Tennis Racquet Frame & Stringing Guide – Provided by Rackets & Runners

Our tennis wall is full of very playable tennis racquets with excellent feel, control, providing plenty of “power”. The challenge is finding the racquet and string that best suits the game of the player in question.

I – Frame Materials:
Racquet manufacturers have evolved from wood to aluminum, and for the last 30 years, graphite as the primary building material of their frames. Aluminum is still used in the construction of some recreational racquets.
Aluminum ($20 – $90):
Aluminum, the most abundant metallic element on earth, known for its reflectivity, heat conductivity, and ability to resist corrosion, has proven to be a very useful material in the modern age; we even make tennis racquets out of it!
Aluminum Frames are sometimes ‘fused’ with graphite. This method involves making a part of the frame out of aluminum and molding another part made from graphite to it, usually the shaft to the head.
Pros:  Lightweight (for a metal), Inexpensive
Cons:  Poor shock and vibration dampening qualities, Prone to bending/warping
Graphite ($90 – $220):
Invented back in the 19th century the graphite used in tennis frames is a synthetic form of the naturally occurring mineral. Like aluminum, it is used in countless manufacturing applications.
Constructing a racquet with graphite (usually embedded in a plastic resin) allows the designer to be more precise in regard to overall frame weight and balance. How the graphite is positioned provides the ability to control flexibility or rigidity in specific sections of the tennis frame. Because of this the player can choose a racquet that best matches their playing style, and/or allows development of particular aspects of their game.
Pros: Precise balance, weight, and flex distribution, natural shock dampening properties, very strong
Cons:  More expensive material, can fracture
II – The player:
The most important consideration when selecting a tennis racquet is the player using it.  Player ability, swing speed/length, playing style, strength/size, etc. should be taken into consideration when selecting a racquet. A combination of the following factors determines the overall control, power, and feel of a graphite frame.
III – Weight:
Modern adult racquets range in weight from 7.9 oz to 12 oz. Heavier racquets are generally suited for a more advanced player, or a physically stronger player.  Greater weight makes the racquet feel more stable, but lessens manoeuverability.

IV – Balance:

In addition to the overall weight of a frame, how that weight is distributed is also important. Lighter racquets are usually head heavy, while heavier racquets tend to be handle heavy. Positioning weight in the head of a lightweight racquet adds to the power and stability of the frame. A balanced racquet provides a balance of power and control from the frame; these racquets tend to fall in the middle of the weight range, 9.5 to 11oz.

V – Head Size:

Racquet head sizes range from 90inch² to 125inch² frames with larger head sizes are generally lighter weight overall with more weight in the head of the frame. Oversized frames are often used in doubles play. Smaller headed racquets tend to be evenly balanced or handle heavy, and are heavier overall.

VI – Stringing

Strings are available in a myriad of styles and construction; these can be broken down into four categories: multifilament, synthetic gut, monofilament, and natural gut. Tennis strings range from offering more playability (power and feel) to more durability (longer lifespan), as you gain more of one, you sacrifice the other.

Multifilament, thinner gauge synthetic gut, and natural gut offer the most playability. These strings have more elasticity, resiliency, and “bite” into the ball better.  Thicker gauge synthetic gut and monofilament strings flex and stretch less, thereby increasing string durability but at the expense of feel and power from the string bed. Players will often use two different types of string in the mains and crosses of their racquet. These hybrids are designed to maximize the benefits of the two string types used, for a better combination of playability and durability.

The tension of the strings is another consideration. Each racquet has a recommended tension range (measured in lbs or kg),  with lower tensions generally resulting in more power, and higher tensions providing more accuracy.

Obviously, with play, strings will gradually lose their resiliency and tension resulting in poor performance, even if the string does not break.  A rule of thumb for restringing is to do it as many times per year as you play in a week. Keep in mind a racquet sitting in a closet will lose tension over time.

VII – Summary

We have outlined a number of considerations involved in finding a tennis racquet most suited to a player’s game, there is no such thing as the “best” racquet. Playing style, skill, and personal preference all play important roles when selecting a frame. It is important to consider how the frame works for you as a player, and to consult with a specialist that can help you wade through the many choices available on the market.

This Tennis Racquet Frame & Stringing Guide is provided by Rackets & Runners