I’m new to tennis! What do I need to get started?
Updated: Apr 21
Welcome to the sixth most popular sport in the United States! We are happy that you can enter, or re-enter, the amazing world of tennis. At first it can seem like there’s a lot to it, but we are here to help you navigate it all. Today we’re going to look at what tennis equipment you need to get started playing tennis. We’ll educate you on the basics so you have the info you need to select the right gear.
What tennis equipment do you need?
First and foremost, you’ll need a racket. The main elements of a racket are its head size, weight, and grip size. For size, as a beginner we advise choosing a racket with a head size no less than 100 square inches. The bigger the head size, the more string surface area you have. This maximizes your sweet spot (the place you want the ball to hit on your strings) and gives you a higher chance of hitting the ball correctly. As far as weight, in most cases lighter is better for a new player. Under 10 ounces is ideal for a beginner as it allows you to get the hang of tennis without putting too much strain on your shoulders and arms. For grip size, that will depend almost entirely on the size of your hands. Racket grips typically come in four sizes (L1-4), with L3 being the most common. Pick up a few different sizes to see what feels best in your hand. Our team can also help you find the right size grip if you’re not sure.
Before picking a racket, we recommend looking at some different options to select a model that suits your playing style. You can try out some different models through our demo program in which you “rent” out rackets for just $5-10. Don’t worry if those demo fees start to add up - all the money spent on demo rackets goes towards a brand new racket of your choice.
There are many tennis racket models available, and nearly just as many different tennis strings. It can be overwhelming to navigate the different string options, so we recommend speaking with one of our stringing experts. They can provide you with custom recommendations and tips as well as explain the key attributes of all the different string types.
One optional item on your racket is a dampener. Rubber dampeners are frequently used to calm the vibrations your strings make upon contact with a tennis ball. There are a few main types of dampeners. Traditional dampeners reach just a few strings and can be decorative in appearance, while long dampeners cover a larger string area for enhanced dampening. Both types are attached at the bottom, center portion of the strings after the racket is strung. The long dampeners can be tricky to apply, so just ask a member of our team for assistance and we will gladly put them on for you!
Last but not least, you’ll need a grip for your racket. Grips come in several different textures, finishes and thicknesses. Grip up your racket with a tacky overgrip to help you hold your racket better. Or if you have sweaty hands, choose a perforated option to absorb sweat. For something in between, all-around grips are a great choice. Overgrips can also be added for a thicker grip or more customized feel.
Now that your racket is ready to go, it’s time to look at your footwear. You may be wondering, Do I really need to wear court shoes? Yes, yes you do. Read our recent blog post to learn why they’re so important.
The final item you’ll need is a can of tennis balls so you can get out and start playing. If you’re playing at elevation, make sure you pick up high-altitude tennis balls or your shots will be hitting the fence! If you want to go out and practice your serve or feed balls to another player, we recommend purchasing a tennis ball hopper. These metal baskets can be used to pick up balls and have legs that fold down so the basket is elevated off the ground for easy reach.
Tennis is a fantastic, lifelong sport and we’re so happy you’ve decided to give it a try. For more helpful info, check out our other resources:
. You can also Google “public tennis courts near me” for more local court listings.