What kind of racquet for someone who doesn't know what to look for?

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Broken, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    I bought a cheap racquet when I got back into tennis (Wilson Six.One Comp) but have read nothing but bad things about it. I guess you get what you pay for. In my case it doesn't really matter though considering I'm somewhat a beginner. I have been working on my game and practising regularly and feel I have improved, however I feel like my racquet is holding me back.

    Should I retire my cheapo racquet and splurge on a decent one? I notice a lot of you guys talk about feel in regards to power and control, and how different specs = different performance. When it comes to picking a new racquet I really wouldn't know the difference as I've only used the one.

    Is it safe to say any decent racquet would instantly feel better than my current one? Is buying an expensive racquet overkill for someone in my situation?
     
    #1
  2. jayoub95

    jayoub95 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Well for someone who is getting back into tennis i would recommend a racquet with more control so you can perfect your strokes without having to worry about the excess power. Just my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
    #2
  3. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    So you do suggest buying a more expensive top of the line racquet?

    Is there any info I can provide that would narrow down a racquet suggestion for me?
     
    #3
  4. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    2,376
    Location:
    SF, CA
    Why not wilson Kfactor 6.1 team model? Or the HEAD LM or MG Radical Midplus? Beginners and advanced players can use these.
     
    #4
  5. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    Messages:
    8,632
    You don't need to "splurge" to get a different racquet - look at some of the deals among the classifieds here, along with the frames on sale through TW. You just need to get a handle on what you'll be comfortable with on the courts going forward.

    Oh, I also want to offer the idea that buying an expensive racquet doesn't necessarily get a better racquet for you. A $500 pair of shoes might be really nice, but they're no good for you if they're three sizes too small. You'd be smart to find a way to "try on" a couple of different racquets the same way that you look for a good fit with other stuff.

    Whatever you try, keep notes so that you can figure out what sort weight, balance, and flex you prefer, but don't get completely hung up on specifics. You just need to be in a cozy neighborhood with your next frame. If your game is sort of reconstructing right now, you need to keep working on that. Any half-decent frame that you get along with should keep you headed in the right direction. If you can access it, look at the demo program available through TW.

    Any more details on your experience, age, level, style of play, and maybe the sort of instruction you've had in recent history could help with suggestions. Since you're coming from a racquet that's no better than mediocre though, you're sort of starting from scratch with new gear.
     
    #5
  6. Murrayalmagrofan

    Murrayalmagrofan Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    404
    Location:
    Virginia
    Tell us more about your level of play and your playing style? What's your current NTRP? Baseline, serve-n-volley or an all-court style of play?

    My advice would to pick out a group of racquets that are suitable to your style of play, and demo them all.
     
    #6
  7. blipblop

    blipblop Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    158
    Ah I remember the days of my first "real" racket purchase, upgrading from a Wal-Mart stick. I had no idea what I was doing; but you are already doing better by just posting on these forums.

    If you are going to be even semi-serious about your tennis, then yes ditch the $30 stick. As others have said above: a used "expensive" racket is a good place to start. If you are rich then by all means grab a brand new weapon.

    As far as specs, I tend to lean on the side of saying 'forget the beginner rackets and go straight to at least tweeners.' Especially if you are relatively young and healthy, go at least to middle-range specs. e.g. 10.5-11.5 oz, even-5 pts headlight, 62-66 stiffness, 98-108 sq in head, etc. Wilson BLX Pro Open is one that comes to mind off the top of my head.

    This way when you find what you like/don't like about it, you will only have to make small adjustments to get to what you want. Good luck and happy hitting!
     
    #7
  8. jayoub95

    jayoub95 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Well if you could tell us if you want power or control then it would be easier to help you out. When you have decided and posted a comment then everyone can recommend a racquet that falls into the category you have chosen. And from there you could demo those racquets and so forth.
     
    #8
  9. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    First thing's first. Newer does not mean better. There are plenty of racquets from a few years back that are just as good and can be had at a discount.

    As a beginner, I'd look for the following things.
    Mass 10.5-11 Oz Strung
    Headlight Balance
    Headsize 98 & up. (Even though the Radical MP is listed as 98, it's closer to a 95)
    Open string pattern.

