Tennis Outlet: Our Ultimate Tennis Racquet Guide

Tennis Racquet Guide- Tennis Outlet

With so many choices, selecting a tennis racquet can seem confusing. The challenge is that there are so many factors to consider when selecting the perfect racquet. The good news is that with so many choices, you’ll be able to get a racquet that perfectly suits your game, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro looking to make it into a Majors tournament.

You will find that racquets will fall into three categories.

  • Beginner- usually with larger heads, and lighter weights giving the player more power.
  • Tweener- in between racquets that offer a balance between power and control.
  • Advanced – usually with smaller heads, greater flexibility, and maximum control.

Generally speaking, each aspect of racquet specs provides either more power or more control. For beginners and younger players, who may use shorter strokes or who do not follow through, they need more power. For experienced players or athletic adults, they need options that allow them to have greater control on the court.

We’ll address each area in order to help you decide the perfect racquet for your game. Here are the areas of consideration when selecting your next racquet:

  1. Grip Size
  2. Head Size
  3. Racquet Length
  4. Racquet Weight and Balance
  5. String Type
  6. Frame Stiffness / Flexibility

Grip Size


We’ll begin by considering the size of the grip. Variability in grip sizes allows you to find a racquet that best fits the size of your hand. If you use a grip that is too small or too large for your hand, you increase your chances of injury or irritation to your hands, elbows, or shoulder. Not to mention that your power and control can be negatively impacted.

Most racquet grips range from 4” to 4 7/8”. This can be found on either the butt of the handle or in the throat of the racquet. Since juniors players have grips less than 4”, they are only offered in size 4.

So how can you tell which grip is right for your hand? In short, small grip size for small hands, large grip size for larger hands. There are two methods for measuring your grip size.


tennis racquet grip measurement guide


Grip Size Measuring Method 1

In the first method, take a ruler and measure your hand from the bottom lateral crease in your palm, to the tip of your ring finger in inches.  Make sure to use the hand you would use to hold the racquet to play and to keep your fingers together for the best measurement. This is the grip size you need in inches (4.5 inches in the example below). If you don’t have a racquet yet and are getting ready to shop online, this is a great quick method to get a good idea of grip you need.

If you are in between sizes, remember to use the smaller grip, as you can always add tape to the grip to provide a slight increase in size.

Grip Size Measuring Method 2

The second method for measuring your grip size is to take your racquet (or one you’re looking at) and grip it securely in your playing hand. Your thumb and index finger on that hand should slightly overlap. If you take the index finger on your opposite hand and slide it in between your other three fingers while holding the racquet, it should just fit.

If there is a lot of space between those fingers and your opposite index finger, the grip is too large. If you don’t have room to insert the index finger, the grip is too small.


Head Size


Head size refers to the size of the racquet face or frame. There are three general categories for tennis racquet head sizes. These are Oversize, Mid-Plus, and Mid-Size.

  • Oversize = head size greater than 105 square inches. These racquets provide more power, but at the expense of control.
  • Mid-Plus = head size between 95 and 105 square inches. This type of head provides a balance between power and control. It provides less power than oversize, with more control. It provides more power than mid-size, with less control.
  • Mid-Size= head size less than 95 square inches. This type of head provides the greatest measure of control, but the least amount of power.

If you are a new or younger player, it’s usually better to go with an oversize head to give you more power to return the ball across the net more effectively.


Racquet Length


Traditionally, tennis racquets have always been 27” long. For a long time, this was the only option. However, over the years additional lengths have been offered. Although most racquets are still 27”, you can play with racquets up to 29” long.

Longer racquets are a little more difficult to maneuver, especially for younger players. However, because of their length, they allow you to contact the ball farther away from your body, with greater momentum. This extra momentum gives you more zip and energy on your shot.


Racquet Weight


Racquets come in three weight types. These are heavy, medium, and lightweight. Racquet weight is not an indication of overall weight; racquet weight is determined by the weight of the handle. This may seem counterintuitive, but the weight type is also an indication of the balance of the racquet.

