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Tennis racquets get confusing enough and they don’t make it any easier when they design them for juniors to use.
You’d think they would try to make it a bit easier, but that’s not the case. Fortunately, you have us to help you navigate everything.
Junior tennis racquets come in more sizes than adult racquets do, so it’s important to get it right with a tennis racquet size guide and nail down the right age ranges versus racquet lengths.
It doesn’t have to be all that daunting.
We’re going to explain length differences and grip sizes, as well as string tension and more, all in an effort to turn your little tyke into the next superstar tennis player.
This post covers a broad range of topics regarding junior racquets, but first let’s take a look at the absolute best junior tennis racquets on the market.
Our Reviews Of The Best Junior Racquet
#1 Wilson US Open Junior Tennis Racquet
The available selection of racquets for children pales in comparison to what is available for adult. Even without a tremendous amount of choices, Wilson has put out a top notch option.
Crafted out of aluminum and nylon, this durable children’s racquet is basically the ultimate choice for a beginner.
With a 23” total length, it has an oversized head (for their age at least) to help them land their shots and serves with flying colors.
Normally, over 100 square inches of surface area would be good, but there’s just something about this 92 square inch racquet that provides good balance and even weight distribution.
The standard string pattern keeps things relatively simple, while the sturdy no-slip grip on the handle stays tacky.
Wilson is known for producing quality tennis products and this racquet is no exception.
However, you do get what you pay for, and in this instance it’s a racquet that will last about one year or so.
While the nylon strings are good, kids are tough on just about everything, and these strings are set to break after about a year of use.
Now the good news is they’d likely be upgrading at that point anyway, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Wilson’s goal is to get your child using their brand and being familiar with it as they grow up and upgrade their racquets.
#2 Wilson Junior Burn Pink Tennis Racquet
Wilsion made the best kids tennis racquet and the second best kids tennis racquet you just can’t beat the price and agreeable quality.
Wilson has been known to use the preferred string material type in the tennis world on their adult models, which is natural gut fibers, but your children are going to outgrow these racquets so quickly that there’s no point.
Instead, Wilson’s own brand of nylon strings does the trick just fine. Where the US Open Junior racquet kind of messed up on is sizing.
They are so frequently out of stock of their other three sizes that we only displayed their most often in-stock model on our previous review.
With the Junior Burn, you have four sizes to choose from to contour to the preferences of your child.
So the strings are good and the aluminum frame is set to last a lifetime.
The performance is slightly less than the US Open Junior, but it was a tough claim for the top spot because the Junior Burn is set to last for a longer period of time.
#3 Babolat 2018 Pure Drive 26 Junior Tennis Racquet
Babolat was named after one of the pioneers of tennis as we know it today, and they’ve done hard work to reinvent the game time after time.
Look at any of these junior tennis racquet reviews, and you’ll find a hard look at each brand; Babolat isn’t known for being a low-cost brand and their products are usually worth the price.
Being one of the best tennis racquets for kids, this isn’t exactly cheap when you compare it to Wilson.
Babolat took the time to include some serious features such as the internal cortex system and woofer technology to muffle the handle vibration.
Speaking of the handle, you can choose between three different sizes. Such flexibility may mean this is the last junior racquet your child will need.
Made from graphite with nylon strings, they did what they could to keep the cost as low as possible, but paid a lot of attention to detail.
It’s admittedly expensive, and some adult racquets come in at about 60% of this total cost.
If your little one is dead set on being fantastic at tennis, a good racquet is a necessary tool to get them there.
Graphite bends and contours to their hands, while the durable nylon strings will help carry their hits right over the net. You simply can’t get any better.
#4 Street Tennis Club Tennis Racquet for Kids
Street Tennis Club doesn’t make the best youth tennis racquet but they make a fair model with a great price tag that anyone can get behind.
They focus on a style that appeals to kids and the right specifications that appeal to adults so we can know what to get for them.
The smiley face design always gets a laugh, and the relatively wide sizing chart for multiple stages of growth and development for young tennis players.
Crafted out of a durable nylon string composition and aluminum frame, these are meant to withstand drops, dings and scapes as kids are known to do.
This model is often compared to Wilson for a big reason – price.
This is still competitively priced and it’s one of the cheapest racquet you’re going to find anywhere. While Street Tennis Club is no Wilson, it’s still a solid, quality racquet that your kid(s) will love.
#5 HEAD Speed Kids Tennis Racquet
Last but not least, we have another inexpensive model that’s designed to be aesthetically pleasing to children so they actually want to use it.
These racquets feature an aluminum frame that has an o-beam interior construction that makes it practically indestructible.
It’s okay if kids drop it; it’s what they do. Apart from that, the nylon strings are also pretty fantastic with a bit of extra elasticity to them.
The point is they’re not just designed for children’s size, they’re designed for necessary roughness.
You can even feel it in the ultralight design weighing in at just over 7.4 oz.
It’s fast, built for 10-12 year olds who are still growing arm and wrist muscles and haven’t fully mastered the game yet.
With a 3 ⅝” grip size, it’s the perfect size for smaller hands.
HEAD is your go-to bargain brand that won’t break the bank so your children can continue to enjoy their favorite sport without leading to financial upset.
They’re just made inexpensively to ensure all children have a chance to play.
Junior Tennis Racquet FAQ
How do You Choose a Tennis Racquet for a Child?
You listen to them.
Start them out on the recommended size (see below) so that their center of gravity is aligned, and then see how they feel when they play with it.
Kids tend to overanalyze things and exaggerate, so take their feedback with a grain of salt and apply what seems reasonable.
