Tennis makes for a great cardio workout, with the average 155-pound woman burning 260 calories in just 30 minutes of playing, reports the Harvard Health. Before you hit the local tennis court, don the tennis gear you need to stay safe, comfortable and injury-free. Whether you want to play tennis for exercise or just for fun, having the right gear increases the likelihood of success on the court.
The racquet may be the most essential part of your gear arsenal. Without it, you simply cannot play. Racquets are generally categorized in three groups: power racquets, designed for beginners and intermediate players; tweener racquets, intended for intermediate and advanced players; and control racquets, designed for professionals and expert players. Features to look for include a comfortable grip that fits your hand size well and a graphite frame — frames made from metal alloys are cheaper but don't give you as much stability in your swing, according to the U.S. Tennis Association.
Leave your long pants and tight clothing at home. Wear loose gym shorts, tennis shorts or a tennis skirt, which gives you range of motion and increased comfort while dodging back and forth on the tennis court. T-shirts are acceptable as a top, but if you're in a competition, you may want to use a traditional tennis polo shirt for appearance's sake.
Playing tennis involves a lot of high-impact movements as well as quick turns. You'll want to wear shoes specifically labeled for the sport, as they will have flexible soles designed to take an impact and keep you gripped to the ground. Note that tennis players often wear two pairs of socks when they're playing tennis to help add cushioning and protect against friction, reports the U.S. Tennis Association. Take that into consideration when trying on different tennis shoe sizes.
There's more to the iconic yellow tennis ball than may meet the eye. When choosing balls out of your personal ball selection or from the tennis court's buckets of available balls, generally pick ones that have the tightest, smoothest fuzzy surface. Fluffier balls may have greater drag, which slows down their speed, says the New York Times. However, you may want a fluffier ball if you're competing against someone who has a powerful swing, as it can help slow the ball down to your advantage.
Wearing sunglasses can help cut down glare and shield your eyes on a sunny day, thus helping you see incoming balls better. If you choose to wear sunglasses, bring paper towels in your pocket to wipe sweat off your glasses, and consider spraying them with anti-fogging spray to keep your vision clear. Other accessories that you may find useful on the tennis court include a sweatband to keep your hair and perspiration out of your eyes, as well as a visor to further shade your face from the sun.
- Harvard Health: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes
- United States Tennis Association: Choosing an Appropriate Tennis Racquet
- University of Nebraska Liferay: Selecting a Tennis Racket
- U.S. Special Olympics Coaching Guide: Tennis Quick Start
- American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society: How to Select the Right Athletic Shoes
- United States Tennis Association: Improve Your Game
- New York Times: A Ritual With Roots in Science and Superstition
- United States Tennis Association: Choosing/Replacing Balls
- United States Tennis Association: Dealing With Glasses During a Match
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.