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View Full Version : Do I really need a beginner racquet?


anoldsock
07-14-2009, 02:28 PM
I'm not like most of the people on this forum. I'm in my 20's and want to learn tennis to play recreationally. It's good exercise, and more importantly, it's pretty fun. I know I have much to learn, and when it comes to racquets I'm pretty confused on the subject. I'm hoping someone on the forum can give me some advice.

Most of the things I read say beginners should use oversize and light weight racquets. I know they are easier to hit with and allow you to generate more power and what not, but I mean, I'm pretty coordinated and can generate power on my own. I've tried out several racquets recently, and when I try an oversize racquets I hit it way too long. Because of that I tend not to fully step into my swing, and it becomes a bit awkward. I mostly play baseline and hit the ball just as consistently with an oversize racquet as I do with a mid-sized one.

Being said, would it be totally off the wall if I chose a racquet for an intermediate player? Do the player ratings for the racquets really mean anything, or are they more like guidelines? I can't imagine that an oversized racquet would provide me with a learning advantage. Any advice is appreciated.

tribunal4555
07-14-2009, 02:31 PM
They're guidelines. Just use what works for you. Some teaching pros even start young kids on demanding racquets like the Wilson K Six One Tour 90 because it teaches them proper technique by not allowing them to let up on their strokes.

Dgpsx7
07-14-2009, 02:49 PM
You could always just get a regular racket and choke up on it a little if you can handle the weight.

Kick Serve 14
07-14-2009, 02:54 PM
get a racket that your comfortable with that wont break the bank, but that isn't cheap either, i would reccomend a head liquidmetal or flexpoint, but the choice is up to you.

tennislvr135
07-14-2009, 02:56 PM
just because you're a beginner doesnt mean you should stick to beginner rackets. my friend who started playing tennis 3 years ago started with head flexpoint prestige and hes not too bad now

StringingIrvine
07-14-2009, 02:58 PM
if your in your 20's, athletic, not lacking hand eye coordination, and can generate your own power, get any racquet you like. Obviously using a pro staff 85 would be a bit challenging. It also depends how serious you are, if your playing a couple times a week then look at it as an investment, racquets can last for years! my racquets are 22 year old and still going good.
Everything is pretty much guideline there is no set rule or anything. If you find a racquet you like, cosmetically, and you can use it. chances are you'll play more tennis rather than buying a racquet you don't like.

I'd goto a pro shop, maybe even sport chalet and demo a bunch of racquets and just have a fun day hitting with different racquets.

Welcome to tennis!

SFrazeur
07-14-2009, 03:36 PM
This advice comes form years of teaching and instructing adults. Go for a 95"-100" frame that's 10.2oz+ with a low swing weight. The more head heavy and lower weight the racquet, the higher the acceptable swing weight.

Wilson's KTour, nTour racquets are very good. As well are their Surge/Open line.

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCWILSON-WNT2.html
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCWILSON-KTOURM.html
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCWILSON-KPO100.html
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCWILSON-KSURGE.html
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCWILSON-KZENT.html
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCWILSON-53.html

YONEX: http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageRCYONEX-IS3HM.html

-SF

VS_Power
07-14-2009, 04:27 PM
It really depends how athletic you are and if you're serious about improving for the long run.

If you're very athletic (ie if you played on any of your HS sports teams), you'll have no problem picking up and playing with one of the more advanced rackets. It'll force you to learn good fundamentals but your athleticism will more than make up for it. In the long run it'll make you a much better player.

If you're not very athletic or just looking to get into tennis very casually, just go to Big 5 and get whatever racket feels comfortable. Once you decide to get into tennis more seriously you'll have a better idea of what racket suits you best and can get a real one from TW.

