Teaching children to play tennis from an early age is an amazing way to improve their hand-eye coordination, help improve their health and fitness, and get them to fall in love with this wonderful sport. But you can’t just hand a small child a full sized adult racket and expect them to succeed, they actually need a junior racket.
Here, we will talk about the different types of junior tennis rackets available to help you find which racket will suit your child, and answer your frequently asked questions about junior tennis rackets.
Types of tennis racketsAt Sweatband.com, we split our junior rackets into three categories:
- Red Zone (0-6 years)
- Orange Zone (6-9 years)
- Green Zone (9+ years)
These rackets work in tandem with our red, orange, and green zone tennis balls. It’s a smart way to make the decision of what racket to purchase for your child as easy as possible. The system is based on the LTA’s traffic light system and does a very good job of matching the right racket to the right child.
Red zone tennis rackets
Rackets in the red zone are designed for very young children (under 6). They have large heads, making it easier for a child to hit the sweet spot. They also offer quite a bit of power, which helps small children to hit the ball far enough to clear the net, yet they are still light enough for a small child to wield easily. They work best with red zone tennis balls, which have no pressure and are therefore slow enough to hit even with poor coordination.
Orange zone tennis rackets
Tennis rackets in the orange zone are aimed at children who are aged between 5/6 and 9 years old. These children will be taller and stronger than children in the red zone and will also be more skilful. If your child has never played tennis before but is over 6 then you may want to start them off in the red zone before switching to orange.
Orange zone tennis rackets tend to weigh a little more than red zone rackets. The head size may be larger, but proportionately they will represent a smaller portion of the total frame size. This is due to a longer handle.
Green zone tennis rackets
Green zone tennis rackets are designed for children who are 9+ years old and on the verge of being ready for adult rackets. They are designed to be used with green zone tennis rackets. The rackets weigh more, have larger heads, and are designed to be more agile and easy to swing.
How to choose a length?
In this section, we will name all of the racket lengths that are available for junior tennis players and describe which age or height they suit best.
17 inch racket
This racket length is ideal for children that are younger than two years old. Or are quite short for their age at two to four years old.
19 inch racket
This racket length is ideal for children aged between 2 and 4 years old. If they are shorter than 3 foot 4 inches, then this racket is a good fit.
21 inch racket
This racket length is designed for children who are 4 to 5 years of age, and who are 3 foot 4 to 3 foot 8 inches tall.
23 inch racket
This racket length is for children who are 5 to 8 years of age and around 4 foot in height (or an inch either side of 4 foot).
25 inch racket
This racket size is ideal for children who are aged between 8 years and 10 years and are around 4 foot 3 inches to 4 foot 8 inches tall.
26 inch racket
This racket length is designed for children who are over 10 years of age and around 4 foot 8 to 5 foot 2 inches tall.
Things to consider
When finding the ideal junior tennis racket, there are several things you should consider. Here is a list of the most important considerations:
Very young children tend to suit rackets that have a proportionately large head compared to the rest of the frame. The older your child gets, the larger the head gets, but because the rest of the racket gets bigger too, the proportion changes.
Use our “how to choose a length” guide to find the ideal length of tennis racket for your child based on their age and/or height.
Most junior rackets are head light, meaning that they are easier to maneuver, but aren’t particularly powerful.
Almost all junior rackets offer a 4 inch grip size for children. Any other grip size is rare. You can of course get the racket re-gripped to suit your child, but this is probably unnecessary.
Junior rackets are either made from aluminium, graphite, or a combination of the two. Aluminium suits younger or newer tennis players, while graphite suits experienced children who are almost ready for adult rackets.
Most children are not good enough to warrant a truly expensive racket, unless you have the budget for it. They are still learning and focusing on the basics is crucial for their development. However, if your child has shown some serious talent, then it may be worth finding them a racket that suits their needs.
Tennis racket maintenance
You should get a junior racket restrung as many times in a year as your child plays in a week. If your child plays twice per week, then you will want to get it restrung twice per year to ensure it is in top condition.
Storing your rackets safely and securely is also important for their maintenance.
Owning a good racket bag that has climate control may be necessary if you live in very hot climates.