Racquets can be head heavy (lightweight), medium (balanced), and head light (heavy). Head heavy indicates a heavier racquet head and lighter handle, where head light indicates a lighter racquet head and a heavier handle. This means the balance point, the point on the length of the racquet at which the racquet is perfectly balanced, is different for each racquet weight type.

Heavier racquets are more stable, have less shock and allow for more power. But, lighter racquets are more maneuverable and can be swung with greater speed.

Here is a breakdown of weight type and balance.

  • Heavy racquet = Head Light a racquet weight greater than 11.5 oz. It provides more control, and less shock, but it takes more energy to use and is less maneuverable. It is usually used by advanced players.
  • Medium racquet = Balanced a racquet weight between 10 and 11.5 oz. It is evenly balanced and is usually used by intermediate players.
  • Lightweight racquet = Head Heavy – a racquet weight less than 10 oz. It is more maneuverable, requires less energy to use and allows for faster swings. It is usually best for beginning players.


String Type



For tennis strings, there are several considerations. These are string pattern, string material, and string gauge. There are only two options for string pattern, open string pattern and dense or closed string pattern.

Sting Pattern-

Open string pattern has more distance between the strings. This allows the player to put more spin on the ball, as the distance between the strings allows the strings to “bite” into the ball and put greater spin on it. It also gives you more power than a dense string pattern. However, fewer strings mean a less durable racquet.

Dense also known as closed string pattern has less distance between the strings. This does provide for a more durable racquet and greater control. This is usually preferred for beginners.
String Material-

There are so many different types of materials for strings, that it can be confusing on its own. Strings come in the following types:

  • Nylon- Core and Multifilament – These are generally the most economical type of strings. Nylon core is often labeled as Synthetic Gut. It is usually a single filament string, is durable, inexpensive, and holds tension well. However, it is stiffer and harder on the arm. Multifilament strings are similar to synthetic gut strings, but they contain more than a single filament. There can be hundreds or thousands of strands woven into a single string. This string type is “softer” than nylon core making it easier on the arm of the person using it. It is more expensive than, and not as durable as, nylon core.
  • Polyester– This type of string is often used by players on pro tennis tours because it allows for more topspin and control. In addition, it is very durable. However, it loses its tension rather quickly and is very stiff. This increases the strain on the user’s arm. Some recent advances in string technology have helped polyester strings maintain tension for longer periods of time.
  • Hybrids- When you mix one type of string for the mains and another type of string for the cross strings, this is known as a hybrid. This is usually done to increase durability for players who frequently break strings. In this setup, the cross strings, which are less likely to break, are softer. The mains, which are more likely to break, are made of more durable material, like Kevlar. It is not recommended to use this type of string for your entire racquet because the stiffness in this setup is very hard on the arm, wrist, shoulder, and joints. And it can lead to tennis elbow.
  • Natural Gut- This is considered the best performance string available. It is made from animal gut (usually cow gut) and provides the best energy in your return. It also provides good control and is easier on your body. It is the most expensive type of string and can be susceptible to losing tension when exposed to moisture. It is also not very durable and not recommended for players who are known to break strings.

The last two considerations when it comes to strings are string tension and string gauge. When deciding what tension to have your racquet strung at, remember that less tension provides greater power, but less control. More tension provides greater control but less power.

Your racquet should have a recommended range. Try starting in the middle of this range and after you have played a few times consider increasing or decreasing tension based on whether you need more power or greater control. A best practice is to move up or down approximately 2 lbs. at a time until you find your sweet spot. For a good idea of ranges, consider less than 50 lbs. as low tension, and more than 60 lbs. high tension. The range between 50 and 60 lbs. is “in between”.

String gauge is the size of the string in diameters. These gauges are rated in numbers between 15 and 20 and have half sizes indicated by an L and the lower the number the thicker strings. An 18L, for example, would be half-way between 18 and 19.

Thinner strings provide greater control, power, spin, and elasticity. Thicker strings are more durable Generally, you want to use as thin a string as you can before you begin regularly breaking the string.


