Tennis Essentials: What Beginner & Intermediate Players Need

In this article, I will get you started on your tennis career. As a beginner, everything is new, and you have a lot to learn. Think about finding the right equipment and whether it is advisable to take tennis lessons as a beginner.

What Equipment do You Need to Play Tennis?

The basic equipment needed to play tennis includes a tennis racket, tennis shoes, tennis balls, sportswear, and a tennis court. Other non-essential equipment includes a tennis bag, tennis strings, tennis lessons, and a tennis club membership.

In this article, I will guide you through all the steps to start your tennis career on the right foot.

Tennis Essentials For Beginners

Tennis is a relatively accessible sport. Lots of people play it since you don’t need much to be able to participate.

You can make tennis as expensive as you would like, and the quality and amount of materials and necessities are pretty dependent on how serious you’re taking it.

If you are just starting out and don’t quite know yet which tennis essentials you need, you have found the right article.

Below, you will find exactly what you need to own or what service you need to have some fun at the tennis court.

Tennis Rackets For Beginners

Tennis racket collection

There are plenty of different tennis rackets, and as a beginner, this may be a little overwhelming. Several questions can cross your mind while standing in the store.

Obviously, you want a racket that looks nice, perhaps you want a colored one, but you also want a racket that will help you become the best tennis player you can be.

Below are some questions you should ask when trying to pick out your ideal first tennis racket. This way, you will be sure that you are buying the right racket.

How do you pick a tennis racket for beginners?

You have to keep in mind a few factors when picking out a racket.

One of those factors is weight. As a beginner, you might want to opt for a lighter racket.

Light tennis rackets are easier to use when you don’t fully have the proper techniques yet.

A racket that weighs around 10 ounces (280 grams) would be a good choice for a beginner, but make sure this is not too light for you.

Your first racket should be easy to swing, but if it’s too easy, you might end up flicking your wrist too much, leading to poor technique.

When buying your first tennis racket, another factor to keep in mind is grip size.

Since you will be holding your racket for long periods of time and need to hit a ball with it, you must be able to hold the racket well.

So how do you measure your grip size?

You can measure if a grip is right for you by holding it with your dominant hand and then placing the index finger of your other hand in between the palm of your hand and your ring finger. If it fits, the grip size is good.

The head size is another factor you should look at when buying your first racket. If you have a big head size, you will be able to hit more balls.

There are different sizes ranging from midsize to super oversize.

This is great when you have an underdeveloped technique because a big head size means a bigger sweet spot. This means that a racket is a bit more forgiving when you don’t hit a ball quite right.

A smaller head size provides better control, but this is only beneficial for people who are already able to use the right techniques.

What size tennis racket should a beginner use?

A head size between 98 (632.26 cm²) and 105 in² (677.42 cm²) is recommended for beginners.

As explained in the question before this one, head size is quite important.

Because you lack the technique an advanced tennis player has, getting a racket with a head size of about 100 in² (645.16 cm²) is recommended.

The length of a tennis racket is usually 27 to 29 inches (68.58 to 73.66 cm). Longer rackets are harder to control, so it would be best to stay around 27 inches (68.58 cm) for a beginner.

How do you know if a tennis racket fits you?

In the end, it all comes down to preferences. Therefore, I would highly recommend trying out a racket (or several rackets) before buying it. That way, you can feel if the racket works for you.

Most tennis stores allow you to try out the racket you consider buying.

If you are buying a tennis racket for a child, there are some rules of thumb about the size of a racket.

Whereas adult rackets range from 27 to 29 inches (68.58 to 73.66 cm), children’s rackets are smaller.

Rackets ranging from 19 to 23 inches (48.26 to 58.42 cm) are best for children under eight years old, and rackets ranging from 23 to 25 inches (58.42 to 63.5 cm) are ideal for nine-year-olds and ten-year-olds.

Keep in mind that these rules of thumb might not apply to older children shorter than average or young children taller than average.

How much should I spend on a tennis racket?

Tennis rackets come in all kinds of price ranges. How much you want to spend on a racket depends on how much money you can afford to pay and how serious you are about tennis.

If you want to play once a month, it will be best to buy a cheaper racket than if you are planning on using your racket weekly or even more.

Generally, you can pay about 150 dollars (132 euros) for a good tennis racket. If you plan to play tennis regularly and want to really learn the techniques, this price is pretty fair.

More expensive rackets are an option, but I would wait to buy those until you are more advanced.

Cheaper rackets are also possible if you are less serious about tennis or mainly want to have fun every once in a while.