    Edit: Based on that criteria, I'd recommend you add the Yonex RDiS 200 Lite to your demo list. And make sure you demo first.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
    #9
  10. VGP

    VGP Legend

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6,311
    Location:
    Location: Location
    Two words: demo program

    Or...

    Four words: used sporting goods store

    Or...

    Two words: thrift shop
     
    #10
  11. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    Strongly agree with the first one, disagree with the second two.

    They may be cheaper, but the racquets available aren't necessarily what's best for the OP. And getting your first serious racquet is kinda exciting. I feel this one should be new.
     
    #11
  12. Squidward

    Squidward Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    390
    Price does NOT equal Proformance! Demo as many as you can until you find the one that's both comfortable and matches your playing style.
     
    #12
  13. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    I don't really know how to answer these questions. I know of the different levels but wouldn't know where to place myself. How exactly do you place yourself in a certain level?

    Going by http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070421073635AAjr3Bj this, I would put myself in 2.5 - 3.0.

    I am fast on the court and can get myself to the ball in most situations, I can backhand both single and double handed with moderate power and accuracy. My forehand is OK but fairly inconsistent as is my serve. However I've been told my form is good and I have been studying youtube videos to refine all areas.

    I'm not going to pretend I'm better than I am or I know what you guys are talking about, but I would really like to learn and improve. I am a fairly strong and fit person, whether this means I should be playing with a heavier racquet, I'm not sure. I can tell the racquet I'm playing with now is an inferior product but I didn't want to go out and just buy a racquet because it's popular or looks nice. I'm doing my research but it's hard to know what I should be looking for.

    I am not rich by any means but plan on buying a new racquet from TW. I live in Australia so demoing might be a problem? I'm trying to narrow it down but as yet am still lost. I appreciate the responses and hope what little info I've provided here has helped.
     
    #13
  14. monolith694

    monolith694 New User

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    56
    The Wilson Tour 95 BLX comes straight to mind. Excellent power and control for a beginning player.
     
    #14
  15. Muse

    Muse Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2004
    Messages:
    389
    Location:
    MKE
    Used sporting goods stores sometimes have really good deals if you know what you're looking for. I was able to score a 9/10 condition microgel radical for $35. I'd go to a play it again sports and see what they have.
     
    #15
  16. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Would the Babolat Pure Drive standard fall under your criteria? Babolat gets a lot of love on this board and the reviews seem to back it up. The AeroPros and PD Roddick sound like overkill for me and is for more advanced players who know what they prefer specifically. (Although that being said I have seen young children play with AeroPro Drive GT and PDR).

    What are your thoughts on this racquet? What kind of strings could you guys recommend that are durable so I wouldn't have to change them for a regularly?
     
    #16
  17. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,208
    Location:
    Staten Island
    Yes - the control will be much better.

    I'd suggest you demo a couple of on-sale rackets (its $20 to demo 4)

    How old and fit are you?
     
    #17
  18. netguy

    netguy Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    721
    Location:
    On the Baseline
    Try to find out what is the weight range (under 11 oz; 11 - 11.5 Oz; 11.5 12.0 oz; over 12 oz) you feel more confortable with and from there demo demo and demo....you are the only one who knows what is right for you.
     
    #18
  19. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    Yeah, the Pure Drive works. Personally, I'm not a fan of Babolat, but if it works for you, it's a good stick. The Pure Drive a rather stiff frame, so you'll get a lot of power off of it, but there is also an increased likelihood of discomfort/injury due to the stiffness.

    At your level, you're not going to be breaking a lot of strings, so I'd suggest a regular inexpensive Synthetic Gut. Prince Syn Gut W/Duraflex and Gosen OG Sheep Micro are cheap and play well.

    EDIT: Just wanted to add a few racquets similar to the PD that I believe have better feel, more comfort and frankly, I consider the companies to be better than Babolat in terms of quality.

