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Racquet Terms

Balance
The longitudinal weight distribution of a strung racquet, measured from the center and expressed in points. One point equals a racquet balance that is 1/8 of an inch farther away from dead center, either toward the tip (head heavy) or toward the butt (head light). A racquet 4 points head heavy, for example, balances at 1/2 of an inch toward the tip.

Balance Board
A tool used to determine the point of balance of a racquet or frame.

Beam Width
Also known as Cross Section, the dimension of the head and throat sections of the frame when looking from the side, usually measured in millimeters.

Bumper Guard
A plastic or nylon covering that protects the top of the head.

Butt
The extreme end of the frame, located at the end of the handle.

Butt Cap
A trim piece to cover the butt of the frame, which is often angled to help prevent the racquet from slipping out of the player's hand.

Composite Frames
Frames made from a combination of an epoxy resin reinforced with graphite, fiberglass, titanium, or other materials.

Dampening
Reducing vibration.

Drill Flash
Debris from drilling holes for grommets in the frame.

Finishing Tape
A short piece of tape that attaches the top end of the grip to the base of the shaft.

Flex
The measure of a frame's stiffness, which is its ability to resist deflection as a result of the impact of the ball.

Frame
That portion of the racquet exclusive of the strings. The frame cannot be more than 29 inches in overall length or more than 12.5 inches in overall width.


Graphite
Lightweight, strong, and stiff material that is combined with resin in the manufacture of frames.

Grip
Material that covers the handle, usually wrapped from butt to throat.

Grip Size
Measurement of the perimeter of the handle, including grip. They are made in 1/8-inch size increments, ranging from 4 1/8 inches to 4 5/8 inches.

Grommet
A protective eyelet inserted through the frame, usually made of nylon or plastic, that prevents the string from contacting the frame.

Head Size
The size of the strung area of a racquet, usually measured in square inches. There are four categories: midsize, midplus, oversize, and superoversize.

Midsize Mid 92 sq. inches or less
Midplus MP 93 sq. inches to 105 sq. inches
Oversize OS 106 sq. inches to 115 sq. inches
Superoversize SOS 116 sq. inches or more


Head Tape
An adhesive tape used to protect the tip of the racquet from wear during play.

Heat Shrink Sleeve
PVC tubing that shrinks when heated and conforms to the shape of the handle. Used to increase grip size.

Lead Tape
A strip of lead with adhesive backing, used to alter the weight, swing weight, and (often) balance of a racquet.

Overgrip
A thin, disposable material usually applied over the grip.

Rattle
Noise from within the frame, commonly from loose drill flash.

Rim
The section of the frame that supports the string.

Rim Position
A point on the rim in relation to the center of the strings when viewing the frame with the handle pointing toward the ground. It is often described as 3, 6, 9, or 12 o’clock positions, similar to describing the hands on a clock.

Shaft
The section of the frame between the handle and the head.

Shaving
A procedure for reducing the size of the handle.

Shock
The initial and most significant frame vibration that results from impact with the ball.

Shoulders
The positions on the rim which, when facing the frame with the handle pointing down, correspond with 2, 4, 8, and 10 o'clock.

Stiffness
The frame’s resistance to deflection caused by the impact of the ball.

Sweet Spot
The area of the stringbed that produces the best string response when striking a ball.

Swing Weight
A measurement of the weight of the racquet in motion, which takes into account the static mass (weight) of the racquet, the distribution of that mass along the racquet, and the length of the racquet.

Taper
The specific beam or side-view dimensions of a racquet frame, most commonly in reference to widebodies.

Tennis Elbow
Sensitivity or pain in the elbow attributed to playing tennis.

Tension Range
A manufacturer’s suggested high and low values for tensions in stringing. Exceeding these values will void a racquet's warranty.

Throat
The section of the rim between 4 and 8 o'clock. The throat can be bridged, open, yoked, or closed.

Throat Wedge
A plastic, nylon, or metal insert in the frame at the throat, around or through which the center strings pass. The throat wedge also serves to stabilize and strengthen the frame. Throat wedges can be permanent or replaceable.

Tip
The top of the frame when viewed with the handle pointing toward the ground, at the opposite end from the butt. Also known as the 12 o'clock position of the rim, the top, the head, or the crown.

Titanium
A metal used to strengthen composite frames. Also used in balls and strings.

Torsional Stiffness
A racquet's ability to resist side-to-side torque (twisting) during ball impact.

Vibration
Racquet oscillation (back-and-forth movement) after ball impact.

Weight
A measurement of a racquet's mass, either with or without strings, depending on the circumstances.

Widebody
A generic term for any frame designed to be more stiff by narrowing the thickness and widening the beam.