As a beginner, this question might have dawned on you too. I definitely had the same question when I was starting out. Do you really need to replace your rackets every two years?
So, You have been playing for a couple of months now. Still pretty much a beginner but understand the simple mechanics of tennis and are probably taking some tennis lessons at your local club. You are pretty comfortable with your racket now. It seems like the perfect match for you but suddenly you see a pro or a much more proficient player taking out a new racket and you start to despise your own racket. And you consider replacing it with the new best thing as soon as you get the chance.
Hold on just a second there before you even think of replacing your tennis racket read through this piece. You’ll get why you shouldn’t replace your rackets too often as it can hurt your more than it might benefit you.
It Can Cause More Harm Than Good
Replacing your racket might look very appealing to a beginner. I used to replace my main racket every few months partly because of the reason that my father had a lot of rackets and I didn’t think that sticking with a racket is quintessential to your tennis learning. On top of that, I had no tennis lessons growing up so the effect doubled and the things I should have learned in a year took me close to two years. And I used to blame it on the racket.
It took me a lot of trial and error to come to the conclusion that it wasn’t the racket that was holding me back. It was my constant switching of different rackets with wildly different properties. Some were designed for heavy topspin, some for flat shots and some for control and I did not have a play style that I could call my own.
So, I did away with this bad habit and practiced some patience. I stuck with a racket without replacing it for over five years and that helped me immensely. My game went from a normal intermediate player to a tournament level. I applied for University based on my skills and totally smoked all but one player. Both him and I were selected for the university. I still use the same racket and its been close to 7 years now and the racket performs the same as it did 7 years ago. Not replacing my racket helped me out immensely and it will help you too in the long run.
So, whatever racket you have bought whether it is from one of the two that I recommended in my Is Tennis Just For The Rich Or, from your local Walmart or Target stick with it until you have a strong grasp of the basics and have a distinct style to warrant a racket replacement/upgrade. If you have developed your game and are competing in some small tournaments and getting some good results then you might want to upgrade/replace your tennis racket. But before taking the plunge do some research, I am going to highlight some of the processes I went through to help me decide that if I wanted to replace my racket then what racket should I consider. Its pretty easy to do that research when you have the tools available and one of the most commonly used tools is the internet and almost all the people have the internet and it has an abundance of resources.
Establishing Your Style As a Tennis Player
The first thing you have to establish before thinking about replacing your racket is finding out what sort of player you are yourself. Are you a counter puncher like Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic, do you have an all-around game like the Great Roger Federer or do you have heavy topspin in your game like Rafael Nadal. The first mistake I committed was that I thought having the racket of my favorite player would automatically propel my game forward and I couldn’t be more wrong. Me, being an admirer of Rafa bought the Babolat Aero Pro Drive Cortex back in 2009 but that was a bad decision on my part as my game was a more counter puncher style and couldn’t generate the power required for those heavy topspins that Rafa was accomplishing.
My game started declining and I started to consider quitting tennis but my father motivated me and gave me an open choice of trying any racket that felt right for me and my game. After trying out a couple of different brands I chose the IG Youtek Radical MP and that completely changed the direction of my game. I have stuck with that racket ever since and I don’t even feel the need for getting new one but if I wanted to, I would consider the following key pointers.
The New Racket Should Play The Same or Similar
This is the biggest pointer by far that I consider when I recommend someone when they are in the market to buy a new racket is to always find a racket suited to your own playstyle. Let’s take an example of a player who uses heavy topspin and extends the point. The type of racket I would recommend to that kind of a player is something that has a medium weight around 300 grams and has a pretty open string pattern. The racket that fits perfectly in that category is the famous Babolat Pure Aero series. You can check the current pricing on Amazon for these rackets here and here
Be Sure To Demo The New Racket
Whether you buy from Amazon or any other retailer, there are always programs for demoing different rackets for free, you only have to pay shipping for which if you are inside the states is pretty cheap. Demoing different rackets helps you get over the fear of buying a racket and regretting it after that you bought something that is the polar opposite of your game.
Professionals do the same, they demo different prototypes and whatever feels the best for their game they give the final word and that racket is made for them. So follow the pros in this case demo a bunch of rackets.
What If You Do Not Have The Time/Money For Demos?
So, you don’t want to go through the hassle of paying a bunch of shipping for rackets that you might not even end up buying. I was in that bracket of people too, being a student and not having a lot of disposable income, it just didn’t seem viable.
Here’s what I did. I lived in a relatively big city which had a lot of tennis players of varying skill levels. I went to my local tennis club and talked to head coach there about buying a new racket. He helped me out a lot. He gave me a bunch of rackets to demo. I had made a bunch of friends in the club and asked them for some time with their rackets to get a feel for them.
One of the rackets I hit with really stuck with me. I really loved the feel of it and in case you forgot what racket I am talking about, it was the same Head IG Youtek Radical MP. I could control the rally just the way I liked, it was light enough for me to hit some controlled shots. The way the ball sounded when it hit the racket felt so good. I instantly fell in love with it.
I told the head coach that I wanted to buy that racket and he got me a great deal through one of his contacts. I bought another one soon after in case of emergency situations or tournaments.
What To Do After Replacing Your Tennis Racket
Last and most important tip. Once you have bought your racket, it is very important that you stick with it. The biggest mistake that any player could make is not trusting their new racket. The foremost thing in your tennis learning is your own technique and mental mindset. It is not the racket, it is not the court, it is not your shoes or any other variable. It is the hours that you put on court and the gym on becoming a better player.
Sticking with your racket is going to build your trust in it. You will slowly learn how to master hitting shots with it. Do not even think of getting a new racket for the next two years and I would recommend sticking with it until it breaks which is gonna take long long time as rackets are so durable nowadays. And remember to have fun along the way.
Have A Great Day.
You can visit my beginners’ section if you need coaching tips.