    Boris Becker Delta Core Pro
    Dunlop Biomimetic 500 Tour(This one is awesome)
    Volkl Organix/PB 8
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
    #19
  20. Hitman99

    Hitman99 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    Annandale, VA
    I would not focus on any particular racket brand or model. Instead, try to match the racket to your playing abilities and style.

    For example, do most of your balls sail wildly out of court, or land short? This will tell you whether you should look for a racket that gives you a little more or less power. In general, a heavier, head heavy racket will provide a bit more power from the baseline, while a lighter, head light racket will provide less power, but more maneuverability around the net.

    Are you able to hit most of your shots in the "sweet spot", or are many of your shots struck off-center, or even off the frame? Perhaps you need a racket with a larger head size --- a mid-size (90-95 inch) or an oversize (100-110 inch). Fewer mis-hits, more forgiving on off-center hits.

    Are you tall and muscular, or short and slight? You probably don't want a real heavy racket if you can't maneuver it effectively.

    How often do you play? If you play regularly, take lessons, and plan to improve rapidly, you can invest in a better quality racket. If you only play once a week or less, you might do better with an oversize racket.

    I would also suggest you take a few lessons from a good teaching pro, ask his/her advice. If there is a tennis club or tennis shop in your area, they often have demo programs. TW offers demos, $10 for a week's demo.

    Lots of options.
     
    #20
  21. Dave M

    Dave M Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,941
    Location:
    England
    It really doesn't matter what you have read to tell you how bad a frame is, I know people who play very good tennis with racquets that people on here are always going on about how rubbish they are. Did you start to feel it was holding you back after you started reading here or when you were playing?Have you had any lessons with a pro? They can be an excellent source of info and helping you match up a racquet that will aid you/your game.Could be the one you have is just right for the you you are right now though.
    Are you able to demo some differnet frames, it's the only real way to know how different some racquets are, to be able to hold and hit with them and get an idea of how they feel when you sue them.I've got a doubles partner who thinks one racquet i have feels all plush and buttery, even strung with a soft string i'm of the belief that it is a harsh overhyped piece of rubbish.Feel is subjective and others' opinions may cloud your judgement!

    Not necessarilly, i've got some expensive pro used racquets and they are amazing to use but they don't help me play any better.(I really hoped they would but 28 years of playing and numerous coaching qualifications should of told me they wouldn't, hype on here and i'm punching the nubmbers on paypal!)

    Basically there are some great frames out there which are a couple of years old and can be had new for under $80, (on this very site) the tech, well it's sometimes genuine but i do ask myself, "how come these new breakthroughs seem to come every 2 years in the racquet world"?
    Good luck though. (and don't get so hung up on racquets you forget to enjoy the game-believe me it can happen!):oops:
     
    #21
  22. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    I used to have lessons when I was about 10 years old, nothing serious just a day or 2 a week before school. I haven't played tennis regularly since then and can't remember much of anything I was taught as I didn't take much of an interest at the time. However I feel like I still have some technique which is one of the reasons I don't consider myself a beginner. I plan on joining a club and getting coaching sometime in the near future though, maybe I should spend the money on that first before buying a new racquet.

    To be honest I started doubting my racquet mainly after reading the reviews about cheap Big W racquets. Although when I play I do feel as though my racquet could perform better. I am willing to spend the money on a decent racquet if it helps me take my game a step further.

    I have been reading and watching reviews about many different types of racquets, and I try to collect as many opinions as possible. The Pure Drive was one I thought might suit me. I live in Australia and from what I've read demoing racquets isn't available.

    For the record I am 21 years old, 6'0 and fit enough to play hours straight without any trouble. I have been weight training for 3 years so I believe I could handle a heavier racquet if need be. I have been playing approximately 5 hours a week and any more is a bonus to me. I want to be able to play and not know whether to blame my racquet or my technique for my downfalls. I'm of the opinion if I have a good racquet than I have nothing to blame but myself. :)
     
    #22
  23. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,922
    It doesn't matter which racket you get, as long as it's not a wal-mart racket. You will change rackets many, many times in your playing life. At this point, you don't even know your style of play yet...power? finesse? high spin? placement?

