High school tennis was probably the best stage of my tennis journey. Getting to meet new kids from other towns and schools. Competing with them for the best high school is something I can never forget. I remember those days as if they were yesterday, but it has been a long time since and I am nearing graduation from college. Around high school, kids are slowly graduating from Junior racquets and they need actual racquets that they can start competing with.
The caveat is that barring some kids, a lot of them still have some time to grow their muscles and handling a players frame is going to severely limit the way they play. You really have to find a racquet that is the jack of all trades when it comes to high schoolers because they are still developing their game and they need a platform to really discover what they want to be when they start becoming specialized.
Finding something good for your kids or students can be a little confusing but involve them in the process, and they will be extremely happy to do it. For a tennis player, getting a new racquet is a greater feeling than getting a new iPhone, while iPhones get old in 6 months, racquets remain new for 5+ years without any problems.
What Sort of Racquet Should High School Students Pick
Now to pick something that is the best of all, as the end all be all racquet for you. I kept thinking that if I went back to my 14-15-year-old self and I was a high schooler graduating from a Junior racquet what would I pick? I tested around a few racquets, played with a bit of my old collection and thought about what could be the best. After a bit of deliberation and research, I would say either the Pure Aero Team or the Pure Aero Lite are my top two.
To buy or check their pricing, head on over to Amazon
Why I Love the Pure Aero Team and Lite
Both these racquets are great, hands down awesome for someone even looking to get into tennis. Babolat as a company has been making some great racquets ever since 2008 and I have been a fan. If you are a high schooler, you will see this racquet almost everywhere.
I got a high schooler to buy the previous version of the Pure Aero Lite, and he has been hooked to tennis ever since. He isn’t the strongest of kids, so the Lite version was great for him. But if you are strong and feel like you can handle a frame that’s a little heavier then go with the team variant.
The feel and comfort with the racquets are very good, and kids really enjoy it whenever I get them to try it.
Even if you are not a high schooler and just someone who plays tennis on the weekends or are a beginner then get the Pure Aero Lite. The feeling is great and you will not struggle just holding the racquet up.
Pros of The Pure Aero Lite
- Light racquet but still has great plow through and power to hit balls
- Stable at the net if you consider yourself good at the net.
- Light racquet so even if you are 14 years old, you can hold it without a problem
- Great head size for beginners – advanced high school players
- The good twist-weight gives the racquet a very stable feel, and even hitting the ball outside the sweet spot will get your ball to the other side.
Cons of The Pure Aero Lite
- The high flex is going to be good for you but as you get older, you will have to switch to a stiffer frame.
- If you are an adult and suffer from shoulder problems, this racquet will be problematic. Pick something that has a higher static weight compared to the swingweight.
Pros of The Pure Aero Team
- Still pretty light, but the stability of the racquet is way better than the lite version. If you are strong, don’t even worry about getting the Lite version
- Same open string pattern generates great topspin and power.
- A little higher swingweight, but more head light compared to the Lite version. This makes it more maneuverable.
- Great at the net, because of the stable static weight.
- Still great for beginners-intermediates or doubles players
Cons of The Pure Aero Team
- A little heavier for younger kids, but kids these days are pretty strong.
- The flex for this is high, so you might have to upgrade down the line in 4-5 years.
- The higher twist weight compared to the Lite version is going to make the ball a little flatter, and it is going to need some adjustment when approaching the net.
Babolat is great for kids because of the great racquets they make, and they also have some pretty cool colorways. The New Pure Aeros have some killer colorways and kids get attracted to these cool colors.
String Choice for High schoolers:
Going for a polyester string with young players can cause arm or elbow problems for them. I suggest something that is either a Multi Filament or a Synthetic. Both of these are great for playing and comfort. You can find both of them on Amazon here:
If you want to save some money, and your kid plays a lot of tennis, maybe some tournaments and what not, I would recommend getting your own stringer and stringing the racquets yourself. Getting a roll of string and measuring it just right with the help of my String Measuring Guide is going to save you some extra money for all the tournament fees.
The bigger thing to think about is the frequency of stringing. You have to convince the player/parent that they need to keep the racquet as consistent as possible and frequent stringing is key to that. The strings may not have broken but the tension has definitely changed and that tension change is changing the player’s swing to accommodate it.
Once a player is breaking strings in less than a month of playing, that’s when I suggest something more durable or a hybrid job.
What’s a Hybrid String?
Basically, a combination of two strings is called a hybrid string setup. Most advanced to pro players do this to get their desired form of comfort and power.
For example, Roger Federer uses a combo of Luxilon Alu Power and Wilson Natural String to get the playability of the natural gut and the durability and topspin of the Luxilon. If You want to learn more about his racquet I would suggest you visit my What Tennis Racquet Does Roger Federer Use Post
What To Consider When Buying a Racquet For High School Players:
Picking a racquet can be a little hard when there a lot of choices, but as I have mentioned in my racquet finding guide for Intermediates and Adult Beginners, you have to look for a few things for high school players.
If you follow this cheat sheet then you will have a great time picking out racquets and your high schooler will be happy with the choice.
