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by April Sanders
Playing tennis at any level is great exercise, and if you are looking to improve your game, you might need to find a tennis racket that is more suited to you. Tennis rackets (sometimes spelled "racquets") are designed for specific skill levels. Rackets vary in head size, weight, grip, frame flexibility, length and string pattern. As is the case in any racquet sport, getting ahead in your game involves getting a racket that matches your style and skills.
Head size: Choose the head size that matches your skill level. The head size of a tennis racket refers to the part of the racket surrounding the strings. Beginner rackets are usually designed with larger head sizes (105 to 135 square inches). These rackets are best for players with slow, powerful swings. Mid-size rackets are between 95 and 105 square inches and are usually chosen by mid-level players who have some skill but are not professional competitors. They offer more maneuverability than larger head sizes. Smaller head sizes provide the most control and can be as low as 60 inches, although most competitors choose rackets with a head size of around 85 inches. The legal limit for play in official tournaments is 135 square inches.
Weight: Decide what is most important to you: A powerful swing or a controlled swing. Tennis rackets are designed to be either heavy and head-light or light and head-heavy. Which you prefer is a matter of personal preference, but overall, most players agree that head-light rackets are less powerful but easier to control, while head-heavy rackets are not as accurate but provide more power behind your swing.
Frame flexibility: The more flexible the frame, the more rebound the ball will have, but with less power. Again, decide if you prefer a racket that will give more power to your swing or one that will provide more control and direction. A stiffer racket will give you more power with less control and is better for the advanced player who has more power in his swing and does not need it in his racket.
Length and string pattern: Consider the length and string pattern of the racket before you buy it. The length and string pattern of tennis rackets do not greatly impact performance, but they can make a slight difference. Most rackets are 27 inches in length, but they can be as long as 29 inches, giving you greater reach. String patterns are either open (looser weave) or closed (tighter weave). Open-patterned strings provide greater ball rebound, while closed weaves put less spin on a ball but tend to last longer.
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