Your Ultimate Guide to Tennis Equipment

Internal or external winder? Double or single net stitching? Base plate or sleeve?TNPSSAT

With such a large range on the market, it can often be confusing when you first start investigating tennis equipment.

In this Ultimate Guide to Tennis Equipment, we attempt to demystify the topic and step you through what you should look for in equipment that will last. 

Tennis Nets

For such a popular sports item, there is surprisingly little information out there to help you make an informed decision to choose the best quality tennis net. You want to make sure you’re not spending your hard earned cash on a net that will need to be replaced after one or two seasons.

Here’s a few handy tips that will help you make the best decision when choosing a tennis net:

What type of tennis net should I get?

First of all – what type of competition will it be used for?

If you just want to have a hit of the tennis ball at home with your friends every now and again – you probably won’t need anything super heavy duty. A standard net with single mesh netting and medium sized head-bands (the vinyl along the top) should do the job – so we would probably recommend something like our championship tennis net (TN3).

Need a net that will get pummeled with tennis balls more regularly? You will definitely need something a lot stronger to withstand the extra stress. It would be best to get a double-layered vinyl headband to withstand extra wear and tear (particularly if you are from a school, tennis club or council).

Don’t forget, you have the choice to upgrade to a double mesh net. This means there is an extra layer of mesh along the first 5 rows of the net. Because this area is hit by the ball most often – it helps extend the life of the net.

singlenet

What are the key things I need to look for when purchasing a tennis net?

When you are checking out different types of nets, make sure you look for the key indicators that it’s a quality net, not cheap and nasty!

1. The Quality of the Stitching

We’ve all seen those ratty looking tennis nets that have taken one too many mis-hits from the ball, causing the body of the net to come away from the headband. This is a very common issue with poor quality tennis nets. The great gaping hole in the top of the net is usually because the tiny row of stitching (which holds the body of the net to the headband) is not strong enough to do it’s job.

It is important to not only have strong stitching, but also to use UV-stabilised cotton thread to combat inevitable weather damage. Without these fundamental elements, the net will not last and will soon need to be fixed or upgraded – meaning more money in the long run.

2. The Quality of the Headband

The headband of a tennis net is the piece of material that runs along the top from post to post. Poor headbands become weak and quickly deteriorate. Good quality headbands are usually made from vinyl and it is essential when making tennis net headbands that the manufacturer uses a couple of layers of UV-stabilised vinyl. As with the threading used to connect the body of the net to the headband, this area of the net is very susceptible to weather damage and need to be protected.

3. The Quality of the Mesh Netting

When you consider what tennis net goes through, it’s not surprising that many complaints about low quality nets are about the mesh body getting holes in it. The quality of the black mesh netting is absolutely vital when it comes to absorbing a ball being served at it from 70 to 130km/ph. If the mesh netting is not made from the high quality, heavy duty polyethylene, the net will not be durable and will most likely tear.

The moral of the story? If you want don’t want your net to looking like the picture below, it is always best to go for a top quality net. This is a sure way to save yourself paying out big bucks down the line to fix or upgrade your net.

tennisnet1

Poor quality stitching and mesh will make your tennis net deteriorate very rapidly 

Should I get a full drop tennis net or three-quarter drop?

All the international tennis competitions use full length nets – so a lot of people like the look of the full length net because it looks more professional. However, for more casual games – people generally prefer the three-quarter length nets (760mm drop). They are much easier to play with as it saves you having to collect the ball each time it hits the bottom of the net.

So as a general rule – unless you have a ball boy to run across the court and pick up your tennis balls – the three quarter length net is probably your first choice!

How do I stop my tennis net from sagging in the middle?

Unfortunately, it is near impossible to keep your tennis net perfectly straight. There is always going to be a slight sag in the middle due to the weight of the net. This inevitable sag is actually accounted for when doing professional installations of tennis nets.

However, if your net is sagging excessively – it may be due to a loose winder. Get your local installer to check whether there is any pieces of the winder missing or worn.