Frame Stiffness


Frame stiffness is a reflection of the flexibility of the racquet. Tennis racquet flex rating is a scale from 0-100 with most racquets rated between 50 and 80. Less than 60 is considered low, between 61 and 68 is considered medium and 69 and over is considered high. Because a stiffer frame bends less, it helps transfer more power to the ball but produces more strain for the user. A more flexible frame gives you more control, greater spin, with less strain.


We hope this guide provides you the information you need to make an educated racquet decision. Of course, we would be happy to answer any questions about racquets for your tennis team. If you have questions, call us at 806-687-4112



Frequently Asked Questions

Schreiner Mens Tennis Team Outfitted by Tennis Outlet


Tennis Outlet FAQ’s: Tennis Uniforms and Equipment


Each year we receive new calls from athletic directors and middle school, high school, and college coaches across the US inquiring about our team tennis uniforms and equipment. We proudly serve the junior tennis community, providing everything from custom team uniforms, to ball machines, to nets and racquets. With more than a decade of experience, we have what you need, or we can get it.

Most of the coaches we serve come back year after year because they get best in industry service from an equipment provider who specializes in tennis. Unlike some of our competitors, we focus specifically on the needs of coaches, parents, and those who play tennis in school.

Many of the questions we answer are the same each year, so we thought we would take a moment to answer some of the more common questions in this post.


What Teams Do You Serve?


We serve tennis teams at every level from middle school to college.

What Types Of Custom Team Uniforms Do You Offer?


We provide custom team uniforms that feature either custom embroidery or screen printing. Although the process for each of these options is very similar, for embroidered items there is an additional charge of $7 per item. This cost is added to clothing item costs. In addition, if you would like to digitize your logo for use later on, we can do this with a simple one time set up fee of just $60.

For screen printing, it depends on how many colors you would like to have on the print, and the number of items ordered. For specific questions please feel free to call us for a direct quote.

In order to get custom team tennis wear, just follow the process below:

  1. Choose the item you would like customized.
  2. Choose the custom design and or logo for your team.
  3. Choose the size of the logo or print and its placement (where on the uniform it should go).
  4. Contact us at 1-806-687-4112 to place your order.

Please note we ask for a minimum order of 12 items for a custom order, whether it’s for screen printing or custom embroidered uniforms.

Do you do custom team stores?


Yes, we are happy to set up custom team stores for coaches and AD’s we serve. In some cases, a team store is set up in situations where the budget does not allow the school to provide the uniforms or equipment. Other situations where we might set up a custom team store include:

  • Parents want the opportunity to show support for the school by purchasing school logo wear
  • The parents want their child to have an additional tennis uniform
  • Or the school wants to use the team store as a fundraising tool

In order to set up a custom team store, the coach will select a group of items in each category (uniform top, bottom, bag, etc.) that his players are allowed to choose from. Once the coach has selected the items they want their team to be able to choose from, we create a custom link. The link is then live for a set window of time to allow for completion of the process. The player and/or parents sit down and pick the items they like from the available options. The parents then pay for the uniforms at checkout.

Can We Do Fund A Raiser Through Team Stores?


Yes, we can help with fundraising through the custom team stores. In the setup process above, we will add a specific amount to each item and then the total fundraising amount collected over the uniform totals will be credited back to the school.


What Type Of Net Do I Need For My Location?


We get questions about the durability of nets in cold weather and snowy situations from Athletic Directors and coaches in the Northern United States. Tennis Outlet proudly carries Edwards nets with vinyl or polyester headbands to accommodate courts in a wide variety of climates. Usually, nets with polyester headbands are better in very cold climates, and nets with vinyl headbands are better in warmer climates.

What Type Of Racquet Is Best For Young Players?


This question, along with questions about nets, usually comes from multi-sport coaches or ADs looking to buy equipment for their juniors teams. Because they are not specifically a tennis team coach, they look for some guidance on the best types of equipment to purchase for their school. For specific answers to these questions, please see our thorough articles on each topic.

Have another question? We’d love to hear from you. Give us a call and let us help you get the answers you need.

