Racquet Decisions for Juniors
Developing today's junior player should be taken very seriously as any such development could greatly affect their futures. As coaches, tennis professionals and parents, we focus on stroke development, conditioning, strategy, the mental game, and attitude. These are all very important elements of the 'total' game, but in addition, we must make the correct decisions regarding equipment.
Racquets, in particular, play a major role in the development of a child's competitive tennis game. Junior players, whether they are beginning, intermediate, advanced or early tournament level, should be using a light to medium weight racquet with an even or head light balance point.
The reasons are simple, practical and safe. Firstly, because the racquet is more maneuverable, the likely occurrence of good to excellent stroke production will be more possible - all things being equal. These young players will have a better opportunity to learn and accomplish proper preparation, acceleration and follow through that will eventually lead to better and more penetrable shot making. Secondly, these junior players get no extra or 'fake' power (as I like to call it) from the racquet. Employing good stroke production and timing generates much of their power. Nothing is worse than seeing a junior playing a match with a 'game improvement' racquet. Their vision for the future is impeded by the lure of short-term successes. In other words, they give up mastering of stroke production for power. It may serve them in the early years but will have a negative affect later on in their tennis careers. Lastly, the danger of injury is greatly diminished because the proper racquet selection has allowed for proper stroke production. Racquets that are too heavy or too head heavy can lead to many forms of shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries. What a bad reason for juniors to playing tennis at such young ages!
Every tennis player should play with the heaviest racquet that they can handle (without changing proper stroke production) for the duration of a match. in other words, if a player plays great with a 12.6 ounce Pro Staff early on in the match but fails to continue this trend because of the weight of the racquet, then this racquet is not the correct racquet.