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I'm in my third year of high school and planning to go out for the school's tennis team, without having ever played tennis before at all (hit the ball yes, played? no). I'd like to know which types of rackets are recommended to very beginners, especially in the vein of preventing arm injury.

I own two rackets already and like to see if either would satisfy. The first racket is a Maria Sharapova Prince and the second is a Wilson Federer. The former is the one I've been using.

  • 1
    It's important to remember that if you are a beginner, better equipment will not necessarily make you play better. As a beginner to a sport, what you should be focusing on is how to think, how to control your movements. Getting the right tool for the job is something you should worry about later. Just get/use something that feels comfortable in your hand. – posdef Mar 13 '13 at 21:41
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Both of the racquets you referenced are made of lower quality materials. They're not necessarily "bad" racquets (especially for a beginner such as yourself) but they differ from higher quality racquets in specific ways such as:

  1. They can't be restrung if needed (they will bend/warp during the re-stringing process)
  2. They generally are much lighter weight than higher quality racquets made of graphite and so they will produce more vibration each time you hit the ball.

Higher quality racquets are generally going to cost somewhere between $150 and $200 when purchased new from a shop. If possible, I would recommend buying from an actual tennis shop - the big chain stores like Sports Authority, Sports Chalet, Big 5, etc. generally don't have very knowledgeable employees when it comes to tennis equipment. Most tennis shops also have a demo program where they let you take racquets you're interested in and go try them out before you buy anything. Most of the big chain stores do not have demo programs.

The racquets you referenced were probably around $30 (I'm guessing) so the jump to paying $150 or more for a racquet might seem like a big investment. This is another reason to try and find a tennis shop - they might have some used (demo) racquets they want to sell and you could get a really good deal (like half-price) on a higher quality racquet that would still last you a long time.

Also - since you're a beginner, look for a racquet that has at least a 100" sq. in. head size. This will give you a bigger area to hit the ball with, a bigger sweet spot, and more stability on contact. It will also give you easier power.

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At your level of play, the maker isn't nearly as important as the string type and tension. Most popular brands; Head, Wilson, Prince, etc. offer similar rackets for essentially the same price point. (The more expensive rackets are more expensive because they offer a stronger material at a lighter weight.)

I'd strongly suggest analyzing your style of play. Do you feel that your game will be geared more around heavy hitting or is developing a killer top spin something you're more focused on. Where you're new, I'd really suggest trying out different tensions and seeing which one more suits your style of play.

You can read more about string tension here.

BTW, most places that sell rackets/strings will also restring your racket to a specific tension for free or a small nominal fee, so it's pretty easy to get done.

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