What racquet and tennis equipment do I choose for a 6 year old?

Child holding tennis racquet


Although my eldest son plays U12 tennis and took the odd lesson when he was 6, we never really focused on tennis until much later.

When we enrolled him in lessons initially, we grabbed whatever racquet we could from Walmart.

At the age of 6, it’s really hard to know whether you should invest more in the sport or just wait until your child has shown more interests.

Like any other sport, it’s important that your child has fun.

The idea of high-level competition is something that will come later, around 10 years old. With this in mind, here are a few tennis equipment tips:

Tennis Racquet

For 6 year olds, a 21-inch racquet is probably best. Larger kids can probably play with a 23-inch.

It’s important not to use too big of a racquet if your child is finding that racquet too heavy.

At this age, we’re trying to develop hand-eye coordination to make consistent contact with the ball. An overly large and heavy racquet will make learning tennis more difficult than it needs to be.

To see if a racquet is too big for your child, have him or her stand holding the racquet to the side.

If the racquet head is touching the floor, this is too big.

Does my child need an expensive racquet?

My nephew also played high-level junior tennis and is quite a bit older than my son when we started. I asked him what racquet he would recommend, and his response was this:

“It doesn’t matter.”

Looking back, this was the best advice I got when my son was starting out.

When a child is learning tennis, he or she won’t understand what “feel” is, much less be able to generate power or spin the way more expensive racquets are meant to provide.

It is silly to buy an expensive 26 or 27-inch racquet, hand it to a child, and expect him or her to be able to hit deep penetrating balls like Carlos Alcaraz.

An inexpensive racquet costing $30-40 should do the trick.

What strings should I use? Do I need to re-string the racquet?

Racquets at the $30-40 price range will come pre-strung.

It is highly unlikely a child will break a string unless the racquet itself has been misused or abused in some other way.

Sometimes I am tempted to put an overgrip on my 6 year old’s racquet just for aesthetics. I think, however, this is an overkill and a waste of the $2 overgrip.

If a racquet needs to be re-strung for whatever reason, I would recommend just getting a new racquet. Re-stringing typically costs $20-30 itself, plus the cost of the new strings.

The types of strings that usually come with beginner child racquets are synthetic gut, which is the cheapest string anyway.

Tennis Court Shoes

When we were just starting tennis, I didn’t really understand why court shoes were important.

It wasn’t until a teacher-coach insisted that all the kids buy and wear tennis shoes the following week that I understand.

Court shoes are more stable and prevent ankle sprains, as well as provide better feet and ankle protection.

Why do we need tennis shoes?

Asking “why” is a question I would have asked, and it is a very good question when it comes to why we need tennis shoes at all for 6 year olds.

Some clubs and courts require it, because they do not want marking runners to ruin their court surfaces.

Another reason is that tennis is a footwork-intense sport. Good tennis programs will typically emphasize this by introducing beginner tennis players to footwork drills.

By the way, if you’re reading this as a new tennis parent, you will be surprised to hear that tennis is less about the arms (although that is important) than it is about the feet.

How can tennis shoes help?

For my 6 year-old, I remind her that whenever she puts on her special tennis shoes she needs to move her feet more than usual.

This trains her to improve her footwork and to remember that she needs to have active feet when playing tennis.

How much are tennis shoes?

The good news is that court shoes aren’t expensive. They are, in fact, as expensive as your typical runners.

You can get a pair of tennis shoes for 6 year-olds for around $30-40, and these will last them as long as they fit.

Chances are they will not wreck the shoes at all, and you can re-use them if you have younger kids.

Note: When your child is older and if they are still playing tennis, you’ll find that they burn through a pair of shoes in 3 months or so. That is something to look forward to /s.

Tennis Clothes

There really aren’t any special tennis clothes, but I thought it’s best to mention a few items that might be helpful.

First, you want to make sure that your child is wearing comfortable clothes like a T-shirt and shorts. Sport tights are fine if that’s what your child likes.

If they are playing outside, you should definitely get a ball cap or visor for them to keep the sun out of their face and eyes. Sunscreen is also a good idea here.

For the shorts or pants, it is generally a good idea to have pockets. However, at 6 years old, it is unlikely they will be serving in a real point-play game. If they are, it is a good idea to have pockets large enough for them to put a ball or two in there for their serves.

A wrist or headband is helpful for wiping the sweat off the forehead.

Skip rope

I generally like to introduce rope skipping around 6 years old.

A few paragraphs ago, I mentioned the importance of footwork in tennis. Rope skipping is a great way to encourage and develop this skill.

It is also very good for developing general fitness and coordination, which tennis athletes need.


And that’s it!

Tennis equipment for 6 year-olds need not be complicated, but if you are new to this sport it is easy to become overwhelmed by what you need to buy for your child.

Good luck, and remember to have fun.

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