6 tips to test a racquet before buying
Testing a racquet before buying is a phase you have to through. Be in contact with who? What changes should you make? What kind of racquet should you choose? Here is our answers to all these questions.
The transition between two racquets can be a tough moment to deal with for a lot of players. Power or control? What weight? Which string? We will give you the best advice on how to test a racquet before buying.
Optimize test preparation
This is the most important part! In order to find a racquet that will fit your needs, you have to be careful with the preparation part. Before preparing, thing through a few criteria. First, the length of time since your last practice. Let’s be very clear on this point, testing racquets is not recommended if you haven’t played for a few weeks. If you try, the test can be inaccurate. Second, where should you test racquets? Sometimes your club has a relationship with a retail store in the area. Thanks to this partnership, the salespeople in the store will be able to advise you on which product suits you the most. The main advantage here is that you will have a personalized advice from an expert, something you might not find in other places. As a reminder, you must know two main things before going to your store: The weight of your racquet and the frame shape (round or square). If you don’t know, feel free to ask your coach; he should be able to assist you easily. Also, make sure the racquets (as well as the string) you are demoing are not damaged.
The beginning of the test: the first feeling
It’s the basis of every test: pursuit of great feel. You have to be patient throughout the process. If after the first few shots you don’t feel the ball, don’t give up. Even if you’re looking for the same sensations that you had with your former racquet, you will for sure feel a difference. Play with the racquet for a 15 minutes period. After this time, if you still feeling nothing, let it go. On the contrary, don’t only rely on these first feelings if they are good. A racquet which suits you at first won’t for sure be the one you will choose at the end. To ensure that is the right racquet, you will have to play with it more than once.
Validate the racquet with different game plans
Like we said before, the first feelings are only the first step to a successful test. To make sure the racquet is the right one for you, it’s important to test it in different scenarios. Make sure to not only test your new racquet with ground strokes. Indeed, your new weapon will also have to suit you in pressure moments. The racquet will definitely feel different while playing tough points. The goal is to make every shot of your game with the new racquet. Don’t practice only your forehand, backhand, serve, volley, smash, running shots… You have to do it all. You will have a better understanding if the racquet suits you well in every kind of situation. Also don’t hesitate to ask someone to evaluate you during the test (a coach for example). Get the feedback from another person is sometimes useful for validating your choice.
Keep the same playing conditions
Testing racquets can take a lot of time, therefore be careful to not waste it. Some conditions must remain the same. First: the partner. The aim is to have the same kind of balls on every racquet you are testing. In this process, try to work with your usual partner during the test. The other factor is the playing conditions. You must play in an environment that doesn’t change. That includes the weather and the surface. If for example you started the test in indoor conditions, keep this during the whole process.
Test with the string and tension you are used to
It’s very important to test a new racquet with the tension and string you are used to. If you don’t maintain this, you won’t get an accurate feeling for the racquet. Don’t hesitate to ask to your store to restring the racquet if necessary.
Quality is better than quantity
The last piece of advice is to have good tests before buying. You have to make a really precise selection of what you want to test. The idea isn’t to have the state of mind “I’m testing, so I can try any racquet I want”. Why? The reason is quite simple. If you are starting to accumulate a lot of racquets during a test, you will lose any type of feelings. To avoid this like mentioned before, ask for advice from your store.
The best approach to follow:
• Ask your coach for advice and recommendations to one store
• Go to this store and select the racquets based on your needs
• Do a first session with 3 or 4 racquets maximum (session of 1 hour)
• Go back to your store and ask for 1 or 2 racquets which are the closest to the ones you prefer
• Do a second session
• Select THE one you choose
• Play more sessions with this one and validate your choice