Tennis Rackets: Power vs. Control

There are rackets out there for everybody. Rackets are designed and produced with an ideal user in mind, so you want to make sure that you’re playing with the best racket to suit your game. However, with so many numbers, ratings, and specs you’ve never heard of, it can be hard to understand what you should be looking for. That’s where we come in. 

We define control in tennis by how well you are able to move the ball where you want on command. How precise are you able to be, or in this case, how precise is your racket allowing you to be? Power, on the other hand, is how big the ball comes off of your strings. A powerful racket will allow the ball to come off the strings big with little effort. 

Those are the basics, but if you continue reading we will go into more detail. This article will look at what certain types of players should be looking for, what specs give a racket it’s characteristics, and our recommendations for the best power and control rackets on the market. Let’s dive right in. 

What does control mean?

As we touched on above, control relates to how precise you are able to be with your shots. It has a lot to do with not only your shot placement, but also how well you can place the ball on command. The “command” part is important, and it’s going to vary from player to player.

Control becomes an aspect on all shots: groundstrokes, volleys, slices, serves, and returns. Your ability to place the ball where you intended to is not only important for winning from point to point, but also for your confidence in your shots. If you are playing with a racket that doesn’t produce enough control, your confidence in each shot can dip drastically. 

What does power mean?

Power is, as mentioned previously, how big the ball is coming off your strings. Further, it will relate to how aggressively you are able to play. No matter how well you place the ball, you won’t really be able to “bully” your opponent on his back foot without a little extra pace on your ball.

Finding Which Racket is Best For Your Style

Now that you know the difference between power and control, you can better apply it to your game. You should be thinking about what style of player you are. Are you offensive? Defensive? Counterpuncher? Serve and volleyer? It’s important to know your on-court identity before you figure out which racket is the best fit for you. 

Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses in your game is going to help you select a racket. For example, players that lack easy power may want to find a racket that helps to fill that hole. 

It is important to remember that choosing a racket is personal. You can’t choose the best racket for you simply by reading an article, because it may just not feel right in your hand. That is why we recommend demoing the racket before you fully commit to switching to it.

What players need control rackets?

We think that players who love to move forward and finish points at the net benefit greatly from control rackets. The extra stability on volleys contributes to better precision. Many players who like to serve and volley use control rackets.

Other players that benefit from control rackets like to slice, especially on their backhand side. Again, this is a shot that requires precision. Powerful rackets tend to be a bit more sporadic, so control rackets are best for players who like to play with a lot of touch. 

If you feel that your groundstrokes are flying all over the place, a more controlled racket may be a good fit for you. That extra stability in all parts of your game can really help to build your confidence, and it can help you find the consistency you may be lacking.

Remember, you’ll want to look for a racket that can fill the holes in your game and highlight your strengths if possible. 

What racket specs will lead to control?

When shopping around for a controlled racket, the main specs you should be looking for are head size, swing weight, string pattern, and stiffness. 

Every racket is different, but a racket with a smaller head size, higher swing weight, dense string pattern, and low stiffness will contribute to a controlled racket. Some controlled rackets will stray off from this trend, but those are the most important specs to watch out for. 

Best Control Rackets on the Market

Here are a few recommendations for control rackets out there. You’ll notice that the specs of these rackets match the info that we provided above.

Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v7

Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph

Babolat Pure Strike 3rd Gen

Head Graphene 360+ Speed Pro

Yonex Vcore Pro 97HD 18×20

What players need powerful rackets?

Generally, players that benefit from powerful rackets will spend most of their time playing from the baseline. The players that like to bang the ball heavy from the baseline will find powerful rackets to highlight their strengths. Additionally, because powerful rackets are generally less precise, being on the baseline allows more room for error. 

Additionally, powerful rackets will often create 5-10 extra MPH on a player’s serve. That is obviously a trade off for the lack of control, but everyone could benefit from a little extra juice on their serve. Keep that in mind as you are searching for a good racket to suit your game. 

If you feel that the effort you put into your shots isn’t paying off, it is best to look at powerful rackets. It will make your life a whole lot easier, especially if consistency isn’t an issue in your game. 

What racket specs lead to power?

When shopping for a powerful racket, you’ll want to pay attention to head size, swing weight, string pattern, and stiffness. 

Yes, these are the same specs as a control racket, but you’ll want to look for the opposite numbers. So, powerful rackets will generally have large head sizes, lower swing weights, more open string patterns, and higher stiffness. Again, some powerful rackets will deviate from this trend, this is meant to guide you in the right direction.

Best Power Rackets on the Market

Here are a few of the best powerful rackets that we have tried. You’ll notice that they all align with the specs above.

Babolat Pure Aero

Babolat Pure Drive

Prince O3 Legacy 105

Wilson Ultra 100 v3

Head Graphene 360+ Extreme MP

Final Thoughts

Now you know the basic difference between power and control rackets. Hopefully this article helped you to understand what type of racket is best for you. If you click any of the products above, you will be sent to our friends at Tennis Warehoouse. Their website has everything you need to know if you want more details about each racket.

Did we miss something? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Austin Rapp

Hi there! My name is Austin Rapp and since I picked up a racket at age 8, I worked hard to improve my game. I was never the most talented junior, but I tried to learn the game to give myself an edge. I earned the privilege of playing at UCLA for 4 years, serving as team captain for my last 2. In my time there, I took advantage of the coaching and great talent around me to grow my knowledge of the game and became an All-American. I am currently playing professional tennis, ranked top 700 in singles and top 350 in doubles. Above all, my favorite tennis moments were hitting with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells!

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