How to Size a Tennis Racket

By Michele M. Howard

Sizing a tennis racket for an adult or child is not an exact science and not a one-size-fits-all process. Manufacturers make rackets in a variety of grip, length and head sizes, and provide guidelines to help players choose the right racket. A good sizing method is to first find your grip size and then consider your skill level and style of play to select the best racket length and head size. The guidelines are most helpful when sizing rackets for children.

Determine Grip Size

Two methods can be used to find your grip size, which is usually 4 1/8 to 4 5/8 inches. Grasp the racket's handle with your dominant hand and turn your hand palm up so you can see your fingertips. Lay the index finger of your other hand between your fingertips and the meaty portion of your palm. If your finger won't fit, the grip is too small. And if there's too much space between the tip of your ring finger and palm, the grip is too big. A more accurate method is to open your hand, extend your fingers together, and locate the two lateral lines on your palm. Put the end of a ruler on the bottom line directly below your ring finger and measure to the tip of your finger for your grip size.

Length Considerations

The standard length for a tennis racket is 27 inches, but the rules allow rackets to be as long as 29 inches. Take into consideration your stature and skill level when selecting the racket length. If you're not very tall, a little slow moving around the court or lack power behind your shots, a 28- to 29-inch racket may be a good fit. A longer racket, though harder to control, provides more leverage and reach, which helps you hit with power and makes it easier for you to cover more of the court. On the other hand, a standard length racket may be a better fit for skilled players and even for smaller players who are looking for a racket they can easily maneuver with control.

Head Size Choices

Sizing a racket also involves deciding on the best head size for your game. Rackets come in three head sizes: oversize, midsize and standard. Oversize rackets, which have a head size of about 105 square inches or more, are designed for the beginners and players who often hit the ball off center or players seeking more power. A midsize racket with a head size of between 95 and 105 square inches works best if you want a blend of control and power. Advanced or accomplished players seeking more control typically play with a standard-size head, which is the smallest with less than 95 square inches.

Sizing for Children

Most tennis racket companies sell smaller rackets to make learning the game easier for children. For correct sizing, manufactures offer guidelines to match a child's age and height with the correct racket length. Rackets with a length of 19 or 21 inches are designed for children age 5 and younger and 44 inches tall or shorter. A 23-inch racket is designed for a child age 6 to 8 and 45 to 49 inches tall. Children age 8 to 10 and 50 to 55 inches tall can use a 25-inch racket. A child age 10 or older and 55 or more inches tall can use a 26-inch racket. Most junior rackets are made with a 4-inch grip, which accommodates most children. These guidelines may not apply to all, because advanced children can handle rackets longer than the guidelines recommend.

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