Less Spin with 4 1/2 Grip Size

djorourke94

New User
Hello all, I'm sure this has been asked and answered but I'm just curious about everyone's experience here. I am a 4.0 player and recently switched from a 4 3/8 size racquet to a 4 1/2. I made this change because I started developing some arm pain with my 4 3/8 and read that increasing the grip size helps alleviate arm pain. I also measured my hand size and the measurement indicated that a 4 1/2 grip size (or even larger) would be more suitable than a 4 3/8. However, since receiving my new racquet I have noticed that it is harder to put spin on the ball. I play a heavy top spin forehand and I am finding I am hitting quite a few balls long and have difficulty generating the same level of spin as I did with my 4 3/8. To be perfectly transparent, I have only had the chance to play with my new racquet 2 or 3 times so there may just be an adjustment period. I've read there is some disagreement about whether smaller grips help induce more spin. I am just wondering if anyone has made the switch to a bigger grip size and had the same issue. Is this something I can overcome with more practice? Arm strengthening? Changing my swing technique? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

djorourke94

New User
Is the new racquet same as the old one, just one size bigger in grip size?
The old racquet was a Tecnifibre TF315. New racquet is the Babolat Pure Strike 18x20. Both strung with Babolat RPM Blast Hybrid strings. I demoed the PS before I purchased and was able to spin it fairly well. Love the way the racquet feels otherwise. The PS I demoed had a 4 3/8 grip. 4 1/2 wasn't available. I didn't think I would feel a difference. I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse but I'm hoping that I can find a way to spin it the way I did with my Tecnifibre.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
If you want to find out you would string both frames with the same set up, head out and play a set with each racket several times in a row and then get back to us.

Balls going long could just be the adrenalin factor of a new shiny racket. Do a controlled experiment and you'd likely have your answer.

It's highly unlikely a tiny change in grip size would alter spin rates enough to lead to balls sailing long unless you are so dialled in that every ball you hit with your old racket lands 1 foot from the baseline. If that's you Djokovic, then never change your set up ever.
 

djorourke94

New User
I have racquets in 3/8 and 1/2 sizes and I don't see a difference in the amount of spin that I can generate. I do feel that the 1/2 grip size gives me more stability.
That's reassuring. I may just need to log some more hours with the new racquet and get used to the bigger grip. I will say that the 1/2 grip size feels way better in my hand.
 

djorourke94

New User
If you want to find out you would string both frames with the same set up, head out and play a set with each racket several times in a row and then get back to us.

Balls going long could just be the adrenalin factor of a new shiny racket. Do a controlled experiment and you'd likely have your answer.

It's highly unlikely a tiny change in grip size would alter spin rates enough to lead to balls sailing long unless you are so dialled in that every ball you hit with your old racket lands 1 foot from the baseline. If that's you Djokovic, then never change your set up ever.
This is surprisingly reassuring. I was having a bit of buyer's remorse and was worried I had just flushed $ down the drain. I think I just need to log some more hours with the new racquet and get used to the feeling of the 1/2 grip size.
 

djorourke94

New User
Went from a 16x19 to a 18x20 string bed. I'd think that alone would make a substantial difference in spin.

If I had buyers remorse it would be going to another arm wrecker frame when I already have arm issues.
They both have 18x20 string beds. I should have mentioned that earlier. The Tecnifibre I have is a little bit older, the newer ones might be 16x19 but mine isn't.

I didn't know Pure Strikes were known as arm wreckers? I've found it to be much more comfortable than my Tecnifibre. What racquets in that category of quality are more comfortable?
 
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nochuola

Rookie
Based on the info given, I think it is likely you grip the racquet too tight regardless of grip size. On a smaller grip you get a bit more freedom of movement even if you grip tightly, which allows for higher racquet head speed and spin, but probably also caused your arm pain. On a bigger (or more fitted) grip, the racquet has less wiggle room, which means you need to keep your grip and wrist loose to ensure you generate your maximum racquet head speed. A common way to train to relax grip and prevent the wrist from locking up is to hit with the pinky hanging off the racquet.

Some other things that came to mind: The Pure Strike is inherently a more powerful racquet than the TF40 which may give the illusion of reduced spin as balls sail a bit longer. Tecnifibre and Babolat have slightly different grip shapes. Playing around with the racquets I have, it is possible you actually end up more eastern (open face) on the Pure Strike even if you have your knuckle on the same bevel. Remember the important thing is the relative racquet face angle to your palm angle. The knuckle-bevel thing is just a guide.

