Choosing a racket for 13 yo beginner

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by rmccarty, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    I need some racket advise for my almost 13 y.o. daughter. She's an absolute beginner but is athletic. She's approximately 5ft tall. She has attempted play a couple of times with a 25" Wilson Tour with 3 5/8 grip. She likes the racket, but I think the grip is a bit too small for her. IMO, the length of the racket is too short, as well. I had her hold my Pro Kennex Bronze Ace and my Prince Graphite Comp. Both have 4 1/4 grips. Those grips are too large for her. She didn't like the rackets at all because they are too heavy for an 85 lb girl. I think the PK & Prince rackets are a bit intimidating as well - maybe due to their length. But no 13 y.o. girl would admit that.

    I've read the several buyer's guides and pro advise on the 'net for buying rackets including junior rackets. They advise going to 27 inch rackets if over 12 and over 5ft tall.

    Should I put her in longer racket even though she doesn't want to?
     
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  2. pkshooter

    pkshooter Semi-Pro

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    Yes..........
     
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  3. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    No need for a kids's racket for her. What will be important is grip size. At 13 that's probably a L1.

    As for which model, get her something she that's got a good weight and head-light balance. Avoid something too light or too large headed since it will be more difficult for her to learn proper stroke technique with those.

    Wilson 6.1 95 (any of the iterations except for the Lite)
    Wlson BLXPS 6.1 95
    Head Instinct MO


    EDIT: just re-read your post and noticed she's 85 lbs. Perhaps the Lite models are the way to go in that case.
     
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  4. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    She's as tall as many fully grown adult females. She should have an adult racket - she isn't 8 years old. At her weight, there is nothing wrong with a very light racket until it gets overpowered by opponents who hit hard. When she gets to playing at that level, she should have the strokes for a heavier racket.
     
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  5. DustinW

    DustinW Semi-Pro

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    Agree on the adult racket. My suggestion is the Babolat Pure Drive Lite... easy to swing, comfortable, and something that will grow with her as she improves.
     
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  6. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Really? A Babolat?

    That racquet has a stiffness rating of 67...

    There are many frames that are better than this without causing injury to the arm/shoulders/wrist...

    I suggest the OP with a Boris Becker Delta Core London. :)
     
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  7. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Get her a Head Microgel Radical OS. You really cannot go wrong with it and its cheap.
     
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  8. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Actually, any racquet that isn't too stiff can be useful for your daughter.

    When she gets better, she can have a better idea on choosing the right racquet for herself. :)
     
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  9. TTech321

    TTech321 New User

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    Yes, adult frame, but stay away from stiff racquets for a beginner. Something around 10.5oz is good, slight head light balance, not too much though cause a little weight in the head is good for learning proper strokes.
     
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  10. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Yeah, that sounds good.

    I remember going to a tournament on Friday and 80% of the players were using Babolats, 15% Walmart/Academy/Dick's/Generic Sporting Goods racquets, and 5% other (Head, Prince, Wilson, etc.).

    :shock:
     
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  11. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    I agree with this.
     
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  12. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Thank you all! Please continue your great suggestions.

    I should have added that I'm seeking an inexpensive racket - new or used - because she may not be dedicated to this. At the same time, I would also like find a racket with good shock absorption and vibration control. She seems to be in a stage where she gets injured periodically. I don't want to put too much stress on her growing body.

    I need to make a spreadsheet with the specs of each racket you all are suggesting so I can easily see the specs vs price. I don't want a $30 racket if it's going to cause her shoulder, arm or wrist problems. Conversely, I can't see paying $100 for a used racket which she may use for a few weeks or months. Well, I could justify it if I could use it. But I'm looking for a Volkl V1 Classic. I don't think that's good choice for my daughter at this time - maybe in the future if she continues playing. Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm looking for a decent racket that absorbs shock and vibration but at the same is fairly inexpensive if I buy used - $40 or less.
     
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  13. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    In all honesty, you're not going to find many rackets at less than $40. There are plenty of rackets that would be a good choice but the price range is $60-$100 which is actually relatively cheap. That's my .02
     
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  14. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    #14
  15. Stardust

    Stardust New User

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    Agree! Great choice is Wilson Blade 104 and even better if you find somewhere the older BLX Blade Team (softer and cheaper).
    Another great frame is Prince EXO3 Rebel Team 98. Later you could add some weight to the handle to increase the static weight and move the balance to more HL. Also look at Prince EXO3 Tour Team 100.
    Also a great stick for your gitl: Pacific X Feel Tour
    Something lighter and very appropriate: Head YOUTEK IG Radical S
     
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  16. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    I could go a little higher in price. Saving a little money is not worth an injury. At the same time, she's in the newborn stage of learning and needs a very entry level racket- even if I have to sell it and buy another one in 6 months.

