Racquet advice for a 12 y/o

mjc196

New User
My 12 y/o has been playing tennis for 3 years. His first real racquet was a junior sized Head Extreme. Then he moved to the adult Wilson Ultra 100L. The coach says he needs a heavier racquet. I am looking for some racquet suggestions for him to demo. He can generate a decent amount of pace and spin when he times the ball correctly. He can hit deep balls from the baseline. As you would expect, he cannot always control/place the ball, especially if he hits it on the run. I'm not sure where to start in terms of his next racquet.
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
I would have him demo a bunch of racquets to see what he likes. I've been surprised at my son's picks for racquet and strings after demo'ing but it seems to work for him.

FWIW - after demo'ing at least 8 racquets, he settled on the Instinct MP. He's been playing well with that. I suspect one thing that made him like that racquet (especially because I think he was 13 or so when he moved up to MP) is that its swingweight was manageable at around 315.
 

pronostix

New User
Maybe try out the classics great 'all around' rackets often used by junior players aka Head Speed MP, Wilson Blade or Babolat Pure Strike. These frames could stay with him far into teenagehood and more (look at the players at the orange bowl or even college players)

Anything in the 300g unstrung will work for him, like Wilson Ultra 100.
I personally don't see any reason to use a racket under 300g, ever lol Swingweight of 320 should really be the utmost minimum limit imho. Lower incites bad mechanics ie arming the ball

Looking into more control, thinner beam, precise racket where he HAS to create the power himself could be interesting to give good habits (i was thinking of the wilson six one team the former racket of Thiem when he was a junior but its 290 grams unstrung which contradicts my point above lol but i guess there are others...)
 
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socallefty

Hall of Fame
Have him demo the following: Pure Strike, Blade, VCore 97 (310), Speed Pro, Gravity Pro. A lot of his contemporaries might be playing with the Pure Drive and he might be interested in that also. They should all work well for him amd he might just end up wanting to buy the racquet that looks the best to him - that’s totally fine as you can tune any of these racquet’s performance quite a bit by adjusting strings and tensions.

I should mention that they are all listed under the Bestseller list on TW.
 

Robbymack

New User
Honestly the best thing for him is to go hit a bunch of different frames and see what he likes. If he doesn’t like he will never play with it. There’s also nothing wrong with adding some lead tape to the current frame if he already likes it. Your job as the parent now will have less to do with what racquet he plays with and more to do with avoiding things that could lead to damage to his elbow or shoulder. I also encourage any young athlete to play as many different sports as they can and not “specialize” in one as so many parents feel the need to do. Skills learned in one sport often enhance skills in others. Plus you sorta diversify the risk of overuse type injuries.
 

happyandbob

Hall of Fame
Jumping from 296 swingweight to 320+ swingweight will be a big jump for a 12 year old. Not sure if the other folks weighing in here have or recently had pre-teens, but most 12 year old boys have not had their puberty growth and strength spurt.

You know your son best, if he is very strong and he can handle a 320 swingweight -- go for it. I know my son hated the heavier swingweights and he's pretty sturdy and strong (plays center-mid on his HS and travel soccer teams now).

If you can manage it financially, rather than jump to a racquet that will carry him for years, you might want to consider a low swingweight MP now (310s swingweight) and then bump him up again after puberty. My $0.02
 

BlueB

Legend
Lead tape and Blutac putty are your friends. Just mod up, if he liked that frame.
Of course, if his mind is set on a new one, than anything slightly heavier than he's got now, not too stiff and paintjob he likes...
 

mjc196

New User
Have him demo the following: Pure Strike, Blade, VCore 97 (310), Speed Pro, Gravity Pro. A lot of his contemporaries might be playing with the Pure Drive and he might be interested in that also. They should all work well for him amd he might just end up wanting to buy the racquet that looks the best to him - that’s totally fine as you can tune any of these racquet’s performance quite a bit by adjusting strings and tensions.

I should mention that they are all listed under the Bestseller list on TW.
Thank you! I was looking for a "list" to work with. I will look into these. I demo'ed the Pure Drive a few months ago and hated it, but it may work for him. And I agree, at this point, he also looks at the colors of the racquets to figure out what he likes. Our local tennis store was out of a lot of demos so they gave him Instinct MP and Dunlop SX300 LS. He is trying those for the time being.
 

mjc196

New User
Lead tape and Blutac putty are your friends. Just mod up, if he liked that frame.
Of course, if his mind is set on a new one, than anything slightly heavier than he's got now, not too stiff and paintjob he likes...
Yeah, he is set on getting a new racquet!
 

