Here’s a bright idea that can help improve tennis racquet safety.
Submitted by Tom Stinson from Cicero, New York. K-12
Background: To help reduce the potential injuries from being hit by a tennis racquet, we have created the “Safety Racquet” for our students. This simple modification has really made things much safer and easier when working with younger populations or in crowded gyms.
We often have 40+ children in a gymnasium and this adaptation allows for a much safer environment for everyone. With the top half of the racquet padded, this greatly reduces racquet-to-head/body injuries. We had a girl get accidentally whacked in the nose two years ago, which gave me the impetus for this idea.
It is made by taking a regulation USTA tennis racquet (see photo above) and adding a length of rubberized pipe insulation. We also use these racquets when the children are playing tennis on reduced-sized courts, allowing us to utilize the entire gym with as many courts as possible.
We have found that the pad does not significantly affect proper striking and the benefit of increased safety far outweighs any negatives. Our physically challenged students also use these racquets. They really seem to enjoy using it because of the reduced chance for injury.
How To Make It: The adaptation process is simple. Take a one and a half-foot piece of one-half inch pipe insulation (found in any home improvement store), and wrap it around the top of the racquet.
The insulation is pre-cut length-wise, so all you need to do is open the insulation and put it on the tennis racquet. It is helpful to purchase the insulation that has the adhesive length-wise along the slit. It’s about $2.00 for a 6-foot section that will do four racquets.
Leave the protective plastic strip on the adhesive until the racquet is fully wrapped. After wrapping the racquet, take the plastic strip off, press the ends together (the insulation will conform through the strings and then adhere to itself) and voila, a padded racquet!