A racket for this group of players can be purchased starting at about 50 dollars (44 euros).

(Click here to read our in-depth article on how much a tennis racket costs)

What is a good beginner racket?

Three big brands are well known in tennis for their excellent quality rackets and other tennis essentials.

One of these brands is Babolat. The Babolat Pure Drive 107 is an example of a good tennis racket for beginners.

The racket is lightweight and has a larger head, thus making it easier to hit the balls. This racket is not the cheapest, but it is versatile, which means you can use it even as you get better.

Another good tennis racket for beginners is the HEAD Graphene Extreme MP.

This is a more affordable option but is comparable to the Babolat Pure Drive when it comes to performance.

With eleven ounces (300 grams), it is slightly heavier than the Babolat Pure Drive 107. However, it is still considered a lightweight racket.

Tennis Shoes For Beginners

Tennis shoes

We wear shoes every day, but when we go to the store, we usually put on different shoes than when we go to a party. For tennis, there are special shoes needed as well.

You might think any pair of sports shoes should do the trick, but buying a pair of tennis shoes is beneficial since they can prevent injuries.

Those shoes are made specifically for the movements you make in tennis. Moving sideways, for example, is something that is not common in all sports.

How do I know what tennis shoes to buy?

When shopping for tennis shoes, it is essential to find a pair that fits the anatomy of your feet. Foot length is not the only important factor.

The width of your foot is important as well. Some brands make more narrow shoes while others make broader shoes.

Besides that, the surface you will be playing on most matters. Different outside soles match different types of playgrounds.

Clay courts, for example, require shoes with a herringbone sole. Grass courts, on the other hand, are best played on with shoes that have small nubs on the outsole.

Do I need specific tennis shoes?

When you are just starting, comfort is the most important. You should buy shoes that you can comfortably wear on the court and match the surface you will be playing on.

When you become more advanced, you can also look at other factors. Ankle support might be beneficial for some players, while others want a fast or more durable shoe.

Is it better for tennis shoes to be tight or loose?

A tennis shoe should not be too loose. Because of the quick starts and stops you make during tennis; tennis shoes have a relatively tight fit. This is to prevent the foot from sliding back and forth too much.

However, a shoe that is too tight could cause pain and injuries, so make sure your foot and especially your toes still have some wiggle room.

What is a good tennis shoe for beginners?

An example of a good tennis shoe for beginners is the Adidas CourtJam Bounce.

This shoe has excellent ventilation and is made of a combination of synthetic and mesh materials.

The shoe does not have the most durable sole, but since you might not want to buy different shoes for different surfaces when starting out, this shoe would be an excellent choice.

Even though the sole isn’t very durable, it facilitates good traction on several surfaces.

Tennis Clothes For Beginners

Girl buying a tennis skirt

Now that we have discussed shoes, it’s time to move on to clothing. You could opt for a simple pair of sports leggings and a shirt.

This would not be a problem, especially for beginners.

But if you want to wear something tennis players would wear, you have a few options.

What should I wear to play tennis?

It is common to wear tennis shorts and a t-shirt with short sleeves if you are a man. Balls can easily fit in the pockets of your shorts.

For women, there are more options. Women can choose between a skirt with a top, a dress, or shorts with a top.

Tennis clothing is usually not very restricting, especially around the arms and shoulders.

This is, so players are free to make all of the movements they need to make to hit a ball perfectly.

Brands that often get worn on the tennis court are Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, and Asics. 

Tennis Bags For Beginners

Tennis bag

Now that you’ve just bought a new racket, you need a nice tennis bag to carry it in. Again, there are endless options in this, so I’ll help you make the right choice.

Are tennis bags worth it?

It is worth buying a tennis bag. First, it’s easy to store all your belongings when playing tennis. Think about your wallet, car keys, a sweater, bottle of water, and tennis balls.

But in addition, it also keeps your racket in better condition. If you put the racket in the special racket compartment without other objects, it will be less damaged.

How do I choose a tennis bag?

When buying a tennis bag, the only thing you really need to do is look at your own needs.

As a beginner, you probably only have one racket, so the bag only needs to have one racket compartment.

But suppose you always shower after playing tennis, for example. It is advisable to choose a bag with a bit more storage space for clean clothes.

Before buying a tennis bag, think carefully about what you want to take to the tennis court. Estimate how much space you will need for that, and then make your choice of bag.

Which tennis bag is the best for beginners?

As I said above, it depends on how much space you need for all your stuff.

