How to measure a grip

Luis RosadoPlace the palm of your hand on the big handle bevel that is in line with the face (strings) of your racquet. There should be a gap from the tip of your ring finger and where your hand wraps around the grip to fit your index finger of your opposite hand through.

If there is not enough space, the grip is too small. If there is too much space, the grip is too big. Playing with the wrong grip size can contribute to tennis elbow. Gripping a racquet too tight in the ready position and poor stroke production are the two primary reasons why players get tennis elbow. A poor racquet choice can also be hard on your elbow. Light, stiff, head- heavy racquets contribute to tennis elbow, so look for a heavier, head-light racquet.

How to choose the right tennis racquet

First of all, I would recommend play testing a tennis racquet prior to purchasing one.  Only you can tell what feels comfortable to you.

The next thing to consider is what type of player you are and do you play mostly singles or doubles. Tennis players who primarily play doubles and spend most of their time at the net, often prefer a head-light oversize tennis racquet because they are easy to maneuver around at the net and have a larger sweet shot. The downfall of oversize frames is miss-hits on the outer edge of the frame will have more twist in your hand and can be hard on the elbow.

If ball control is your main concern, standard and mid-size tennis racquets have a smaller sweet spot than an oversized tennis racquet. However, they offer more control because you do not get the catapulting effect that you can get from racquets with an oversized string bed. Many high level players prefer a smaller head size for this reason.

Open of dense string pattern

Another area to consider is the pattern of the strings. An open string pattern has bigger spaces between the strings and will help when you add spin because the strings will “bite” into the ball more deeply.  For example, the more topspin you add to your shots, the harder you can hit the ball and keep it in the court. An open pattern, for instance, could have 16 main and 20 cross strings. A dense string pattern, for example, could have 18 mains and 20 cross strings which will give you added control. To generate more topspin though, you’ll need to brush up on the ball more severely with a vertical racquet face.

How often should I replace my racquet?

If you’ve had the same old racquet for years and don’t think you need a new one, you might want to reconsider. Each time you strike a ball, the frame distorts backward to absorb the impact then bends forward as it returns energy to the ball. Over time, this process damages the bonds between the thousands of graphite fibers (the primary composite of racquets) and the resins that hold them together. Eventually, the frame looses stiffness and becomes “soft” causing a loss of power and control according to the United States Racquet Stringers Association.

While there’s no formula for determining how long your frame will last, most experts agree that, assuming you don’t abuse your racquet, you should think about replacing your frame every two years.

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