The best racquetball racquet for you depends on your size and skill level. When shopping for one, you should keep several features in mind, including the racquet's size and shape, weight, grip size and string tension. Racquet prices range from less than $50 to several hundred dollars depending on the brand and features. Beginners can find reasonably priced racquets at most major sporting goods stores, while advanced players can find a larger selection of higher-end racquets at racquet club pro shops. Well-known brands include E-Force, Ektelon, Gearbox, Head, Pro Kennex and Wilson.
Size and Shape
According to the USA Raquetball rulebook, "the racquet, including bumper guard and all solid parts of the handle, may not exceed 22 inches in length." Although the first racquetball racquets were made of wood, modern versions are made of aluminum, fiberglass, graphite or composite. Also according to the rulebook, "the racquet frame may be any material judged safe." The shape of a racquet's head can be teardrop, quadriform or oversized. Teardrop racquets generally have a larger sweet spot, while quadriform racquets produce more power. Oversized racquets are generally appropriate for beginners.
The frames of racquetball racquets weigh between 150 and 195 g unstrung. The lighter the frame, the more control you have. Lighter racquets are appropriate for small players or players who have a fast, powerful swing. The heavier the frame, the more power you can generate. Heavier racquets are appropriate for beginners or players that need power to compensate for a slow, weak swing. However, using a racquet that is too heavy for you can be counterproductive, as your arm can fatigue quickly. Experienced players typically use racquets that are are in the middle of the weight range for a combination of both control and power.
A racquet's grip size affects your speed and power. A smaller grip gives you more wrist snap, which equates to more speed and power. However, if you have large hands, a larger grip may be more comfortable. In the past, there were only two grip sizes: SS (super small) and XS (extra small). However, for the 2010 season, Ektelon has added an SSR (super small rounded) grip size. It is still the super small grip size, but with a more rounded feel. Ektelon now refers to the XS size as SM (small). The USA Raquetball rulebook also specifies that the racquet frame must include a cord that is securely attached to the player's wrist. The cord is typically attached to the base of the racquet's handle.
The string tension, or how tight your racquet is strung, affects your power. Generally, a racquet strung at a lower tension with looser strings will produce more power, but render some control. A racquet strung at a higher tension with tighter strings will produce less power but provide more control. String tension is measured in lbs. and generally ranges from 24 to 36 lbs. The thickness of the strings affect the tension. The thicker the strings, the lower the tension; the thinner the strings, the higher the tension. Always refer to the manufacturer's recommendations regarding a racquet's string tension.
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