How do I fix my broken tennis net?

The most common issues for tennis nets are broken cables, worn head and side bands, and damaged mesh.

If the wire cable has been snapped, you will need to replace it with a new one. Unfortunately, they are a little tricky to install yourself as the vinyl headband that runs along the top of the net needs to be unpicked. The cable is then threaded through the top and sewn up again with an industrial sewing machine.

Damage to the head or side band can also be fixed by replacing the vinyl strip lining the mesh with a new one.

If you have damage to the net itself – this is quite difficult and often expensive to repair. It is usually best to cut your losses and invest in a new tennis net.

Tennis Posts

What do I need to think about when buying tennis posts?

Installation

Number one. How do you plan to install your tennis posts?

If you are starting from scratch – the most common way is to concrete sleeves into the ground for the tennis posts to slide into. This means they can be removed at will. Handy if the court needs to be used for other purposes, or you want to store the posts away when you’re not playing.

If you already have sleeves set into the ground – that’s is a different story. You will need to carefully match the correct measurements so the new post will fit neatly inside it.

So, in summary – when buying new tennis posts, you need to plan ahead a bit to account for correct installation. If you are unsure about anything – contact your local installer first, or give us a call to discuss.

square sleeves and caps

Tennis post sleeves are usually set into the ground with concrete, allowing your post to slide in and out for easy installation and removal. Sleeves with caps can be purchased to cover the hole in the ground when tennis posts are not in use. See here for more information of sleeves and caps.

Durability

Number two. Will your tennis posts last?

Unless you store your tennis posts under cover every time you aren’t playing (and realistically – who can be bothered?), you will need posts that are weather proof and durable.

Make sure you choose tennis posts that have been made from galvanised steel, as this reduces the risk of rust. (For those who are interested – galvanisation is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel to protect it from weather damage.) As an extra layer of protection – tennis posts are usually powder-coated with paint, which seals it further against rust.

So make sure you choose quality tennis posts that will last – and save yourself paying out for them down the track.

Winder system

You need to decide whether you want an internal or external winding system for your tennis posts.

What’s the difference? Glad you asked.

4. What’s the difference between an internal and external winders?

The easiest way to see the difference is to check out the following images…

Internal vs External WInders

So as you can see – these are basically two different ways to attaching and tension the tennis net.

An external winding system means the cable and winder remains outside the post. Whereas, an internal winder means the tennis net cable is fed into the top of the post and the winder operates from inside.

Most people prefer the internal winding system as it looks a lot neater and professional. However, if you are on a tighter budget – the external winding system works just as well. The handle can also be removed and stored elsewhere as a security measure.

What’s the best tennis equipment to get for kids?

Kids have specific requirements when it comes to tennis equipment. For a start, they need the net set at an appropriate height to hit the ball over.

Thanks to a joint promotion by ANZ and Tennis Australia to increase young player participation in tennis, Tennis Hot Shots is hugely popular in kids’ sport at the moment.

So how does it work? The courts are smaller, the racquets are lighter and the balls are low-compression so that don’t bounce too high. It is a fun and easy way to learn for primary school-aged kids.

There are three stages in Tennis Hot Shots – Red, Orange and Green. Each stage uses different balls appropriate to children’s skills and confidence. Children are able to progress at their own pace, moving on to the next stage when they are ready.

Want to set up a Tennis Hot Shots court for your school, club or home? All you need to get started is a Grand Slam Tennis Hot Shots kit. This consists of a portable mini 6m tennis net and post system. It includes a carry bag for easy storage and transportation, and assembles in just minutes!

Click here to get an online quote for a Tennis Hot Shots Kit.

 

 

We hope you found this tennis goal post guide useful.

If you have any further questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to give Grand Slam Sports Equipment a call on 1800 773 461, email sales@grand-slam.com.au, or request an online quote for our tennis equipment

For more sports equipment tips, resources and news, sign up to our newsletter below.