Other than that I agree with @Dartagnan64, the only way to be sure is to do a controlled test side by side.
 

djorourke94

New User
Based on the info given, I think it is likely you grip the racquet too tight regardless of grip size. On a smaller grip you get a bit more freedom of movement even if you grip tightly, which allows for higher racquet head speed and spin, but probably also caused your arm pain. On a bigger (or more fitted) grip, the racquet has less wiggle room, which means you need to keep your grip and wrist loose to ensure you generate your maximum racquet head speed. A common way to train to relax grip and prevent the wrist from locking up is to hit with the pinky hanging off the racquet.

Some other things that came to mind: The Pure Strike is inherently a more powerful racquet than the TF40 which may give the illusion of reduced spin as balls sail a bit longer. Tecnifibre and Babolat have slightly different grip shapes. Playing around with the racquets I have, it is possible you actually end up more eastern (open face) on the Pure Strike even if you have your knuckle on the same bevel. Remember the important thing is the relative racquet face angle to your palm angle. The knuckle-bevel thing is just a guide.

Other than that I agree with @Dartagnan64, the only way to be sure is to do a controlled test side by side.
Interesting. I never considered that gripping the racquet too tight could contribute to arm pain. I figured it was just inherent in the motion of a tennis swing. I will definitely try that pinky drill. This is good information though. Thank you. It sounds like I just need to play with the Pure Strike more and I will get a better feel for where my grip needs to be so that I don't flatten out my groundstrokes too much.
 

Blahovic

Rookie
The old racquet was a Tecnifibre TF315. New racquet is the Babolat Pure Strike 18x20. Both strung with Babolat RPM Blast Hybrid strings. I demoed the PS before I purchased and was able to spin it fairly well. Love the way the racquet feels otherwise. The PS I demoed had a 4 3/8 grip. 4 1/2 wasn't available. I didn't think I would feel a difference. I'm having a bit of buyer's remorse but I'm hoping that I can find a way to spin it the way I did with my Tecnifibre.
I demoed a Pure Strike Tour with a 4 3/8 grip and it felt like a relatively big L3 imo (I liked that). Maybe their L4 is a bit too big.
 

Hit 'em clean

Semi-Pro
A smaller grip will make it a little easier to generate spin. It's easier to pronate on serves and provide and to create whip for topspin on ground strokes. It shouldn't make a huge difference, but you may find that it certainly feels easier to accomplish those things than with a larger grip.
 

nochuola

Rookie
I demoed a Pure Strike Tour with a 4 3/8 grip and it felt like a relatively big L3 imo (I liked that). Maybe their L4 is a bit too big.
This reminds me, @djorourke94 did you physically measure the grip circumference of the racquets? Babolat is know to run large, and I feel my experience with Tecnifibre is they tend to run small, but then the Pure Strike also has a thinner replacement grip than other Babolats. It might be worth checking because you may think you are dealing with a 1 grip size difference when you actually moved up 1.5 to 2 grip sizes (if you didn't know 1 grip size difference is 1/8 inch in circumference).
 

djorourke94

New User
This reminds me, @djorourke94 did you physically measure the grip circumference of the racquets? Babolat is know to run large, and I feel my experience with Tecnifibre is they tend to run small, but then the Pure Strike also has a thinner replacement grip than other Babolats. It might be worth checking because you may think you are dealing with a 1 grip size difference when you actually moved up 1.5 to 2 grip sizes (if you didn't know 1 grip size difference is 1/8 inch in circumference).
I did not measure it. I'll check into that. Thank you! It is kinda bizarre that the measurements wouldn't be uniform across brands. I also have an overgrip on it so that could make it even slightly larger.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I demoed a Pure Strike Tour with a 4 3/8 grip and it felt like a relatively big L3 imo (I liked that). Maybe their L4 is a bit too big.
Agreed, I play with a Wilson L5 plus overgrip (that measures 4 5/8" with the overgrip) and a Pure Strike L4 on the wall at the local tennis shop felt the same, or close enough, to me.
 

djorourke94

New User
Agreed, I play with a Wilson L5 plus overgrip (that measures 4 5/8" with the overgrip) and a Pure Strike L4 on the wall at the local tennis shop felt the same, or close enough, to me.
I should have figured that their sizes were off after having to buy Babolat shoes that were two sizes different than what I normally wear just to get them to fit. lol
 

Blahovic

Rookie
I should have figured that their sizes were off after having to buy Babolat shoes that were two sizes different than what I normally wear just to get them to fit. lol
If you want a thinner grip and you can't return the racquet, I recommend removing the original grip and just playing with a thin overgrip as a substitute (and nothing else). It can make a fairly noticeable difference to the size of the handle in your palm.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
They both have 18x20 string beds. I should have mentioned that earlier. The Tecnifibre I have is a little bit older, the newer ones might be 16x19 but mine isn't.

