With so many choices of rackets and brands out there, it can certainly seem daunting to find your child the right tennis racket. In this blog I explain the most important aspects to consider, to make sure you make the right choice and your child has the proper gear to play tennis.
A little glimpse of what’s below: the single most important thing when buying a junior racket is to get the proper length. Getting a racket that is too big will make it difficult for a child to do a proper swing, it also puts unnecessary stress on their muscles. Getting a racket that is too small can limit their progress. Therefore, it is important to take the time to buy the right racket that both enhances your child’s learning process as well as prevents injury.
Read more about the benefits of youth equipment by clicking here.
The length of the racket
The following table illustrates the different lengths of junior rackets and their corresponding age group. Please note that this is a general guideline, so if your child is much taller or shorter than the average height of their age group, you might want to consider getting a racket that is more corresponding to the height of another age group- I will expand more on this below (under “Skill Level”).
2-3 years old
17 – 19 inches
4-6 years old
| 7-8 years old || |
| 9-10 years old || |
| 11-12 years old || |
A trick: Testing the right size
One simple test you can do to test if the size of the racket is correct for the child, is what I like to call the racket – cane test. Simply, start off by having your child stand up straight. Next, place the racket beside them with the head resting on the floor and the butt cap (the end of the handle) facing towards the sky.
Then, have your child place their palm of the hand on top of the butt cap. If they have to bend their arm to do this, it means that the racket is too long for them. On the contrary, if they have to bend their knees or back to reach down then it means the racket is too short. Ideally, they should reach comfortably by standing up straight and keeping their arm relatively straight as well.
In the table above, categorizing racket length to the age of the child, it is important to also consider their playing level. The table’s guidelines are generally recommended for beginner to intermediate players. However, if your child is a more advanced player (especially once they are 9 years old or older) you might want to consider a more performance- geared racket. Most of the main brands will offer more advanced junior rackets. These could be slightly longer and heavier.
The last aspect to consider is the size of the grip. Most junior rackets come with a standard 4-inch grip (the circumference of the racket handle). This generally suits most kids well; however, in some cases the grip might be too small or too big for your child, in which case you might need to do some adjustments. It is easy to make a grip size slightly bigger by simply wrapping the handle with an (extra) overgrip. A regular package of 3 overgrips usually costs not more than €10 and allows you to make the handle slightly thicker. If the grip size is too big, it gets a bit more complicated. In that case you may want to consult your local tennis shop about permanently adjusting the grip. Again, most likely you won’t have to worry about this, but if you are unsure it never hurts to consult with a certified coach or racket technician, and of course, ideally you would want to check this before you buy the racket.
So, as a recap, it is very important to take the time to buy a proper tennis racket for your children. This will not only prevent injuries, but it also helps in their learning process. Moreover, the most important thing to consider when buying a tennis racket for children is the length of the racket, and this will vary depending on your child’s age and/or height. Good luck and have fun playing some tennis!