Our Ultimate Guide to Selecting Tennis Court Nets

Our Best Guide to Selecting Your Next Tennis Court Nets

Ultimate Guide to Tennis Nets for Schools


Selecting a net for your tennis court doesn’t have to be confusing, although the lack of clarity of standards in nets can sometimes make apples to apples comparisons difficult. We can, however, turn to the International Tennis Federation or ITF for guidance about certain standards. We will highlight these in each section below. Here, we’d like to provide you with a quick guide to nets to help you decide which net will be best for you and your school team.

The good news is there are only a few factors that need consideration when deciding on nets for your school’s court. Because climate can have an impact on the longevity of a net, it does weigh into these decisions.

We carry or can get a full line of nets in our store, but our focus here is on nets made by one of the industry’s best net makers. Edwards has a rich history of making nets for tennis courts going back to 1884. We proudly feature them on our site. However, if you have other interest, please call our store so we can find the right net for you.

So, let’s begin with the three primary factors you should consider when deciding on a net. They are net size, type of headband, and braiding. Let’s take a look at each one in order.


Size of the Net

Usually, it’s best to practice on the same courts on which your teams will have tournaments. Most US schools utilize the hard doubles court (with singles court lines drawn inside the doubles sidelines). The standards set forth by the ITF mentioned above are that doubles courts shall be 36’ wide and that the posts supporting the net shall be 3’ outside of the sidelines. This gives us a net length of 42’. The standard for height is 3’6” at the post. In order to be consistent with the ITF regulations, the net must maintain 3’ in the center (sag of 6” or less).

As it is the most common size in use for schools across the United States, we focus on selling 42’ nets.

Type of Headband

Tennis headbands can be polyester, canvas, or vinyl. Each of the different types of material performs better in certain conditions and on certain court types. They break down as follows:

  • Vinyl headbands are better for use on clay or soft courts. Dirt from the clay can stick to canvas and polyester headbands and be difficult to clean. However, vinyl headbands do not perform as well in cold weather situations. They are more prone to crack and break down, shortening their useful life on the court.
  • Canvas headbands hold up and last longer in cold weather, but they are less ideal on soft courts. They absorb dirt and grime from the court and can be difficult to clean.
  • Polyester headbands are a good middle choice for both soft and hard courts, as they can hold up better than vinyl in cold weather, and are easier to clean than canvas on a soft court.

Since most schools have hard courts, keeping the headband clean is less of an issue. With this in mind, climate is a factor worth considering.

So, canvas and polyester headbands are better in colder climates. Vinyl headbands begin to crack and show wear much earlier than their polyester counterparts. However, in warmer climates, it is more common to see vinyl headbands in use by schools.

Net Body and Braiding


Three factors for consideration surrounding the net body itself are the braiding, the size of the cord and the number of rows of extra stitching at the top of the net. The best nets are made of polyethylene and polyester. These materials enable the net to resist weathering caused by the sun’s UV radiation.

  • Braided cord nets are preferred over twisted cord because the braided nets are stronger, last longer and absorb more energy. By absorbing more energy, the ball has less bounce off the net.
  • Cords come in various sizes ranging from 2mm to 3.5mm. Larger cords are more durable and have a longer life. The nets we sell and recommend come in 3mm and 3.5mm sizes.
  • Some nets come with between 4 and 7 rows of extra stitching at the top of the net. This extra stitching provides extra protection for the part of the net that gets the most wear and tear. Both our Edwards 40LS and 30LS have five rows of double center mesh netting.

So thicker cords, with extra rows of protection at the top, are the most durable and will provide the longest life. The top of the line Edwards nets we carry come with a 5-year limited warranty.

We take great pride in helping our customers assess these factors and make an informed decision about what type of net will best serve their needs.

Have questions? We have answers. Call 806-687-4112 today and let our skilled staff help you.

Selecting the Best Tennis Ball Machine for Your School Team


What Type of Tennis Ball Machine Is Best For Your School


There are many factors that go into deciding which tennis ball machine would be best for your school tennis team. Things like, price, programmable oscillation, propulsion type, and power are just some of these factors. Whether preparing your young pros to go to the state tournament, or just looking for something that can help your team improve their basic court skills, we have the ball machine to suit your needs.

