How to Choose a Kids’ Tennis Racket

Tennis provides great exercise, improves eye-hand coordination, builds muscle, strength, and flexibility. The first step to getting your child started in tennis is finding the right tennis racket.

Size is the most important consideration when selecting a kids’ tennis racket. If you start a young player with an oversized racket, you increase their risk of injury. There may not be a drastic weight difference between junior and adult rackets, but it’s enough to cause undue stress on the wrist and elbow when swinging to hit the ball. While choosing an undersized racket can stall your child’s progression.

Unlike adult rackets, which are categorized by head size (the surface area of the string bed), kids’ tennis rackets are grouped by length. Each length corresponds with an age group, making it easy to find the proper racket for an average-height child. However, if your athlete is very tall or short, consider that factor when selecting a tennis racket for them.

Tennis Rackets for Ages 8 and Under

The smallest rackets come in 17, 19, 21, and 23 inches. These are very lightweight and made with young muscles and little hands in mind. Rackets for the youngest players come pre-strung and are recommended based on age and height, not skill level.

Use this size chart to help you make your selection, keeping in mind that kids who are tall or short for their age may need to go up or down a size:

  • 2 to 3 years old – 38 inches or shorter – 17-inch racket
  • 3 to 4 years old – 39 to 40 inches tall – 19-inch racket
  • 4 to 6 years old – 40 to 44 inches tall – 21-inch racket
  • 7 to 8 years old – 45 to 49 inches tall – 23-inch racket

Tennis Rackets for 9 to 10-Year-Olds

Players in this age bracket, who are probably 50 to 55 inches tall, tend to do best with a 25-inch racket. At this size, rackets start coming with more options.

For instance, if your 9- or 10-year-old is new to tennis or doesn’t play competitively, consider a lightweight recreational racket. But if your athlete already has years of experience and wants to take their skill to the next level, consider a slightly heavier performance racket made of the same carbon fiber frame as full-size models.

Tennis Rackets for Ages 11 and Up

The last junior-size frame is the 26-inch racket designed for kids ages 11 and up who are 55 inches or taller. This one-inch size increase helps athletes transition smoothly to an adult frame once their height warrants the switch. As with 25-inch rackets, you can find 26-inch recreational and performance frames designed to be the most comfortable based on the athletes’ skill level.

Testing a Kids’ Tennis Racket Size

While following the age and height recommendations outlined above should land you with the proper tennis racket, here’s a simple test you can try to check the length:

  • Ask your child to stand up straight.
  • Place the tennis racket by their side with the head resting on the ground and the handle pointing up.
  • Have your child rest their hand on the tennis racket handle like a cane.

If their arm is comfortably extended and resting on the butt of the handle, you know you’ve found the right racket length. But if their arm is overly bent or they can’t reach the handle, you probably want to try a different size.

Tennis Racket Grip Sizes

The grip size is the circumference of the racket handle, which varies in adult tennis rackets to match the player’s hand. Be aware that most junior rackets come with 4-inch grips. It’s possible to find some variation, but noticeably different grip sizes are rare.

If your child feels that the grip size is too small, simply add an overgrip to increase the circumference by 1/16 inch. You likely won’t need to increase the grip by much more than this. If your child’s grip size is too large, speak to their coach or take your racket to a tennis shop where they can make custom modifications.

Sign Up Your Child for Youth Tennis

i9 Sports®® Tennis introduces children to tennis with fun, age-appropriate instruction. With modified net heights and court sizes, kids learn the game and start producing rallies quicker. We even use special tennis balls of different colors with unique bounce heights to set up players for success.

Consistent with all our other programs, i9 Sports® Tennis emphasizes good sportsmanship, with medals awarded to those who demonstrate the weekly sportsmanship value. It’s just one way we strive to teach players life lessons that extend beyond the court. Ready to start your tennis journey? Browse our programs or contact your local i9 Sports® office to learn more.

Young girl playing tennis in a teal i9 Sports t-shirt. She is wearing sunglasses and swinging a tennis racket with her right hand at a bright red and green tennis ball.