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View Full Version : Grip Size Debate


CAM178
10-22-2007, 07:46 PM
Over the years (25 playing), I have switched grips frequently. I'm a 5.0+ player, 5.5-6 if I'm playing a lot (gets MUCH harder to do that as we get older!). I am 6'2", and have a somewhat small hand. I've played with 4 1/2 for yrs, but 3 yrs ago I went back to my junior size grip of 4 3/8. The 3/8 gave me so much more confidence. But now with an overgrip, it's basically like a 4 1/2. So I am thinking about going to a 4 1/4 with an overgrip, so basically 4 3/8.

I've read a lot of posts on here about why people use smaller grips (i.e. Rafa and Roger). All I can say is why it works for me. My game is a baseline game, with a two-handed backhand, and a semi-western forehand. In other words, I play with a lot of spin from both sides, and I love angles and dip shots for net rushers. I love a target. With the smaller grip, I just feel like the racquet is a tiny stick in my hand, and it feels like I can place the ball anywhere I want.

Anyone have any thoughts? Suggestions? What you're doing?

psp2
10-22-2007, 08:48 PM
I share your experiences. I can actually use a 5/8 grip comfortably, but have always used a 4 1/2 w/ Tourna Grip. I started to experiment with 4 3/8 while back. Couple that with much lower tension, it gave me much more control and overall ts.

bubbatex
10-23-2007, 05:52 AM
I measure a perfect 4-1/2 and I played 1/2 all my junior years and never felt like I had good grip control (now that was 30 years ago, so assume what I was playing with!). The last racket I bought was 3/8 and with overgrip it fits me just right. I also play with spin and feel more comfortable with a slightly smaller grip for the reasons you mentioned.

cknobman
10-23-2007, 06:05 AM
I use a semi western grip and love to put spin on the ball. I have good sized hands, not small and not huge either, and play with 1/2. Tried to do th 3/8 but I could never get used to my finertips wrapping so far around the grip that they touch the inside of my thumb/palm area.

MichaelChang
10-23-2007, 06:21 AM
I use a semi western grip and love to put spin on the ball. I have good sized hands, not small and not huge either, and play with 1/2. Tried to do th 3/8 but I could never get used to my finertips wrapping so far around the grip that they touch the inside of my thumb/palm area.

if your fingertips could reach your palm then the grip is way too small.

Azzurri
10-23-2007, 06:42 AM
an overgrip can add 1/2 size...no way! I use a 4 3/8 and putting on one overgrip (tournagrip) does NOT add enoug to make it 1/2 size. so what would be the point of a heat shrink..or whatever its called.

I bought a racquet with 4 1/4 once and put on a Unique overwrap (that tube looking thing) and Tourna and it still felt smaller.

Blade0324
10-23-2007, 07:13 AM
I personally love the feel of a smaller grip. I started out using a 3/8 but then went to a 1/4 after a while. I found that was a bit small but the 3/8 felt a little big. I have now custom built up my pallets so that they are kind of in between 1/4 and 3/8. I also built up the but cap to make it larger and the very bottom. I recently bought a used stick that is older and no longer in production that I have been wanting for a while and it had a 5/8 grip. If I measure I should be using a 1/2 but the 5/8 size just felt like it was huge in my hand and I could hardly use it. this I sent it off to RPNY to have them change the grip to put a smaller one on that was basically in between a 1/4 and 3/8. What a difference this has made. I can't imagine using bigger grips just my $.02.

hadoken
10-23-2007, 07:27 AM
I historically used 4 1/2 grips but recently switched out the butt cap to 4 5/8 and I like the combo. I feel the bigger butt cap gives me more stability and I can still wrap my hand comfortably around the pallet

harleywilson
10-23-2007, 07:41 AM
I find that smaller grips help my serve. I get much more whip and follow through with a smaller grip.

rletizia
10-23-2007, 11:12 AM
I am very old school and actually use a continental grip quite often. I am not a SV player but do like to rush the net when the opportunity presents itself. I frequently switch to EFH when fielding hard pace and higher bouncers. I have a pretty average hand and a 4 5/8 works really well. I have no problem on the serve, especially if I use a EBH grip, and haven't had any arm problems for years. I can play with as small as a 4 3/8 but find it harder to control, especially at the net. Obviously, I hit lots of slice backhands and mostly heavy ball forehands -- heavy topspin is hard as hell to hit with a continental grip.

bubbatex
10-23-2007, 11:29 AM
-- heavy topspin is hard as hell to hit with a continental grip.

For me (semi-western) - that would be any! :)

CAM178
10-23-2007, 03:12 PM
if your fingertips could reach your palm then the grip is way too small.

I don't agree. That's just what people tell you, i.e. what it says in 'the book'.

