Often, tennis is overlooked as the ideal sports for kids, being passed up for the more popular options like soccer and softball. However, tennis offers plenty of benefits- from developing their hand-eye coordination to enhancing their fine and gross motor skills.
And without the need to form large teams or invest in pricey sports equipment, it’s also a pretty affordable sport. All your child needs is a tennis racket and a few tennis balls as a bare minimum.
That said, you need to be careful when choosing a racket for your toddler. In our article, we’ll review the best kids tennis rackets and highlight a few factors to help you pick the perfect one for your youngling.
- 1 What is the Ideal Age to Introduce Your Kids to Tennis?
- 2 How to Choose Tennis Rackets for Juniors
- 3 Best Kids Tennis Rackets
- 4 Final Verdict
What is the Ideal Age to Introduce Your Kids to Tennis?
A common question among parents is: at what age should my toddler start playing tennis? The truth is, the right age differs from one child to another. However, the consensus answer from most tennis experts is between 4 and 6 years old.
If your toddler starts learning how to play this sport before the age of 4, they won’t gain any substantial benefits. That’s because they’ll be too young to comprehend what’s going on around them.
Sure, you can take them to the tennis courts when they’re 2 or 3 years old. You can even try rolling some balls to them. This will amuse them and perhaps pique their interest, which can increase their likelihood of taking up the sport 1 or 2 years later.
However, you shouldn’t force an activity on them. Chances are, they’ll prefer unstructured free play like running around or dancing to going to the tennis courts.
Once they turn 4, you can then engage them in light tennis games. By this we mean, introducing the basic concepts while also making it enjoyable to them. As VeryWell Family explains, any sports activities for kids under the age of 8 should be about physical activity, gaining new skills and most importantly, having fun.
How to Choose Tennis Rackets for Juniors
One of the most crucial factors to consider when choosing a racket for your toddler is the size. A racket that is too tiny can result in excessive strain on your child’s wrists and elbows. Over time, this can disrupt their form and technique of playing tennis.
On the other hand, a racket that’s too big for your kid’s size can make the sport seem more difficult than it really is. The harder they perceive the game to be, the higher the probability of losing interest in tennis.
When it comes to kids racket size, what you need to consider most is the length. Rackets designed for younger players often range from 19 to 26 inches in length. This distance is estimated from the butt cap all the way to the top of the frame’s hoop. The idea is to get your child a racket that is as long as they can handle.
The racket length you choose will depend on their age and height. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you:
|Child’s age||Child’s height in inches||Racket length in inches|
|4 years||40 or shorter||19|
|10-12 years or||55||26|
|12 and up||Over 55 inches||Adult size|
There are instances where you’ll find that the ideal racket for your toddler falls between two sizes. In this case, the best thing to do is to go with a smaller size. Unless they’re well-experienced or are looking to challenge themselves, you should opt for the smaller racket.
At times, parents will choose bigger-sized rackets for their kids with the aim of helping them use this equipment for longer. However, it’s not advisable to do so. As mentioned earlier, a racket that is too long can make it difficult to learn basic skills.
Besides, tennis rackets are very affordable. So even if your child outgrows his/her racket quickly, it won’t cost much to replace it.
Apart from the racket’s length, it’s also important to consider the weight. With this aspect, you’ll have to make a tradeoff between weight and power. Ideally, the heavier a racket is, the greater the power it offers.
But as in the case of length, you should pick a racket that is only as heavy as your young one can handle. If you buy a racket that feels too heavy on their hands, they won’t be able to swing with ease, neither will they learn the correct form.
Back to the benefits, rackets that are reasonably heavier also offer more stability due to the contact they make with the ball. Since there’s more weight at the point of contact, there’s minimal change in the stability of the racket you’re holding. Thus, heavier rackets will feel more stable compared to light models.
So what is the ideal weight for a child’s racket? This will depend on your child’s age. The older they are, the heavier a racket they can handle. However, it’s always good to test the racket prior to purchasing.
Even if you’re buying online, visit a local sports store with your child and look for the racket you’re planning to buy. Have your child feel the weight of the racket and attempt to lift or swing.
The ideal weight should allow your toddler to swing uniformly on all the main sections where the ball makes contact. Also, they should be able to swing without fatiguing their arms or shoulder muscles too fast.