    The local county parks & rec division offers tennis lessons beginning in the spring. I want to get a racket that she can get a feel for before lessons begin.
     
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  17. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    When taking her to lessons, be sure to stick around to see how the coach and co. teaches his pupils.. :)

    Some of these coaches and 'pros' out here are scamming people.. :mad:
     
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  18. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Good advise! Thank you Overdrive! I asked for comments on the local county forum. I live in a rural county of approximately 60k. I don't think many kids or adults have taken the lessons as the parks & rec didn't offer them until last year. If I don't get positive comments, I'll go to the adjacent county. There's tennis club approximately 35 minutes from my house. I know the pro; went to high school with him. I know he runs a very well-respected facility.
     
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  19. prjacobs

    prjacobs Professional

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    You've just answered your question. Go talk to your friend about a racquet. And a teacher for your daughter. Find out who the teachers at the park are and get their background info.
     
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  20. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    #20
  21. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Well, the only thing you have to worry about is how much he puts effort into your child.
    Anyways, your welcome! :)
     
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  22. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    I have avoided it so far based on principle. If ask the pro for help, he is going expect me to buy the racket from his club and rightly so. I can't take advantage of the guy. I wouldn't have a problem buying from his club if I were able to pay retail price on the racket. By the looks of it, the retail prices on most of these rackets are at least $150. That's not an option for a 13 yo who may or may not continue to play after lessons. If I can narrow down my choices to a few, I can go over to the local sporting goods shop and pick up some demos or make an educated guess based on the advise you all are graciously providing along with the rackets' specs.
     
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  23. droliver

    droliver Semi-Pro

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    There's a lot of frames in the bargain bin that would be appropriate for your daughter. Ignore the comments to choose a heavier or smaller racquet as this is more a political statement by people rather then a good suggestion in picking a user friendly beginner racquet.

    Lighter, stiffer, oversize racquets are popular with women because they make it easier to pick up a stick and play. Racquets like the Babolat Pure Drive have been so popular because of this, although it's out of your price range. If you look at the sale racquets here on TW some of the cheaper quality sticks for someone like her might include:

    Babolat Y 105 $69
    Head Liquidmetal 4 $75
    Head Titanium Ti.S6 Strung $79
    Volkl Power Bridge 7 $55
     
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  24. prjacobs

    prjacobs Professional

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    I guess it depends on how well you know this guy. Why not be honest and just tell him your situation. In any case, good luck...
     
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  25. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    I agree. Honesty is the way to go. If I tell him what I want, he will not say no. It's rare for anyone to say no when you stand in front of them and ask for help. This gives me an unfair advantage.
     
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  26. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    You all have helped me make a list of potential rackets. You also brought forth some good points concerning weight, size, etc. I now have spreadsheet where I can see racket data in one look. Thank you!
     
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  27. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Get your daughter a Volkl PB 6. My daughter is in her mid-20s but she is 5' and about 100 lbs. I got her a V PB 6 last year for about $70 on TW clearance. They are gone at TW but you might find them elsewhere or in the auction site.

    There is the newer model volkl o10 6 but it is $180.

    Also, Volkl Team Speed is available at TW for around $100. No experience with this one but specs look good and Volkl makes excellent rackets.

    Volkl PB V1 OS is on sale and worth a demo. Make sure she can handle the swing weight.

    Dunlop Bio 500 might be worth a demo and it is on sale at TW.

    Dunlop AeroGel 500 worth a demo too - on sale at TW.

    I would get her a S1 grip - 4 1/8 - if you can find 1. No larger than S2 - 4 1/4.

    I would order 4 demo's from TW and let her try them. You can get 4 rackets to demo for $20 shipping fee and try them for a week. Then she will be involved in the final decision and might like the racket better.
     
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  28. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Most important is get one that she thinks is cool. If she likes the racket she is more likely to play with it.
     