    Just do things the right way. Buy yourself a hefty player's racket. 12oz or over. Low power only. In the process of learning, you develop strength. Don't follow the bandwagon of the weaklings using Pure Drives. I say get the Wilson 6.1 95 16x18.

    Others to consider are the Prestige midplus and Dunlop 200 Tour
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
    #23
  24. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,832
    Location:
    Boston
    So far it sounds like you want the same racquet but better quality. I think it would help you to have a private lesson with a pro who's good at recommending racquets, and leave a good segment of time for you to ask him all sorts of questions about racquet specs. And go into how you would change your racquet to suit your progress. Hopefully he won't say that you're over-thinking it, because it's your lesson and he should be there to help you with your needs.

    I'm not the type of person who you can just hand a racquet or a ski to, and be told that it will work. I want to know how the stuff I use works. It's my belief that my interest and understanding in the sport will make me much better at it.

    Cheers
     
    #24
  25. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,922
    Lessons are expensive. It'd pay for most of the racket already. Just buy what's common. You'll grow into it. Then your needs will evolve as you get better. Then you buy a different racket.
     
    #25
  26. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    7,276
    I'd buy new, but I wouldn't buy the latest model. Look at TW sale rackets. These are last year's models. They typically sell for a little over half what they were new. Often, the color scheme is all that is changed. I think something like a MicroGel Radical OS would be a good racket to try. Go to a sporting goods store and hold some. Find the one that feels best and look at the grip size. Getting the right grip size, in my opinion, is at least as important as getting a good racket. There is no reason you can't find a really nice racket for under $100.
     
    #26
  27. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Thanks for the responses guys. Would the Prestige MP be a suitable choice? If so, can anyone recommend a suitable string that wouldnt need to be restrung for a while?
     
    #27
  28. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,832
    Location:
    Boston
    I have to warn you that the YOUTEK racquets have a funny feature called d30. It stiffens the frame during harder impacts and can feel more limp on soft shots. So on most shots the frame will play more crisp or stiff than is indicated in the stiffness specs. This makes a lot of people's arms sore. The new Ig frames have toned down this feature.

    The Microgel Prestige Pro was the generation before YOUTEK. It's a very comfortable and control oriented 16x19 frame with a little extra pop. You might be able to find one on A-zon or the Bay. I liked it when I demoed it, but for me it lacked feel. I ended up with a Dunlop.
     
    #28
  29. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    Definitely not. It's one of the hardest racquet for beginners/intermediate players to play with.
     
    #29
  30. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    And here I was thinking I was finally onto something! Going by what UCSF2012 said a few posts up it seemed like a decent choice.
     
    #30
  31. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    Well, I disagree with almost everything he said. You need to have long fast strokes with the ability to hit the sweet spot every time to use any of the racquets he has listed. Getting those beasts moving consistently in a match situation is going to be tough.

    A Pure Drive or similar racquet will be much better for you IMHO.
     
    #31
  32. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,922
    Good God. Yesterday, I saw a girl use the Prestige (couldn't tell which version). When you're learning, it doesn't matter which racket you use. I'm suggesting that he learn tennis the proper way: learn good hand-eye coordination. If he's athletic, then he can easily handle a true racket. Pure Drives are too powerful. Too easy to hit powerful shots with poor technique. It'll limit his abilities.

    The Prestige MP is fine. String it at a lower tension when you first start, which will give it an ample sweet spot. When you start learning to rip shots, tighten it a bit, which will keep the ball in the court. Avoid using overly large vibration dampeners, as they will diminish the sweet spot.

    Some of us learned tennis on the PS85. It taught us good coordination.
     
    #32
  33. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,922
    What exactly do you think people face in a 3.0 match? They're not going to see 120mph serves and 80 mph forehands.
     
    #33
  34. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,922
    I think Pete Sampras said something like, if he were going to teach his sons to play tennis, he'd give them a wood racket. It forces them to learn the fundamentals.
     
    #34
  35. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,208
    Location:
    Staten Island
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with aggressively advancing beginers hitting with a heavy racket. In fact if getting better is what you are after, I'd insist you use one to get proper feel of racket momentum.

