Perhaps the most important element to beginning a tennis regimen is selecting the right equipment. Basic equipment includes proper tennis shoes, socks, appropriate attire and a good tennis racket. Dr. Bautch offers the following recommendations:

Shoes & Socks
Because of the constant pounding your feet will endure, it is critical to select a true tennis shoe. Don’t purchase a shoe that is designed for basketball, running or cross-training. The shoe should be built low to the ground yet designed to be shock-absorbent to minimize stress on your feet.

“Socks are extremely important too,” says Dr. Bautch. “Perspiration is a concern for tennis players, so look for socks that will help keep your feet dry.” Some new synthetic fibers used in making socks are scientifically engineered to move sweat away from the body. The more traditional acrylic socks also work well in preventing perspiration buildup on the feet. Avoid cotton socks, as they tend to trap perspiration and hold it close to the skin. According to Dr. Bautch, “you should also consider a foot powder to help keep your feet dry. If your feet are wet, you have a greater chance of developing painful blisters.”

While some professional tennis players may be able to get away with wearing tight-fitted clothing on the court, most of us need to exercise a bit more caution. Avoid wearing sports attire that pinches any part of your body. These “pinch points” can inhibit circulation, causing you to tire more quickly than normal. They can also cause uncomfortable blister marks and rashes. And just as with socks, skip the cotton apparel in favor of synthetic fibers that will absorb sweat and move it away from your body.

“Two important considerations when selecting a tennis racket are the size of the racket and your hand comfort when gripping the racket,” explains Dr. Bautch. “Beginning tennis players often try to pick out an oversized racket to give them a better chance at hitting the ball. But with an oversized racket, you tend to catch the ball on the extreme edges of the racket, which can twist your hands and wrists beyond their normal range of motion. Look for a normal-sized racket instead.”

The grip of your racket should be comfortably cushioned to absorb the shock that comes from hitting a tennis ball. The grip should also be thick enough so that your hand fits around it without having your thumb and fingers overlap one another.