The first time you purchase a racket, the main thing you will be considering is whether it is suitable for a beginner.
Beginners typically look for rackets that weigh less and come pre-strung. The lighter rackets are easier to swing with.
Something many beginners don’t consider at all is grip size.
When I first started playing tennis over 10 years ago, I didn’t even know you could get rackets in different grips sizes.
Tennis racket grip size refers to the thickness of the racket handle. It is measured by the distance around the grip. In the US, grip size is categorized by inches. For the rest of the world, sizes are grouped by numbers that correspond to the US system.
In this article I will be covering
- Why racket grip size is important
- The consequences of having a grip that is too small or too big
- How you can find the ideal grip size
- The most common grip sizes
The grip size you use can have a significant impact on your game. To learn more about how the choice of grip size will affect your game, read on!
Why Does Racket Grip Size Matter?
Racket grip size is an element often overlooked by players. This is especially true for beginners who are new to the game.
If you search for tennis rackets on websites like eBay and Amazon, many are sold without even quoting a grip size.
There are several reasons why you must select the correct grip size when buying a racket.
Having the correct grip size will improve comfort. You will have no problem holding the racket and switching between grip positions if you have the correct size.
You will need to adjust your grip to get a better angle at the contact point as you hit different shots.
If you have the right grip size, you can also reduce the risk of injury. Conversely, having a too small or large grip can lead to unnecessary strain on your hand and wrist.
If you purchase a racket that’s grip size is too big, there is nothing you can do to decrease it. On the other hand, if you buy a racket that is too small, you have two options for increasing the size.
The first option is with over-grips, but this is only a temporary fix. Most over-grips will increase the size by 1/16 of an inch.
Or half a grip size under the non-US system. The problem with over-grips is they are not as durable as standard grips. They thus wear out sooner.
My favourite overgrip of all time is the Yonex Supergrap. It is, in my opinion, the best overgrip available for a tacky feel.
If you are someone whose hands sweat easily, you might be best with Tourna Grip.
The other choice you have when it comes to grip size is to increase it with the use of a heat shrink wrap.
Using the heat shrink wrap will increase the grip size by ⅛ av an inch. Or 1 full grip size outside the US.
To apply the heat shrink, you will need to remove the base grip and remove any staples attached to the racket.
After this, you can then use a heat gun or even a hairdryer to secure the sleeve. Here is a good video explaining how it is done.
When it comes to junior rackets, they are not sold according to grip size. Instead, they are sold based on the length of the entire racket.
For juniors, the best bet is getting a racket suitable for their height and then using an overgrip if needed.
Grip Is Too Thin
The biggest issue with having a too-small grip is that it will move as you hold the racket.
Due to its size, it will be harder to secure in your hand and will thus slip more.
It will also be more challenging changing grip between shots. As you rotate the racket to change grip, it will be harder to stop it from twirling.
If it were the correct size, it would be easier for you to grab the racket as it twists.
The chances of you dropping the racket are higher as well if your hands become sweaty.
In addition, it can cause more strain on your hand and wrist. Because your hand has to go all the way around the racket, you will need to hold it tighter to stop it from slipping.
You will therefore be tensing your muscles more.
Some people feel that using a smaller grip will help them get more spin. For example, Rafael Nadal uses a 4-¼ (size 2) grip size.
There are few players on the tour who hit with more spin than him.
Grip Is Too Thick
You now know the risks of using a grip size that is too small. But, unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to using a grip that is too big.
The issues experienced are pretty similar.
As the grip is too big, you will have to hold the racket tighter to secure it in your hands.
If you don’t hold it tight, the odds of dropping it are higher. This is because your hand is not covering the entire circumference of the grip, and thus it is not as secure.
Securing the racket in play will also be a challenge.
As your hand can’t go all the way round the grip, it will be harder to control the racket as you swing and hit.
Tennis Racket Grip Size Guide
There are two ways you can find the correct grip size for you.
The first is easy, but you will need to have a racket with you to do it.
If you have one, grab a racket with your dominant hand. Then, with your non-dominant hand, place your index finger between the palm of your hands and the fingers on your dominant hand.
If there is no space for your index finger, then the grip is too small. If there is too much space, then it is too large.
The ideal gap is roughly the size of your index finger. If you have several racket sizes available, try this method on them.
You can see the size of the grip on the butt of the racket.
If you don’t have a racket to hand, there is another method you can use, but you will need a ruler or tape measure.
You need to line the ruler up against your ring finger, making sure that the bottom of the ruler is in line with the top horizontal crease of your palm.
The distance in inches between the tip of the ring finger and the top horizontal crease is the grip size you will use.
|Hand/Grip size||Ideal Grip Size (Non-US)|
If you find yourself measuring between two sizes always go for the smaller. You can build it up with over grips.
What Is The Most Common Grip Size?
Grip sizes are never measured by gender because everybody has different-sized hands, and gender is not guaranteed size.
It’s much easier for players and manufacturers to have one uniform size guide, not divided by gender.
Grip size 3 (4-⅜ inches) is the most common size for men. For women, it is grip size 2 (4-¼ inches).
I will see more often women using grips size 3 than men using grip size 2. But there are huge variations.
I’ve known men who use grip size 1 and women who use grip size 5. It’s safer to go on measurements than make a quick guess on what the average size is.
If there’s one thing that I hope you take away from this article, it is this. Selecting the correct grip size is essential.
Comfort is an essential part of any sport. By using a grip size that isn’t suitable, you are just making it harder for yourself.
When did you first learn about grip sizes? Was it today from reading this article, or have you known it for a while?
Perhaps you never cared much for grip size and haven’t had any issues.