The right tennis racket won’t turn a novice player into a pro, but it can really help to improve your game and to get the most out of your abilities.
I think the first place to start is with an honest assessment of your tennis game. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced player? If you play regularly, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your skill level is. Another thing that can be helpful is to get rated. Or just ask your tennis coach what level of player you are.
If you’re a beginner player, you may want to go out and get the same racket as Novak Djokovic, because he’s your favorite player and the racket looks cool. But since you don’t have his level of skill (yet!) you’re going to be playing with a racket that is not designed for your abilities at all and I promise you, you’ll be frustrated. Conversely, the advanced club level player wouldn’t be happy with a beginner’s racket because it wouldn’t give them the level of control they are looking for. So if you know where your game is, it will simplify things greatly for choosing the right racket.
Tennis rackets basically fall into three categories, roughly correlating with a player’s skill level. Game improvement, or power rackets are designed for the beginner. They are intended to make up for the shortcomings that a beginner generally has in generating power and hitting the ball accurately. These rackets are longer, have larger heads and a larger sweet spot. They are also lighter, with more of the weight in the head of the racket to help generate power through a slower swing.
The next category of rackets is designed for the intermediate player, offering some game improvement features but also designed to exploit the higher skill level that this player has. Some people call these “tweener” rackets. In this category we see the heads getting a little smaller, the racket getting a little shorter, a little heavier and with a smaller sweet spot. The intermediate player hits the ball with more pace and more accurately than the beginner, so they need less help with power and a design that gives them more control over the higher-level shots they are making.