Starter Racquets (Children)
For children just beginning to play tennis, all major racquet
manufacturers offer a line of starter racquets. Starter racquets are
lightweight, inexpensive, and come in several different lengths. Expect to pay
between $15.00 and $30.00 depending on the racquet. I would recommend one with
a wider frame ¾ of an inch or more for better stability.
A graphite/composite racquet is superior to an aluminum
starter racquet and should be purchased once your child can start hitting the
ball back and forth over the net. Graphite/composite frames are usually double
the price of a starter racquet, but the materials these frames are made of will
add power and pop on all of their shots. Expect to pay between $50.00 and
$100.00 for a graphite/composite frame.
Graphite/Composite racquets can be difficult to find in
smaller version frames, but children can adjust by choking up on the grip.
10 & Under Tennis
Racquet Size Recommendations
Racquet Length: Child’s
years & up
years & up 40”-44”
years & up 45”49”
years & up 50”-55”
26” or 27” 11
years and up
Junior Racquets come in one grip size only, so do not worry
about selecting a grip size when buying a racquet.
Adult Racquets & Tennis
How to measure a grip
Place the palm of your hand on the big handle bevel that is in
line with the face (strings) of your racquet. There should be a gap from the
tip of your ring finger and where your hand wraps around the grip to fit your
index finger of your opposite hand through.
If there is not enough space, the grip is too small. If there
is too much space, the grip is too big. Playing with the wrong grip size can
contribute to tennis elbow. Gripping a racquet too tight in the ready position
and poor stroke production are the two primary reasons why players get tennis
elbow. A poor racquet choice can also be hard on your elbow. Light, stiff,
head- heavy racquets contribute to tennis elbow, so look for a heavier,
How to choose the right
First of all, I would recommend play testing a tennis racquet
prior to purchasing one. Only you
can tell what feels comfortable to you.
The next thing to consider is what type of player you are and
do you play mostly singles or doubles. Tennis players who primarily play
doubles and spend most of their time at the net, often prefer a head-light
oversize tennis racquet because they are easy to maneuver around at the net and
have a larger sweet shot. The downfall of oversize frames is miss-hits on the
outer edge of the frame will have more twist in your hand and can be hard on
If ball control is your main concern, standard and mid-size
tennis racquets have a smaller sweet spot than an oversized tennis racquet.
However, they offer more control because you do not get the catapulting effect
that you can get from racquets with an oversized string bed. Many high level
players prefer a smaller head size for this reason.
Open of dense string
Another area to consider is the pattern of the strings. An
open string pattern has bigger spaces between the strings and will help when
you add spin because the strings will “bite” into the ball more deeply. For
example, the more topspin you add to your shots, the harder you can hit the
ball and keep it in the court. An open pattern, for instance, could have 16
main and 20 cross strings. A dense string pattern, for example, could have 18
mains and 20 cross strings which will give you added control. To generate more
topspin though, you’ll need to brush up on the ball more severely with a
vertical racquet face.
How often should I replace
If you’ve had the same old racquet for years and don’t think
you need a new one, you might want to reconsider. Each time you strike a ball,
the frame distorts backward to absorb the impact then bends forward as it
returns energy to the ball. Over time, this process damages the bonds between
the thousands of graphite fibers (the primary composite of racquets) and the
resins that hold them together. Eventually, the frame looses stiffness and
becomes “soft” causing a loss of power and control according to the United
States Racquet Stringers Association.
While there’s no formula for determining how long your frame
will last, most experts agree that, assuming you don’t abuse your racquet, you
should think about replacing your frame every two years.