net, to barely touch the ball).
Head Size and Shape
The shape and size of the tennis racquet head can vary
and be classifed in the following three categories:
A favorite racquet style, especially for beginners
who appreciate the greater string area of over-sized
racquets (and even jumbo racquets available).
These racquets can present a string area between 100
(over-sized) and a huge 140 (jumbo) square inches.
Because the string area is larger, so is, of course,
the sweet spot; so you can see why it makes for the
best trainnig racquet.
Mid-sized racquet heads range between 85 to 100
square inches of string area. Most
professional tennis players use head sizes that are
standard or mid-sized in design, averaging a range
more closely within 85 to 95 square inches.
The benefit of a smaller racquet head size is
greater maneuverability and speed in swing.
Therefore, they are considered a great compromise
providing the dual benefits of a larger sweet spot,
while still allowing competitive speed and handling
of the racquet.
Ranging in size from 80 to 85 square inches,
standard-sized racquet head designs are now
considered "old school" or obsolete, given the
downside created by a smaller sweet spot and more
limited flexibility in shot strategy.
The beam of the racquet is the area on either
side of the head. It does not increase the
overall length or width of the racquet, but is
considered its thickness. Compare racquets by
placing them flat on a table, and you will see that
their designs may differ in that some have wider beams
than others. Wider beams can add power to your
shots, however, many say that a wider beam affects how
the strings are contained and, therefore, how they
perform; thus, creating a greater flex, or
"trampoline" effect, that can affect control and
direction of shots. General advice is to start
with a thinner beam and, once you advance your shots
to a point that you are controlling spin, etc. you can
try a thicker beam to determine if it presents a good
feel for your style, or if it creates an adverse
effect on your ball control.
Throat & Shaft
The open throat design has become a design standard in
most of today's racquets, eliminating the now-defunct
past lollipop design (e.g., imagine today's
badmininton racquets, where the single main shaft is
directly attached to the racquet head).
The open throat design was created to better stabilize
the racquet head, better compensating for off-center
shots and, along with the larger head areas, has
worked to enlarge the effective sweet spot.
The shaft is the point at which the two sides curve
down from the throat, where they come closest to
extend down directly to connect to the racquet handle.
The throat, as it goes down, becomes the shaft, and
then joins to the racquet handle.
At the end of the shaft, it joins with the racquet
grip. Different grip sizes are made available
for both hand size and best comfort preference.
Grips range in diameter between 4 and 4-5/8 inches.
If you don't know which grip to select in your new
racquet, a popular rule of thumb is that, when you
grip the racquet comfortably (but not tightly), you
should be able to take your thumb and touch the last
knuckle joint (i.e., closest to the nail) of your
middle finger. If you are not certain which grip
size to select, always choose smaller, simply because
the grip size can be easily enlarged later using grip
There is no performance function to the butt cap.
It simply provides closure to the racquet handle and
creates a convenient place for placement of
Not all racquets are the same overall length.
Although longer racquets give you more reach and power
to the ball (e.g., especially when serving), they also
make the racquet a little more difficult to control.
considerations when selecting the right tennis
We've come along way from the original tennis racquets
made of simple wood frames and pig or sheep intestines
(for strings). Today's strings are still made
using advanced manufacturing (e.g., for consistent
quality) of intestines from sheep, cows or pigs; or
they are made of a synthetic polymer.
Natural gut (i.e., intestine) strings are susceptible
to damage from moisture or high humidity and are more
fragile than synthetic strings. Gut strings have a
modulus, giving hard-hitting players extra power.
Today's tennis players use the latest racquets made of
advanced engineered materials.
Many of today's tennis racquets are made of carbon
fiber composites. These composites have excellent
strength-to-weight ratios, allowing for the
development of popular oversize rackets and heads.
Some rackets are filled with polyurethane foams to
reduce vibration. Other rackets are hollow to decrease
A whole smorgasbord of racquet materials awaits you at
the sporting goods store. You may need a little help
sorting through the offerings, so here's a list of the
most common racquet materials you may encounter:
The vast majority of racquets manufactured today use
graphite in one form or another as the base
ingredient. Graphite is the technological
generation's equivalent of the trusty laminated
wooden racquet that was so popular until about the
Graphite is remarkably strong for its relatively
light weight. It provides terrific power, as well as
good control and feel for the ball. But graphite is
best in a composite mixture with any of the various
thermoplastic- and fiberglass-type resins used
today. Graphite-composite racquets are great for
beginners as well as advanced players because
stiffer racquets transmit shock and vibration to the
arm and shoulders.
Boron and Kevlar
Both Boron and Kevlar fibers both resemble graphite,
but boron and Kevlar are even lighter and stiffer
than graphite. Kevlar is best known for its use to
make bulletproof vests. Unless mixed with other
materials, however, Kevlar's stiffness can transmit
a lot of shock and vibration to your arm and
shoulder, especially if you don't hit the ball on
the sweet spot.
This material is still used in less expensive
racquets. Aluminum offers decent power and a
surprising amount of feel. Feel is the sensation you
get for how you're striking the ball and where it's
going. Some racquet materials are more sensitive
than others to things like impact and vibration, so
they transmit information to you differently.
More recently, a new technology has emerged in the
manufacturing of tennis racquets - titanium.
Made from a very strong, extremely light material,
titanium has been a hit with professionals and
serious recreational tennis players. Titanium is
similar to aluminum. Either aluminum or titanium is
an acceptable choice for beginners.
Wood or metal alloys
Low-cost tennis racquets may still be made made of
of wood or cheaper (weaker) metal alloys.
Cheaper materials allow for lower costs.
Regaring the benefits you derive from the racquet,
you get what you pay for: very little.
today's racquets are much lighter than their
predecessors; weighing in at just 9 to 12 ounces.
However, you should be able to feel the weight of the
racquet as it is a valuable tool to aid your hand-eye
coordination. You need a racquet that you can
use comfortably, without feeling heavy; and light
enough to allow you to efficiently swing, thus
allowing you optimal ball control.
As a beginner, you should devlop your tennis playing
skills with a standard-length tennis racquet (i.e., 27
inches) and then graduate up to longer racquets with
wider beams as you establish your preferences and feel
for the ball, especially as you developed advanced
The Tennis Ball
The inner layer of a tennis ball is made of
elastomeric polymer, which is reinforced with bits
of clay, a ceramic. The outer cover of the ball is
made of nylon polymer fibers.
The sole of a tennis player's shoes is made of an
elastomeric rubber polymer compound which has been
processed to withstand wear and tear.
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