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Youth Racquets - When to hand over a full size?

Published: 06 Dec 2008 - 01:54 by p3ga

Updated: 14 Dec 2008 - 05:16

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Ok, so my little delinquent was with me at the courts a few days ago, we were just goof ing around, merrily hitting the ball to each other.

After a few minutes he started complaining that he couldn't hold on to his {Prince Xtender 25 youth} racquet; the grip is shot. So I hand him one of my Karakal's and he's hitting the ball much better. Could be racquet, could be the grip, could be all in his head.

I'm going to put a new grip on the Prince to see how he likes it. He's 9 now, pretty athletic, decent swing technique - with Christmas just around the corner, is there any real reason why I shouldn't get him an "adult sized" racquet? Other than the kid's racquets being a bit shorter & heavier / stronger, I'm not seeing much of a difference between the two, even the grip sizes are close. 

As info, his Prince is aluminum, 190 grams, balance with original grip is at 28cm; head size is not alot different than my Karakal BX150.






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From p3ga - 14 Dec 2008 - 05:16

Thanks to all for the input - very good points were brought up & I hope this information is useful for other forum members in the future.

As info, I regripped his existing racquet with a new Karakal grip, and it made a big improvement.

Taking into account is smaller hands, I used a hair dryer to gently heat and stretch the wrap while installing; he's now able to grip the racquet properly, expending less effort to hit the ball crisper and making it more fun for him. He's taking great delight in seeing his old man run to chase down a ball.

Keeping it fun for him is the big thing - he'll do whatever he wants with the game. Considering that he races motocross, plays basketball, & dabbles with squash, he's pretty well-rounded and I hope he continues to enjoy bangin' the ball against the walls.

Thanks & have a great holiday season!






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From rippa rit - 07 Dec 2008 - 13:05   -   Updated: 07 Dec 2008 - 13:08

yep, just like an adult, it depends on his hand-eye coordination, his size, his strength, whether he plays other ball and racket/bat type games, the amount of time he spends on court, the amount of time a person spends feeding him shots so he can practice his swing, whether he can hit backhands or just runs around the shots and hits forehands, whether he wants to be like other squash players and feels adult if playing with Dad's gear, eg yellow dot ball, and full size racket.  The right gear to me is the one he can hit several consecutive shots with, and can also attempt reasonable backhands; and, finally. in my view, the one that give him the most fun.

I have had kids who come with their parents gear and end up having no fun as there are no rallies but did meet the approval of his peers.  That is why I suggest you experiment with one of your old rackets, eg take a bit off the handle and nobody would know, make the grip small so he can hold it in his fist easier, and see how that goes before spending any unnecessary money.  The longer lever will give a sense of power, the shorter lever will give a better sense of control, so it is all a trade-off.

My own kids would have a hit with me, and ask "Mum can I use your racket" so I would give it to them while I used theirs, "can we use that ball" so we would change balls, as they were sure it was my racket and ball that  made for good shots, so I would then say "here take my shoes too"....true that is natural for kids to think like that.

Now, you must be more confused than before....coming back to Ray's post, in the end, say a few years, it may not make any difference.  Importantly, the game must be attractive enough for him to want to go to the courts regularly to have a hit, or he will give up. Yes, the Martin family owned a squash centre in Sydney when the kids were babies, and Rod Eyles lived opposite the squash centre at Hibiscus Gardens and went to the courts every day after school, and played with other school kids who also became A Grade players.

More ways of killing a cat, so they say......


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From raystrach - 07 Dec 2008 - 12:37

hi pg3a

not too sure if rit atcually answered your question there!

the answer is very much an inividual thing. in a group i coach we have an nine year old who uses a full size racket, because he was using before i took over the squad. he should be using a junior racket, but does not want to no matter what.

another youngster about 11 also uses a full size racket but should not. his technique progression is impeded because of the bigger racket. he does not want to go back.

once they go to the bigger racket, they will not go back. take a really close look at him with the bigger racket in a game situation compared to his shorter racket. if there appears no difference in manouverability give him the bigger racket. if there is, don't.

both jansher khan and rodney martin used to hold their rackets at the top of the grip which would be the equivilant of a youth racket - they were both world champions - it will not hold your son back, it will keep him moving forward quicker

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From rippa rit - 06 Dec 2008 - 07:55   -   Updated: 06 Dec 2008 - 07:58

That is a good question and good that you are watching what is going on with your son. Before going into a big speel just do a couple of things for me:

  • Kneel down and then hold the racket - is it dragging around the floor a bit? So the length is a problem. Will this impede the swing?
  • Grap something, maybe the pick handle, which is as thick in your hand as the racket is in your sons - is it hard to hold the correct grip, or are the fingers all in the wrong place.
  • I would not like the length to be more than 23 inches (too much drag otherwise)
  • Try out a Racketball racket and you can then use a squash ball, halfcourt tennis ball, racket ball, and if that is good fun, look at something like this Karakal CRX Tour 19.47 pounds

What would I do :

  • Get my old racket and cut 1 or 2 inches off the bottom of the handle (you can gradually increase the length as he grows) or start off with the Racketball Racket..
  • Replace the grip, on the old racket, by wrapping it up the handle a bit further.

Benefits - less strain on the arm/shoulders/wrist; better chance of developing squash technique; excellent for enjoyment; develops hand eye co-ordination.

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