Getting Started in Tennis – Equipment
Starting something new is always fun and exciting, BUT if we go in not knowing anything beforehand, it can change our outlook on the activity. Tennis is a very independent sport. You are playing against an opponent on the other side of the net and your success hinges on your ability to hit the tennis ball over the net consistently and accurately. Of course physical and mental ability plays a big part; but so does equipment. The main reason for having the right equipment when learning tennis is injury prevention. Using improper racquets or shoes can lead to simple injuries like wrist/elbow pain and a sprained ankle to more serious injuries like tennis elbow, a slew of shoulder injuries, or planter fasciitis. With that in mind, let’s dive in to what you will need to get started playing tennis!
The tennis racquet is the first thing that comes to mind when one wants to take up the sport. That is very true because without a racquet, you cannot play tennis! Many of us will go to a sports equipment store and just get any racquet off the wall. That’s fine for the occasional player – someone who will play a few times a year. For someone who will be playing more often, he/she will have to put a little more thought into the kind of racquet to buy. Determine your grip size first(Read article here). If you can find a tennis specialty store, great! Because they will usually have a Demo Program where you can try out some racquets before you buy. If there isn’t any tennis specialty store in your area, then generally you would want a racquet that is as heavy as you can handle – 9.5oz+ for most adults. A heavier racquet will give you more power and stability, so it will not twist and turn in your hand. Unless we have a super short/compact swing(which we will not, because we are just starting), head size of the racquet should not be bigger than 110in2.
You need tennis shoes to play tennis. I cannot stress this enough: TENNIS shoes, NOT running shoes, NOT cross-trainers. YOU NEED TENNIS SHOES. Tennis is a sport where you will be moving side to side, forward and backward, and starting and stopping A LOT. Tennis shoes are designed for those movements, that is why they have that moniker. Get tennis shoes PERIOD.
Note on sizing: Make sure you have enough room in the toe box so that when you stop you are not jamming your toe at the front of the shoe. If you are a size 9 when you wear dress shoes, then get a 9.5.
It is beneficial to sign up for a beginners class or private lessons to get your basics down. After that, you can hit with friends/buddies to improve. Just with any sport, it takes a lot of practice to get good. So, get out there and have fun and get a good sweat going.