Approximately 60 million people worldwide play tennis, making it one of the most popular sports around the globe today. There’s a reason why tennis is enjoyed by so many! Are you ready to join the masses? Before you hit the court, make sure you have the following tennis things.
10 Tennis Essentials for Everyone
One of the great things about tennis is that it requires minimal equipment.
You may think you only need a racquet, a ball, and a pair of your best tennis shoes, but there are a few other tennis things you’ll need to be court-ready. Whether you’re a professional or a newbie, consider these ten tennis essentials:
#1 Tennis Racquet
Picking the best racquet for you can be challenging, as it can be overwhelming trying to decide between the countless brands and models on the market. However, once you find the perfect fit and most affordable racquet for you, you’ll be dominating your sets in no time!
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Tennis Racquet
Before purchasing a tennis racquet, you will want to familiarize yourself with these few things:
Larger heads allow for more power (best for amateurs, while smaller heads offer more control for the pros).
Racquets can range in length from 19-29 inches (smaller sizes usually are better suited for junior players).
Heavier racquets add more power (great for singles who need to hit to the backcourt), while lighter racquets are easier to control (better for net players in doubles).
Your grip is what helps you control the swing and depends on your hand size.
You can choose between pre-strung racquets (best for more recreational tennis), or you can opt to buy an unstrung racquet and have a professional install a set of strings (for more skilled players).
#2 Tennis Strings
The strings on your racquet are stretched across the racquet’s head and give it a bouncy surface (like a trampoline).
Tennis strings are available in a wide range of materials (usually polyester, nylon, kevlar, and natural gut) and gauges (thicknesses). Multifilament strings are a popular choice, as they help protect players’ arms by absorbing shock.
The most common string gauges include 17, 16L, and 16. Thicker strings are often the most durable with less opportunity for spin, while thinner strings tend to break easier yet allow for more top and backspin.
The amount of tension in your strings influences the power, control, and spin of the ball upon impact. Each racquet comes with a suggested tension range from the manufacturer.
More tension = Less Power
Less tension = More Power
#3 Correct Racquet Grip
The grip is the long, cylindrical part you hold on your tennis racquet.
When you don’t have a comfortable grip, you won’t be able to take full advantage of your racquet. You miss out on power, control, and confidence.
If your grip is too small or too big for your hand, you’ll continuously be straining to swing. This can lead to overcompensating on your hit and even result in injuries such as blisters, tennis elbow, and arm strain. That’s why having a correct grip is one of the many tennis essentials for athletes.
Check out this video to learn how to measure your racquet’s grip size effectively.
#4 Proper Shoes & Apparel
Every athlete needs a reliable pair of shoes and the right clothes for their sport; tennis is no exception.
You might think any pair of tennis shoes would suffice. After all, they are called “tennis” shoes. Wrong! It’s usually best to go with shoes specifically designed for tennis, as they can significantly improve your performance.
Your shoes need to provide you with the comfort, durability, flexibility, support, and traction you need to play. Here are several of the latest and greatest tennis shoes on the market.
It’s always a good idea to put comfort ahead of fashion when it comes to your athletic wear.
Many tennis players wear synthetic Dri-Fit and Climalite-branded fabrics because of their cooling effects and lighter weight.
Overall, whether you’re a guy or gal, you’ll want to make sure you can move freely at all times.
1. Look for shorts or skirts with pockets, as this is where you can keep spare balls when serving.
2. Avoid 100% cotton at all costs. This fabric holds onto sweat and clings to the body.
#5 Tennis Bag
Your tennis equipment needs a place to call home.
Having a quality and spacious tennis bag allows you to pack up all your tennis essentials (racquet, tennis balls, towel or sweatband, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, extra clothes, etc.) and conveniently transport them to wherever you need to go.
#6 Tennis Balls
The types of tennis balls you play with can also impact your game. The weight, bounce, type of felt, and softness all work together to create a tennis ball.
You don’t want to switch balls out after every game, so try to find tennis balls that are durable and offer a solid bounce. Overall, it comes down to what you prefer as the player and what type of surface you’ll play on.
Watch this video to see how Penn makes their tennis balls.
#7 Sunglasses or Hat
If you think a pair of sunglasses or a hat isn’t important when it comes to your tennis match, think again.
When you can’t see clearly, your game will suffer.
Since tennis is mostly an outdoor sport, players are frequently in direct sunlight. This can make it incredibly difficult to see the ball during serving and returning hits, especially during the mid-afternoon when the sun is in full overhead view.
Throw a visor, ballcap, or pair of sunglasses in your tennis bag before heading off to play. Your eyes and your game will benefit from wearing them.
Are you ready to give your eyes a break and improve your game? Browse through some of the best unisex sunglasses for tennis players.
#8 Water Bottle
Don’t forget to hydrate! As with any sport, it’s essential to always have water on hand.
Tennis players are often playing in warmer temperatures. Although you should regularly be drinking water (whether playing a sport or not), it’s even more critical that you stay hydrated in the heat.
Tennis may not seem like it involves strenuous activity, but it’s much more than what meets the eye. It’s easy to get dehydrated while playing, especially on summer days when the sun beats down on you.
According to Nike Tennis Camp Coach Connie McHugh, you need to drink at least 12-16 oz of water an hour before your match or practice and between 4-8 oz after each set.
#9 Towel or Sweatband
Imagine it. You’re eyeing your opponent, eagerly waiting to return their power serve. You watch the ball fly toward you. Sweat rolls down your arm and onto your grip. You wind up, swing, your grip slips, and there goes the ball soaring over the fence. Oops!
Prevent this embarrassing moment and other slip-ups from happening to you by packing a towel or wearing a wrist sweatband or headband at your next tennis match.
Doing so will help stop your hand from slipping off your racquet grip and prevent costly mistakes. Not to mention, it’ll also make you feel more comfortable, so you’re not distracted.
Sporting a sweatband on your wrist or head not only looks cool, but it keeps sweat out of your eyes and off your hands during play.
Tennis players can be playing out in the sun for hours, depending on ties during the sets, or playing in an outdoor tournament. That’s a lot of fun in the sun.
Make sure that you bring a high SPF, sweat-resistant, water-resistant sunscreen if you don’t want to be burnt to a crisp by the end of the day. Apply it before hitting the court and between games as necessary.
Take a look at these top-rated sunscreens for athletes, according to Business Insider.