I used to play tennis competitively, and I've also taught the sport at kids' summer camps.
Not only did I used to play tennis competitively, but I also taught tennis at kids' summer camps. During that decade, I found many players who were not using the correctly sized racket. 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|
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
- Pretend like you're shaking hands with the racket
- 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.
- 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.
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!
Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 18, 2012:
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 from San Francisco on April 18, 2012:
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!
Coaching on March 01, 2012:
Thanks for the input! is a very interesting article! have clarified many doubts and curiosities I had! greetings!
Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on February 27, 2012:
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated!
Mageplasm on February 27, 2012:
Great Hub! I'm an avid tennis player and this Hub was very useful!
Subhas from New Delhi, India on February 27, 2012:
This will be of great help for the next time I will select a tennis racket.
Poetic Fool on February 27, 2012:
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.
Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on February 27, 2012:
Very informative! Congratulations on your Hub of the day award. Voted up!
jonboy020671 from Poipet, Cambodia on February 27, 2012:
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 on February 27, 2012:
Interesting to learn about finding the proper grip size for tennis rackets--thanks. Congrats on your Hub of the Day Award!
rlaha from Spartanburg, SC on February 27, 2012:
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 on February 27, 2012:
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 ;)
MP50 on February 27, 2012:
I know nothing about tennis, but I have learned something new today. Intertesting and informative Hub, thanks so much for sharing voted up.
kal30314 on February 27, 2012:
I learn something new everyday, thanks for sharing this hub and congratulation on being hub of the day.
sidds123450 on February 27, 2012:
Very informative hub, vote up and useful.!!
Elsie Nelson (author) from Pacific Northwest, USA on January 30, 2012:
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 Haruko Smith from San Francisco on January 30, 2012:
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!