Finding your correct grip size is as essential as finding the right racquet for you. The proper grip size can not only prevent injury, it can also lead to increased performance from your racquet.
What are the different grip sizes?
There are six grip sizes available for adult racquets. The grip size is the circumference, or distance around the edge, of the handle in inches. There are two ways to denote grip size: the European “L” ranking system and the American circumference system (generally both sizes will be listed on the racquet).
Not all racquets are available in all grip sizes. Before you choose a racquet it important to find out if the racquet you are choosing is available in your grip size.
Determining the correct grip size
If you can’t make it into one of our shops to be sized by our team of Racquet Experts, there are a few different methods you can use to determine your correct grip size. The first method requires you to grip a racquet with an Eastern forehand grip (like a hammer) and place the pinky finger of your other hand in the space between your ring finger and the palm of your hand. The pinky finger should fit snugly in this space. If the space is too small to snugly accommodate the pinky finger then the grip is too small. If there is space between your pinky finger and the palm of your hand then the grip is too large.
If you have a ruler handy you can use it get a more exact measurement of your grip size. With your dominant hand open, fingers extended and pushed together, align the base of the ruler with the bottom horizontal crease in the palm of your hand and measure from this point to the tip of your ring finger. This measurement will correspond to your grip size. Since racquet grips are sized in 1/8”, round this measurement down to the nearest 1/8”. If you are in between grip sizes it is best to go with the smaller size.
We are able to increase the size of your grip, should it be necessary. However, on a lot of today’s racquets it might be impossible to decrease the grip size. If you think the grip on your current racquet is not the correct size, bring it into one of our shops so one of our Experts can review your options.
Why is grip size important?
Over the past ten years there has been a dramatic decrease in the grip size used by professional tennis players. Pros are hitting with more and more topspin and a smaller grip allows for more wrist snap. Combined with with the tremendous racquet head speed the pros are able to generate, this translate into increased spin. However, for the average club player, or those of us that don’t have the bulging forearms of a Rafael Nadal, using a grip that is too small for your hand can negatively affect performance and can lead to wrist, forearm and elbow pain. This is because when a grip is too small for the hand, it requires more muscle strength to keep the racquet from twisting at ball impact. And while increased wrist snap is great for pros hitting with heavy topspin, too much of this will more than likely be detrimental to the games of most club players and again will lead to increased strain on the arm.
A grip that is too large for the hand can also lead to problems. Too large a grip will inhibit the natural wrist snap that is needed and can make switching between grips during play more difficult. As with too small a grip, a grip that is too large can also lead to arm problems. Players will have a tendency to try to squeeze a larger grip too hard to prevent the racquet from twisting at ball impact. This increased grip pressure can lead to fatigue resulting in potential wrist and forearm pain.
The Rule of Pinkie and Measurement method are not an exact science. At the end of the day, these methods will likely narrow down your options to two sizes. Whichever feels best in your hand and on the court is the right grip size for you.
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