What it comes down to is personal preference. If you can play better with a grip that is different from what you 'should' play with, then why not play with what will get you results?

I think I'm going to drop down to 4 1/4. Hard to believe that a guy my size is going to do this, but it's what makes sense. I like the feeling of being able to whip the ball. It's more of a control feeling.

rletizia
10-24-2007, 12:49 PM
What it comes down to is personal preference. If you can play better with a grip that is different from what you 'should' play with, then why not play with what will get you results?

I think I'm going to drop down to 4 1/4. Hard to believe that a guy my size is going to do this, but it's what makes sense. I like the feeling of being able to whip the ball. It's more of a control feeling.

I agree with the personal preference comment but whpping the ball is a control feeling? I've seen a few players go downhill fast around here from trying to whip the ball so much. Sometimes hitting a heavy ball is a good thing.

One thing I do wonder is how do you keep your elbow from falling off? The smaller the grip I use, the more my elbow hurts -- that is, once I pass the 3/8 inch gap between my finger tips and my palm. I cannot imagine playing with a 4 1/4 and I do not have big hands. Serving, yes, playing, no. Glad it works for you though!

Gmedlo
10-24-2007, 01:15 PM
I don't agree. That's just what people tell you, i.e. what it says in 'the book'.

What it comes down to is personal preference. If you can play better with a grip that is different from what you 'should' play with, then why not play with what will get you results?

I think I'm going to drop down to 4 1/4. Hard to believe that a guy my size is going to do this, but it's what makes sense. I like the feeling of being able to whip the ball. It's more of a control feeling.

My fingers touch my palm on a 4 3/8 right now, so I play with 4 5/8. I was using 4 3/8 for the longest time, but when my hands grew, I started to get wrist problems. Built up my grips, boom, wrist pain gone. I would be cautious dropping down in grip sizes, even if it is just one.


I was amazed by the effect of changing grip size. A larger grip is so much more stable in all ways, and in my opinion, makes touch shots way easier. I get a solid feeling on my groundstrokes that is unattainable on my brother's 4 1/8 racquets.

rletizia
10-25-2007, 06:45 AM
My fingers touch my palm on a 4 3/8 right now, so I play with 4 5/8. I was using 4 3/8 for the longest time, but when my hands grew, I started to get wrist problems. Built up my grips, boom, wrist pain gone. I would be cautious dropping down in grip sizes, even if it is just one.


I was amazed by the effect of changing grip size. A larger grip is so much more stable in all ways, and in my opinion, makes touch shots way easier. I get a solid feeling on my groundstrokes that is unattainable on my brother's 4 1/8 racquets.

That is exactly what I am taking about. Thank you for the validation. So, why do so many players prefer smaller grips? By the way, I am VERY familiar with that wrist pain you describe. I did the same with the same result.

Yes, you can "whip" the racquet harder with a smaller grip but is that an advantage for anyone under 5.0-5.5? I mean, control and consistancy still rule right?

Kcraig
10-25-2007, 07:02 AM
I am also in this debate and can't make up my mind--growing up and playing junior tourneys (88-93) I always played with a 41/2. I now have tried a 43/8 and think I like it over the 41/2. I use an overgrip and it makes it about perfect. I feel like I have better spin on the ball--BUT if I am playing a real hard hitter-the 41/2 seems to give me a little better stability. My 2 sticks right now are:

1. Head microgel Extreme Pro 4 1/2 grip--mostly my singles stick
2. Head microgel Extreme 4 3/8 grip--mostly for doubles

SO with one of each, I can always choose on how I am hitting and what will work better. Not only do they have diff grips--the PRO is 11.8+oz and the reg Extreme is 11.2+oz and .25" longer.

Kaptain Karl
10-25-2007, 07:20 AM
I am also 6' 2" and my hand is "almost" large enough to let me "palm" a basketball.

I buy 5/8 frames and build them up to 3/4. I've tried the smaller grips, but even half and hour with a 1/2 fatigues my forearm too much and hurts my wrist.

I also like the much greater stability I get for volleys and touch shots with the larger grip. But among all my regular hitting partners (5.0 and 5.5) I am the only one who plays with such an overly large grip.

So ... I say it's "personal preference."

- KK

CAM178
10-25-2007, 09:37 AM
I agree with the personal preference comment but whpping the ball is a control feeling?

One thing I do wonder is how do you keep your elbow from falling off? The smaller the grip I use, the more my elbow hurts

Sorry for the confusion. What I meant by 'whipping' is not hitting the ball hard. Rather, I meant it as in extreme spin to create an angle, i.e. when someone is at net, or when you are trying to open up the court, or trying to run someone who is tired.

My elbow doesn't hurt until after the match. During matches, my adrenalin is pumping too much to notice pain, unless it's unbearable or noticeable (ankle or shoulder).