But assuming a beginner brings a racket, a can of balls, some drinks, and maybe a sweater for after play, this doesn’t have to be a huge bag.

In addition, a storage pocket for some small items, such as a cell phone, wallet, and car keys, is also nice to have.

The Head Elite 3R Pro is a perfect bag if you are a beginning player.

This bag has a large main compartment that can hold three rackets. You can also put your jersey in this large compartment, as it will not damage your racket.

In addition, the bag has two accessory pockets to store small items. The comfortable shoulder strap makes the bag easy to carry.

Tennis Balls For Beginners

A can of tennis balls

When you start playing tennis you will, of course, need the right tennis balls in addition to a racket. You have an awful lot of choices between all kinds of different brands and types.

What tennis balls are good for beginners?

As a beginner, it is best to use non-pressurized tennis balls. These balls owe their bounce to the rubber shell of which the ball is made.

These are most commonly used during tennis lessons, recreational tennis, and friendly matches.

These tennis balls are good quality, have a long life, and are relatively cheap to buy. So if you lose a ball during a game of tennis, it’s not a big deal.

Which tennis balls should I buy?

The supply of non-pressurized tennis balls is slightly smaller than that of pressurized tennis balls. Above all, don’t buy too expensive balls because one will be lost regularly.

Two of the best-known manufacturers of pressureless tennis balls are Penn and Tretorn. They make high-quality balls that last a long time.

Some recommended types are Tretorn Pro Control, Tretorn Micro X, and Tretorn Plus.

Tennis Lessons

Tennis teacher at work

While you can obviously try to learn tennis by just going to the court and trying your best with a friend, you could also take lessons.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that practice makes perfect.

Should a beginner take tennis lessons?

It is certainly a good idea for beginners to take tennis lessons. This is the best way to play tennis correctly, as you will be taught different techniques.

A good technique not only helps you hit the best shots but also helps to prevent injuries. Especially wrist injuries can be lying around the corner if you don’t practice the proper techniques.

Are tennis lessons worth it?

Tennis lessons are always worth it. You will learn the techniques behind different shots, but you will also have someone watching you and giving you tips and tricks.

It can be pretty difficult to realize what you are doing wrong if you have failed to hit the same shot several times.

An expert watching you can often tell you that you might need to bend your knees more or hit the ball earlier.

Besides that, tennis lessons give you a sense of routine. If you practice tennis enough, you will get better.

Moreover, for some people, tennis lessons are a kind of commitment they have made.

While they might cancel a tennis date with friends, they are less likely to do so with a tennis lesson.

Are tennis lessons expensive?

Tennis lessons are usually not cheap, but you can make them as expensive as you want. For a beginner, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

You don’t have to start out with the best coach who has plenty of years of experience and trains the best players.

You can opt for someone cheaper, and they will be able to teach you the techniques just fine.

Another thing to keep in mind is that tennis lessons are cheaper if you take lessons in groups. If you want private lessons, you will be paying significantly more than taking group lessons.

Even though tennis is an individual sport, lessons with groups of four, six, or eight people are not uncommon in tennis.

You can find people at the same level as yourself, but most tennis coaches have several groups and might know a perfect group for you to join.

Tennis Club Membership

Courts of a tennis club

As with most sports, there are clubs for tennis. These clubs usually have access to multiple courts, and for a fee, you can become a member.

Should I join a tennis club?

If you are serious about wanting to learn tennis, you should definitely join a tennis club. Tennis clubs allow their members to play on their courts and provide several opportunities to meet new people.

People who, like you, are into tennis. Tennis clubs also host all kinds of fun activities, although mostly tennis-related.

If you want to join tournaments and competitions, you are often required to be a club member, but this might be something for later when you are a bit more advanced. However, there are tournaments and competitions for all tennis levels.

Another reason to join a tennis club is to find tennis partners. If you want to become good at the game, you will have to practice a lot.

If you have one or maybe even a few people you can practice with, you will make progress faster.

How do tennis clubs work?

Tennis clubs have many members who pay, usually on an annual basis. This money gets used to make sure the courts remain playable and the clubhouse remains presentable.

When you are a member of a tennis club, you can join various activities they host, and usually tournaments as well. You can also join a team and enter competitions.

Usually, anyone can play on the courts for a small fee, but if you are a member, you can play on the courts of that club for free.

Tennis Essentials For Intermediate Players

When you become better at tennis and start mastering the different techniques, you are likely to get more serious.

This means you might be interested in new and better materials as well.

