Is it the Racquet?

by Jonas Eriksson

You’re not playing as well as you should. Timing is off and you might feel that your racquet is too sluggish or not stable enough. Is it your game or is it the racquet?

How often do you get these kind of thoughts? I get them from time to time and that’s why I’ve been searching for the perfect racquet for pretty much all of my tennis life (excluding the junior years when I didn’t have a clue about tennis racquets). I’m currently playing pretty well with my new Babolat Pure Strikes 16×19 (read the review) strung with Solinco Hyper-G but the thoughts still come from time to time. Should I finally get an Angell racquet? Am I playing better with the 95-inch head size like the Tecnifibre Tfight 315 Ltd? Is it time to bring the more flexible Yonex Ai 98 out of the tennis bag?

The thing with tennis as a sport is that it is bloody difficult. You need to be on your game on so many levels to really shine on the tennis court. You need your sleep, you need to hydrate (before, during, after), that morning coffee doesn’t hurt, you shouldn’t miss out on stretching and you have to be eager to chase that ball with a million tiny, yet fast steps. If you in any way or form feel not your best, your best tennis will likely be far away.

And that is all about you and your body. When you’re in the zone, I’m sure a wooden stick would be enough to hit blistering winners left, right and centre. But when you’re not a hundred percent comfortable with something on court, maybe your arm feels a little sore for example or you’re feeling slow on court – your thoughts often go to your racquet.

You’re not alone in this. Professional players do it all the time. Is the racquet strung too tightly? Is it time to change strings because you don’t get enough bite on the ball? Should you move towards a lighter racquet and increase your racquet head speed or should you play more classical tennis with a heavier stick? The doubts can be consuming!

Being a racquetholic is tough. You always end up eyeing new sticks on the market and you’re never really fully satisfied with your racquets past the infamous racquet honeymoon period. You ask yourself: “Will I ever settle?” which is in the context of buying a tennis racquet, sounds rather comical. But there is nothing wrong with having a couple of different types of racquets at one time – then you allow yourself to customize and play around with specs as your game (hopefully) grows.

But this is the key! Everything you do in your tennis life, whether it is as a recreational 4.0 NTRP player or a Challenger tour pro, needs to have the ulterior motive of improving your game. This is the only real goal that makes sense and the only thing you really should care about on the tennis court besides being a good person (this is always more important than your tennis game, I’m not joking).

So with that in mind, will a new racquet help your game? The answer is pretty much always: possibly. But unless you’re really unhappy with your current gear, I would recommend you not to sell what you currently have because there will always be that urge to come back to a stick you’ve been happy with. If you sell all your racquets except your current setup, chances are you’ll regret it when the doubts kick in.

Like I wrote previously, I’m currently eyeing an Angell TC Tour 97 16×19 (320 grams unstrung), but I also don’t want to give up too soon on my Babolat Pure Strikes. The mistake I’ve done in the past is that I’ve been too much of a minimalist and sold the racquets that I’m not using at the time and then regretted selling them after three to six months. I’ve realized it’s better to have at least 3-4 different setups so you can move back and forth when you get your racquet doubts (they will come!).

This is my advice to you. Stick with a racquet and be patient, but if you get the urge to splurge and have the money to do so – buy a new pair of racquets to test, but don’t sell the old pair until you’re confident that you no longer have use for them.

Racquet buying guides

Here is a great racquet buying guide to get you started.
What tennis racquet should I buy?
Top tennis racquets to buy right now
The Gear of the Year 2016
Tennis racquets for juniors
Tennis racquets for kids

Other info about tennis racquets

Here is a list of the racquets that Tennisnerd have written about so far.
And this is an overview of what the ATP professionals use.

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