When Should a Child Switch to an Adult Tennis Racket?

Picking a tennis racket can be a tricky thing to go through at the best of times. But, when you are transitioning from junior or child rackets to full sized adult rackets. This is a particularly challenging time in a tennis player’s journey, but especially when rockets come into consideration.

So, let’s take a closer look at when exactly a child should switch over to an adult size and weight tennis racket.

What’s The Difference Between a Child and Adult Tennis Racket?

The first thing to understand when we are talking about child versus adult tennis rackets is the key differences between them. Obviously, as most children are smaller, physically weaker, and hit the ball more softly than adults, child tennis rackets are lighter, less stiff, and shorter than adult rackets. 

On the whole, children coming up through junior coaching setups will tend to use variations of normal tennis balls, such as foam, pressureless, red, orange, or green colored tennis balls. These are much softer, lighter, and bounce lower than regular yellow tennis balls used for adult competitions. 

Therefore, the demands on child tennis rackets are much lower than those placed on adult rackets. As a result, children can often find adult tennis rackets very heavy, stiff, and uncomfortable to play with. 

The standard length of an adult tennis racket is 27”, whereas children’s tennis rackets come in 17”, 19”, 21”, 23” and 25” lengths.

When Should a Child Start Using an Adult Tennis Racket?

Whilst there isn’t an exact formula for when a junior or child tennis player should start using an adult racket, it will be pretty clear if they feel comfortable or not when starting to use a full-sized frame. 

The jump from a 19” or 21” child tennis racket to a 23” tennis racket for example is not too much of a big deal, simply because these smaller frames are specifically designed for younger players. 

Therefore their stiffness and weight are geared towards lighter tennis balls and less powerful shots. 

However, if a child is moving up to a full-sized 27” tennis racket and they are struggling to hit with proper technique or swing the racket freely, they may not be ready to make the transition.

Growth Spurts

On the other hand, if the child has recently gone through a growth spurt or has gradually transitioned up through the various junior racket lengths and it seems like a natural time to start using an adult racket, go for it. 

Essentially, when a child starts being comfortable with hitting green balls or is making the transition into using full yellow balls, is a good time to make the permanent change to an adult tennis racket. 

For most players, this should be around 10 to 12 years old. However, some juniors may feel more comfortable transitioning to an adult racket at 14 or 15 years old, depending on their level of physicality and the level they are playing at.

Bridging the Gap

A great way to tell if a child is ready to transition to an adult racket is simply to let them try one. If they are able to swing the racket without any limitations, don’t suffer from any elbow or wrist pain, and can still control the ball, then they should be ready to make the switch. 

A great way to bridge the gap is to use a full-length tennis racket that is a light or ultra-light version of a regular tennis racket model. These are a lot more accessible for younger players and beginners alike, as they are a lot easier to swing than regular mid-plus models. 

Not only that, but these lightweight models also tend to have slightly thicker beams, larger head sizes, and better vibration dampening. This makes them a lot more closely related in playing characteristics to a child racket than a regular adult racket. 

What to Look For in a New Tennis Racket

There are a few things to consider when you are looking for a new tennis racket, which is especially important for a child making the switch to an adult tennis racket. If these factors are not considered properly, the player could be at risk of injury.


The length of the tennis racket used can play a huge role in how comfortable the player feels hitting balls with it. 

This comes into play when jumping up to a full-sized 27” adult racket, especially when the player is already used to a shorter-length racket. 

Consider using a middle or the road 23” or 25” racket for a bit before making the leap to a full-length racket, as this can be a great way to help a growing body adapt to the demands of a longer racket.


The weight of a tennis racket is probably the most important aspect of choosing the perfect tennis racket, especially when making the transition from junior to senior rackets. 

Opting for a light or ultra-light racket with an unstrung weight of between 240g and 280g would probably be a child’s best bet when looking to move up to an adult-sized frame. This will make it easier to swing and control during this transitionary period, whilst also minimizing the risk of developing tennis elbow.


The materials and technology used in a tennis racket can also play a role in how comfortable it feels for a younger player, especially if they are suited to a lightweight, supple frame. 

Looking for rackets with good vibration damping, additional power, and a comfortable grip will make the transition to a full-sized racket as easy as possible. 

It wouldn’t really make sense for a young player to jump from a very user-friendly, beginner-style racket to a stiff, unforgiving old-school racket. Therefore, looking for a racket with modern technology that’s made from lightweight materials will really help make the transition seamless.

Head Size

The size of a tennis racket’s head also plays a major role in determining how easy it is to play with. As a junior looking to start using a full-sized adult tennis racket, it wouldn’t really make sense to go for an incredibly control-oriented racket, as this would simply be too difficult to master if you aren’t used to it. 

A more forgiving and appropriate option would be a mid-plus to an oversized racket, ranging from 100 sq in – 120 sq in. This will offer plenty of margin for error, power, and forgiveness, making it a lot easier for a younger player to start using an adult racket quickly.

Best Child to Adult Transition Rackets

Now we have discussed the ideal time for a child to switch to an adult racket, let’s take a closer look at some of the best rackets for the job. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of tennis rackets, as there are lightweight versions of practically all of the best known makes and models out there. 

However, if you are looking for a great transitionary racket for a teenager to pick up and find their way into the adult game, consider a few of these options: 

Mastering The Switch from Junior to Adult Tennis Racket

Overall, making the switch from a junior to a senior tennis racket is one of the hardest transitions to make with tennis equipment. It is a tricky balance between catering to a player’s ever-changing needs, whilst not putting them at risk of injury. 

We hope that this article will help you navigate this time more easily and that you try out some of the racket suggestions above. 

Ultimately, when the player is ready to swing a full-sized racket comfortably without compromising their technique or sustaining any immediate discomfort, they’re ready to make the switch. It really is a case of trial and error. 

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