    I hit with my wife sometimes, she is a beginer and she loves to hit with my heavy frames.

    Everybody has their own preferences, but if I had to guess a racket a tall, fit player would like - I'd say Prestige MP. Prince Rebels are great frames too if you just want to keep your rackets stock.

    One other option is to go for a platform racket you can add weight to - Dunlop Bio 300 is perfect in that respect. A golden medium in every way, has good feel and and starts at 11oz strung. It plays well at that weight, but you can always add a leather grip and some lead to make it as heavy of a beast out of it as you'd like - personally I'd recommend this approach.

    For strings, I can't say enough good things about Signum Pro Hyperion (16g @ 57lbs for stock 300 in warm weather). They are comfortable, last forever and give great spin, feel and consistency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
    #35
  36. PowerPlay

    PowerPlay Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    103
    Agreed!TW demo program is my recommendation. If you call they can also recommend some for you to try. Try not to let the cosmetics sway your decision either...that's hard for me...
     
    #36
  37. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    Then those 3.0 that have been beating me are bloody liars. :razz:

    The Bio 300 is an awesome racquet. So much controllable spin. Starting out with that and adding mass as you progress is indeed a great strategy. The Pure Drive wasn't my first recommendation, but it looked like it was what OP was leaning towards.
     
    #37
  38. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    7,276
    The Prestige MP is a fine racket. You'll have to work harder than with some rackets. If it were me, and you didn't want to go with the oversized frame, but wanted to stay with Head, I'd look at the Instinct.

    As for string, I would NOT go with a poly. Try a durable synthetic like Wilson Red Alert or Gamma Marathon (I prefer the Red Alert). They won't be as hard on your arm.
     
    #38
  39. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    I am strongly considering buying the Prestige MP.

    If I were to string it with a Wilson brand string, does that mean it will have the W logo? (Stupid question probably)
     
    #39
  40. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,922
    There is no logo on strings. The logo is placed AFTER the strings are installed, and you can put whatever you want. Many do a smiley face if they're not a sponsored player.

    Take this to heart: If you have trouble finding the sweetspot, string it at a lower tension. As you get better and your swing becomes a full circle, you may have to slowly increase the tension. The larger the vibration dampener, the more deadened the stringbed (less power but sometimes more control). You can add lead for more power/spin/stability.
     
    #40
  41. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    Under FAQ, am I reading it correctly where it says they don't ship Babolat, Head, Nike etc. out of US? Why does this only apply to these specific brands?

    Oh well, back to the drawing board.
     
    #41
  42. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,832
    Location:
    Boston
    You'll have a lot easier time adding weight to a lighter racquet. A heavier racquet can't be lightened. The Dunlop 300 Tour seems like a very good suggestion to me, or something like it. If you find a racquet that has specs that you like, try clicking on 'TW racquet finder.' You'll get a long list to shop through.

    Edit: Dunlop 300 Tour not Dunlop 300
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
    #42
  43. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    3,208
    Location:
    Staten Island
    Just to be clear I was talking about the non-tour version (a bit lighter,a bit thicker and softer with medium open pattern)
     
    #43
  44. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    2,832
    Location:
    Boston
    That may be a better choice, depending on where the OP is at. I just thought the non-tour was a little too light. After all, he was looking at a Prestige.
     
    #44
  45. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    I still find it a bit ridiculous that a 2.5 is considering the Prestige MP.
     
    #45
  46. Broken

    Broken New User

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    38
    I'll probably be going with a Dunlop now as there are manufacturing restrictions that don't allow TW to ship certain racquets to Australia.. What Dunlop racquet would you recommend?
     
    #46
  47. Deuces Wild

    Deuces Wild Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    176
    Location:
    Illinois
    I think you'll be happy with either of the following.

    Biomimetic 300
    Biomimetic 500 tour

    I loved both when I tried them out and went with the 300 because I found a good deal in the TW Classifieds. It also looks marvelous in person

    Like someone mentioned earlier, you can get a medium weight racquet and add weight to the racquet later on as your game progresses.
     
    #47

Share This Page