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One of the most asked questions in my shop is: how do I know what grip size to choose when buying a racket? Now this is a great question because determining grip size for your racket is essential for playing. But the question is unfortunately only asked by somewhat half of the people; the rest just walks away with a racket, resulting in me running them down and explaining grip size…
Now why is choosing the right grip size essential for playing? Determining the correct grip size for your racket can prevent
- arm problems
- losing points
Pretty relevant to the game, right? So let’s dive in and check those grip sizes.
How to measure your tennis racket grip size?
There are two ways that people measure grip sizes and I would say one is the quick and easy one, and the other is the more sophisticated form of measuring. Let’s start with the first option.
Now grab your racket like you would give somebody a hand and then fold your fingers around the grip do the same with your thumb but then point your thumb in the direction of the top of the racket, so that your thumb is parallel to the frame. You’ll notice a gab between the top of your fingers and the start of your hand palm (if not, skip the rest, you’ll most likely have too small of a grip size already).
If you can place a pink to a normal finger in between that space, you’ll know that you have roughly selected the correct grip size. However, when in doubt, always go for the smaller grip size because you can easily up that size by half a grip size by using an overgrip. If you’d wish to go up a full size, you can even ask a stringer to place a shrink sleeve.
The second method to measure grip size is more of an exact science. You’ll need a ruler or measuring tape for this one and start by placing the ruler against the top of your middle finger and place it so that it follows a straight line down the middle of the finger, all the way down to the second hand line. The number that you’ll find will correspond with your ‘perfect’ grip size.
I use quotation marks here because I have seen a dozen of customers finding a number that actually surprises them because they have been playing for years with another grip size. Sometimes this actually explains some of the difficulties that they have had with their grips, but sometimes they seem to have had no issues or difficulties. It seems that some players have adjusted grips that make up for choosing a ‘incorrect’ grip size, so that cramping or slipping do not become and issue.
How to measure your badminton racket grip size?
Basically, the correct way to measure your badminton racket grip size follows the same principle as for any other racket. So start by wrapping your hand around the grip like you would give a person a hand and focus on the space that follows between the start of your fingers and the start of your handpalm (at the thumb). When you see a space of roughly the size of your pink or a normal finger in between, you have approximately found the correct grip size for you.
Now while the principle of measuring is the same, the actual measurements differ from tennis rackets. Badmintonracket grip sizes are not measured in (US) ‘L’ sizes, but in ‘G’, followed by a number. Now, as opposed to tennis racket grip sizes, larger badminton racket grip sizes are indicated by a smaller number. So basically, a G4 grip is smaller than a G1 grip. I’ve placed the complete breakdown of grips for badmintonrackets in the table down below.
|Grip||Indication||Length (in mm)|
How to measure your squash racket grip size?
Unlike tennis and badminton rackets, adult squash rackets are not sold in different grip sizes. There are different models for young children, junior’s and adults but this sizing of course applies to the complete frame, instead of just smaller or bigger grip.
So with that being said, there are definitely some principals to take in mind when working on your squash racket grip. Basically, squash players build up or shrink down their grips using a combination of replacement grips and/or overgrips.
Start with taking the racket in to your hand as you’d swing away on a ball and then firmly wrap your fingers around the racket (just as you would on tennis or badminton frame). Now, focus on the top of your fingers touching the base of your thumb (the start of your hand palm). If the fingers can slightly reach and touch it, your grip is ok. If you can press in your thumb too much, your grip is too small.
While using a combination of replacement grips and overgrips is fine for testing purposes, usually it’s best to ask a stringer or racket technician to custom fit a shrink sleeve to your frame if you definitely want to go up one full grip size. This is because the application of a shrink sleeve is a much more solid build than wrapping two replacement grips on top of each other.
What is the most common tennis grip size?
The most ‘common’ tennis grip size is (L)2. However, this would be the median of men and women’s grip sizes. Women usually play with a grip size 1 or 2, and men in most cases choose 2 or 3. These numbers are based on observations of selling hundreds of rackets to customers throughout my retail experience.
Can you change racket grip size?
Yes, you can definitely change the grip size of your racket and there are some ways of doing it. Some are more durable than other and increasing your racket grip size is always easier than reducing your grip size.
How do I increase my tennis grip size?
You can increase your racket grip size the ‘quick and easy’ way or the ‘slow and steady’ way. My quick tip for anyone really looking to do a basic grip size upgrade is too look out for one of the thicker replacement grips on the market. Not all replacement grips are created equal and some are definitely more thicker than others. Leather replacement grips for example are probably the thinnest replacement grips on the market. With a reason, because they allow for the best ‘contact’ of your hand with the frame. Some players prefer this feeling, which means their grip size is closest to the original frame grip size. If you notice you have a thinner replacement grip, try wrapping a thicker one one for a change and see how you like it.
Next option is to add overgrips. Now I don’t recommend adding overgrips without reason, so make sure the finish on the overgrip is one that you like or need for your playing style. For example, I tend to sweat in my hands while playing, especially on those humid, sunny days. I just need an absorb overgrip for that. I’ve tried a lot of different grips during the years, but I just can’t find anything that prevents my hands from slipping any better than an absorb overgrip. So to make the grip thicker I could just wrap around another overgrip, right? Basically, yes. But the problem is that you keep rounding up your grip each time you overgrip so you’ll definitely loose a bit on the ‘connection’ to your frame. So my advice is to never wrap more than a maximum of two overgrips on top of each other.
If you want to have a more durable solution for increasing your racket grip size, you will want to buy a set of slink shreeve material. It is a commonly used material in electrical wiring repairs but does have a slightly different function on a racket’s frame. Because you can slide the flexible shrink sleeve over your current racket grip, heat it up using a heat gun, and then let it shrink to become a solid sleeve on top of your frame, with this solution you can be sure that you’ll have a stable base for rewrapping your replacement and overgrips.
How much does an overgrip add to grip size?
Placing an overgrip normally adds about half a size to a racket’s grip size. That’s why it is a good idea to, when in doubt about whether to choose a smaller or larger grip size, always to choose the smaller grip size because you can test if you approximate your ‘perfect’ grip by adding half a size using an overgrip.
How do I reduce my tennis grip size?
Reducing a grip size is quite a bit more of a challenge. Of course, if you have followed increasing your grip size using one of the methods described above you can just reverse order the actions described and reduce your grip size that way. On the other hand, let’s say you just bought a used frame of Ebay in an actually bigger grip size and wonder what to do next, there is one option left and that is sanding down the polyurethane grip bezels. It’s a tricky one but it can definitely be done with a bit of patience. Now this is something I’ll create another article for anytime soon, where I’ll fully document and photograph the proces of doing that the wright way.
While racket grip sizes and increasing or decreasing them definitely is not an exact science, there is more to it than you might think. Just like wearing the proper shoes can save you a lot of trouble down the road with your feet and legs, will proper grips act like a solid base for your racket game. So my advice would be not to overthink them too much, but just take the tips mentioned in this article, apply them quickly and start testing what grip size and grip works best for you.
What about your experiences with grip sizes? Have you been playing too long with too small of a grip size? Resulting in any arm injuries? Or maybe you have too big of a grip size resulting in a lot of slipping and lost points? Let me know in the comments and help each other out.
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