In the end though, just get whatever makes you happy. The ratings thing isn't the final say and probably 95% of people on this board don't take it seriously. I was using 5.0+ frames when I just began playing and although I know it hindered my game (I switched to tweener rackets and played my mind out for a bit), it helped me develop good strokes so I could progress to the higher levels more quickly. If this kind of thing sounds good to you, go to your local tennis shop and demo a bunch of rackets, there are so many advanced rackets out there!

mutantducky
07-14-2009, 04:49 PM
also I would say get a racquet under 100.
The Dunlop 300 is a good racquet. As you get better it will be fine for higher levels. Prince shark, head liquidmetals

mutantducky
07-14-2009, 04:53 PM
and maybe demo a couple but don't mess around with that. just pick one and learn to play. 10.5-11.2 oz. headsize- probably 97+ and don't go bigger than 110. strings- just get the cheaper syn gut, or maybe a soft poly like unique 17 if you are not playing a lot. if you want to the cheap syn gut are just find and many of us here became good juniors using the cheap strings.

Dgpsx7
07-14-2009, 05:40 PM
Just buy a good 98sq inch racket either of of tw liquidation section or used off the the boards. Learn to play with just that and then in a year or so if you keep at it get a stick that fits your game more.

Zielmann
07-14-2009, 07:33 PM
I actually don't like beginners using beginner's frames. Frankly, I don't think they should even exist. There's nobody out there who needs to use a beginner's frame.

I'll usually suggest that people start with 'tweeners' or better, depending on general athleticism and coordination. But not just any tweeners. I'm also of the opinion that oversized frames are pointless. So I'd give a beginner a frame around 11 oz, with a 98-100" head, that's also either even-balanced or slightly head-light.

If you've got some decent strength already, feel free to go heavier as well. Just not sure I'd recommend going much smaller than 98". That way, the frame will still be forgiving enough that you won't be framing the ball every other shot.

anirut
07-14-2009, 07:58 PM
I don't recall there were anything known as beginner's rackets back in the 70's ... We all started learning and playing with the same headsize, only different weights.

Jr. rackets and other cheapos, yes.

Dgpsx7
07-14-2009, 08:24 PM
Just get a Kpro Tour racket from TW, string it with a basic synthetic gut like Gosen OG sheep micro at mid tension (55), put an overgrip on the stock leather grip and call it a day. The KPro tour is only $89 new and even though it might be heavier than a beginner frame I think it is a good start. It is 8 pts head light but in a year if you get better at tennis you will be happy that you actually have a good racket and not some Junior two piece garbage racket.

ryushen21
07-14-2009, 08:59 PM
The whole thing that I was told when I was started is that you don't build your stroke around a racquet but that you buy a racquet that suits your stroke.

That being said. There are plenty of good all around racquets out there that are suited to a variety of player styles.

Just my two cents...I would get something probably in an 18x20 string pattern and about a 100in head but maybe as small as 95. There are plenty of racquets that fit that mold and that will serve you well.

I think that you will be a lot happier spending a little more on an intermediate or players frame rather than buying a "beginners" frame and then buying a different frame later.

anoldsock
07-14-2009, 09:29 PM
Thanks for the reply everyone. The advice on here is exactly what I suspected. The oversize racquets just never worked for me. The 100in head that's a bit heavier seems to fit me the best right now. Anything larger just hits too long, and I want to get some fundamentals down before I start getting into what grip to use.

Just FYI, since I picked it up about two weeks ago, I've been playing about 2 hours a day to try and pick up as much as I can. When I'm not playing, like when I'm at work, all I can think about is heading to the courts. It's constantly on my mind.

My regret is that I didn't find this game earlier, even though most of my family and friends play. The good news, however, is that it's gotten a lot of them re-interested in the sport. So I have plenty of "coaches" right now.

goldenyama
07-15-2009, 01:08 AM
Get a 'players' OS racquet. This will give you a big sweetspot and margin for error while still being low-powered enough to allow you to develop your strokes. The Head Radical OS line is good, you could also try a Fischer MSpeed Pro 105 or Prince Original Graphite OS. All of these are available on TW.

