Racquet Grip Size
Selecting the proper tennis racquet grip size is as important as finding the right tennis strings or shoes. Improper grip size is one of the main causes of tennis elbow and can prevent players from achieving the speed, power, and spin they desire.
There are two ways to find the optimal grip size for a player: measuring the palm and gripping the racquet of choice. To measure using the palm method, the player holds his/her dominant hand face up and open with the fingers extended and lined up alongside each other. The distance from the end of the second crease in the palm up to the tip of the ring finger is the proper grip size. To measure by gripping the racquet, the player holds the racquet normally with the dominant hand and places the pointer finger of the non-dominant hand between the fingertips and the heel of the palm of the dominant hand. If the pointer finger can just barely fit, the grip is the proper size.
Sometimes players find themselves in between two grip sizes. If this happens, the player should select the smaller grip size and make up the size difference by wrapping an overgrip around the racquet handle. Most overgrips will add about 1/16 of an inch to the overall grip size. Overgrips can also provide more control and comfort for the player.
When selecting an overgrip, there are four things to consider: tack, moisture absorbance, price, and lifespan. Tack is the term for that “sticky” feeling on overgrips. Tacky overgrips enable the racquet to stick to the player’s hands a bit and create a more comfortable feel. Players who seek more cushioning in the grip will look for more tacky overgrips. Overgrips with a higher moisture absorbance quality prevent the racquet from slipping and sliding as the player sweats, thereby enabling the player to maintain control. Price and lifespan of overgrips usually go hand in hand. Cheaper overgrips are usually lower quality and may last only a few matches while the more expensive overgrips will last a few weeks.
Some people opt to have professionals wrap overgrips on their racquet for them. For those who would like to do it themselves, here are the steps:
- Remove the plastic wrapping from the replacement grip; then peel off the plastic from the sticky adhesive tape. Stick the end of the adhesive tape somewhere close by.
- Hold the racquet in your non-dominant hand with the handle pointing upwards
- Place the small end of the material over the grip along the bottom of the handle; it should be as close to the cap as possible. Wrapping the bottom is the most important part because this is the area you grip the most.
- Keep the grip taut as you twist the racquet and wrap the tape around the handle.
- Once you’ve completed the first full wrap, keep twisting and wrapping at an upward angle. There should be a slight overlap on each wrap, around a quarter of an inch. Make the first few wraps close together, but not so think that it bulges out.
- With your non-dominant hand, keep pressure on the tape so it stays taut as you twist the racquet. (Avoid wrinkles)
- Once you reach the top of the handle, you’re almost ready to seal the grip with the sticky tape. If you have some extra overgrip, cut it off first. You could re-wrap the entire handle again, making it tighter. Then wrap the sticky tape straight around at the top of end of the overgrip.
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