If they’re feeling sore wrists or arm muscles, the racquet is too big. Even if they’re in the 4-5 age range for the racquet chart you’ll find below, it doesn’t mean that they’re fully ready for it.
You can downgrade them to the 1-4 age range without worry.
You don’t really have to worry about weight draw and square inch space on the racquet head right now.
That’s something that you’re not going to find much variety on since kids outgrow their racquets so quickly.
Instead, those attributes will apply to adult racquets that your kids will start to use around age 12.
What Size Tennis Racquet Should I Buy for My Child?
First, understand that every child is different.
Find out your child’s arm span measurements and take that into account.
That being said, this is a brief chart of the average size racquet that children use based on their age.
For ages 1 to 4: 19”
For ages 4-5: 21”
For ages 6-7: 23”
For ages 8-10: 25”
For ages 10-12: 26”
From that point the next step up is a 27” racquet, which is what most of the professional tennis world is using.
The age chart here is a good metric to begin with when selecting the right youth tennis racquet, but it’s by no means the only thing that you should be on the lookout for.
If your child has an innate talent for tennis, consider getting them a slightly larger racquet than the suggestion for their age range.
Muscle and wrist strength strongly come into play when deciding the right length and head size.
If they can handle a bigger size, go for it; they’re going to have to upgrade one day anyway.
If you notice that going for a larger size negatively impacts their performance in tennis, then revert back to the smaller racquet and try again in six months.
Does a 1” Jump in Racquet Size Matter?
There’s five different sizes because, if you notice, from ages six to twelve, there’s kind of a small jump in length.
Does that extra inch really matter?
Yes, it does.
Children are still developing muscles and certain parts of the brain, and those will all change again once they enter puberty.
These slight adjustments in racquet size are mostly accounting for minor muscle development and the average growth cycle of a child. Arm length, height, weight and span.
The racquet length mixed with your child’s abilities all meet at one point: their center of gravity.
This is the point in their body where they feel “level,” or where their balance resides. For taller people, it might be closer to their upper chest, and shorter people it could be their hips.
Children are technically developing their center of gravity as they go through growth spurts, so these slight adjustments grow alongside them.
How do You Size a Youth Tennis Racquet?
A big part of it depends on their arm length.
There are going to be times where they use two hands for a two-handed backhand, but most of their swings are going to be single-handed.
If they have short arms, you don’t want a huge and heavy tennis racquet. They’ll be slow to swing and feel fatigue and muscle soreness rather quickly.
A good rule of thumb is to scale down from an adult’s tennis racquet size. For an adult, you would find out your total arm span and work back from there.
If your arms are 27” long (54” in total of just arm span), then you would need a 27” racquet. The same applies to your children.
How to String a Junior Tennis Racquet?
You need a versatile stringing machine to maintain the recommended tightness that the manufacturer has laid out for the racquet.
The tightness of those strings is what’s going to determine how well they crack that tennis ball back over the net.
Even a skilled player can’t get far or hit their shots with a faulty string job.
Tennis stringing machines allow for a similar tightness to when the racquet was first purchased.
Keep in mind that whether you use a single string or double string pattern, you’ll roughly need about 40 feet worth of tennis string for every 100 square inches on the head.
When to Replace a Junior Racquet with a Regular One?
Junior racquets obviously only last for so long before your child outgrows them. From there you need to determine what the best course of action is going to be.
There’s basically those five main youth sizes outlined above and each has a basic age range to follow.
Some kids are more skilled than others while some grow like weeds. In both instances they may need a bigger racquet. Asking yourself the following questions to determine if your child requires something bigger:
Are they swinging really fast to the point that they’re missing the ball?
This is a clear and classic way to tell if they’re outgrowing their racquet.
Because of the racquet length and the grip size, once their wrist and arm muscles have grown and they’re starting to get taller, it’s like they’re swinging around a breadstick.
It’s lightweight to them, and you need a bit of weight to counterbalance the force you’re applying.
If it’s too easy for them to swing it (only to the point that it’s affecting their accuracy and performance), upgrade to the next size.
Can their hands actually grip the racquet during a Two-Handed backhand?
Even for adults in the pro circuit, when they do a two-handed backhand, they’re able to put both of their hands around the grip.
If your child can’t do that because their fingers get crammed and it’s just all too much, then they likely need a bigger one to get the job done.
Do they have to lean into shots just a little too much?
When you go from a junior to a normal racquet, there’s usually a threshold of head size difference.
Maybe they don’t have enough square inch space to hit the ball properly right now or they’re leaning into their shots a whole lot.
That could mean they’re just having an off day or it could mean that for their size, the racquet is just too small and they have to put all their weight forward and focus on lining it up with the ball.
Are they just ridiculously skilled?
If they’re absolute naturals at tennis, then at some point they’re not going to have as much of a challenge.
Everything in life that is worth doing starts with a challenge.
If they don’t have barriers to break through and better themselves by doing so, then they’re not really going to feel engaged with the game.
If they’re too good and they’re losing interest, upgrade the racquet size to the next age range and let them get used to that for a bit.
At the end of the day, talking with your child about where they are at with their tennis journey is also a good idea.
This will give you a better idea of what they’re expecting out of the game, where their challenges are, and it all leads to insight into their gear.
Time for Your Kid to Decimate Junior Tennis
There’s a lot to learn, and kids can get frustrated rather easily.
It’s extremely important to have the right tennis racquet for the job, so that you can be assured that your child won’t get as upset or angry and quit the game.
It’s a lifelong sport that could not only keep them fit and active, but it could lead to big things one day.
What if they are the next Federer?
You’ll be the one lighting their path every step of the way, starting right now.
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