Your wardrobe doesn’t necessarily need a change, although buying new sets is always fun. On the other hand, your racket may be in need of replacement.

Tennis Rackets & Strings For Intermediate Players

Tennis racket being strung

A good tennis racket is crucial in tennis. But what exactly makes a good tennis racket? There are several factors to keep in mind.

Where a beginner might look for a racket that is affordable and easy to hold, an intermediate player should pay attention to more details.

Should I get a heavy or light tennis racket?

When you know the right techniques and are pretty good at hitting the ball, you might want to buy a new racket.

At first, it was important to simply get the ball to the other side, but now you want to actually win games and hit a variety of shots.

You can now start to look at the differences between heavy and light rackets and choose which one fits your game best.

Light rackets are easier to position and can help provide more spin due to the easy swing. A heavier racket is more suitable for depth and power.

What is a good tennis racket for an intermediate player?

If you are an intermediate player, you most likely already know what kind of player you are. Some people might focus on topspin, while others prefer more flat groundstrokes.

Therefore no one racket is perfect for intermediate players. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Racket head sizes range between 95 (612.90 cm²) and 105 in² (677.42 cm²). With a 100 in² racket, you have a bigger sweet spot, but it is better to practice your hand-eye coordination than to get a bigger racket.

A smaller head provides more control which is great for intermediate players who know they can hit a ball without having a racket with a big head.

Because of this, most intermediate players choose a 95 in² (612.90 cm²) to 98 in² (632.26 cm²) head size.

Besides that, your racket shouldn’t be too light. How heavy you want to go depends on what kind of player you are.

In general, beginners have the lightest rackets.

More advanced players opt for a heavier racket that helps them hit the ball with more power and speed.

If you are a player that can generate your own speed, the Wilson Clash 100 might be a good intermediate racket for you.

It still is not very heavy and has a larger head, so you will keep that sweet spot your beginner racket might have had.

The racket has a 16x19 string pattern, making it perfect for topspin. If you have fast swings, this might be the racket for you.

The Babolat Pure Aero is a racket to consider as well. Rafael Nadal uses this racket for a reason. With a string tension of around 50 lbs (22.5 kg), you will be able to have powerful serves.

If you want to improve on your own control and topspin, this is the racket for you.

However, if you want your racket to facilitate control or if you are more of a doubles player, it’s better to pick a different racket.

What strings are best for intermediate tennis players?

Nylon strings or natural gut strings are recommended for beginners and intermediate players. This is due to the power and comfort these strings facilitate.

Suppose you are leaning more towards advanced instead of intermediate. In that case, you might want to consider polyester strings as those are stiffer and more goal-oriented.

In addition to the material of the strings, you should also pay attention to what the strings are best used for. Some strings facilitate better spin, while others focus on control.

When you are an intermediate player, you might already have an idea of what kind of player you are. So choose the string that best suits your way of playing.

It is also possible to use two types of strings in your racket.

You can choose to go with one type of string for the vertical strings and a different type for the horizontal strings, but make sure to ask for advice on combinations by a salesman.

Best string tension for tennis players

String tension can impact your game, so it’s recommended to pay attention to your string tension when you start getting more serious about tennis.

String tension depends on a few factors, one of which is the material.

Besides that, you have to decide if you value control over power, or the other way around.

Below is a table that shows what your string tension should be depending on your playing level, type of strings, and preference in focus.

Nylon or natural gut strings
Beginner:54-55lbs (24.5-25kg)59-60lbs (26.75-27.25kg)
Intermediate:52-53lbs (23.5-24kg)57-58lbs (26-26.5kg)
Advanced:50-51lbs (22.5-23kg)55-56lbs (25-25.5kg)
Hybrid strings
Beginner:50-51lbs (22.5-23kg)55-56lbs (25-25.5kg)
Intermediate:48-49lbs (21.75-22kg)53-54lbs (24-24.5kg)
Advanced:46-47lbs (21-21.5kg)52lbs (23.5kg)
Polyester strings
Beginner:44-45lbs (20-20.5kg)50lbs (22.5kg)
Intermediate:46-47lbs (21-21.5kg)51-52lbs (23-23.5kg)
Advanced:48-49lbs (21.75-22kg)53-54lbs (24-24.5kg)


I hope this article has helped you choose the right equipment. In addition, you now know that taking tennis lessons is definitely recommended, both for beginners and intermediate players.

When choosing the right racket, always remember to match it to your own playing style as much as possible. This will make you enjoy the racket more and will improve your performance.

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
January 6, 2022
Published: January 6, 2022