Tennis Grip Buying Guide
Although most players wouldn’t consider their grip an exciting piece of equipment, it’s a critical component to performance because it ensures you can properly hold and maintain control of your racquet.
Why should you care about your grip or its size? It's the main line of communication between you and your racquet, for one, and it has a great deal to say about the health of your arm, for another. Picking properly, and maintaining your choices, should be of vital importance. Improperly sized grips can cause a myriad of problems for your game.
Having to squeeze your grip too tightly to overcome a grip that is too small can prevent you from creating enough racquet speed, power and spin on your shots. It can also reduce touch and feel at the net, causing the grip to wear out sooner. Working too hard to hold a small handle is one of the main causes of tennis elbow and other arm problems.
While the issues presented by an oversized grip are not as severe, they exist. For instance, having to strain your fingers to hold a "supersized" handle can strain muscles in the forearm and hand and also make it more difficult to change grips between strokes. By the way, please ignore the reports about pro players using smaller grips to allow faster racquet speeds and quicker grip changes. Players like Federer and Nadal can get away with such things because, well, they're Federer and Nadal! The rest of us need the right grip size for arm health and better shot production.
How to Determine Your Grip size
Everyone has different size hand size so you need to check this before you buy the actual racket you want. Rackets are sold in a range of grip sizes and the only way to really work out what size you want comes from holding and playing with different grips sizes and then making a note of the one you like.
The best method for determining the grip size of a tennis racket is to measure the length between the tip of the ring finger (on your hitting hand) and the second line on your palm. This picture shows how to do this best. The measured length in ‘mm’ corresponds to the perimeter of the tennis racket handle. On each perimeter, the ideal grip size is then assigned. These can be found in the table below.
If you are in any doubt, choose a racket with a smaller grip size than you need and then you add your own grips later on for a small cost.
In fact, we would recommend always buying a racket with a slightly smaller grip size than you need and then buying what are called ‘overgrips’ to use on top of the actual grip. These overgrips are cheap and can be replaced regularly once they get worn out. This means you can regularly have a fresh grip for little cost and therefore your grip on the racket will be stronger.
It can be a little tricky to wrap the overgrip when you first start so maybe ask someone to show you, then the more often you do it the better you will get. We would recommend changing your grip after every 10-20 times you play depending on how sweaty you get or how worn our the grip looks.
What is the Difference Between a Replacement Grip and an Overgrip?
Grips are either replacement grips or overgrips.
A replacement grip can be applied directly onto the handle of a racquet, they have a sticky backing and offer a reasonable amount of cushioning.
An overgrip, on the other hand, does not have a sticky backing and is typically much thinner. Overgrips are predominantly used to provide specific gripping characteristics or to slightly increase the grip size.
Overgrips commonly offer one or more of the following characteristics:
Tacky surface to provide extra grip
Allow for the absorption of sweat
Provide extra grip
I Play Indoors or in Hot Conditions, What Type of Grip Should I Use?
If you play in hot conditions, you should consider using a grip with high levels of sweat absorption, to enable you to keep a good grip on the handle. Typically the best grips in this situation are overgrips. Grips with high levels of absorption are indicated in our "Online Shop" and you can filter the grips according to the level of absorption.
I Suffer From Elbow Problems, What Type of Grip Should I Get?
Players suffering from elbow pain should consider those grips which offer a lot of cushioning and using both a replacement grip and an overgrip, increasing the size of the handle. You should also consider the strings and tension that you are using.