What's The Difference Between A Tennis Racket And Racquetball Racket?
Tennis and racquetball are both exciting games that challenge you physically and mentally to beat your opponent. With different rules in each sport, they both use a racket.
Tennis uses the term “racket,” while racquetball uses “racquet” to describe the same equipment. For simplicity, we will refer to this equipment as a “racket” throughout the article.
What’s the difference between a tennis and racquetball racket? Tennis and racquetball rackets vary in many categories:
- Racket shape
- Weight and balance
- Characteristics of the strings
While serving a similar purpose to return a ball, their differences are specifically catered to each game and are for regulation use.
Not all rackets are created equally. With many differences, tennis and racquetball rackets are specific to their individual sports for maximum performance.
Differences in court, ball, and objective require certain skills that are easier to achieve and more effective with sport-specific rackets.
Tennis vs Racquetball Racket Facts
Rackets in both sports differ in physical characteristics and functional qualities. Knowing the difference between the two helps you to understand the two sports and make decisions on what types of rackets work best for your style of play.
1. Tennis Rackets are Typically Bigger Than Racquetball Rackets
Tennis rackets can be up to 29 inches long, with most between 27-29 inches. Racquetball rackets cannot exceed 22 inches according to game rules. Racket size has an impact on contact with the ball as well as ease of use. Multiple factors impact why a tennis racket is more significant than a racquetball racket.
In both tennis and racquetball, a hollow rubber ball is used. These balls differ in that a tennis ball is covered in a fuzzy material and is larger. Having a larger racket in tennis gives you more surface area to return the ball with power and accuracy.
Wilson Tour Slam Lite Tennis Racket
The smaller ball in racquetball does not require as much room on the racket face to successfully return a shot.
The court size and orientation also have an impact on racket size. A tennis court is much larger, requiring a larger racket to get the ball to the other side.
Wilson Striker Racquetball Racquet
Example of a standard racquetball racket
In racquetball, the small court places you very close to your opponent. Having large rackets makes the space more crowded and may create dangerous situations in colliding with the other person or their racket.
2. You Can Tell the Difference By Shape
If you put both rackets side by side, you should be able to notice some physical differences in size and shape. Tennis rackets appear oval-like in shape, having a rounder head (the top of the racket). Racquetball rackets are slightly more squared off at the head and form a dramatic teardrop.
The shape of the racket will have an impact on the sweet spot location. The sweet spot is the point on the racket where you make the most powerful, accurate, and central contact.
Frame shapes for racquetball rackets:
- Triangular/Teardrop: This racket shape increases the size of the sweet spot for easier accuracy and control. It does not require as much finesse in finding the spot, allowing for controlled returns but less power.
- Quadraform: This racket head takes on a square rather than round shape. It is known for a smaller sweet spot, but more power. This is for more skilled players who can accurately find the smaller sweet spot.
Frame shapes for tennis rackets:
Frame shapes vary slightly for tennis rackets but are not as important as in racquetball. The most common shape is elliptical, which is an oval shape.
Some can be square while others are more teardrop like. The difference in racket frames comes down to weight distribution and size more than anything.
Tennis racket types:
- Power Racket: Designed for increased power, these use oversized heads and are typically longer in length. They follow more of a teardrop shape.
- Control Racket: These rackets are typically rounder with a smaller head and shorter length. These provide less spring than power rackets resulting in less power and a smaller sweet spot.
- Tweener Rackets: Short for “between,” the racket provides a mix of power and control. This racket is recommended for beginners as they are easier to maneuver and control.
3. Strings Matter
While you may not be able to tell from the naked eye, the string used on each racket is different. The strings vary in material, coating, and braiding patterns used to result in different performance outcomes.
The differences in strings for tennis and racquetball rackets come down to “feel” for players. The feel of a racket is how the ball is able to pop off a racket with both power and control.
Racquetball strings are looser on the racket and they lead to more power and pop for the fast-paced game. Tennis strings are designed for control in a game requiring placement.
We wrote an extensive article about racquetball strings. Take a look by clicking here and get all the details.
Ball speed is much faster in racquetball, requiring strings that handle more force. The strings used in tennis rackets could break if they took the same impact. The tighter strings in tennis are better for a slower moving ball for increased control and power, while racquetball strings are designed for high impact and fast returns.
4. Racquetball Rackets Have A Recognizable Safety Feature
Other than size and shape, you can tell the difference between rackets by one little feature: a wrist strap. Racquetball rackets have these straps attached to your wrist while tennis rackets do not.
They benefit players in the two main ways:
- Safety: In the fast-paced game of racquetball, your racket could fly out of your hand during play. The strap prevents this for safety. It prevents you from injuring your opponent, yourself, and your racket.
- Control: The cord is tied snuggly on your wrist to prevent movement when playing. This increases control as the racket has less ability to move when you strike the ball.
Wrist straps are not as necessary in tennis because the game is slower and requires less jarring movements that could result in loss of racket holding control.
You are much further from your opponent, so if you do let go of the racket, it will not likely hit them.
5. Weight and Balance Differ For Game Objectives
Both tennis and racquetball rackets differ in weight and balance for play style. Choosing the proper weight and distribution in the racket will lead to different playing outcomes.
Heavier rackets result in more power and stability as well as greater shock absorption in the handle. These rackets are better for those seeking to improve the strength of their hitting. Lighter rackets provide greater spin for skilled shots and allow for easier maneuvering for a variety of shots.
Balance of weight is also key, these can be divided into three categories:
- Head Light: Allows for a faster swing, stability once contact is made, and reduces vibration with more weight in the handle.
- Head Heavy: With more weight in the head, you will get more power and the racket head will not move as much for greater control.
- Even Balanced: You get a bit of both (power and speed) with this racket. This is best for beginners with versatility and even distribution.
Heavier rackets are slower moving but result in greater power. These are for players who value power in beating their opponent. Lighter rackets lead to faster swings, allowing you to reach more difficult shots faster.
Weight distribution varies from racket to racket in the same categories as tennis:
- Head Light: Feels very light, is easy to maneuver, and increased control.
- Head Heavy: More weight in the head results in greater swing speed and leads to more power in shots.
- Even Balance: Control and power are both incorporated for a more generalized racket.
While both sports require a racket, knowing the difference for each will give you the knowledge to make an educated choice. Once learning these differences, you can use one sport-specific racket that best suits your play style!