60 years ago, any child wanting to play tennis would have to use an adult racket with standard balls. Manufacturers did not make separate balls or rackets for children.
Back then, 10-year-olds would be expected to play with a full-size adult racket.
It may come as a surprise for you that the use of smaller rackets, slower balls, and reduced-sized courts only really took off in the 21st century.
Based on the ITF (International Tennis Federation) guidelines, an ideal size racket for a 10-year-old would be 25 or 26 inches long. Racket size is also dependent on the height of the player. If the child is 50-55 inches, a 25-inch racket is a good choice.
In this article I will be discussing:
- Whether the weight and size of the racket is important for a 10-year-old
- If juniors can deal with using an adult sized racket.
- If a 25 inch racket is a good choice for a 10-year-old
- Rackets I would recommend for a 10-year-old
If you’re still not sure what racket is suitable for a 10-year-old, read on!
Does The Racket Size And Weight Matter For 10 Year Olds?
In 2007, the ITF launched the Play+Stay campaign.
This campaign is designed to get more people playing tennis worldwide. With this initiative came Tennis 10s, which set different rules and recommendations based on age and ability.
The Tennis 10s program also came with guidelines on racket size for players. As mentioned in the intro, the recommended size for a 10-year-old is 25 or 26 inches.
But why is this?
Does it really matter if a 10-year-old plays with a racket that doesn’t fit the recommendations?
The most important factor is the height of the player, not the age.
The idea of playing with smaller rackets on a smaller court is simple. It makes it easier for young beginners to play and simulate the same environment they would experience as adults.
If a 10-year-old plays with a too large or heavy racket, they are training to play in unrealistic conditions. When they grow up and become adults, they will not be playing with oversized rackets.
As they learn to play, one of the challenges will be learning to maneuver a racket that is too big for them. They will thus be learning an irrelevant skill.
This is without mentioning the stress they will go through, breaking the habit when they get older.
Using rackets based on their height allows them to train in the same manner that an adult would but with equipment suited to them.
You can experience the same problems playing with a racket that is too small.
For a 10-year-old playing with a 19-inch racket, it eliminates the chance to hit a two-handed backhand.
It will feel more like you are holding a table tennis paddle.
The major determining factor when it comes to selecting a racket is the height of the player.
The reduction in racket sizes for younger players has also allowed people to start playing at a younger age. John McEnroe began playing a 8. Novak Djokovic first started when he was 4.
Can Juniors Handle Swinging An Adult Sized Racket?
It totally depends on the junior player. They might be able to deal with swinging an adult racket but whether it is any good for them is another question.
Children too small to use adult rackets will likely see their tennis develop at a slower rate.
This is because it is uncomfortable for them. Therefore, their focus will be on trying to control the racket instead of developing their technique.
By playing with a racket that is too big, it can lead to technical issues. Sometimes it can even result in injury.
If, for example, a small junior uses a full western grip with an adult racket, it will put a lot more pressure on the wrist.
Whether a junior player can really cope with swinging a racket will come down to their size, strength, and physical attributes.
If you’re unsure whether your child is ready for an adult racket, play it safe and ask the coach.
It’s always better to choose one which will allow them to feel comfortable and focus on what matters most. That is developing as a player and enjoying themselves.
Is A 25-Inch Racked Good For A 10 Year Old?
In most cases, a 25-inch racket will be suitable for a 10-year-old. Most 10 years old are between 50-55 inches, and a 25-inch racket is fine at that height.
If the 10-year-old is over 55 inches, a 26-inch racket would be a better choice.
There is an easy way to find out if a racket is a suitable size.
Get the child to stand up straight with the racket held in his hand and arm beside his body.
If the racket touches the ground too much and the child needs to bend his arm, it is too big. If the racket can’t touch the ground at all, then it is too small.
Beginner players do not need to be absolutely spot on when it comes to racket size.
As long as your child is not particularly tall/short for his age, you will be fine with the recommendations based on age.
If your child is a competitive player, it would be worth your time finding a racket that is the perfect fit.
In sports, points are won and lost on small margins. Having a racket that they are 100% comfortable with could make all the difference.
Recommended Tennis Rackets For 10 Year Old
Rackets are a very personal choice, and everyone has their preferences and needs. However, I will share two rackets that I often recommend for 10-year-olds.
The Wilson Ultra V3 is one of my favorite rackets for beginners, and this recommendation goes for juniors too.
I like that it comes with a 100 square inch head size which gives a large sweet spot.
Due to its blend of power and control, it is suitable for both beginner and intermediate players. Once the child is out of the intro stage, they don’t need to change the racket straight away.
Another favorite of mine (for slightly taller 10 year olds) is the 26 inch Babolat Pure Aero.
This wouldn’t be my first choice for a new beginner, but it is a nice choice for an intermediate/ advanced player.
What I like most is that the main focus of this racket is to assist with generating spin.
Babolat’s aero range uses an aerodynamic frame to integrate the bumper and grommets to increase racket head speed and spin.
This racket is definitely a good choice for those looking to generate more spin without neglecting power.
If there is one thing you will take away from this article, it should be that the racket that is suitable for one 10-year-old may not be for another.
Manufacturers and the ITF will often advertise rackets as suitable for 10-year-olds. However, the real determining factor will be the size and the child’s physical makeup at the end of the day.
Reduced racket sizes for junior players are a somewhat new concept.
Did you ever play with an adult racket as a child? How did you find it? Were you able to handle the weight and size?