The overall design of the racket has evolved significantly over time. As a result, we now have more size options for the racket head. For the adult version, the racket head ranges from 80 to 135 inches.
But for junior players, these rackets have head sizes starting from 60 to 80 inches. Question is: should you choose a racket with a small or big head?
You should base this decision on the experience your child has at the tennis court. If they’re just starting out, rackets with larger heads are a better option as they’re more forgiving. They have that sweet spot, making it easier for your child to land a shot.
However, if your child has been playing tennis for several years now, a smaller-sized racket will suffice. It’s likely that they’ve learned to be accurate when hitting tennis balls, which means they don’t need a big sweet spot.
The next aspect you should take into account is the distribution of weight across the racket. Based on this aspect, rackets for juniors can be categorized into three: head heavy, head-light and balance.
Head Heavy Rackets
With this racket, most of its weight is concentrated on the head. While such rackets provide more hitting power, they also call for more control to wield them properly. Due to their overly-sized heads, head heavy rackets are meant to propel the tennis balls at a faster speed.
And since most of the weight is in the region of the racket’s head, even a slow but well-calculated swing will send the ball at the same speed as a faster swing.
That said, these types of rackets are more suitable for experienced players. This is because they require players who have ample body strength and control, which is needed to handle the top-heavy piece of equipment.
Head Light Rackets
In this case, most of the weight is located closer to the handle’s end. Traditionally, most rackets have always been head-light to boost maneuverability.
Ironically, there are a few head-light rackets that are quite heavy. The good thing is that even with higher weights, they’re incredibly easier to control.
These are the best types of rackets for children and other inexperienced tennis players. They provide greater mobility by making it easier to readjust players’ positions in real-time.
This is the happy medium between head heavy and head-light. Essentially, balanced rackets strike the perfect balance between freedom of movement and power.
With these rackets, the specific point at which the weight is distributed equally is at the middle as estimated from the butt of the handle. If your child is not looking to improve either their speed of swings or power, then a balanced racket is the way to go.
You also need to pay attention to the grip. Put simply, this is the perimeter of the handle’s cross-section. It’s the thickness level of the handle when estimated from the outside.
Thus, a racket with a good grip makes it easy for your child to hold. With such a racket, your junior player will be able to:
- Master control of the racket when making shots
- Feel comfortable on the court regardless of how long they play
- Minimize the likelihood of dropping the racket
- Avoid injuring their wrists and elbows
Tennis rackets designed for the young ones have a grip size ranging from 4 to 4 ¾ inches. For kids already in high-school, the 4-inch grip will feel very comfortable. But for those below the age of 10, a smaller grip- between 3 ⅝ and 3 ⅞ inches- is better.
The best kids tennis rackets will be made from high-quality materials. The most common are graphite and aluminum. Some manufacturers also use boron/ kevlar.
This is a lightweight material that is derived from carbon. Rackets could be made entirely from graphite or from a composite of graphite. Composite simply means that other materials- like fiberglass and copper- have been infused in their construction.
For junior players, a composite graphite racket is a better option. It offers more flexibility and transmits fewer vibrations, making it more forgiving to players who get mishits. On the other hand, a graphite racket is better suited for advanced tennis players.
The frame of an aluminum racket is just as light as that of graphite. The only difference is that aluminum is cheaper.
Also, aluminum rackets can have one of two designs: tubular or bi-hollow. For young children, a bi-hollow shape is the most recommended as it’s more flexible and allows greater room for error. Tubular rackets are designed for the more experienced players who are capable of hitting with a lot of power.
These materials are also fairly similar to graphite, although there are a couple of differences. For instance, both boron and kevlar weigh less, are stiffer and can transmit vibrations more easily.
While rackets made from either boron or Kevlar are just as durable as aluminum or graphite, they’re not recommended for toddlers and beginner players. Since they offer less room for error, players will find them difficult to control and handle.
Best Kids Tennis Rackets
1. Wilson US Open Junior Tennis Racquet
If you’re looking for a racket designed specifically for younger children, the Wilson US Open Junior is a superb option.
It’s constructed using aluminum, a material that makes it both lightweight and sturdy enough to withstand the occasional rough play of kids.
Even better, it’s available in different color combinations so you’ll be able to find the perfect one for your toddler. The color combos are green and yellow, orange and blue, red and blue, black and white.