Tennis ball machines can be expensive, so it’s important to make sure you understand what machine is the perfect fit for your middle school, high school, or college tennis team. With that in mind, our quick guide will help you make a decision on what types of machines are available, and which one would best suit your needs.

A good tennis ball machine can help your team improve their reaction times and agility, and maximize their fundamental skills.

Tennis Outlet carries machines from Tennis Tutor, Lobster, and Playmate, ranging in price from $269.00 to $6610.00. So regardless of budget or needs, we have the machine you.

Let’s take a look at the different features and capabilities of tennis ball machines.



There are two different types of machines on the market. These are Spinning Wheel and Pneumatic  Air Pressure.

Spinning wheel machines are the most common type of machine and are similar in design to a baseball pitching machine. Inside the machine, there are two spinning wheels that throw out the tennis ball. The speed of the two wheels can be adjusted to create topspin or backspin on the ball.

Pneumatic air pressure machines throw out the tennis ball through a long tube. However, in order to generate spin, an attachment is usually required.  The primary advantage of this type of machine is its costs. They are usually less expensive than their spinning wheel counterparts.


Oscillation is one of the features that will enable your ball machine to simulate a real opponent on the other side of the court. There are two types of oscillation, vertical and horizontal.

Horizontal oscillation allows the ball machine to shoot the tennis balls across the court from side to side, helping young athletes improve their cross court skills. On the other hand, vertical oscillation allows the machine to shoot the ball closer to the net, or back near the baseline.

The very best machines provide programmable features to spray the tennis ball around the court from side to side and front to back. They allow coaches to create specific training routines that enable their young players to focus on the areas of training most important to the individual player.

Ball Speed

Tennis ball machines have a broad range in speed that allows you to set the machine at the skill level of the player, from beginner to expert. Faster speeds allow your young players to work on quick volleys and getting better at both overhand and backhand strokes. Ball machines allow you to set speeds that range from 10-95 MPH.

Ball Capacity

The capacity of the machine determines how long your young players can practice before having to reload the machine. Ball capacity also determines to what extent they will be able to develop their physical stamina. The best machines have a maximum capacity of 300 tennis balls.

When you have that many balls to clean up, be sure to check out our ball mowers to help clean the court and get it ready for the next player or group.

Other Factors

Some other features you might want to consider in your tennis ball machine purchase include:

  • Remote control- a remote can enable your players to practice on their own, or enable you as a coach to move around the court.
  • Size- do you need a smaller machine that younger players can take to the court themselves, or do you need a larger machine that will stay on the court in a more permanent fashion?
  • Quality- the best machines carry warranties lasting up to 3 years.

Whatever your team needs, we can help. Our experienced staff has been helping AD’s and coaches pick equipment that best serves their needs.

Now that we have outlined the basic features, let’s take a quick look at a few of our best selling machines.

Tennis Twist from Tennis Tutor


The Tennis Twist is the perfect small budget machine that can be carried on and off the court with ease. Holding 28 balls, and tossing them 10-20 feet across the court every five seconds and can toss the balls in an arc between 12 and 20 feet.

There is both an A/C version as well as a battery powered model which will run up to 10 hours on a single set of six D batteries (not included).

Elite Liberty from Lobster

With a ball capacity of 150 balls and ball speeds between 20 and 80 MPH, the Elite Liberty is a step above the Tennis Twist. When combined with random horizontal oscillation this machine is great for the beginner to intermediate tennis player.

The Elite Liberty is rechargeable and can run for up to four hours before needing to be recharged. It also has an optional cover and two-function remote.

Playmate Genie Ball Machine

Our top of the line training machine is the Genie from Playmate. With the ability to hold up to 300 balls, be programmed with complex distinct or random shots, shooting a ball every one and a half seconds, this machine is the ultimate training machine. It also comes with a two function remote control. This helps make it perfect for teaching doubles teams. And with a 3-year warranty, it’s the best piece of training equipment we sell.

When you’re ready to purchase the next piece of equipment to help your youth team improve and perform at their best, give us a call. Let us help you pick the machine that’s right for you.