HitMoreBHs

Semi-Pro
Lead tape and Blutac putty are your friends. Just mod up, if he liked that frame.
Of course, if his mind is set on a new one, than anything slightly heavier than he's got now, not too stiff and paintjob he likes...
Yeah, he is set on getting a new racquet!
Having two mid-teen sons myself who I have taught the game since age 5, I can understand how he's set on getting a new racquet! @BlueB 's suggestion of Bluetac and lead tape is especially good for the Ultra 100L which has the specs that makes for a rather excellent platform stick. Especially if you are trying (or hoping) to grow him into eventually having a modern ATP type setup of high swingweight, lower static weight.

Eg: Dominic Thiem's 337 grams strung, 33 cm balance, 345 swingweight. Not so easy to get a typical retail 300-310g racket to this type of spec. Which is to say, even if you do buy him a new stick now, keep the Ultra 100L handy and maybe mod it up for him to try different types of set up as he gets bigger and better. Once the honeymoon period of the new stick is past, he might even return to liking a modded up 100L!
 

mjc196

New User
Having two mid-teen sons myself who I have taught the game since age 5, I can understand how he's set on getting a new racquet! @BlueB 's suggestion of Bluetac and lead tape is especially good for the Ultra 100L which has the specs that makes for a rather excellent platform stick. Especially if you are trying (or hoping) to grow him into eventually having a modern ATP type setup of high swingweight, lower static weight.

Eg: Dominic Thiem's 337 grams strung, 33 cm balance, 345 swingweight. Not so easy to get a typical retail 300-310g racket to this type of spec. Which is to say, even if you do buy him a new stick now, keep the Ultra 100L handy and maybe mod it up for him to try different types of set up as he gets bigger and better. Once the honeymoon period of the new stick is past, he might even return to liking a modded up 100L!
Thanks for the advice @HitMoreBHs. I'll hang on to the Ultra 100L. I have not really used lead tape or bluetac to modify a racquet, but I will explore that in case he wants to come back to the 100L in the future. He ended up using the Ultra 100L because he was awarded the racquet at a Wilson tennis camp a couple of summers ago. So, we haven't purchased a racquet for him since his junior size Head Extreme.
 

HitMoreBHs

Semi-Pro
I have not really used lead tape or bluetac to modify a racquet, but I will explore that in case he wants to come back to the 100L in the future.
Have a play with the TWU Customisation Tool. Use 67cm for inner hoop 1200 location, and 2cm for buttend location. You’ll see it doesn’t take much lead tape at 1200 and BlueTac under the buttcap to spec up the racquet. Standard rules of thumb:
1) 3g at 1200 adds 10 to swingweight
2) 1g at 1200 moves balance 1mm towards the head (1g at the buttcap does the opposite)
3) Add lead to the hoop first to get the desired swingweight. Then add weight at the handle to counterbalance.
eg: 6g at 1200 and 6g under the buttcap will maintain balance, increase SW by 20 and weight by 12g. Not difficult to do and it’ll play like a completely different racquet.

In fact, have some fun yourself with the Ultra 100L when he’s got his new toy. Try a bunch of different specs and get an understanding of how different set ups work for you. As I said, the 100L is an excellent platform stick and you might be surprised what you learn from this. Your chance to have a “new toy” too! :D
Don’t end up disappearing down the rabbit hole!
 

mjc196

New User
@HitMoreBHs thanks for explaining how to use the tape and putty! Good to know that the 100L is a good stick, and that I may be able to use it, too. I'm an intermediate doubles player and currently use the Head Extreme MP, but it may be fun to experiment with a racquet with different specs. I can see myself falling down this rabbit hole!
 

Miki 1234

Semi-Pro
With 300 gram frames best is new speed mp 100, yonex vcore100 and if he wants 98 head then rs300 tecnifibre.
But he should play 290 gram range unstrung for a year more probably...
After that its better to get something softer like 66ra or below which are the racquets i posted.
 

daman sidhu

Rookie
My 13yo uses a Yonex Ezone 100 and seems to like the stick a lot. Would recommend demoing it along with the Babolate Pure Drive
 
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