What I love most about it is that it comes in virtually all sizes, making it the best tennis racket for ages 6-12 year old. Pick from the 21, 23 and 25-inch rackets. For reference, the manufacturer has included a sizing chart along with the product.
The Junior Tennis Racket comes already strung. This means you and your toddler can head directly to the tennis court after getting the equipment; no need for assembly.
The only thing missing from the package is a cover. If you want the racket to last, you might want to spend a little extra getting this accessory.
- Durable and lightweight aluminum frame
- Provides easy swing for junior players
- Includes size guidelines for different ages
- Available in vibrant color schemes
- Does not come with a cover
- The US Open Junior Tennis Racket is extremely lightweight and easy to swing. It's the perfect choice for players beginning to learn to play tennis.
- Aluminum RACquet
- Approved for tennis players 10 and under ages : youth 7 to 8
- Strung racquet without a cover
2. HEAD Speed Kids
Inspired by HEAD’s Tour Pro line of rackets, this is a great starter racket for your child. Sporting an aluminum construction, you’re guaranteed of getting a lightweight and solid racket.
Like the Wilson US Open, the HEAD Speed Kids also comes in four sizes: 19, 21, 23 and 25-inch. The only difference with Speed is that there’s a specific color for each size.
The 19-inch comes in green and is recommended for players 4 years or younger. The 21-inch is in a red color and is fit for 4 to 5-year olds while the 23-inch (yellow) is tailored for 6 to 8-year olds. Lastly, the 25-inch that comes in blue, can be used by any 9 to 10-year-old.
On all the rackets, the manufacturer has added the HEAD logo. This is stenciled on the strings as well as the side and bottom of the racket’s head.
The Speed falls under the category of head-light rackets, meaning that most of its weight is concentrated on the handle. This offers two key benefits. One, it improves balance which aids in minimizing vibrations when hitting the ball. Secondly, it provides stability.
- Aluminum composition makes for a sturdy and durable racket
- Available in a variety of sizes
- Offers a good grip, stability and balance
- It lacks a cover
- HEAD PERFORMANCE: Born out of revolutionizing how we ski and play tennis, HEAD has constantly pushed athletic equipment into the modern era. For all levels of play, HEAD offers nothing but the best tennis equipment on the market.
- GREAT FOR BEGINNERS: HEAD Speed junior tennis rackets are ideal for a range of youth players. Beginners' rackets are available in sizes 19-25 inches for children ages 2-8+.
- HEAD LIGHT ADVANTAGE: The youth tennis rackets have a head light balance which helps reduce vibration and aids in stability when hitting the ball.
- DURABLE ALUMINUM: Made with an aluminum o-beam construction, the kids' tennis rackets last until they outgrow them.
- DIMENSIONS: Frame Weight: 180 g / 6.3 oz, Head Size : 107in, Grip Size: 3.625in, Length: 21in.
3. Babolat Nadal 26 Junior
If your child aspires to be the next Rafael Nadal, getting them Babolat Nadal 26 that’s aptly named after the player is an excellent choice.
This one is designed for kids who are a little older, specifically, 10 to 12-year-olds. Alternatively, you have to be at least 55 inches tall. The racket is the smaller version of the Nadal Pure Aero tennis racket that’s made for adults. In fact, it has identical features only that they’re tailored for younger players.
These features include an exceptional design that consists of a yellow and black color scheme. The 26-inch racket is also made of aluminum to make it lightweight.
Furthermore, it’s equipped with a rather large head size. This gives the player plenty of room to make errors as they continue learning.
The racket comes pre-strung; hence, ready for use. Better yet, it comes with a cover, giving you a convenient place to store it when you’re done practising for the day.
- Suitable for recreational play
- Comes in a fun yellow and black color scheme
- Light and portable thanks to the aluminum construction
- Sports a tight string pattern to enhance gameplay
- Includes a racket cover
- A little pricey
- A nice 26" long racquet for the learning junior from 10 to 12 years old, over 4' 11" tall
- designed to look like Raphael Nadal's tennis racquet
- lightweight aluminum construction
- Reason for proper length is to ensure the racquet does not scrape on the ground. Besides that get longest possible. To determine maximum length - wear tennis shoes and measure from "vee" between thumb and forefinger to ground. Add 3 inches. This is the absolute longest racquet child should use. For example if it measures 21 inches, plus 3 is 24 inches; child should get 23 inch racquet as 25 is too long and 24 is not made
4. Weierfu Junior Tennis Racket
Coming from a less popular brand, the Weierfu Kids Tennis Racket is another option worth considering.
