14 Parts of a Tennis Racket
Every tennis player has a different racket they prefer for their own game style. However, although there are numerous choices available, the various parts of a tennis racket are the same from racket to racket.
- Beam: The beam is the width of the racket head. The wider the beam, the thicker the racket. This thickness can affect weight and power.
- Bumper guard: The bumper guard is a piece of plastic that protects your racket head’s impact points and can help prevent cracking and scraping.
- Butt: The butt of the racket is located at the end of the handle. This part of the racket flares out just a little bit to keep your grip from sliding down and out of your hands while swinging the racket.
- Butt cap: The butt cap is the plastic seal at the bottom of the racket’s butt. Most tennis racket brands will place their logo here, or if a tennis player wants to add some weight to their handle, they can remove the cap and glue small weights inside (like fishing weights) to change the weight and balance of their racket.
- Dampeners: Another add-on for the racket, dampeners are the little rubber or silicon bits that sit at the bottom of the string face. Dampeners can affect string vibration, and alter the sound the tennis ball makes when it hits your sweet spot. Dampeners are a personal choice—they can be long “worm”-types, or round button-types. Andre Agassi famously used a knotted rubber band as his dampener, but Roger Federer doesn’t use one at all.
- Grip: Rackets come with an existing factory grip secured to their handles that provide a better hold. However, most players will still add a layer on top of that, covering their racket handle with a soft, tacky wrapping called an overgrip (also known as “grip tape”). Overgrips layered on top of your default grip make it easier and more cushioned to hold, and can also alter the thickness of your grip if you want to increase it.
- Grommet: The grommets are the little plastic bits at the mouth of each string hole that keep the string from rubbing against the racket frame. Grommets attach to the grommet strip, which lines the outside of your racket head. Grommets protect your strings from wear and tear. Depending on their thickness, grommets can also inhibit vibration, leading to more or less control and power, depending on your playing style.
- Handle: The handle is where you grip the racket. The handle of a tennis racket contains eight bevels, and positioning your hands a certain way along the bevels will provide you with different grips, such as the Continental grip or the Semi-Western grip. The grip size of your handle will also determine how comfortably you can hold the racket.
- Head: The head, or the frame, is the oval part of the racket where the strings are, and where you will (hopefully) hit all of your shots. A larger head size means a more powerful racket—but with less control. Smaller head sizes offer less power, but increase your control. Most professional players use midsize to midplus rackets, which range from approximately 80 to 105 square inches.
- Rim: The rim is the outer edge of the racket head frame.
- Rubber collar. Not to be confused with the dampener, this thick rubber band is what slides over your overgrip finishing tape to help keep it in place. The rubber collar is not a mandatory part of a racket, but some players prefer the look and security it offers.
- Shaft: The shaft is the entire portion of the racket outside of the head, from the throat to the bottom of the handle.
- Strings: While technically an add-on to the bones of the racket, the tennis strings are an important component of racket composition. The string pattern crisscrosses over the face of the racket, providing a contact point for the tennis ball. Stringing should only be done by someone with experience, as the type of string material, placement, and string tension can affect your entire game.
- Throat: Also called “the triangle,” the throat is the open part of the racket located right below the head. Most modern rackets contain open throats, which allows air to pass through and create less drag when swinging. A racket’s stiffness is determined by the flexibility of the throat.
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