Best Gifts for Tennis Players Who Are Any Level
There are a lot of tennis players. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), 87 million play tennis around the world. And all those tennis players need tennis equipment.
Whether it's Christmas or someone's birthday or you just want to do something nice, tennis gifts always make nice gifts. The tennis player in your life will be over the moon if you get them a gift they can really use.
They could be recreational beginners or pros. These are the best gifts you can get for tennis players at any level.
Why a tennis player needs tennis balls: It goes without saying that you can't play tennis without a ball. But any tennis player worth his or her salt knows that it's important to rotate who brings the fresh can of balls.
Like anything else, when you buy in bulk you're going to get a better deal. Tennis balls are no different.
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Why a tennis player needs a tennis racket: Whoever you're buying this gift for probably already has a tennis racket, but it never hurts to have an inexpensive backup, and it never hurts to get an upgrade.
Tennis rackets don't have to be ultra-expensive. You can find good ones starting around $30-$50 all the way up to hundreds of dollars.
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Why a tennis player needs racket strings: The truth is you're probably not going to be able to string a tennis racquet yourself without the proper equipment. You'll have to find a local pro. But having your own string could help reduce the cost of the stringing fee.
An interesting fact about tennis strings. Up until about 30-40 years ago, the top tennis companies used actual animal guts and animal intestines to make the string.
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Why a tennis player needs a tennis bag: You don't want your friends and loved ones showing up to their tennis games carrying just their racket. All this other great stuff you're about to buy them needs somewhere to go.
You can do a tennis bag really simply. They come in cool backpack versions or you can spruce it up to the pro-style ones that look like duffel bags.
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Why a tennis player needs grips/overgrip: There's probably a preference for the kind of grip each individual player uses, but the more popular type of grip lately seems to be the extra tack/sticky grips.
Tennis players can attest that once the grip starts to go it becomes a distraction on the court. The shelf life of a grip depends on how much you play, but for the serious recreational player (3-4 times per week), it wouldn't hurt to change out once a month, so $15 could essentially buy you a year's worth of grips.
Although if your friends are anything like ours, they won't last near that long.
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Why a tennis player needs dampeners: It's tough to say if vibration dampeners really make the impact we think they're making. Most of us get them as our first gift from our other tennis-playing friends and can't really remember ever not playing with them.
We know that they also look cool, though, and we can't imagine our racket without them. And there's plenty of fun varieties to surprise people with. Like a dampener that looks like a panda.
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Why a tennis player needs wristbands: Wristbands are a must for tennis players. You're gonna sweat like crazy while you play, and that's going to be all over your racquet without a wristband.
Another great use of the wristbands is that they're essentially mini towels you can wipe sweat off your forehead and out of your eyes while you play.
And depending on how fancy you want to get, you can get them in bulk at a fairly inexpensive price.
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Why a tennis player needs headbands: Headbands can come in all shapes and sizes, including the John McEnroe-style ones from the 1970s or the new-school, Karate Kid-style ones that Rafael Nadal wears.
You're probably best off buying the stretchy sports headbands that come in large packs and can easily be thrown in the wash with your other stuff.
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Why a tennis player needs towels: There's never a worse moment for a tennis player than when they open their bag and see no towels. Because at that moment they know the next two hours are going to be spent in a sweaty mess with no ability to dry off. That isn't ideal.
You can get fancy with the towels, but the better bet is that you're going to need to go in bulk because it's easy to go through quite a few of them.
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Why a tennis player needs cold towels: These magical cooling towels are perfect for playing in the summer. We know it's probably a simple science that makes it so you can just add water to the towel and it becomes ice cold but we can't explain it to you.
Make sure when you purchase these for your favorite tennis player you tell them that they need to make sure they dry them out thoroughly before using them again. And they can never, ever go in the washing machine. Because then they'll be ruined.
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Liquid Chalk/Rosin Bag
Why a tennis player needs liquid chalk/rosin bag: You'll be amazed how much liquid chalk or a rosin bag will dry your hands out during tennis even on the hottest days. There's a reason this stuff is used by athletes in almost every sport — from Major League Baseball pitchers to Olympic gymnasts to your local rec tennis heroes.
Just like the cooling towel, we're not smart enough to explain the science behind the liquid chalk. We just know it's awesome.
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Why a tennis player needs compression sleeves: The elbow sleeves are going to be a necessity when you start to play seriously because there's no way around the fact that your elbow is going to start aching at some point.
This is kind of an interesting twist, but besides having proper form (and ice), wearing the copper-infused sleeves when you're not playing could also help.
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Why a tennis player needs forearm straps: If you're not a fan of the full elbow sleeve when you're playing tennis and your elbow is still hurting, feel free to give a variety of elbow straps/forearm braces a try.
These are usually for players who have already experienced quite a bit of elbow pain and are looking for a different sort of relief. Tendonitis and tennis elbow are pretty painful to deal with so when it gets to that point, you'll be looking for any way to make it better.
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Why a tennis player needs portable scoreboards: We will admit that pulling the portable tennis scoreboard out of your bag is kind of a flex, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by how the other players react when you do.
True tennis aficionados also know that at least once a game there's often a point where both sides forget what the score is. That won't be an issue with a portable scoreboard.
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Tennis Ball Hopper/Ball Pickup Device
Why a tennis player needs a tennis ball hopper/ball pickup device: Part of getting better at tennis is practice. You can go to clinics and set up lessons with your friends that require all of you playing and running through drills out of a bucket that probably has 80-100 tennis balls in it.
If you're interested in speeding up the process when you have to do a ball pickup, what's better than coming with your own ball hopper to help out? It's also good if you want to go on your own and practice your serve.
