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A Primer on Tennis Racket Sizes: Finding the Proper Grip Size

Updated on January 30, 2012

Not only did I used to play tennis competitively, but I also taught tennis at summer kids camps. During that decade, I found many players who were not using the correct racket for them. They were either using the wrong head size, wrong length, wrong weight, or a grip that was too big or too small. Too many people beginning the sport think a tennis racket is one size fits all, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

Standard Tennis Racket Grip Sizes

USA Grip Sizes
European Grip Sizes
4
0
4 1/8
1.1
4 1/4
1.2
4 3/8
1.3
4 1/2
1.4
4 5/8
1.5
4 3/4
1.6
Grab the racket as if you're going to shake hands with it.  This is also called the Eastern or Continental grip.
Grab the racket as if you're going to shake hands with it. This is also called the Eastern or Continental grip. | Source
There should be enough room to insert the index finger on your other hand in between the fatty part of your thumb and your ring finger.
There should be enough room to insert the index finger on your other hand in between the fatty part of your thumb and your ring finger. | Source

Signs Your Grip Size is Too Small

If your grip size is too small, you run the risk of experiencing the following problems:

  • The racket may rotate and twist in your hand, giving you less control
  • Strained forearm, wrist, and hand muscles from holding onto the grip too tightly
  • Development of tennis elbow

Signs Your Grip Size is Too Large

  • You strain to keep a proper hold on it.
  • It's twists and slips out of your hand.
  • Your hand,wrist, and forearm will feel fatigued.
  • You may develop tennis elbow or tendinitis.

Finding the Correct Tennis Racket Grip Size

The grip size is a measure of the circumference of the handle, measured approximately 2 to 3 inches above the butt cap. The butt cap is the plastic logo attached to the end of the racket's grip. Standard grips are measured in 1/8" increments beginning at 4" and going up to 4 3/4" in US measurements. These are small increments, I know. But, even the smallest disparity between grip sizes can make a big difference not only in your game, but also in how your arm and hand feel.

Bear in mind, you can always make your grip bigger by adding what's called an overgrip or overwrap. This is the soft, felt-like stretchy tape often made of polyurethane that is wrapped around the racket's handle. Personally, I prefer to always have an overwrap as I find it decreases slippage and absorbs any hand perspiration.

If you are somewhere in the middle of two sizes, always opt for the smaller size. You can't make your grip smaller, but you can make it bigger. You'll increase your grip size by approximately 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch this way, depending upon the thickness of the wrap.

How to Find the Correct Grip Size:

  1. Pretend like you're shaking hands with the racket
  2. There should be enough room to insert the index finger on your other hand in between your ring finger and the base of your thumb. The finger should be able to fit comfortably in the gap- you're not going to squeeze it in there.
  3. The grip should feel comfortable when you hit a ball. You will need to test out the grip and actually hit some balls to know if you've gotten the right grip size. Some people prefer slightly larger grips, while others prefer them somewhat smaller. So, to some extent it's going to come down to personal preference. But, the "index finger method" is an excellent guide.


Take a look at your hand and find the second lateral line going across your palm.
Take a look at your hand and find the second lateral line going across your palm. | Source
Measure from the second lateral line up to the top of the ring finger.  Note the number of inches to the 1/8".
Measure from the second lateral line up to the top of the ring finger. Note the number of inches to the 1/8". | Source

Alternate Method (not as effective as the index finger method, though)

Personally, it's hard to beat actually gripping the racket in your hand to determine the proper sizing. However, if you're just trying to get a basic idea which grip sizes might be appropriate to home in on before you start racket shopping, this ruler method is a good starting point. You will need a small ruler or measuring tape on hand before you get started.

If you take a look at your hand, you'll notice two major lines running (almost) horizontally across your palm. You will be measuring the distance between this bottom lateral line to the tip of your ring finger. Make sure your fingers are not spread apart and are fully extended.