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  29. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    We looked at a few in sporting goods store yesterday. Too cold here to play this week. She tried a 4 1/8 grip. It was perfect. I think I'd like to find a grip size 4 b/c I can add to the grip if we need to make it larger.

    She has a pencil-like frame. We call it a bean pole in my neck of the woods. Anyhow.... she did not like any of the rackets weighing 10 oz or more. I didn't know this until yesterday but some rackets are not made with grip size 4 or 4 1/8. That is limiting our options.
     
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  30. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Some may laugh at you, but you either know or have teenage girls. Several times I have heard "I don't like that one!". When I asked why, she said she didn't like the looks of it. I explained it would not be a part of her apparel. Didn't matter. So, yes the way it looks is a concern for some. If it wasn't, adults would not be having conversations about painting their rackets. And everyone knows teen girls have a tremendous need to fit in.
     
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  31. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    She loved the Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3. It weighs only 9 oz. I'm concerned it has a stiffness rating of 70. I used TW's racquet finder web app. My parameters were stiffness of 60 or less and weight of 9.8 oz. or less; contemporary or vintage. The results were 7 rackets. I tossed out the Wilson BLX Pro Lite due to 70 stiffness and med-high power level. I nixed the Yonex EZone b/c of med-high power. I also nixed the Fischer Pro No 1 X-Lite b/c it has low power.

    I'm left with the following: Wilson K-String and K-Brave, Prince EXO3 Tour Lite 100 and the Head Youtek Graphene Instinct Rev which is the closest in weight to the Hyper Hammer 5.3.

    What do you all think of these 4 rackets? Please remember: almost 13 y.o. girl weighing less than 85 lbs and almost 5 ft tall and total newbie to the sport. I want the racket to take it easy on her slender growing body.
     
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  32. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    The post about getting one she thinks is cool is spot on IMO.

    Who is her favourite player? When I got my first racket I got an Allwood Borg, not because I knew it was good, but because I had seen Borg using it.

    If you can get her a racket like her idols it will certainly help to keep her interest up and if you get a decent rather than cheapy racket, it will last longer and not be 'out-done' by the other kids. I'm just putting my 13 year old brain in for the moment lol.

    Something light and a big name brand to suit the 13 year old. Head or Wilson spring to mind or the Babolat....I'm not sure how a stiffer racket is going to affect a fit, young 13 year old in the same way it might a slightly less fit 40-something.
     
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  33. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    That is a good question isn't it? I don't know the answer but I have been wondering what is the difference between a racket whose stiffness 55 and 65 or 70. Obviously I can do the math as we all can. But what one does one point of stiffness really represent. Can you tell the difference in a racket made with the same style and materials, yet one is a 55 and one is 65?
     
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  34. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Definitely can tell the difference once you've played with as many rackets as I have. You can feel the flex difference tremendously.
     
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  35. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    If you're an experienced player, as you are, I could see how you could feel the difference. If you are a beginner, would you feel it that much? I don't know the answer, but I would think your level of sensitivity would be a huge factor, along with fitness level, body mass, previous injuries and prone to injuries or not.

    I'd really like to know the technical details of racket stiffness.
     
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  36. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    I don't think she has a favorite player. We don't watch a lot of TV. She's extremely competitive and would love the idea of having a racket used by a top player. On the hand, she's very logical for a kid. She will most likely ask me how she could play with a racket used by a pro when she is a beginner. Hmmm.... makes me wonderful why her grades aren't better. LOL!
     
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  37. robbo1970

    robbo1970 Hall of Fame

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    The only problem I can see is that pro players change their paint job every year so she might only have a pro racket for a few months. I think getting her a decent brand, quality racket that will last is a good idea. I think a Bab PD Lite is a good idea, or one of the new Dunlops, or a Head. All nice looking rackets, then just focus on head size and weight. At her age/experience, I don't think stiffness is a major factor.
     
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  38. NetNinja68

    NetNinja68 Rookie

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    The HEAD Instinct S and Speed S would both be excellent choices.
     
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  39. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Sorry I took so long to respond...

    Racket stiffness can be felt usually if the player has tried a number of rackets and I would say you need to be at least 3.0 ntrp to tell the difference. You need to hit with power to feel the flex/stiffness of the racket. For older users, they can usually tell the difference depending on if it gives their arm trouble or if I feels like a pillow.

    I don't know technical details...chicagojack would be one person that might know.

    FYI I don't think fitness level or body weight matters on this subject. Unless you're suffering from TE.
     