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Tennis Shoes — Women
Why a tennis player needs women's shoes: Buying tennis shoes for someone is a pretty big gift so you may want to do some spy-style work before you pull the trigger on the purchase.
One main thing to remember is that shoe sizes can vary by about a half-size between the brands, and some brands, like New Balance, offer a variety of widths to their different tennis shoes. If it's a slim foot, think Nike. If it's for a wider foot, think Adidas and New Balance.
Easy enough to remember, right?
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Tennis Shoes — Men
Why a tennis player needs men's tennis shoes: The advice for buying men's tennis shoes is no different from women's. Make sure you have the right size to match up with the exact brand if you're going that route.
Amazon is great for buying shoes, but also check out Tennis Warehouse and Tennis Express if you're looking for a specific type of shoe you can't find.
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Why a tennis player needs shoe strings: Here's one thing that we definitely know is going to happen when you're playing tennis. At one point, you're going to be all gassed up to get on the court and giving your shoes that one last retie before you start smashing overheads and one of your strings is going to break. Or one of your friend's strings will break.
If that happens and there are no backup strings on hand, guess what? You might not be playing tennis that day. Go ahead and be the hero and keep some extra shoestrings in your tennis bag.
Just in case.
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Why a tennis player needs tennis socks: Socks can be a style thing if you want them to be, but for the serious tennis player, they should be about comfort and style.
While you shouldn't ever try playing tennis in basketball shoes, for some reason basketball socks seem to be the softest and most comfortable of all the athletic brand socks to play with, so you probably can't go wrong there.
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Why a tennis player needs tennis shirts: When it comes to shirts for tennis, regardless of whether it's men's or women's gear, dry-fit is going to be the best move.
Be careful when you buy the "packs" of dry-fits. A good rule to go by when it comes to buying these bad boys is that you're essentially going to get what you pay for. So if it seems like a deal is almost too good to be true it probably is.
Also of note — and this doesn't matter to everybody — but it's always good when the brands of the shoes and the shirts and shorts seem to match up together.
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Tennis Shorts/Tennis Skirts
Why a tennis player needs tennis shorts/skirts: On the men's side, it's probably best to go with the 7-inch or 5-inch cut of shorts. That's because you're not jumping as much and the baggy basketball shorts that are usually 10-inch cuts don't seem as comfortable on the tennis court.
Women's tennis gear seems to have a lot better designers pushing those items out to market so there's quite a bit more to choose from there. Just make sure whatever you have has pockets.
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Hydration Packets/Electrolyte Tablets
Why a tennis player needs hydration packets/electrolyte tablets: You can drop some serious pounds playing tennis and a lot of that comes with playing in the heat and sweating like crazy. When you really go at it, you're going to have to rehydrate in a hurry.
There are a lot of different hydration suppliers on the market right now but the most popular one currently seems to be the Liquid I.V. packets. Although their most popular use is for curing hangovers.
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Why a tennis player needs muscle cream: You can ice after you play, but if your knees or joints are still sore headed into the match, it's not going to hurt to rub some cream on there to get you ready to go.
There also are spray versions you can use that do the same thing, so it's just a matter of preference. Biofreeze is probably the most reliable version of these, and they even have a roll-on option.
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Why a tennis player needs sunscreen: Unless you're in the Pacific Northwest or some other northern part of the United States, making sure you take care of your skin in the sun is going to be essential almost the entire year.
That's why you have to keep sunscreen in your bag at all times — usually multiple bottles in case you run out. It's never a bad idea to keep at least one bottle of lotion and one spray bottle in there at all times.
That's what we do.
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Why a tennis player needs a water bottle: Tennis players sometimes forget to toss that extra Gatorade in their bag before they're leaving the house. Keeping an extra water bottle in the bag makes sure that they will be able to stay hydrated.
The stainless steel-style water bottles are usually the best way to go because they keep the liquid coldest for the longest amount of time, but they can be a little bulky to carry around.
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Why a tennis player needs massage rollers: Leg cramps are a brutal reality when you're on the tennis court. Having a roller on hand will help tennis players massage out those cramps a lot faster than doing that thing where you just lay down and flail for a bit.
When that massage roller is really going to come in handy is after the match is over and you're home and your muscles start to hurt. You'll be happy you have that thing around to roll out all the knots.
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Why a tennis player needs hats/visors: Wearing hats or visors is going to be a preference thing for tennis players. Some like to wear headbands and some like to not have anything on their heads at all.
But if you are going with a hat or visor, it's better to go lightweight when you do. Those are probably going to be the stretchy, Flexfit hats for me and the adjustable visors for women, but it could go either way.
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Movies About Tennis
Why a tennis player needs movies about tennis: There really aren't any great movies about tennis. Heck, there aren't even very many good ones. But if you're really into tennis you're eventually going to want to watch what's out there so we've picked three of the more digestible ones for you.
Speaking of which, why hasn't there ever been a truly great tennis movie? Most sports have one film they can point to that's truly great. Just not in tennis.
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Books About Tennis
Why a tennis player needs books about tennis: Unlike movies, there have been some truly great books written about tennis, and the trio we've suggested are ones you cannot go wrong with.
Timothy Gallwey's "Inner Game of Tennis" might be the greatest sports psychology book ever written, and David Foster Wallace's "String Theory" is a brilliant group of essays. Andre Agassi's autobiography "Open" is also a classic.
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Why a tennis player needs off-court shoes: There is no better feeling than finishing a game of tennis and being able to kick off your shoes and put on some lightweight slip-ons or flip-flops. It's instant relief for your feet.
And why not do that in style? There are plenty of options for men's and women's styles of "off-court shoes" to have on deck for when you get done knocking out all those calories on the court.
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