OTMPut
07-15-2009, 03:55 AM
My regret is that I didn't find this game earlier, even though most of my family and friends play. The good news, however, is that it's gotten a lot of them re-interested in the sport. So I have plenty of "coaches" right now.

Its never late. You are only in 20's. I did not step on a tennis court until i was 30 (well there were no courts around!).

makinao
07-15-2009, 07:07 AM
From what I've seen, so-called "beginners" racquets are just cheap racquets. My guess is that they are recommended on the assumption that if the player quits within a year, they would not have "wasted" too much money. The problem is that many of them are terrible. From steel frames with too much harmful vibration, to underweight toys that will probably break of you hit one too many off center hits.

I usually recommend beginners to stay away from extremes. This means racquets that are either too light, too long, too large, too stiff, too wide, etc. The result usually includes mostly tweeners and players racquets.

anoldsock
07-15-2009, 07:30 AM
Its never late. You are only in 20's. I did not step on a tennis court until i was 30 (well there were no courts around!).

Thanks for the encouragement OTMPut! :)

RobG
07-15-2009, 09:03 AM
Unless you're very well-off financially, here's my suggestion... go to the local sporting goods store (find one that demos racquets). Pick 3-4 to go try. See if any of them work for you. If not, exchange them for a few more. Keep this up until you find something that works for you that doesn't cost much. At this point, I'd say set your spending limit at $99 at the MOST, but shoot for a $50-70 racquet.

Play with it for 6-12 mos. Next year, go back and try more racquets. See if you find one you like better than your current one. You might, you might not.

As your skills improve, what you prefer in a racquet will likely change. You might find that a year down the road, a new racquet with different characteristics will help take you to the next level.

Rob

Spartan
07-15-2009, 12:35 PM
Demo a 100 sq inch to start. That worked for me.

Ucantplay2much
07-16-2009, 05:36 AM
"Who are you playing against?" is an important question to answer since you're new to the sport. I've been playing for a year and I have two Head Liquidmetals, a 107 & a 102. Against players a little below my level, I play great with the 102. For anyone better than I am, playing with the slightly larger 107 makes a big difference in getting the racquet on the ball squarely.

I also think the LMs are a great value. I also have a Babolat PureDrive 107 and I keep going back to the Heads, even though they're "older models" and a lot cheaper.

anoldsock
07-16-2009, 05:40 AM
I'm playing with friends and family who just started to a couple of years and up to 10 years of experience, so it's a pretty wide range.

raiden031
07-16-2009, 05:46 AM
From what I've seen, so-called "beginners" racquets are just cheap racquets. My guess is that they are recommended on the assumption that if the player quits within a year, they would not have "wasted" too much money. The problem is that many of them are terrible. From steel frames with too much harmful vibration, to underweight toys that will probably break of you hit one too many off center hits.

I usually recommend beginners to stay away from extremes. This means racquets that are either too light, too long, too large, too stiff, too wide, etc. The result usually includes mostly tweeners and players racquets.

The bolded statement is not really true. There are two flavors of beginner racquets: 1) Walmart racquets and 2) Game Improvement racquets.

The walmart racquets are the cheap OS racquets in which you are referring, and cost from $20-$50 usually. Then most of the big racquet lines have their game improvement racquets that you can find in any tennis retailer such as TW. These racquets are extremely light and have massive head sizes. They are the same price as the player's racquets and tweeners, ranging from $80-200+, depending on whether they are new or clearance racquets.

My opinion is that both flavors of these racquets are pure crap. The only people who should be using these racquets are old ladies who are incapable of hitting the ball with a full swing. Nobody with any amount of technique needs that much power from a racquet. They are seriously like trampolines on a stick.

