If you’re about to choose a new tennis racquet or you’re considering changing racquets, it’s important to make sure that you carefully select the appropriate grip size. It’s one of the most frequently overlooked elements of a tennis racquet, but selecting the wrong grip size can have painful repercussions that can be easily avoided through a little due diligence.
In this article we’ll look at why it’s important to select an appropriate tennis racquet grip size as well as two different methods you can use for selecting the perfect grip size.
How Grip Sizes Are Measured
Tennis racquet grip sizes are often measured at the very middle of the racquet handle and range from 4 inches to 4 ⅝ inches. This measurement is the circumference, or the distance around the edge of the handle, including any grip that may be applied to the racquet.
Depending on which country you live in you may find the sizing of the racquet grip expressed a bit differently, so we’ve provided a handy chart below that covers the different types of grip sizes.
|US Sizes||European Sizes||Sizes in mm|
|4 inches||0||100-103 mm|
|4 1/8 inches||1||103-106 mm|
|4 1/4 inches||2||106-110 mm|
|4 3/8 inches||3||110-113 mm|
|4 1/2 inches||4||113-118 mm|
|4 5/8 inches||5||118-120 mm|
|4 3/4 inches||6||120-123 mm|
You’ll often find the size of a tennis racquet listed on the buttcap of the tennis racquet, which can be found at the very bottom of the handle. If you don’t see it there, check for it around the throat of the racquet frame.
Why Does Grip Size Matter?
Beyond simply providing you with comfort when playing tennis, the appropriate grip size can help prevent injury from prolonged use of a grip that is too small or too large.
The problem with a grip size that is too small is that your hand, wrist and arm will have to expend extra energy squeezing the handle to keep the racquet firmly in place. Over time this can contribute to injuries such as tennis elbow. You’ll also likely find that a grip which is too small will frequently slip from your hand which can be frustrating.
Similarly, a grip that’s too large can be challenging to hold and as a result put unnecessary stress on your hand, wrist and arm. In addition, a large grip can be difficult to manage when you need to change grips quickly or when you’re looking to snap your wrist when serving or hitting an overhead because it restricts movement.
The key is to find a grip size that feels comfortable, prevents undue stress on your body and allows for proper range of motion.
Selecting The Appropriate Grip Size
There are two common methods used to help identify the ideal grip size for a player. However, instead of using one, I typically recommend using both to help get the best fit.
First, if you have one handy, grab a ruler or measuring tape. Next, take a look at one of your hands and you’ll notice you have a bunch of lines and creases running through your palm. In the middle of your palm you’ll notice two large or pronounced lines, one on top and one on the bottom, running horizontally from one side of your hand to the other.
Grab your ruler or measuring tape and line it up vertically with your middle finger so that the bottom of the ruler (the part hitting your palm) lines up with the bottom horizontal line in your palm. Once you have it lined up measure to the top of your ring finger.
You should find that the measurement falls somewhere between 4 inches and 4 ⅝ inches. Once you have that measurement you’ll want to head over to you local tennis shop and find a racquet with that measurement. I’d also recommend finding a racquet that is one grip size above and below your measurement (assuming you don’t fall on the highest or lowest grip size) so you can compare a few different sizes to help determine the right fit.
Start with the racquet grip size that is closest to what you measured and grab hold of the racquet handle with a continental grip.
If you’re not familiar a continental grip it is one where you hold the racquet in your hand as if you were going to use it as a hammer. If the racquet is strung the strings should be perpendicular to the floor.
At this point you should be able to stick your index finger of the hand not holding the racquet in between the tip of your middle finger and your palm. If it fits then you’re likely right on the mark.
However, keep in mind that it’s not an exact science so grab hold of the racquet grip size that’s bigger and then the one that’s smaller to get a feel for whether or not the grip you’ve identified feels right. For many players you’ll just know by holding on to each racquet. It should feel comfortable, yet secure.
Some players may feel like they are in between sizes. If that’s you, go for the smaller size. There are a bunch of different ways you can build up a grip to make it feel perfect, including the simple addition of an inexpensive overgrip. However, it is more difficult and in some cases not possible to drop the size of a grip.
Many players also like to use a new overgrip every few times they play to keep that nice tacky feel in their hand. If that’s you and you’re on the fence about a larger size definitely go smaller. Overgrips will usually add about 1/16 of an inch to a grip so if you go a bit smaller you freely add that overgrip without it starting to feel too bulky.
Tennis Racquet Grip Sizes for Kids
For kids there are unfortunately fewer grip size options than adults. In most cases you’ll find that kids or junior tennis racquets have a grip size of 4 inches and in some rarer occasions a grip size slightly smaller, such as 3 ⅝ or 3 ⅞ inches.
At a very young age I’d make sure the racquet feels comfortable, however I wouldn’t be overly concerned with a racquet grip size that is a bit too large. First off, they’ll grow into it rather quickly and secondly most young kids won’t be playing aggressively or long enough with that grip size for it to have any real negative impact on their hand, wrist or arm.
As you can see selecting the right size grip for your tennis racquet can make a huge difference and spending some extra time finding the right grip can even help prevent injury. Now that you know how to select the right size grip, head on over and check out our list of the top 20+ racquets for 2018.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. If so, we’d love to hear in the comments below. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to ask, we’re here to help.
Photo Credit: mirsasha
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