A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Tennis Racquet

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A Beginner

Tennis is a rewarding sport, both physically and emotionally, and those who compete at high levels understand that having equipment suitably matched to their physique and playing style is crucial for optimal performance. The type of tennis racquet used is the single most important feature for any player. Tennis racquets are designed for different types of players; therefore, racquets vary considerably in size and design. eBay has a good assortment of tennis racquets for beginners, as well as for those with greater experience.

For the novice tennis player wishing to find their ideal racquet, the choice involves measuring up their physical stature as well as assessing their own playing style and skill level. This criteria is key to making the right choice.

Tennis Racquet Categories

The various Tennis racquets on the market are designed for different performance attributes that fit into three broad categories comprising of beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Beginner racquets are designed to reduce impact loading. As skill, fitness and strength increases, players upgrade to intermediate and advanced racquets to absorb the additional demands of higher grade tennis, and gain better control of the ball. Within each of these categories, there are high quality racquets that are designed to maximise on-court effectiveness for players at all levels.

Beginner Racquets

Beginner racquets vary considerably in size, weight and performance, and are suitable for those who like a weekend hit with friends or play in low level competition. They are known by different names, such as junior, for children, and power racquets for beginner adults. eBay has a large selection of tennis racquets for beginners in brands such as Head and Wilson, and Dunlop. All provide tennis racquets for beginners. This type of racquet is between 68.5 and 73.5 centimeters long, although children's junior racquets are shorter. The beginner racquet has a head circumference of beginning at 276.7 centimeters, where most of its weight is centred. Entry level beginner racquets are usually made of aluminium, which, although tougher than graphite, suffers from extra vibration. Beginner racquets tend to be lightweight and weigh in between 226.8 and 269.3 grams. The larger head facilitates a greater optimal hitting area on the racquet called a sweet spot.

Tennis racquets for beginners are strung to provide maximum hitting power. The strings have an open pattern which provides greater ball rebound. Using a beginner racquet, the player does not need to expel as much force through the swing, and there is less jarring on the player's arm and shoulder. They are therefore the racquet of choice for the young, those with limited physical strength development, and many women. This type of racquet is also suitable for those who have a short and relaxed swing style. The disadvantage of this racquet is that it does not allow for as great a control over the ball as more advanced racquets.

Intermediate Racquets

The intermediate racquet, also known as a hybrid, represents a transition between beginner and advanced. As a player gains experience, skill, fitness and strength, an intermediate racquet may be more profitable for delivering the winning shots. These racquets weigh between 272.2 and 311.8 grams, are often shorter in length, with a somewhat smaller head diameter. It may also be strung more tightly to increase control. Intermediate racquets provide optimum playing performance for a variety of players. They are ideal for those with a medium to long swing, and for those who need a combination of power and control in their racquet.

Advanced Racquets

Tennis racquets in the advanced category are the most highly strung. Yonex manufacture a good deal of these racquets. These racquets usually weigh at least 314.7 grams, even though they are typically shorter. They have the smallest head circumference of between 228.6 and 248.8 square centimeters, and are designed to offer maximum control and accuracy. The extra weight in the racquet helps absorb the higher impacts of the opponent's hits, thus enabling a more controlled return hit.

Considerations For a Beginner's Tennis Racquet

Within the three broadly defined categories of tennis racquets, there are many different styles that can meet individual taste or preference. Before choosing a racquet, a customer must ascertain their own requirements according to strength, skills and personal playing style. However, a customer's choice should also reflect some compromise between quality and affordability. Beginner racquets therefore vary greatly but still display most of the characteristics described below.

Head Size

Most beginners prefer a large head size as this provides the largest sweet spot and is more forgiving for hits that are off-centre. As skills and strength increase, head size typically decreases.

String Pattern

The tennis racquet's string pattern has a considerable effect on how the racquet interacts with the ball. An open string pattern that is strung to the same tension as a closer string pattern feels less taught. An open string pattern is ideal for both beginners and more advanced players who employ a lot of spin in their stroke. In this type of racquet, however, the strings are less durable as they encounter greater movement, abrasion and impact. More advanced players competing in hard-hitting tournaments who do not use a lot of spin, require a closer (denser) string pattern. This prolongs the life of the strings against impact, but also facilitates greater accuracy and control of the ball.

Frame Type

Tennis racquet frames vary considerably throughout. Frame types are measured in stiffness, consisting of flexible to medium stiff; stiff, and very stiff. Beginners are generally advised to use a flexible to medium stiff frame. Although this type of frame absorbs more energy from the ball, thereby reducing its rebound power, it also reduces shock to the player's wrist, elbow and shoulder. Therefore, this type of frame is an important aspect to consider for players predisposed to problems in these areas. On the other hand, other beginner and intermediate players may prefer a stiff frame, as this delivers greater return power and control in each shot. A very stiff frame achieves this even more, but it should be remembered that an increase in stiffness results in an increase in shock, making it less comfortable for most players.

Weight Balance

Differences in a tennis racquet's weight and weight balance can be chosen according to personal preference and playing style. Beginners usually fare better with lightweight head-heavy racquets, whilst many intermediate and advanced players prefer heavier racquets with weight concentrated in the bottom end. Head-heavy racquets absorb greater ball impact, but handle-heavy racquets are more maneuverable. Racquets that are weight balanced have become particularly popular as they provide great maneuverability without losing weight mass in the head, making them particularly advantageous for ground strokes.

How to Buy a Beginner's Tennis Racquet on eBay

There are different ways you can search for a tennis racquet on eBay. You can enter a broad search to peruse the many listings and glean an availability overview, or you can enter search-specific criteria such as "junior tennis racquet". Always try to find several potential listings before you make a decision. Take careful note of all information in each listing, and compare differences in item specifications and details pertaining to shipping and returns policies. Before choosing your tennis racquet, be fully aware of the sale arrangements that each seller offers, and inspect your potential seller's customer feedback score to help you determine who you would prefer to buy from. You should also check to see if your designated seller has an eBay store.

Conclusion

eBay is the logical place to shop for tennis racquets, as the range of styles and prices on offer are too good to miss out on. It is also a great place to browse for special deals on sports equipment and tennis gear. However, the first step in making an informed choice in a tennis racquet may be to physically get a feel for a few different types. A tennis racquet is a personal thing, and player experience counts for a big part of the selection process. Whether for a hobby purpose or low level competition, the tennis player with their ideal racquet is in a much better position to advance in the sport. Therefore, the right choice in a beginner's tennis racquet is essential for gaining better enjoyment and a higher level performance.

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