Designed to keep your toddlers engaged, the racket comes in 3 different sizes ranging from 17 to 21-inch. Every racket comes with a white base color, which is beautifully complemented with either yellow or red highlights. All rackets have a white grip.
Looks aside, the Weierfu is also a reliable weapon in the tennis court. It’s made of high-grade aluminum that keeps its weight to a minimum while also providing durability. To be specific, the racket tips the scales at 150 grams, which makes it pretty lightweight; hence easy for a toddler to swing.
Another thing we love about this racket is that it’s available in a 2-pack, which is reasonably-priced. So if you have more than one child, and they’re both interested in learning tennis, this package will come in handy.
If you don’t need the extra racket, you can purchase the 1-pack racket that includes a bag for convenient storage.
Most tennis racket manufacturers don’t provide any form of guarantee. This can cause many buyers to doubt the quality of their products. Luckily, Weierfu stands out from the pack by providing a 3-month money-back guarantee.
- Available in different sizes and color schemes
- Includes a storage bag
- Comes with 90-day money back guarantee
- Lightweight construction
- Only suitable for children under the age of 4
- Easy to Control: the tennis racket length is 431 mm(17 inches),easier to master/control the racket,head size is 65 inch²,threaded with 14x16 resistent strings,higher chance of tennis ball contact,more suitable for tennis beginners or starters,this kids tennis racket can help them develop tennis skills more effective
- Powerful Swing: Our junior tennis racket is made of top-quality Aluminum,tennis racquet weight is 150 gram(approx 0.33lb),Lightweight power for easy swinging,more durable and stronger
- Stability&Durable: Use Rectangular Section technology,the rigidity and stability of tennis bat has been increased significantly,premium quality toddlers tennis racket for kids
- Package&Application: This junior tennis racquet is packed in a cover bag,it's a great gift for kids to keep energetic everyday.
- Gurantee:To guarantee your complete and total satisfaction, we offer our customers a 90-Day money-back guarantee
5. Street Tennis Club Rackets for Kids
For several years, Street Tennis Club has been manufacturing an array of tennis products that are tailored for the younger population. One of their most recent inventions is the Tennis Racket for Kids.
This piece of equipment is specifically designed to help your child improve their strokes and to establish better contact with the ball. This is made possible by the polyester string construction.
What’s more, the racket comes in 3 main sizes: 17,19 and 21-inch. This means you’re likely to find one that’s appropriate for your child’s age and height.
The Kids Racket is made from aluminum, giving it a lightweight construction that aids in improving your child’s strokes, and subsequently, their confidence in the field. Also, the racket arrives pre-stringed so it’s ready for use.
The grip, which is fabricated from polyurethane, is tailored for the small hands of a child. The manufacturer has also included an interactive video game, which helps kids learn more about playing tennis.
- Lightweight aluminum build
- Great for kids and beginners
- Available in several sizes
- Includes an informative and engaging online game
- Does not have many color options
- HELPS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF TENNIS SKILLS - Using the proper racket helps in the development of stroke mechanics and technique
- HIGHER CHANCE OF TENNIS BALL CONTACT - Using the proper racket also helps in hitting the ball more often during a game or practice
- CHOOSE FROM DIFFERENT SIZES - This racket is available in 17, 19, and 21 inch
- GREAT BUILD AND FINISH - This racket is made from top-quality Aluminum and is available in different colors
- FREE GAME INCLUDED - This tennis racket comes with a free video game that you can play on your driveway
Tennis is a rewarding sport that can be played by people of all ages, including kids. However, it’s vital that you choose a racket appropriate for your child’s age, height, and skill level. Choosing the best kids tennis racket will not only improve their performance but it also mitigates the risk of injury.
One of the best tennis rackets for younger children is the Wilson US Open Junior Tennis Racquet. Offering a good balance between pricing and features, this racket is uniquely designed for a junior player.
For one, its frame is made of aluminum, which makes it light; hence easy to handle. It also comes in fun color schemes and up to 3 kid sizes. You can choose between the 21-inch that’s suitable for kids up to the age of 6, the 23-inch tailored for 7 to 8 year olds and the 25-inch which is perfect for 9 to 10 year olds.