Seventy years ago, purchasing a racket for a 5-year-old was simple. The reason for this is not that there was a perfect guide for buying children’s rackets.
The complete opposite, actually.
Back then, there was no such thing as a junior tennis racket. Or at least, they were not mainstream.
If you wanted to have a smaller racket, you would have to be creative, making your own or reducing the size of an adult racket.
5-year-old playing tennis would, in most cases, just have to use an adult racket. But, today, we have rackets in different sizes. So, what size racket is ideal for a 5-year-old?
A suitable racket for a five-year-old between 3.3 and 3.7 feet is 21 inches. Gender plays no role. The best indicator for racket size is the height of the child. If a child uses a too large racket, they will struggle to maneuver it.
It’s impossible to say that one racket size fits all 5-year-olds, but I will help you find the ideal racket in this article.
I will be covering:
- Appropriate rackets sizes for kids (divided by their height)
- suitable grips for 5-year-olds
- Things to consider when buying a racket for the first time
Want to learn how to find the right racket for a five-year-old? Read on!
What Racket Size To Select For Kids
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to tennis rackets. As a result, manufacturers often market rackets based on age rather than size.
While this may work for the majority, this is no guarantee that it will be the correct size.
Manufacturers typically base the size/age guide on the average height.
Let’s imagine this. The average height is 42 inches, and a racket is advertised as being for five-year-olds.
Parents who do not know much about tennis rackets may end up buying this racket, thinking it is suitable for their five-year-old.
It’s not an unreasonable conclusion to come to. Still, if the child is below or above average in height, the racket will not be suitable.
Rackets should be selected first and foremost on height.
Below, I have created a simple guide for choosing the correct racket size based on the height of your child.
|<3.3 ft||19 inches|
|3.3 – 3.7 ft||21 inches|
|3.7 – 4.1 ft||23 inches|
|4.1 – 4.6 ft||25 inches|
|4.6+ ft||26 inches|
Adults and teenagers will be best going with a full-size 27-inch racket.
The reason it is suitable for children to use small rackets is this. Using smaller rackets allows children to learn how to swing the racket easily.
If a child is using a racket that is too big for them, they will not be able to develop the proper technique.
Often when you see young children playing with adult size rackets, they will use two hands to hold it, even on the forehand.
Because the racket is so big, the child is more concerned with being able to hold it than swing correctly.
Read more: What Should Be A Racket Size For 10-Year Old?
Tennis Racket Grip For 5 Year Old
Adult tennis rackets are not sold based on length but on grip size. This brings up another question.
If children’s rackets are not sold based on grip size, how do you know that the grip size is correct?
For children, the most crucial factor is the size of the racket.
It would be very complicated for people to choose a racket based on the length and then filter it again by grip size.
The top priority for tennis development is concerned is that they play with a racket they can comfortably hold and maneuver.
Even if the grip is not the perfect size, it is far more important they have a racket they can swing with easily.
Usually, the grip size on a racket that five-year-olds use would suit them. However, if the child has particularly large hands for some reason, you could use an overgrip.
I’ve only ever known a few children as young as five have over-grips on their racket for sizing reasons.
Even in these cases, I’m not convinced they actually needed them. It was just something the parents were testing to see how it affected their game.
The other occasion when young children have overgrips is just for personalization.
Kids love to have colourful things. It’s not often I come across a child who would rather have a black grip than a pink, blue, green, or purple one.
Also read: What Racket Size For 8-Year Old?
Main Considerations When Selecting Introductory Rackets
Five is usually when children start playing tennis for the first time. At this stage, children have begun to develop their hand-eye coordination skills.
When children start out with tennis, they do not need a super top-of-the-line racket.
Most countries won’t have competitions for kids as young as five anyway.
If you’re in a tennis shop, you can see if the racket size is suitable by doing this. But, first, get your child to hold the racket beside their body while standing up straight.
If the racket is dragging along the floor, it is too long. If it can’t touch the floor at all, then it is too short.
You will see some old videos of today’s top tennis players using adult-sized rackets as young children.
Firstly, mini tennis (and mini rackets) growth only occurred in the early 2000s. Secondly, skilled players will be able to better handle bigger rackets.
Even if a child is exceptionally skilled, it doesn’t mean that using a bigger racket is a good idea.
The main aim of mini tennis is to prepare children for playing on a full-size court when they are older.
If you get a small child to use a big racket, you teach them to play in unnatural conditions.
It would be like giving an adult a giant racket that is too big for them.
For five-year-olds who have never played tennis before, the only thing you need to consider is the racket size.
If the racket size is correct, the child will focus all their energy developing their tennis game.
The racket should also be made of modern materials from a trusted manufacturer. I’m sure this goes without saying, though.
Two rackets I often recommend for 5-years-olds are the Babolat Nadal jr 21” and the Wilson Roger Federer 19”.
My main reason for liking these rackets is the color and the branding.
When kids see a pro’s name on the racket, they get more interested. They will then want to see how Nadal or Federer plays on tv.
After this, you will hear comments like “I use the same racket as Nadal.” It’s a minor detail but just another way of sparking interest.
Also read: What Tennis Racket To Select For 12-Years Old?
It may seem like common sense for those in the tennis world that children play with smaller rackets.
Having said that, would you have known that before you got into tennis? I certainly didn’t.
How old were you when you started playing tennis? Did you start with a junior racket or go straight in with a full-sized adult one?
Perhaps you have experience from smaller rackets in other sports.