CAM178
10-25-2007, 09:40 AM
Yes, you can "whip" the racquet harder with a smaller grip but is that an advantage for anyone under 5.0-5.5? I mean, control and consistancy still rule right?

Yes, control and consistency still rule. I hope they always do! As for whipping, I explained it in the previous post. I should have clarified that, sorry. And yes, I agree as to the advantage under 5.0. I think under 5.0, players need to be fine-tuning their game, not their equipment.

rletizia
10-25-2007, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that you meant "whipping" your wrist around (or overpronating) to create heavy topspin. Your explanation makes sense.

Mike Danger
10-25-2007, 07:48 PM
I'm not small, I started out with a 5/8 but I find 3/8 much better and EVEN better with no base grip only 2 over grips

godprint
10-25-2007, 10:43 PM
how do u all keep the grip clean if you don't use an overgrip?? thanks!

NadalClone
10-25-2007, 10:56 PM
I used a 4 and 1/2 size grip for about 5 years, mostly because I didn't realize there were different grip sizes. I'm 5'3", so needless to say that grip was probably too big for me. I'm probably one of the few around here that uses a 4 1/8 size grip. It is actually the right size for me, using the index finger space rule, when I have an overgrip on it. I hold the racket with a western grip and it feels perfect. Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like using a 4" grip though.

madmanfool
10-25-2007, 11:53 PM
an overgrip is +1/2 grip size...

BreakPoint
10-26-2007, 01:10 AM
So, why do so many players prefer smaller grips?
Think Nadal and Federer. ;)

I find bigger grips to be much more stable in my hand and causes much less twisting in my hand, especially on volleys. But I guess smaller grips on more popular these days because nobody volleys anymore. :-(

I also have not noticed getting any more spin on my serves with a smaller grip than with a larger grip as many people say they do. I think I serve the same with both.

I used a 4 5/8 bare leather grip as a kid. Now I use a 4 1/2 with a thick overgrip. I have some 4 3/8's too because I could not get those racquets in 4 1/2, so I have to wrap two thick overgrips on them or use a full size heat shrink to build up the size.

When I was younger, grips went up to 4 7/8, 5, and even larger. Now the largest grips are 4 5/8. 4 5/8 used to be the most popular size grip. Now it's 4 3/8. Historians would likely conclude that human's hands must be shrinking with each generation. ;) LOL

theone
10-26-2007, 02:12 AM
Does an overgrip add 1/8th inch?

madmanfool
10-26-2007, 03:49 AM
Does an overgrip add 1/8th inch?

I answered this two posts above..1/16th of an inch

rletizia
10-26-2007, 07:22 AM
Think Nadal and Federer. ;)

I find bigger grips to be much more stable in my hand and causes much less twisting in my hand, especially on volleys. But I guess smaller grips on more popular these days because nobody volleys anymore. :-(

I also have not noticed getting any more spin on my serves with a smaller grip than with a larger grip as many people say they do. I think I serve the same with both.

I used a 4 5/8 bare leather grip as a kid. Now I use a 4 1/2 with a thick overgrip. I have some 4 3/8's too because I could not get those racquets in 4 1/2, so I have to wrap two thick overgrips on them or use a full size heat shrink to build up the size.

When I was younger, grips went up to 4 7/8, 5, and even larger. Now the largest grips are 4 5/8. 4 5/8 used to be the most popular size grip. Now it's 4 3/8. Historians would likely conclude that human's hands must be shrinking with each generation. ;) LOL

Great explanation. Nadal I get due to that extreme western grip he uses but Federer supposingly uses an EFH so how does he do it? Bigger grips ARE more stable and I also have not noticed a difference in service spin. Serving with an EBH will force enough pronation to give plenty of spin. Most of my racquets are also 4 3/8 and 4 1/2 specifically so that I can use an overgrip.

I remember those big grips and just the other day was going through a friends woodie collection. Man, not only are those grips big but even though they seem very headlight, I know I cannot pronate my wrist fast enough to generate any decent topspin on those things.

Yep, heads are growing (egos?) and hands are shrinking! :D LOL

TripleB
10-26-2007, 09:34 AM
Have played 4 5/8" plus an overgrip since I was 17. Bought a 4 5/8" Roddick and added an overgrip....much too big. Last racquet I bought was a Yonex and the 4 5/8" on a Yonex runs a bit small IMO. My four current demos are 4 1/2" so I'm going to add an overgrip and see how they feel. Depends on the company but I may move to 4 1/2" plus an overgrip....seem to get more wrist snap on my serves with it and it seems easier to get the racquet into position on my volleys.

