Tennis Racket Size for Kids Based on Age

Parents naturally want the best for their kids. Unfortunately when it comes to children’s tennis, many parents will purchase a premium racket for their son or daughter, only to find it’s too large or too small. They’ve chosen the wrong tennis racket size for their kid. I’ve seen that disappointed look in parent’s eyes too many times, after informing them that their child needs a different racket.

Luckily, the sizing of tennis rackets for both juniors and adults is fairly universal. If you follow a set of guidelines based on your child’s age, measurements, and a few other factors, you won’t need to consult with a professional in-person. Let’s dive in to our tennis racket size for kids guide, so you can have your child equipped with the proper tennis gear and get them on the court!

tennis racket size for kids

Racket Size is Important for Kids Tennis

Why is getting the appropriately sized tennis racket for your child so crucial? Multiple reasons. First off and possibly most importantly, it’s a safety issue. If a junior player is using a racket that is too large for them, it can load an unnecessarily strenuous amount of pressure on their joints. Although your child won’t be exerting as much force as the pros do when hitting their strokes, a disproportionately heavy racket can create an imbalance leading to potential muscle strains. 

Think of it in baseball terms. Young kids don’t start off with heavy wooden bats, they begin with the lightweight aluminum equipment. This is because their muscles are not developed enough to handle such a heavy object. A racket should essentially act as “part of your limb” when playing tennis. It should be nearly as easy to lift the racket with one of your arms, as it is to raise your other empty hand. Adults that excessively use rackets that are too heavy for them can develop tennis elbow. There is no need to assume this risk from a young age.

Another reason correct racket sizing is vital for kids, is that early tennis development will be expedited if they are using the right size. When a racket is correctly sized, children’s tennis strokes feel natural. And when children’s tennis strokes feel natural, they make better contact and can focus more on technique. Then when kids are doing these things efficiently, they develop much faster due to the power of repetition. I’ve seen total beginners overtake kids who have played for a couple years simply due to the fact that the beginner is equipped with the best racket size for their age and ability—they were able to focus on improvement without getting distracted by the uncomfortable/awkward feeling of using a racket that is too large or too small.

What Size Tennis Racket Do I Get for My Kids?

There are several factors to take into account when determining which racket size to choose for your children. These include racket length, grip size, and your child’s age and height. Children are incredibly unique and different from one another; thus, it can be difficult to say “all 8-year-olds should use this size tennis racket” and so on… However, by taking into account both age and height, you can make an informed racket-purchasing decision without needing to consult with a coach in person.

If you are on the fence between a larger, heavier racket, and a smaller, lighter frame, think about your child’s athletic history. If they have participated in other sports in the past and/or have been living a healthy and active lifestyle, then we’d recommend you go with the heavier option. This is because their muscles will be slightly more developed than the average junior, so they will be able to wield a heavier piece of equipment. If your child hasn’t been involved in too many sports, or maybe tennis is their first go at athletics, then you should go with the lighter option. This will give them more control when hitting strokes, so they can learn and develop good swinging habits from an early age.

Racket Head and Grip Length

The measurement that matters the most when it comes to racket sizing is racket length. This includes the vertical length of the head and grip. If you’re not familiar with the “head” term, racket head refers to the oval frame encompassing the strings. Most kids tennis rackets are offered in these length sizes:

  • 19 inches
  • 21 inches
  • 23 inches
  • 25 inches
  • 26 inches

Adult rackets can range all the way up to 29 inches, which is the maximum size allowed for tournament play. The width of kids tennis rackets are all very similar. All reputable tennis brands feature rackets with the standard (and recommended) width of no more than 12.5 inches.

Should you get a kids racket with a larger or smaller head size? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Larger head sizes will give your child a larger “sweet spot” as we call it, which will enable them to hit with more power while exerting less muscle effort. The downside to a large racket head is that kids will not be able to swing the racket as fast because it will be heavier. This can lead to decreased reaction time and less natural velocity generated due to a slower swing.

Smaller racket head sizes have the ability to increase overall power if your child is consistently hitting tennis balls in the middle sweet spot of their racket. The smaller and lighter head frame can allow your child to execute full strokes at higher racket speeds, leading to better overall play and positive habit development. If we had to choose between a larger or smaller head size, we would recommend smaller, mainly because it encourages discipline in terms of kids having to watch the ball all the way to their racket so they can make solid contact.

Grip Size

What does racket grip size entail? It is the circumference of the edge of the racket handle. Grip size for junior players is fairly universal relative to adults. 4 inches is the average grip length for children. Your child should be able to wrap their hands fully around the handle so their thumb can touch their other fingers.

If you find that your child is outgrowing their racket grip, but the head size is still adequate, you don’t have to buy a brand new piece of equipment. All you have to do is purchase an “overgrip.” This is an adhesive tape that is sticky on one side, and grippy on the other. Adding an overgrip to your child’s racket will increase the circumference by approximately 1/16 of an inch. If your kid’s current grip is getting worn down (and maybe a little unhygienic), then an overgrip can be a great way to give an aging racket a makeover. Not to mention, they’re super inexpensive! Overgrips tend to cost about a dollar each.

Kids Tennis Racket Sizing Chart

AgeHeightRacket Length
4 years40 inches or shorter19 inches
4-5 years40-44 inches21 inches
6-8 years45-49 inches23 inches
9-10 years50-55 inches25 inches
10-13 years55 inches or taller26 inches
AgeHeightRacket Length
4 years40 inches or shorter19 inches
4-5 years40-44 inches21 inches
6-8 years45-49 inches23 inches
9-10 years50-55 inches25 inches
10-13 years55 inches or taller26 inches

How to Tell if Your Child's Racket is Sized Properly

A trick you can use to determine if your child’s current racket is the right size is to compare the racket length with the height and dimensions of your child. Have your child hold their racket against the ground vertically with the end of the handle against their palm. Make them press the racket head straight against their shoe. If they can fully extend their arm and comfortably hold the racket, then there is a good chance it’s a fit. If they have to bend their elbow even slightly to rest their palm on the handle end, then this is a red flag that the racket length is too large.

Get Your Child The Best Tennis Racket Possible

I’ve seen firsthand the difference that a quality, well-fitted racket can do to a youngsters experience with tennis. Tennis rackets are the single most important piece of equipment to invest in when getting your kid into tennis. Kids tennis shoes come in as a close second.

Hopefully we have helped you narrow down which size racket to get for your child in this guide. Are you still unsure of which specific brand and model to get? Read our compilation of the Best Kids Tennis Rackets for 2020 to learn about which racket best suits your child based on age, gender, and more. As always, if you have any further questions on racket sizing, please leave a comment below or contact us directly.

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