Most players would be best suited with a Mid+ tweener racquet (100" head and 10.5+ oz strung). The more racquet-head speed you can generate, the more you should go towards the more advanced frames because you will need more control and less power. So it has to do with your style more than just your level. I was training with a 92" player's racquet (12.3oz) as a 3.0 and improved alot, but then realized when I started wanting to be more competitive that it was a little too demanding for match play, so I switched to a few racquets between 97-100" and a little bit lighter, more like 11.5oz.

tennisegg
07-16-2009, 07:33 AM
Nice to see that I'm not the only one in the just starting boat that's pretty serious about getting better at tennis ;P. I'm currently using a Wilson K-surge (that someone else mentioned earlier), and honestly, I'd say to avoid it and anything < 11 oz. I'm 18, so fairly close to your age and I've spent a lot of my time playing other sports so I over-hit pretty often too with higher powered racquets. I find my K-surge to be too low weight and lacks the stability for me to really get better faster :/. My forehand and slice backhand from the baseline are getting pretty decent and consistent, but I still find it hard to handle the heavy balls from my friends who've been playing for a few years and use players' sticks. I've tried their K-Pro tours and K-6.1s and I actually hit a lot better and more consistently with those than my K-surge despite the surge being branded as a more beginner friendly racquet. Plus, the players' sticks are just downright more comfortable to hit with, I can actually hit longer with them despite the heavier weight because I don't get any twisting or jarring vibrations to my arm that the K-surge inevitably has despite a dampener. So if you're serious about improving, I'd suggest starting off with a racquet >11 oz and no greater than 100 sq. inches headsize; I think it just works better that way for people picking up tennis late who already have enough muscle to handle a heavier stick - you get better and more practice time in. I'm currently shopping for a new stick myself to replace the K-surge, or contemplating using some lead tape to weight it up quite a bit...

Ucantplay2much
07-16-2009, 08:57 AM
I'm playing with friends and family who just started to a couple of years and up to 10 years of experience, so it's a pretty wide range.

If you're playing well against the more experienced, powerful players and not framing or mis-hitting a lot of shots, stick with the 100. It's working for you.

As far as the larger heads being "too powerful" goes, your string set up can go a long way to reducing that and helping you generate more top-spin to keep the ball in. I don't have any trouble generating power, but I still haven't managed to "graduate" to the smaller head size simply because I need the bigger hitting surface.

dsa202
07-16-2009, 09:56 AM
just because you're a beginner doesnt mean you should stick to beginner rackets. my friend who started playing tennis 3 years ago started with head flexpoint prestige and hes not too bad now

That's dumb. Unless he is 4.0 or above.

Zielmann
07-16-2009, 10:59 AM
That's dumb. Unless he is 4.0 or above.

I completely ignore looking at recommended player ratings when looking at a frame. Especially if you're talking about playing with a frame marked for a higher level than the user would be.

I might judge a bit if I saw a 5.0 using a frame recommended for 2.5-3.5 players.

I actually think it's better to get a frame that's a little better than you. That way, it'll still work well for you as you improve. Then again, not sure I'd recommend starting off with a prestige pro or tour 90. That's just asking for frustration. But if you can do it, then hey, whatever works.

jaap deboeck
07-16-2009, 11:41 AM
If Agassi, Serena and Venus and even Seles used an oversize stick why in the name of God would a beginner use a 98 inch head?? The thing to avoid is very light and long. Anything at 11 to 11.5 ounces (the 12 oz + pro weight is NOT made for you) and a somewhat thicker beam will suffice. Try the Babolat Pure Drive 107 with cortex as one nice example, though pricey.

Also avoid stringing at high tension (high 50s to low 60s) as a beginner. It is macho silly. And avoid the 9 to 10.5 ounce sticks that have no plow through and solidity!

jonnythan
07-21-2009, 11:52 AM
Hell, if Agassi used a 107, then no one but top-10 players should use anything smaller!

freedbeing
07-21-2009, 12:43 PM
try the head liquid metal radical. its on sale and a pretty good racket. its a good way to know where you want to go. more pop, more or less weight, bigger head, etc.