As I said, this is a good place to get an idea what your grip measurement is. However, I find the process a bit tricky and prone to potential measurement errors. So, use this method if you don't have a racket on hand. Then, make sure you also use the index finger method when you're actually shopping for your racket.

What About Grip Sizing for a Kid's Racket?

Well, the good news here is children's tennis racket grips only come in one size. So, until they're 11 years old, you will be stuck with the same size. You can, of course always add overgrip as your child's hand grows.

Have fun out there!

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    • wordscribe43 profile image
      Author

      Elsie Nelson 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Thanks, Micki. Boy, writing this hub made me really miss playing tennis. I injured my knee one day on the court and that was the beginning of the end for me. I had a similar experience with using the wrong grip size for years. I didn't know any better since I started playing so young... It would actually rotate in my hand and I had a lot of wrist pain. I finally educated myself and got the right size. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and go play a game for me!

    • MickiS profile image

      MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Great Hub, wordscribe43. I'm an avid tennis player. My first tennis coach when I was a kid taught me the index finger method of finding a grip size. I played with the 4 3/8 for years. Last year, while working on volleys and touch with my coach, I started using a 4 1/4, and I find I get better feel with the smaller grip. In any case, glad someone is out there writing Hubs like this to counteract the numerous unknowing beginners who just pick a racquet off the shelf because it "looks nice" and wonder why the sport hurts their elbows!

    • profile image

      Coaching 5 years ago

      Thanks for the input! is a very interesting article! have clarified many doubts and curiosities I had! greetings!

    • wordscribe43 profile image
      Author

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated!

    • Mageplasm profile image

      Mageplasm 5 years ago

      Great Hub! I'm an avid tennis player and this Hub was very useful!

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 5 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This will be of great help for the next time I will select a tennis racket.

    • profile image

      Poetic Fool 5 years ago

      Hi, lots of good, valuable info in this hub. I played tennis for years right up the the JC level. Choosing the right grip is critical. I don't know how many people I met through the years who gave up the sport because of blisters. When I queried them as to whether they had the right size grip they invariably responded they just grabbed one off the rack! Well, what do you expect! Thanks for sharing this informative hub.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Very informative! Congratulations on your Hub of the day award. Voted up!

    • jonboy020671 profile image

      jonboy020671 5 years ago from Poipet, Cambodia

      I've been watching tennis game for quite sometime and no idea that even on this kind of game there is also a scientific method to use in order to put the game to a next level through learning the right kind of grip size..

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting to learn about finding the proper grip size for tennis rackets--thanks. Congrats on your Hub of the Day Award!

    • rlaha profile image

      rlaha 5 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      I always had a hard time figuring out how my tennis instructor or the person who strung my new racket together knew how to find out my grip size. It was confusing as a child but now, this article you have written makes so much of sense to me. Thanks so much for sharing this! Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Thek1ngsway profile image

      Thek1ngsway 5 years ago

      I like your hub .Its technically more than correct and beautifully presented although in my opinion you have failed to stress one fundamental point . YOU HAVE TO PLAY WITH THE GRIP SIZE THAT YOU FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE WITH ! Nadal plays with 4 1/8 and he neither does have small hands or has suffered any injuries because of that ;)

    • profile image

      MP50 5 years ago

      I know nothing about tennis, but I have learned something new today. Intertesting and informative Hub, thanks so much for sharing voted up.

    • kal30314 profile image

      kal30314 5 years ago

      I learn something new everyday, thanks for sharing this hub and congratulation on being hub of the day.

    • sidds123450 profile image

      sidds123450 5 years ago

      Very informative hub, vote up and useful.!!

    • wordscribe43 profile image
      Author

      Elsie Nelson 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Thanks, Simone. Ohhh the many talents of your great pool of hubbers! I do hope it's useful, especially to the novice tennis player. Thanks for coming by.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I had no idea you were such an expert, wordscribe43! Way cool. I also had no idea that tennis rackets had different grip sizes. This is so useful!

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