I didn't know Pure Strikes were known as arm wreckers? I've found it to be much more comfortable than my Tecnifibre. What racquets in that category of quality are more comfortable?
Head Gravity, Prince Phantom, Wilson Blade are all more comfortable control tweeners.
 

djorourke94

New User
If you want a thinner grip and you can't return the racquet, I recommend removing the original grip and just playing with a thin overgrip as a substitute (and nothing else). It can make a fairly noticeable difference to the size of the handle in your palm.
Oh that's interesting. Thank you. I may do do this. Should I consult a professional to do this kind of thing or do you think it's simple enough to do on my own? Any risk of damaging the racquet by doing this? Also, if I do remove the original grip, if I later decided I wanted it back would replacing it be a challenge?
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
Oh that's interesting. Thank you. I may do do this. Should I consult a professional to do this kind of thing or do you think it's simple enough to do on my own? Any risk of damaging the racquet by doing this? Also, if I do remove the original grip, if I later decided I wanted it back would replacing it be a challenge?
It's simple to do, though you will lose some cushioning that you might be used to having.

It won't hurt the racket.

Installing a replacement grip isn't exactly hard, but I think it requires a little more attention to detail and patience than wrapping an overgrip. Took me a few tries before I was able to achieve a result similar to an original factory grip. I'd either wrap with too much or too little overlap, and the tape on the inside of the grip sometimes doesn't like to be unstuck and repositioned.
 

Blahovic

Rookie
Oh that's interesting. Thank you. I may do do this. Should I consult a professional to do this kind of thing or do you think it's simple enough to do on my own? Any risk of damaging the racquet by doing this? Also, if I do remove the original grip, if I later decided I wanted it back would replacing it be a challenge?
It might be slightly annoying to put a property replacement grip back on, but nothing hugely bothersome. And you can always ask any tennis shop to do that for you when you go to get your racquet strung.
 

Rozroz

G.O.A.T.
if your hand is really size 4, then you'll be able to produce enough spin.
if it's a bit too large for you so, probably less "spin friendly"
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Grip size L2 is for me the best for topspin (i played my whole life in grip L4 or 5 / i switched last year )
I've played with an L2 recently (my wife's racket as I forgot mine in the garage when heading to a mixed match). I don't think it made a significant difference in my topspin groundstrokes over my usual L3 with 2 over grips. It did however make volleys an adventure. I certainly will not be switching anytime soon.
 

ryushen21

Legend
Hello all, I'm sure this has been asked and answered but I'm just curious about everyone's experience here. I am a 4.0 player and recently switched from a 4 3/8 size racquet to a 4 1/2. I made this change because I started developing some arm pain with my 4 3/8 and read that increasing the grip size helps alleviate arm pain. I also measured my hand size and the measurement indicated that a 4 1/2 grip size (or even larger) would be more suitable than a 4 3/8. However, since receiving my new racquet I have noticed that it is harder to put spin on the ball. I play a heavy top spin forehand and I am finding I am hitting quite a few balls long and have difficulty generating the same level of spin as I did with my 4 3/8. To be perfectly transparent, I have only had the chance to play with my new racquet 2 or 3 times so there may just be an adjustment period. I've read there is some disagreement about whether smaller grips help induce more spin. I am just wondering if anyone has made the switch to a bigger grip size and had the same issue. Is this something I can overcome with more practice? Arm strengthening? Changing my swing technique? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
Not trying to be sarcastic here but I think this is mainly a mental issue. I play with a 4 1/2 and have no issues hitting heavy spin and when I switch between frames to a smaller grip size there is no difference in spin creation.
 

KYHacker

Professional
Well, I think your issue is probably not the grip size, but rather the grip shape. But, it could actually be both. The TF has a more rectangular grip shape than the Babolat. What I have noticed, is that, even with the same grip size, I will naturally close the racquet face a few degrees differently based on the grip shape of the manufacturer and the "feel" of the bevels. I have also noticed recently, that since I have had to go up in grip size due to some hand pain, that, depending on the manufacturer grip shape, that I naturally produce more spin with some grip shapes as I go up in size and less in others as I go up in size. All again, based on the reference point of the natural feel of my hand on the bevels. Rectangular to most square are Volkl>Head TK82 or TF>Yonex>PK or Dunlop (same as Wilson but less flare to buttcap>Wilson>Babolat or Diadem>Prince (some of the newer Prince gripshapes are closer to Wilson. I do notice that after a few sessions I adjust my grip to compensate and I then get similar spin levels. Sometimes, I also play around with a different overgrip thickness to get to the same spot. For me personally with my full Western forehand grip, I get more spin with the Volkl grip shape.
 

