Babolat Pure Strike Team Specs
Head Size:100in² / 645cm²
Length:27in / 68,5cm
Weight:10.7oz / 303g
Unstrung Weight:10.1oz / 285g
Balance:33,91cm / 1 pts HL
Unstrung Balance:33cm / 4 pts HL
String Pattern:16 Mains / 19 Crosses
When it comes to beginner and intermediate rackets, it can often seem like control has gone out the window when the racket companies designed these rackets. To my excitement, I found the Babolat Pure Strike Team to buck the trend and give players the control they deserve!
Everyone is obsessed with power and spin, often at the expense of control and stability. For marketing purposes, massive spin and power are more sellable than boring control, but power and spin without control don’t win you tennis matches.
It’s easy to think that beginners’ techniques are less developed and therefore requiring a little bit of extra help with power and spin. The thing is, if their techniques are less developed, they’re going to want a little bit of help with control too. Many of the rackets aimed at beginners don’t offer the kind of control that is needed to develop a beginner’s tennis game. Instead, they are super light rackets that give easy spin, but won’t last you a long time because your game will soon progress to a level where you need something more stable.
As someone who loves the Pure Strike rackets, I have to admit, I wasn’t excited to try the Pure Strike Team. So often, you love the more advanced rackets in a range, but, when you try the lighter rackets you find they have no similarities whatsoever. For me, the Pure Strikes are all about a blend of speed and control and I was hopeful those qualities might shine through in the Pure Strike Team.
For the Team version, Babolat has dropped the weight down to 285g and slightly expanded the head to 100sq inch, making it a bit easier to manage for players who are newer to tennis.
The thing I like about these changes is they’re not too drastic. The weight has not gone too light and the head size has remained pretty standard. You may think that a massive head might make hitting the ball easier, but you’ll find that it really isn’t not that hard to find the middle of the racket.
All the great technology I love in my 305g Pure Strike is included in the Pure Strike Team, which should give it that same feel that I’m used to. FSI Power Technology optimizes the space between the strings for optimal spin and power and Hybrid Frame Technology gives the racket its solid feel and easy manoeuvrability.
This is the lightest racket in the Pure Strike range, but upon picking it up, felt extremely well balanced. Warming up, I felt like it had good stability for its weight, and I was really feeling the ball on the strings for a long time. As I moved into a more thorough workout, I hoped that this would translate into some good control and a racket that’s suitable for beginners through to advanced intermediates.
Groundstrokes – 7.5/10
I was quite lucky because I managed to get this stick strung up exactly how I wanted before we played. I have a tendency to hit the back fences when I play with these lighter rackets, so I strung it up pretty tight with the hope of taming my wild swings. The Pure Strike Team really took to this setup and it gave brilliant control for such a light racket.
Unlike many of the rackets designed for beginner and intermediate players, the Pure Strike Team is a little firmer, which means the ball stays on the racket a little bit longer and you can put more of your power through the ball. In many beginner rackets, the strings generate the power through a trampoline effect.
Think about pulling a rubber band, the further you pull it back, the faster it’s going to explode forward. It’s the same with a tennis racket, the looser the racket and strings, the more the ball is going to ping back the other way. If you’re looking for some easy power this is great, but if you’re using the true power that your body creates, you have no way of controlling it.
Ideally, you want to be generating true power, as opposed to the easy power of the strings. So, in my opinion, you might as well learn with a racket that is going to replicate the way a more advanced racket plays. You’re always moving forward in tennis and it won’t be long before you need a racket that gives you a little bit more control.
The Pure Strike Team is brilliant at doing this on the groundstrokes, as it is one of the most stable rackets I’ve played with at this weight. It combines this with great manoeuvrability, so you won’t have problems swinging and it is extremely comfortable.
I found it suited my backhand slightly more than my forehand, but I’m sure this is just a matter of preference. It is well balanced on both sides and won’t be pushed around; so even if you find yourself playing at a slightly higher level, it will still do a good job.
