Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned tennis player, having the right equipment is crucial to your performance on the court. With so many different types of tennis gear available, it can be overwhelming to know what you need and how to choose the right equipment.
That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to essential tennis gear and how to choose it. In this article, we’ll take you through the different types of tennis equipment you need to have in your arsenal, from rackets and balls to shoes and apparel.
We’ll explore the different factors to consider when choosing each piece of equipment, such as your playing style, level of experience, and budget. We’ll also provide tips on how to care for your equipment to ensure it lasts longer and performs better.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current tennis gear or are just starting out and need to know what to buy, this guide has got you covered. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to choose the right tennis equipment for your needs and take your game to the next level.
So, grab your rackets and get ready to ace your game with the ultimate guide to essential tennis gear and how to choose it.
1. Tennis Racket
Check your grip size by actually holding a racket – only buy online after you’ve picked the racket up
Make sure you feel comfortable holding it in the chopper grip
Each racket lends itself to certain characteristics – choose one which suits your game
It may seem pretty obvious, but you need a racket to play with. You don’t of course have to buy one but let’s assume you want to play tennis regularly, so buying one might be a good option.
Choosing a Racket – Top tips
The most important things when choosing a racket are
Grip: Why it is important when choosing a tennis racket?
Tennis rackets come in different grip sizes, and it really is down to personal preference on what size you might choose to use. Personally, I prefer a smaller grip as I tend to be quite wristy in the way I play, which is not good or bad, it’s just how I play.
You may find if you suffer from tennis or golfers elbow, that a bigger grip is beneficial as it will help to keep your arm straighter and put less stress on the tendons around your elbow joint. They just don’t move as much.
If you don’t know your grip size, please, go into a sports shop and try holding some rackets until you know what feels good. DO NOT buy online and then start playing with something that feels terrible.
Grip Size Chart
|Size||Euro Grip Size||US Grip Size||Measurement in Inches|
|1||L1||G1||4 1/8 inches|
|2||L2||G2||4 1/4 inches|
|3||L3||G3||4 3/8 inches|
|4||L4||G4||4 1/2 inches|
|5||L5||G5||4 5/8 inches|
Weight: A crucial factor in picking the right racket for you
The key factor here is how ‘head heavy’ it feels.
When you pick up the racket in the chopper grip, does it feel like it’s pulling down from the head-end to the floor? If it does, it’s probably not the right one for you.
When playing with a racket that’s too heavy, you start to get lazy with technique and also make decisions you shouldn’t, to try and help get points over with. Plus, your serve will become harder to groove and just overall it isn’t ideal.
You really want to hold the racket in the chopper grip and feel like the wrist is easily holding the frame in the ‘ready position’. If the shop has a ball, try to bounce the ball up and down on the racket to see whether it still feels light on contact.
285 grams and below – Light
300 Grams – Average
300 grams + – Heavy
Head Size: Preference and playing style
So these fall into two main brackets, Mid-size and Oversize.
A mid-size head is the standard racket head size in terms of width and length, but the shape may change a little. For example, the classic Wilson Staff had a more narrow head, which provided more accuracy but a smaller sweet spot. These smaller-looking mid-sizes also generally have a thinner beam, something to bear in mind if you hit a lot of top-spin on your serve and hit with fast racket head speed.
The oversize rackets are ideal for beginners as they have a bigger racket head, and bigger sweet spot and are often designed to be lighter as well. You can also generally get a lot more power with a lot less effort but this comes at the sacrifice of control.
These rackets are great if you are finding your feet in the game and want something that is going to be reliable but probably not get you extra spin or control which is required as our standard improves.
Look for good ankle support
Make sure the sole has a decent grip and is designed for tennis!
Don’t skip on cost
So I make these the second most important item to have on your tennis equipment list.
Without a decent pair of trainers (sneakers), you run the risk of injury and your movement could
be compromised. Although you might not pick the right pair at first, once you find the ones you are happy with, it’s probably best to stick with them as long as they are good for all the surfaces you play on.
Over the years I have used Nike tennis shoes the most, but recently I have changed to Asics as they have a more solid and wider base, which has helped me stop rolling my ankles and just feels like it provides a better grip.
There are a million types to choose from but again, try them on first!
3. Tennis Balls
Only buy the best balls for important matches
Bulk buy for practice
Throw them away once they are worn or flat
The best tennis balls in the UK are made by Slazenger or Babolat and in the USA I would say it’s between Wilson and Dunlop.
