If you’re new to tennis it’s useful to learn as much as you can about the equipment you’ll be using, particularly the names of all the different parts of the racket.
Not only will it enable you to understand what your coaches are talking about, it will help you when it comes to buying your first racket – either as an adult beginner or a junior. It’s hard to appreciate the different features on offer if you’ve no idea what they’re called.
So in this article we’ll take you through the various parts of the racket and what purpose they serve.
Diagram of the parts of a racket
As you’ll see in our graphic below, a racket is split into three main sections: the Handle, the Shaft and the Head.
But within those sections are various smaller components. Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
Butt and Butt Cap
The bottom of the handle is known as the butt. It flares out slightly to prevent the handle flying out of your hand.
It’s covered by a plastic Butt Cap. Many of these are removable to allow you to add additional weight inside the racket’s handle if you choose.
The Cap comes printed with the manufacturer’s logo and usually includes the size of the grip.
The grip is the cushioned layer that wraps around the racket’s handle to provide a comfortable, grippy surface. Grip sizes range from 4 inches to 4 ⅝ inches in circumference. You can check out which is best for you with our grip size guide.
Often grips can be replaced, personalised or protected using an overgrip.
A racket’s handle is shaped like an octagon providing eight sides also known as bevels. The bevels make it easier to grip on to the handle. They can also be used as a guide when adjusting your grip for different styles of shot for example topspin or slice.
At the top of the grip you’ll see some sticky tape used to secure the grip to the handle. This is known as grip tape and can also be bought separately. Often the grip tape is covered over by a plastic collar for additional protection.
Above the collar and beneath the head you’ll find the racket’s throat (appropriately enough). It’s the part of the shaft that opens out in a V-shape from the handle.
Older style wooden rackets used to have a closed throat but modern rackets all come with an open throat like the one above.
Occasionally the design will include a horizontal or vertical bar for additional stability and less flex.
The side of the racket is known as the beam.
The width of the beam varies from racket to racket but wider beams tend to indicate a more powerful stick.
Thinner beams offer more flexibility and therefore better comfort and feel.
As you’d expect, the head refers to the oval shaped portion of the racket that contains the strings.
For more on head sizes you can check out our guide to choosing a tennis racket.
The holes on the inside of the head where the strings are threaded through are called grommets.
They’re protected on the outside by a plastic strip called a grommet strip.
Grommet design varies depending on the model of the racket. Some are designed to offer more movement or snap to the string bed to provide better power or more spin to your shots.
More control oriented rackets tend to have tighter grommets to restrict string movement.
Tennis strings run horizontally and vertically across the racket’s head.
The horizontal strings are known as cross strings while the verticals are called the main strings.
The types of string used have a huge effect on the playability of the racket. They’re made of a variety of materials from natural gut to polyester.
The bumper guard sits at the top of the racket and is a plastic strip which protects the frame from damage. Often the racket will scrape across the ground as it’s swung so it needs some preservation. Especially from beginners!
Often, if the bumper guard wears out, players will replace it to allow the frame to last much longer.
Now Get Out There!
So there you have it. You should now be familiar with all the parts of a racket.
All you need to do now is select your frame of choice and get out on that court!