TripleB

tbini87
10-26-2007, 09:46 AM
when i started playing i was using a 1/2 grip with an overgrip. i have not switched to 3/8 with supergrap over it, and it feels really good. i have never tried anything smaller, wonder how that would go.

what do people think on wrist pain? a few posts have stated that the smaller the grip the more wrist pain. just wondering if others thought that too...

origmarm
10-26-2007, 09:59 AM
I play a 5/8, tried switching down and it just hurt my wrist and part of my forearm. I also found it a bit unstable and "whippy" but then I guess this is what people that use smaller grips are after as such

tbini87
10-26-2007, 10:15 AM
I play a 5/8, tried switching down and it just hurt my wrist and part of my forearm. I also found it a bit unstable and "whippy" but then I guess this is what people that use smaller grips are after as such

interesting. i play with a 3/8 because i like the feel and ability to "whip" it i guess. but i also get sore wrist, forearm and elbow sometimes. wonder how much grip size has to do with that, might have to check that out.

BreakPoint
10-26-2007, 10:31 AM
interesting. i play with a 3/8 because i like the feel and ability to "whip" it i guess. but i also get sore wrist, forearm and elbow sometimes. wonder how much grip size has to do with that, might have to check that out.
I think a smaller grip will allow you to use more wrist on your shots which would logically lead to wrist injuries as you're using your wrist more.

CAM178
03-30-2008, 03:12 PM
Hate to revive an old thread, but it's for good reason.

Recently I switched down from 3/8 to 1/4, and many things came clearly into focus today. My wrist is KILLING me today. Which made me think. . .

My game has gone to crap recently, and now that I think about it, it is because of the grip size change. Yes, I can whip the ball more, but I could not longer flatten out the ball, and I was having a hard time hitting serves.

But today my wrist is killing me, and it all makes sense.

My advice is don't make the change. Weigh the costs/benefits, and you'll see that it's not worth it. Yes, you will be able to whip the ball, but how often is that really necessary? Not very necessary most of the time. And really, you should be able to whip the ball with your normal grip size.

Just wanted to share, as this puts a few other threads into focus (Going Full Time, Finally Found My Racquet, etc.) for me.

It was indeed time for a new frame, but I did not need to go down in grip size.

NoBadMojo
03-30-2008, 03:43 PM
I started a thread on this some while ago. I advise most of my lessons to go with the smallest grip they can which doesnt cause the closest finger to their palm to touch their palm when they squeeze down hard on the grip.

Traditionally, baseliners used larger grips and all courters used smaller ones..things are different now.

I've gone from 5/8, to 1/2, to 3/8ths over the years and my finger easily touches my palm now...i dont recommend this to people who arent clean ball strikers or you will likely get a wrist or arm problem. i also dont recommend leather grips for people who dont hit clean, as sometimes a cushioned grip is the only protection you have from a stiff harsh racquet. the leather transmits more feel, but more shock along with it

going too large is as bad as going too small..you dont want the grip so large, the racquet will easily twist.

The small grip gives you faster whip on the serve and groundstrokes and makes it harder to volley...again, if you arent a good ball striker, i dont advise going to a grip where your finger touches your palm

rabidcow
03-30-2008, 04:01 PM
I think its whatever you feel comfortable with, I have a monstrous hand on all charts and stuff I should be a 4 5/8 my brothers hand is tiny should be a 4 1/4. I've found that I can use any grip size and play and that I play best with a 4 1/2 so thats what I use. My brother also can hit with any gripsize including 5/8(still haven't figured out how he can hold onto it). But he opts for a 4 3/8.

I think its just a matter of personal preference and what individual people prefer.

lawrence
03-30-2008, 04:06 PM
i could be making an arrogant statement here, but wouldn't all you posters above that don't really agree with smaller grips, think that if you're technique is solid you should be having no problems with the grip that feels comfortable for you?

its kind of like the babolat rackets in a sense, and how everyone says they give elbow problems, although a fair few will agree that if your strokes are sound you should have no problems

Anton
03-30-2008, 04:24 PM
I have 8" long hand (from base of the thumb bone to the tip of the fu finger).

4 1/2 with an overgrip on my Redondo is perfect for me - any less and I lose stability, any more and it becomes bulky feeling and feels like I lose maneuverability.

An overgrip does add half a size and yes shrink wraps are not a great idea unless you need to add more then one size. Though some overgrips are thicker then others.

PS. Nadal really does have small hands.

lilxjohnyy
03-30-2008, 04:37 PM
i have 9 inch long based on how anton measured his hand. for me i have been using 4 3/8 for long time. only recently change to 4 1/2

In)SpiRe
03-30-2008, 05:13 PM
Just curious. If you buy a racquet with a 4 1/4 grip, but put a Babolat Leather replacement grip on it, and put either a tournagrip or a Babolat Syntec grip on it, what would be the approximate grip size... 4 3/8?

Anton
03-30-2008, 05:22 PM
Just so everything is clear about where to measure:

http://www.hvresource.com/anton/hand.jpg