djorourke94

New User
Not trying to be sarcastic here but I think this is mainly a mental issue. I play with a 4 1/2 and have no issues hitting heavy spin and when I switch between frames to a smaller grip size there is no difference in spin creation.
I am hoping you're right. This post was really a gut reaction to my concerns that I may not be able to put as much spin on the ball as I could with my old racquet. I think I just need to hit with it more and get used to the feel of the 4 1/2 grip size.
 

djorourke94

New User
Well, I think your issue is probably not the grip size, but rather the grip shape. But, it could actually be both. The TF has a more rectangular grip shape than the Babolat. What I have noticed, is that, even with the same grip size, I will naturally close the racquet face a few degrees differently based on the grip shape of the manufacturer and the "feel" of the bevels. I have also noticed recently, that since I have had to go up in grip size due to some hand pain, that, depending on the manufacturer grip shape, that I naturally produce more spin with some grip shapes as I go up in size and less in others as I go up in size. All again, based on the reference point of the natural feel of my hand on the bevels. Rectangular to most square are Volkl>Head TK82 or TF>Yonex>PK or Dunlop (same as Wilson but less flare to buttcap>Wilson>Babolat or Diadem>Prince (some of the newer Prince gripshapes are closer to Wilson. I do notice that after a few sessions I adjust my grip to compensate and I then get similar spin levels. Sometimes, I also play around with a different overgrip thickness to get to the same spot. For me personally with my full Western forehand grip, I get more spin with the Volkl grip shape.
Interesting that you mention this. I didn't know that racquets had different grip shapes. I was playing around with the two of my racquets and felt that my hand was resting on different bevels on each grip when I felt that I was gripping them the same way. Your explanation could explain that.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Popular replacement grips come in various thicknesses; from 1.25mm to 2.1mm, which will change the grip size. Using just an overgrip should be a last resort.
 

gold325

Rookie
Hello all, I'm sure this has been asked and answered but I'm just curious about everyone's experience here. I am a 4.0 player and recently switched from a 4 3/8 size racquet to a 4 1/2. I made this change because I started developing some arm pain with my 4 3/8 and read that increasing the grip size helps alleviate arm pain. I also measured my hand size and the measurement indicated that a 4 1/2 grip size (or even larger) would be more suitable than a 4 3/8. However, since receiving my new racquet I have noticed that it is harder to put spin on the ball. I play a heavy top spin forehand and I am finding I am hitting quite a few balls long and have difficulty generating the same level of spin as I did with my 4 3/8. To be perfectly transparent, I have only had the chance to play with my new racquet 2 or 3 times so there may just be an adjustment period. I've read there is some disagreement about whether smaller grips help induce more spin. I am just wondering if anyone has made the switch to a bigger grip size and had the same issue. Is this something I can overcome with more practice? Arm strengthening? Changing my swing technique? Any thoughts would be appreciated!
If you have a slightly whippy swing then yes I would say 4 1/2 not as easy as 3/8... But all depends on how big your hand is and how you are built.

FOR ME

I have the same racquet in both thicknesses and easier to whip us some spin with the 3/8 over 1/2

Also find it easier to whip up spin with a flatter older head?-style grip. (Bevel 3 and 7 longer than 1 and 5). Again I have the same racquet in both styles of grip.

Why you think classic racquets and strokes were more 1/2 and 5/8 and recent racquets and modern strokes are more 1/4 and 3/8?

Multiple videos on this topic available as well..
 

gold325

Rookie
Also for me Prince 1/2 = Babolat 3/8.... So unless you stayed with the same brand and same OEM grip and they used the same pallet for both that could be a factor as well.

Some adjustments can be made with replacement grip thickness, softness, grip installation pressure, overgrip style and other factors.
 

Ashton20

New User
I just did a test with two racquets exactly the same with different grip sizes, L3 & L4 both overgrip, the latter my usual setup.

I have large hands but im only 5'10. My finger tips can easily touch my palm with L3 + overgrip.

Quickly discovered that a smaller grip completely ruined my game, lost racquet face awareness and was getting blisters.

Seems to be a smaller grip trend but larger grip definitely isn't a disadvantage if it feels better to you. Fair few atp players use L4 anyway.
 

gold325

Rookie
I just did a test with two racquets exactly the same with different grip sizes, L3 & L4 both overgrip, the latter my usual setup.

I have large hands but im only 5'10. My finger tips can easily touch my palm with L3 + overgrip.

Quickly discovered that a smaller grip completely ruined my game, lost racquet face awareness and was getting blisters.

Seems to be a smaller grip trend but larger grip definitely isn't a disadvantage if it feels better to you. Fair few atp players use L4 anyway.
Seems like for you L4 is better than L5. L3 is too small...

ATP players used to use L5 heavily (even Michael Chang did).... The game changed to heavy spin and baseline after his time.
 
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