From the back of the court, this is the best beginner/ intermediate racket I’ve played with. I liked the Wilson Ultra 105S CV a lot, but I found the Babolat Pure Strike Team to be slightly better from the back of the court. I gave it a 7.5 out of 10 from the back of the court – a top, top score for a beginner/intermediate racket.
Volleys – 7.5/10
Based on the specs and the way this racket played from the back, it was always likely this racket would perform well at the net for its weight. It’s got a little extra stability that defies its 285g which should lend it to volleying. I find the same thing with the 305g Pure Strike – it has a feel of a heavier racket, which is something I like a lot.
The thing I really noticed with the Pure Strike Team at the net is the balance. It’s very evenly balanced, and this makes it move effortlessly through the air. No matter how fast the ball came at me, I was able to get into position with ease and give myself the best chance of making the volley.
The ball was coming at me pretty fast, but I felt the Pure Strike allowed me to absorb that power and control the ball back into court. Of course, it’s not going to perform as solid as a much heavier racket at the net, but for a racket under 290g it does a great job.
Often when I volley with some of the lighter rackets, I feel like the ball hits the strings and is gone before you even realize it. With the Pure Strike though, it just controls the ball a little better and you feel like you are impacting the ball rather than the ball impacting you.
Feeling the ball on the strings is a great feeling when you’re learning because you feel more involved in the shot and can better understand the movements you are making. Many beginner rackets don’t give you that feeling, but the Pure Strike Team does.
I have given this stick another 7.5 out of 10 for the volleys. It is as good as they come for a beginner/intermediate racket.
Serve – 7/10
I’d say this was my least favorite part of the playtest, but it still wasn’t a bad experience. The whippy nature of this racket allows you to get good racket head speed and this is the key to power and spin. I did feel I was missing a little bit of the feel and control that I get with my 18 x 20 Babolat Pure Strike, but this is to be expected.
Not everyone wants as much control, and certainly when you’re starting out, you do want a bit of pop to help you out. The serve is a particularly hard technique to master, so it’s best to have a racket that offers you a little bit of power. Don’t get me wrong though, this racket will still leave plenty of the work to you, and this is exactly what you want. The goal for any level of player is to continue improving, and this racket encourages that by making you generate your own power and spin.
I didn’t have a great serving day with this racket, missing lots of first serves long, and I found my second serve came out a bit too spinny. Of course, this is mostly to do with the change from my normal racket to something slightly different. However, I felt this was the area where there was the biggest difference in quality between a more advanced racket and this slightly more intermediate standard racket.
I still gave the Babolat Pure Strike Team a 7 out of 10 on the serve, which is a great score. Its manoeuvrable, yet solid and encourages you to develop your strokes. Therefore, it makes it an excellent racket for any adult beginners or intermediates. At 285g it’s not going to be too heavy for an adult, but it will give them a lot of the benefits of a more advanced racket.
Overall – 7.5/10
Overall, I would have to say this is a brilliant racket for any beginner or intermediate player. Maybe I’m a little bit biased because the Pure Strikes suit my game, but I do feel this racket gives would give a beginning player a great head start.
Like the rest of the Pure Strike range, the Pure Strike Team gives its user easy manoeuvrability and good control, but it’s still got the power that less advanced players need. At 285g, it comes in at an ideal weight for someone who’s at the beginning of their tennis journey, as it’s not too light, but it’s still manageable.
This stick performed well in all areas and was particularly impressive at the net considering its light weight. Too many players get obsessed with “power” rackets these days, but when you generate your own power, you want control to marry that power with. The Pure Strike Team will set you up with that mentality from the beginning of your tennis learning.
This is the best beginner/intermediate racket that I have played with yet and it gets a great score of 7.5 out of 10. It’s an all-round racket that does everything well and it’s certainly something that I would be looking at if I was just starting tennis.
Review by: Will