Are you an aspiring tennis player or a seasoned pro looking to upgrade your tennis gear? With so many different types of equipment available, it can be overwhelming to know what to buy and how to choose the best gear for your playing style. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to essential tennis gear to help you navigate the options and make informed decisions.
From the racket to the shoes and everything in between, we’ll cover all the essential equipment you need to play your best game on the court. We’ll also provide tips and insights on how to choose the right gear for your playing style, skill level, and personal preferences.
Whether you’re looking for a new tennis racket that provides power and precision or the perfect pair of shoes for comfort and support, we’ve got you covered. We’ll even provide recommendations for the best brands and products based on our research and expertise.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to elevate your tennis game and enjoy the sport to the fullest. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of tennis gear together.
SELECTING THE RIGHT TENNIS RACKET FOR YOUR SKILL LEVEL
Before you can select the best tennis racket for your level of play, it’s important to understand two elements of racket construction: head size and weight.
TENNIS RACKET HEAD SIZES:
OVERSIZE: 105” or larger
MID PLUS: 98” to 104”
MIDSIZE: 85” to 97”
TENNIS RACKET WEIGHTS:
LIGHTWEIGHT FRAME: 9 – 9.7oz / 255 – 275g
MEDIUM FRAME: 9.8 – 11oz / 275 – 310g
HEAVYWEIGHT FRAME: 11oz / 310g or heavier
BEGINNER TENNIS PLAYERS
Players first learning the game of tennis should start with a light racket featuring a larger head size, often called an “oversize” racket. This will help them make contact with the ball consistently while learning to rally without wearing out their arm as their muscles get used to the game.
When choosing a tennis racket for a beginner, here are a few things to look for:
- Oversize head size
- Lighter frame
- More power
Wilson’s Ultra or Triad are great rackets for beginner tennis players. Curious about more? Wilson has curated a collection of beginner tennis rackets to make choosing the right racket easy.
INTERMEDIATE TENNIS PLAYERS
Intermediate players can start to reduce their head size and add a little more weight to their racket as their tennis muscles develop and they learn to generate more pace on their own. Doing these two things will allow them to keep their newfound power under control.
When selecting a racket for intermediate tennis players, keep the following in mind:
- Oversize or Midplus head size
- Medium weight frame
- Less power generated from the racket, more control
For intermediate tennis players, check out Wilson’s Clash or Blade tennis rackets.
ADVANCED TENNIS PLAYERS
Advanced players should be using “mid-size” rackets that allow them to play with control, feel, and precision. These three benefits will provide a more connected-to-the-ball feel, allowing players to play more confidently as they go for their shots.
When selecting a racket for advanced tennis players, keep the following in mind:
- Midplus to Midsize head size
- Medium to heavy weight frame
- Rackets optimized for control and feel, such as Blade or Pro Staff.
CHOOSING A RACKET FOR YOUR SWING STYLE
Regardless of your swing style, Wilson has a racket built just for you. Players who play with shortened or flat swings typically prefer their rackets to generate power. For this swing style, beginners or intermediate players should go for the Ultra tennis racket, while more advanced players should grab a Pro Staff.
Players who play with more modern, vertical swings typically want their rackets to generate more control and feel. Beginners or intermediate players should start with Clash, while advanced players will feel most confident with Blade.
TENNIS RACKET CONSTRUCTION
When choosing a racket, there are three elements that affect power and control: head size, weight, and string pattern.
- Larger Headsize = More Power; Smaller Headsize = More Control
- Lighter Racket = More Power; Heavier Racket = More Control
- Open Stringbed = More Power; Denser Stringbed = More Control
Beginners to Intermediate players, seniors, or those suffering from tennis elbow, should play with multifilament string, while Advanced players can have a go at the polyester string.
Players should typically string multifilament (synthetic gut) from 53 to 55 lbs to start and then adjust from there. Higher tension = more control, while lower tension = more power.
If stringing as a hybrid (half poly/half multi), string the polyester 2 lbs below the multifilament. Typically, you should avoid string polyester above 54 lbs as it is already a very stiff material.
To learn more about how to string tennis rackets, check out Wilson’s racket stringing guide.
RACKET GRIP SIZES
Racket grip sizes are measured 0 through 5, or in the US, 4(0) – 4 5/8. Most adult women find success with a 4 ¼ (grip size 2), while men typically gravitate towards 4 3/8 (grip size 3).
However, recent trends have seen players using smaller grip sizes to generate more spin.
If you’re unsure about what grip size is best for you, it’s always best to go with a smaller handle because you can use an overgrip to build up the thickness of the handle.
THE LEADERS IN RACKET INNOVATION
For decades, Wilson has been the leader in tennis racket innovation. Our team has spent thousands of hours on engineering to fine-tune the perfect racket for all levels of play. One of the innovations which make Wilson unique is our latest patent-protected technology, “3D Bending,” built into our entire line of rackets.
3D Bending ™ has to do with the three bending moments that occur when a racket makes contact with the ball. Horizontal bending is the forward-to-backward bending that occurs during a flat, or “traditional” swing, increasing control. Vertical bending is the up-and-down bending that occurs during a vertical, or “modern” swing, increasing dwell time and spin. Torsional bending is the twisting that occurs, stabilizing swings on off-center hits. Wilson has mastered how to adjust these three key bending moments to optimize different rackets for different players.
Consistently pushing the envelope of tennis racket technology, Wilson has developed a line of tennis rackets by exacting quality standards for ultimate playability. You can explore our entire collection of tennis rackets, strings, and accessories, or customize your own racket for a one-of-a-kind playing experience.
2. Tennis Shoes / Trainers
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.
The Significance of Having Appropriate Tennis Gear
If you’re a tennis player, having the right gear is essential to perform your best on the court. Although you don’t necessarily have to splurge on the most expensive equipment, having the essential items can make a significant difference in your game.
By ticking off the must-have items from your tennis gear checklist, you can eliminate distractions and focus on playing your best game. While some players may carry additional items such as ball hoppers and hand towels, starting with the basics is crucial to get you started and elevate your tennis skills.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, having the right tennis gear is crucial to your performance. In this article, we will provide you with the ultimate guide to essential tennis equipment and how to choose the best options for your needs. From racquets to shoes, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started and take your tennis game to the next level.