Consider Shape + Weight + Balance = Perfect Racquetball Racquet
Mostly, these are all of equal importance and you should do your best to find a racquet that has the best aspects of all three. How you choose a racquetball racquet also depends on your playing style. It is possible that you may not care about the shape of the racquet at all as long as the balance and weight are the right fit for you.
But as a beginner with some money in your pocket or and intermediate player who is looking to buy a new racquet all three of these factors should be very important.
The shape of the racquet affects the sweet spot of the racquet and how large or small it is. The sweet spot on a racquet is the point at which all of the strings and the frame of the racquet are designed to hit the ball absolutely perfectly.
Depending on the shape of the racquet this spot can be large but not give as much of a boost in power, or it can be very small but give huge amounts of both power and control. I prefer racquets with large sweet spots as they make it easier to hit the ball well. For beginners especially, a large sweet spot will be perfect for you.
There are two types of shapes mainly used in racquetball racquets: triangular and quadra-form. Your choice of shape of the racquet affects how large the sweetspot will be.
A quadra-form shape makes a larger sweet spot (great for beginners). However, this also means that the racquet doesn’t generate as much power. One advantage especially for people new to racquetball is that missing the sweet spot doesn’t matter as much! Errant shots will still fly relatively straight and not just flop to the ground.
Most racquets these days use some variant of a teardrop shape. When looking at a tear drop shaped racquetball racquet it is possible to tell if it is more triangular or more quadra-form by looking for where the shape starts to come into the handle.
A more triangular shape will have a smaller sweetspot but greater power. For this reason, many intermediate and advanced players use triangular shaped racquet. Your swing must be very precise and defined before you delve into buying one of those racquets.
Above are two racquets that are a variant of a teardrop shape, the Ektelon racquet is the EXO3 RG Toron and it is more of a triangular racquet, leading to a smaller sweet spot. The other racquet is a prokennex momentum and it is more of a quad shape, the tear drop looks extended more towards the handle which leads to a slightly larger sweet spot.
The second factor to choosing a racquet is the balance of the racquet. A racquet can be balanced more towards the handle (head light) or balanced more towards the head of the racquet (head heavy). This affects how heavy it feels in your hand and also the amount of power that it can generate. A head heavy racquet will generate more power than a head light racquet. The trade-off is that a head light racquet will be more agile and maneuverable than a head heavy racquet.
Even balance is defined as having the balance point 11 inches from the end of a handle. All modern racquetball racquets are 22 inches long so this makes sense as 11 inches is exactly half the distance. A “point” in either direction is 1/8th of an inch in that direction.
This means if a racquet is 3 points head heavy, that means that the balance point is 11 3/8 inches from the end of the handle. Most lighter racquets (150-165g) tend to be head heavy these days as it helps compensate for the lack of power.
Most heavier racquets (180g+) tend to be balanced or slightly head heavy as manufacturers do not want to make a heavy racquet that has no power by making it head light.
Medium weight racquets (165g-175g) can be found as head heavy or head light. These are just generalities though, it is possible to find a light racquet that is head light and a heavy racquet that is head light.
The final factor to think about is the weight of the racquet. Racquetball racquets are measured in grams. Most racquets range from 150 grams to 185 grams. There are heavier racquets than that, but most major manufacturers stop at 185 because maneuverability becomes severely affected after that.
Racquetball racquets are part of a “series” where a manufacturer will make three racquets of mostly the same shape and balance but of three different weights. Generally, there will be a difference of 10 grams between each racquet in the series.
For example, E-Force has their Apocalypse line out currently. There are 4 racquets in the series, 160g, 170g, 175g, and 190g. A lighter racquet will swing faster but have less power, whereas a heavier racquet will be slower but generate more power. There are some more subtle things that the weight of a racquet does but mainly weight affects swing speed and generated power.
Personally, I prefer racquetball racquets around 160g or 165g. This gives me a good mix of maneuverability and power. On the court, I like to be able to move quickly and not have to worry about dragging my racquet around. Since I also tend to be up in the front court more often in both doubles and singles, a lighter and quicker racquet helps me get to the ball and put it where it needs to go.
Now, I’m a pretty light person, and some people recommend that lighter people play with a heavier racquet. However, I prefer accuracy rather than power and if you’re just starting out in racquetball, you should too.
Note: 165g is a great weight beginners. If you’re looking for more agility, look towards the 155g. If you want more power, try out a 175g racquetball racquet.
I did try a 155g racquet once and while it was really fast and agile, I couldn’t swing hard enough to make decent power out of the racquet. Overall though, you really have to get your hands on these racquetball racquets to get a feel for the weight that works best for you!
The best way to find a racquet is to try as many as you can. Most racquet stores and many online options exist with demo programs where it is either a small fee or free as long as you put in a credit card number as collateral.
Demo programs let you try some number of racquets for a limited amount of time, usually one week and then if you like one of them, you are able to buy that racquet. If there’s a club or gym nearby with courts, play with as many people as you can and ask to try a few shots with their racquets.
Choosing the right racquetball racquet for you depends on your tastes and how you want to play the game. The main thing to pay attention to when trying a racquet is whether or not it is a struggle to hit the ball where you want your shot to go.
Your shot doesn’t have to be perfect right away when you pick it up, but if it’s a struggle to connect with the ball correctly, or a down the line shot turns into a ceiling ball, you should probably try a different racquet.
There are other ways to fine tune a racquet to your play style. Things like string tension, string type, string pattern. However, those go beyond the scope of this guide and are recommended to play around with after you have found a racquet that you like. Messing with string tension and type on a racquet that you don’t have a strong game with will not make you play better. Whereas, once you have found a racquet that you can play well with, string tension and type can help give you a little bit extra and help make the racquet work a little bit harder for your game.