Kids Tennis Racquet Buying Guide
What Tennis Racket Size Should I Buy for my Child?
You’ve been thinking about getting your son or daughter a brand-new tennis racket. Tennis is a great game for kids of all ages, and with the USTA guidelines for Junior Tennis, the game has never been more fun and accessible. However, finding the best tennis racquet for beginners can be a daunting task.
Fortunately, choosing a Tennis Racket for a Child takes just a few easy steps:
- Find your Kid’s Tennis Racket Size <<LINK>>
- Determine Your Price Range Based on How Often your Child Will Play Tennis <<LINK>>
For Experienced Players or Kids over 3 feet 10 inches tall you might also consider:
- Racket Weight <<LINK>>
- Grip Size <<LINK>>
- Vibration Control <<LINK>>
- Racket Strings <<LINK>>
- Balance, Flexibility, Head Weight & Head Size <<LINK>>
- Adaptive Rackets <<LINK>>
First things First: Tennis Racket Size - or more Specifically, Racket Length.
The tennis racquet size for your child is entirely dependent on their height. Fortunately, the Tennis & Golf Height Chart is a perfect way to determine what size of racket you should buy. For example, if your son is 3 feet 3 inches tall, they should play with a 21” racket. If your daughter is 4 feet 4 inches tall, she should play with a 23” racquet.
<<SIZE CHART GRAPHIC>>
Having the correct length racket makes a significant difference in how your child will experience success in Junior Tennis. A tennis racket that is too long will be cumbersome and difficult to swing. Tennis & Golf’s Racket Expert Scott Halicki notes that one of the best ways to determine a young players comfort with length is to see where they tend to hold the racket. “A player’s tennis racket grip should be at the end of the racket, but if a player keeps choking up on the racket, that’s a good sign that the racket is too long.”
Cost & Quality of Racket
Now that you’ve determined what tennis racket size to get, it is important to consider both the cost and the quality of the rackets available for your child.
Let’s break down cost and quality for the three basic tennis racquet sizes for juniors:
- 19” & 21” Racquets – For kids 3 feet tall and under. <<LINK>>
- 23” Racquets – For players between 3 feet 10 inches and 4 feet 5 inches tall. <<LINK>>
- 25” & 26” Racquets – For girls & boys between 4 feet 5 inches and 5 feet tall. <<LINK>>
19” & 21” Racquets
For Kids 3 feet and under, the quality of each racket is almost identical, and all are good tennis racquets for beginners. All rackets use a two-piece construction which use fiberglass and plastic to construct the head of the racket. This design is simple and will not last over time, which is why 19” and 21” rackets all range in price from about $23 to $30. Since kids in this age group are using the soft USTA Red Foam or Red Felt Balls, the necessity of strong one-piece construction is not necessary. Furthermore, these young players don’t have the strength to get the benefits of fancy design and structure.
But each brand does have their superstar ambassador, Wilson has Roger Federer, Babolat is endorsed by Rafa Nadal, while Novak Djokovic is with Head. And while 19” and 21” rackets offer little discernible difference in quality, the pro’s that endorse them might. Is it wrong to buy a Rafa Racket because that’s my daughters’ favorite player? Absolutely not when you are buying a 19”or 21” racquet.
For kids between 3 feet 10 inches and 4 feet 5 inches tall, 23” racquets offer some new design elements with the introduction of one-piece racket construction. One-piece rackets offer improved head speed and control and are made to last. In addition, these rackets cost more, so for the new tennis player using a 23” inch racket, it is important to gauge how invested you think they will be in the sport.
If your son or daughter will potentially have just a fleeting interest, then starting with a nice basic inexpensive racket for beginners will only set you back about $23. However, if you plan on hitting with them 2 or 3 times a week, consider a racket of one-piece construction that is built to last. 23” one-peice rackets cost around $50 but provide more control and durability for the more committed beginner.
25” & 26” Racket
Here is where it gets interesting. For players 4 feet 5 inches to 5 feet tall, the range of available rackets and costs grow considerably. You can still purchase a 25” two-piece entry level racket for beginners that cost about $25, but now you will also see superior rackets that have similar technological features of adult rackets designed for the junior player – just be prepared to pay adult prices.
There are lots of options, with Head, Vokl, Babolat, and Wilson all offering great rackets from $50 to $120. Again, you will want to consider the interest of your child when picking out the best racket, but at this size racket you may also be thinking about factors like Racket Weight, Grip Size and Vibration Control.
Racket Weight is the most important quality to consider after racket length and cost. The weight range of most 25” and 26” Junior Rackets is small, ranging from 8 to 8.8 ounces. However, for kids that can be a significant difference. What Tennis & Golf’s Scott Halicki recommends is to “consider height and growth potential when looking at a racket.” For example, if your daughter is 4 feet 5 inches tall, our growth chart recommends a 23” racket, but maybe she is ready to grow or has been playing with a 23” racket and it is time to upgrade, “This is a good time to consider going to a longer 25” racket, but maybe one with less weight.” Choosing a racket with less weight introduces her to the new length of racket without forcing her to drastically change how she has played.
Junior Rackets don’t offer the variety of grip sizes that adult rackets do. For each particular racket there will only be one grip size available. If you think you child needs a bigger grip size, then add on an overgrip to make the grip larger. Feel free to contact the experts at Tennis & Golf to help you pick one out. An overgrip is easy to put on and try. If it doesn’t work, you can just take it off.
Lots of kids (and adults) don’t like it when their rackets vibrate when they hit the ball. Especially when they are growing up to a new racket size or a new type of junior tennis ball, like from orange felt to green felt, the increased vibration of the racket can be frustrating. Volkl Junior 25” & 26” Rackets offer Volkl’s patented V-Feel technology that decreases vibration in the racket for a more pleasurable swing.
All Junior Rackets come pre-strung and ready to play. The strings are all synthetic and set up for a combination of power and control. Once the racket has been used for a while, and if your child hasn’t grown to the next size up, junior rackets can be easily strung by the pros at Tennis & Golf. A good rule of thumb is how many times a week your child plays, is how many times a year you should have your strings changed. If you play once a week, get your strings changed once a year.
Balance, Flexibility, Head Weight & Head Size
The best way to determine if your child needs a racket with different balance, flexibility, head weight or head size is by trying out your choices. The best way to do that is to demo a racket from Tennis & Golf. We have select choices available in the 25” and 26” racket sizes. Click here for more information.
With the great array of choices in Junior Tennis, there are some ideal starting points to help players with adaptive needs to start playing tennis. Maybe a larger head or a shorter length racket would be a good place to start. A Tennis & Golf Racket Expert can help find the best option for any adaptive player, just stop by or give us a call.