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  40. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Thank you Robbo and NetNinja and everyone who replied whom I did not name in my thank you posts! I'll add the rackets you suggested to my spreadsheet.
     
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  41. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    No worries on your response time. It's been a crazy week!

    Thanks for the info on fitness level & weight.

    So if stiffness isn't that much of a consideration for a teenage beginner, what would you say are the top 3 specifications I should be concerned with? We know the way it looks is important but that's a personal thing. Can't select clothes or a good looking racket for her. With 30 years between us, I can't be trusted with something as important as a cool looking racket. :cool:

    EVERYONE: But seriously, you all have provided me with about a dozen or so rackets. How did arrive at your suggestions - what criteria did you use? She can't demo them all. I know I may not make the right choice but I'd like to purchase something she will use for 6 - 12 months b/c I don't have the $$$ to buy another racket after she plays 3 times and decides it doesn't work for her.

    I'm seriously looking at a Prince exo3 Tour Lite b/c it's Lite (so is she and she greatly prefers lite rackets) and I found it at a good price. But a good price doesn't make it a good racket even if it is a lite racket.

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
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  42. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    This might help, and it might not. But what works for me is to go to the sale page and click on racquets I like.

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/saleracquets.html

    (check out the Prince 03 Original Red)

    That takes you to an individual racquet's description page. You can view the specs, TW recommendations, customer feedback, etc. If the specs are good and you'd like to see a long list of similar racquets, click on TW Racquet Finder. This gives you more of a selection, but maybe not at sale prices. Then you can click on each of those racquets, click on racquet finder, etc.

    If you enjoy this sort of thing, it's a great education. You'll definitely stop bothering to ask the people at big box stores for guidance.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
    #42
  43. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Aesthetics and easy power are usually what people look at first. Rackets like the yonex vcore 100s are both of these things, and it's quite manueverable. I would stay away from incredibly light rackets.
     
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  44. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Thank you for your advise Muppet! I checked your link and the Prince o3 Red. (Actually, I have been on the TW "used rackets" and "sale rackets" pages numerous times over the past 2 weeks.) The Red seems like a nice beginner racket but is heavier than what she would like. Recently she tried some air swings with a Wilson Hyper Hammer 5.3; weighing in at a mere 9.0 oz - strung. She loved that thing! She tried to get me to buy it but I would not b/c I had not researched it. I'm leaning in the direction of the Hyper Hammer 5.3 if I can find one used at a very good price as well as several other potential lite rackets. I have a spreadsheet with racket data. I have selected several that I think she will like based on weight and few other factors.

    What I am most confused about is this: forum members have recommended roughly a dozen different rackets to me. I am grateful for all of the advise. I do not understand it. I don't know why racket "a" and "b" were recommended and not "c" and "d". Looking at the specs of some of these rackets shows they are not considered beginner rackets.

    Most people that posted recommendations have probably moved on to other threads. I'm hoping I'll get some folks who will tell me why racket "a" was their choice.

    Let the details begin...
     
    #44
  45. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    I know of a few highschool girls that are rather small and can handle the o3 red just fine. It's a perfect beginners racket to be honest and is quite cool looking
     
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  46. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Thanks Mike! For adults with previous injuries or other problems indicating potential for injury, I could see why we should stay away from a light racket. She really likes the feel of a light-weight racket. The light-weights seem to me to be good transition from the super-light junior rackets to the adult rackets. Why do think we should pass on a light racket?
     
    #46
  47. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    For me personally, light weight rackets usually have veryyyy low power and stability, which means I get crushed no matter who I play. Lol
     
    #47
  48. rmccarty

    rmccarty New User

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    Mike, I can understand why you or someone of your caliber would want a heavier racket.
     
    #48
  49. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    I'm probably not as good as you think I am lol. I just have experience with rackets :)
     
    #49
  50. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I'm an out-of-shape 3.0 47yo man and I use racquets over 12 oz. The way I see it (in general) player racquets are 12 oz. and up; medium weight racquets are from 11 to 12 oz.; and anything below that is light and can be pushed around easily. And I'm playing at a low level.

    I strongly recommend getting 4 demos from TW for $20 to cover shipping both ways. She will see for herself how much more solid contact she will make (and with manuverability) by going up an ounce. The Hammer is not a manuverable racquet and it ushered in a generation that sticks to the baseline.
     
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