Whatever product under these brands, the most expensive will be the best, it’s not really a science but it’s just a fact. e.g. the Wilson US Open balls are really good. Slazenger Wimbledon balls are really good, it’s pretty straightforward.
In terms of practice, however, buy cheaper balls. You can get bulk orders of balls that will last you for a while, there is no need to splash out on expensive ones just for your casual practice or weekly doubles.
Dispose of Balls once they are worn out or flat!
There is literally no point in playing with a flat or totally worn-out ball. It changes the game, is not good for your arm and it won’t help in the long run. Once they are finished, give them to the dog.
4. Tennis Overgrips
Choose a tacky grip if you sweat a lot
A squidgy, heavy overgrip can help with tennis or golfers’ elbow
Do NOT just use the under grip the racket comes with
In my opinion, these are right up there in terms of importance when it comes to prioritizing your tennis gear.
It’s imperative that you do not just use the under-grip that is on the racket when you buy it. This may seem counterintuitive based on choosing the racket for its grip size, but if you use it as is, it will eventually wear away and become unusable.
Choosing an overgrip is very much a personal preference. Many people like the sweat-absorbing smooth feel of something like tournagrip, which was a staple in the ‘90s.
I personally like the tacky feel of a new Babolat overgrip, preferably white, and I tend to buy a bulk pack and change my grip every 2nd or 3rd practice and always before a match.
These tend to be the same grips that people use for other racket sports like Squash or Real Tennis. They last a lot longer but are also much thicker and feel quite squidgy.
I would only recommend these if you need to bulk up your grip or have sensitive hands that need more cushioning.
5. Tennis Clothing
Your shorts or skirt MUST have pockets
Make sure the shirt is not too tight
Invest in good socks!
So some subtle tips here that might just help your game, and will certainly help with your comfort on the court
To play tennis properly, you need pockets
In tennis you get 2 attempts at serving, so you need one ball in your hand and the other one in a pocket.
There is nothing more annoying and unprofessional than hitting your first serve out or in the net and then looking around for another ball.
Aside from serving, you will want to keep 2-3 balls in your pockets to help keep momentum when practicing and to kick off rallies quickly after an error or winner.
Good socks can make all the difference
Decent tennis socks can be the difference between winning and losing a match.
This may seem extreme but good socks, combined with decent shoes and good foot hygiene, mean less chance of blisters and irritation.
A fresh pair of thick white socks, before you play, can feel like a suit of armor. When you tie your laces and your feet feel comfortable and fresh, you move better, feel better, and have one less distraction.
It’s all about putting together a package that makes you feel good about your game, which includes the right type of shirt.
Don’t wear skin-tight clothes, it’s totally impractical and you’ll get irritated and potentially hinder your own movement.
So buy sensible fitting stuff that allows your skin to breathe.
Tennis Clothing List
T-shirt or Polo shirt
Shorts or Skirt
Tracksuit bottoms for warm-up
Hoody or tracksuit top for warm-up
Cap for when it’s hot and/or sunny
Reduces vibration in your arm
Makes the strings feel stiffer
The noise is more satisfying
I go into a bit of detail about vibration dampeners and why to use them here, but it really is down to personal preference.
My suggestion however is that you buy a couple of these, as they are very cheap, and see whether you prefer playing with them or not.
If you don’t want to buy one, get an elastic band and tie it around the bottom strings of your racket – see how it feels when you hit the ball.
7. Water / Drinks Bottle
This may also seem pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated when playing all sports but tennis, with its change of ends and stop-start nature lends itself to more chances to take a drink.
This is not just a physical thing, but also good psychologically.
If you have a routine when you change ends or take a break, it can help calm your mind and help reset the way you are thinking and playing.
Take a time out, take a drink from your bottle, and get ready to start playing again.
Ensure you have at least a liter of fluid with you if you are playing for an hour or more, preferably you don’t want to run out of liquid, especially if playing in warm weather.
Why it’s important to have the right Tennis equipment
If you have the right gear, it’s one less thing to think about. You don’t need to buy the most expensive or the flashiest stuff, but you need to have the basics in place.
By taking care of the above list, you take care of another thing that will allow you to improve your game and play to the best of your ability.
Yes, you can buy all sorts of extra crap like hoppers and hand towels and whatever else a professional might have in their bag at Wimbledon, but the basics are what you actually need to get started and/or improve your tennis game.