Cheat Sheet for High School Racquets:
- Length should be 27 inches, if you go higher than that, it will make it a little harder to swing for you.
- The static weight should not be more than 11 Oz (9.5 – 11 is the sweet spot)
- The swing weight should be around 300-315. More than that is going to make it hard to swing.
- The head size should be between 100-107 sq.inches. They are still learning, and I prefer 100 as probably the best to play onwards.
- The flex rating is basically how much the frame bends when it contacts the ball, and the higher it is the more it will flex. Consider getting one that is between 65-70.
- All the racquet in this range have pretty good twist weights, but if you don’t know then get something in 13 to 15 range. It is basically the sweet spot of the racquet.
- A racquet that is at least 3-5 points headlight is going to be maneuverable and will help with difficult shots.
- Grip size is something very important, get something small and you can always make it big with more overgrips. But you go the other way around, there’s really no easy way to make it small without heavily modifying the racquet.
- Open string patterns like 16×19 (the most popular) or 18×16 is always going to be more beneficial as it creates more power and spin. 18×20 racquets are slowly getting phased out because of the need for power.
- Having a cool color is not a necessity but it gets the kids excited to play, so ask them what they want. It’s all about fun at the end of the day. The cool thing about the Babolat racquets is that they have very cool and striking colors, and kids love them as they are. Sometimes they come out with pink colorways that become very popular with girls too.
Racquets to Buy if You Don’t Want to Go with Babolat Pure Aero
I will say that going into a lot of choices can make for hard decision making for you and the kids alike, but there are sometimes when having a choice to buy from a good selection does seem very helpful and liberating.
If you don’t like the Pure Aero series for whatever reason, maybe they are too expensive or just that they have very high flex and you would rather get something that’s a little stiffer, this list is for you.
Some of them are in the budget range and the Head Microgel Radical MP is personally one of my favorite budget racquets. The colorway is great and the company has been putting it out because it is so popular and gets the job done 9 times out of ten.
Babolat Pure Drive Lite
I love the new version of this racquet as the color is to die for and it has to be the best iteration of the popular Pure Drives yet. For high school players, the stick is pretty stable and even I enjoyed hitting with the 9.5-ounce frame which I never particularly like.
My dislike for lighter racquet comes from general overall stability and vibrations transmitted to my arm through the frame. It is quite safe to say that this racquet does a commendable job in that department. The racquet is a great alternative to the Pure Aero Lite if you prefer this color more than the Pure Aero ones.
The forehands and backhands felt solid, I tried it on my own and got my young club mate to try as well. He liked it, just not as much as his Pure Aero Lite. He liked the color more though, and he said if there was a racquet with the Pure Aero Lite specs and the Pure Drive Lite color, he would get it in a heartbeat.
The 9.5 Ounce weight was very light floaty to play with, and at times I used to feel that the racquet was lighter than it actually was, maybe the balance was at play here. Whenever the weight is more towards the handle, there is a feeling of lightness with a racquet. That is the reason that this racquet is quite easy to move around.
The open string pattern and the forgiving sweet spot was great on the forehands and backhands. Getting the ball deep into the court was very fun and effortless, and for any high school player to hit the ball deep 7 times out of ten will give them the upper hand in the rallies.
Backhands were pretty solid, and the topspin aspect of the racquet did help out magnificently. Backhands that were close to my body were pretty easy to hit too, and I wished that my main playing racquet had some of this racquet’s backhand prowess.
Slicing the ball, on the other hand, required some power. Because of the light weight of the racquet, it didn’t really want to punch the ball as much as I like. I wouldn’t say that is bad, but it is certainly not as good as my playing racquet. For someone who is a beginner, they will still appreciate it.
You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link
Head Microgel MP
Andre Agassi made the radical brand popular and then Andy Murray continued the legacy. The Microgel technology has a vibration dampening effect and is great for anyone that suffers from shoulder problems. According to Head, the result of the Microgel tech is a rock-solid feel with improved comfort at impact.
This racquet just pays for itself, simple as that. I have quite a bit of history with this racquet as this is something I have played with quite a bit. The racquet has a great weight, great swing weight and the volleys on it are extremely fun.
I was so impressed by this racquet growing up, I eventually caved into buying a Head IG Youtek Radical MP because of it. This racquet survived more than 5 years with me until I had to move onto college and get a new more player-centric frame.
I am so thankful to Head that they keep on making it, mainly because it sells a lot even though it’s more than 10 years old at this point. At this price point, no other racquet comes even close.
It is a much more control-oriented racquet, thus having a closed string pattern so I won’t recommend it to a beginner high schooler. But if you or your kid has been playing for some time, and budget is an issue, this racquet is going to right up your alley.
The racquet has a heavy emphasis on control and comfort off the ground. The control-oriented feeling is something that is slowly being phased out, but this racquet is the reason I initially fell in love with control-oriented 18×20 racquets.
If you over hit the ball a lot, this is your racquet, simple as that. I could miss-hit the ball and still get the ball in. At both ends of the court, I could a good look at the ball and really smack it. The relatively higher swingweight got the ball quite deep into the court without a whole lot of effort. I enjoyed the racquet quite a bit and you will too.
You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link