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Why build up the grip?

Check the grip size

Check the grip size

Published: 06 Feb 2006 - 07:30 by rippa rit

Updated: 29 Jan 2010 - 20:41

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Generally racket handles are not oversize, excepting maybe, in the case of younger players/juniors 

There are sound reasons for having the grip the correct size.
  • To stop the racket from slipping/turning in your hand.
  • To make the racket easier to hold.
  • To prevent getting a sore arm.
When purchasing a racket, always check the grip size. The above link shows a diagram on how to check the grip size, and hold the racket.
There are a couple of ways of increasing the grip size:-
  • Add a grip over the existing grip (generally recommended for a larger build up).
  • Take off the existing grip (carefully as it should be possible to reuse it).
  • Add 1, 2 or 3 layers of electrical insulation tape (depending on the build up required).
  • Then fit the grip over the top.
It is important the material used to build up the grip is firmly attached or the grip may wriggle around under your fingers when swinging at the ball.
Here is a link on Add/replace a grip.squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


Please Note: The most recent replies are now at the top!

From aprice1985 - 29 Jan 2010 - 20:41

I have actually just thinned my grip down, I used to put a karakal PU grip over the factory grip but played last night with jsut the factory grip as the overgrip was worn and I took it off and thought I could still grip the racquet well and decided to try playing with it, i found it surprisingly easy to play with and am planning to continue with it for a while to see how it all goes.

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From rippa rit - 14 Jan 2009 - 08:24

An easy way to check the gap for grip size (the space between the heel of your hand and the fingers) is to use the tip of your middle finger (opposite hand of course!) in the space/gap, and then. at the same time, give the handle of the racket a squeeze. What then?  If the tip of your middle finger will not fit, the grip is too small; if the tip of the middle finger does not close up the gap, the grip is too big. Of course, the further you hold the racket up the handle the smaller the shaft of the racket becomes.  Once this was referred to as "choking the racket". I am not saying not to shorten the grip, however, where you hold the racket will affect the grip size as well.

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From pug505man - 07 May 2006 - 02:19

too big a grip results in loss of friction hence lack of 'grip' too.
Same reason a car with wide tyres is no good in slippery conditions. Too much surface area for the available force (weight for car, hand strength for racket) resulting in loss of grip.
I have simpsons disease (stubby fingers) so I have quite small grips. Viva la difference!

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From rippa rit - 14 Apr 2006 - 07:57

Hi Biz&Co - good points.  A grip is personal as it depends on the size of the hand and length of the fingers. 
  • I am only saying the grip should have a space of about enough to put the top of your third finger between the fingers, and the heel of the thumb, as shown above. The joints in the fingers have to sort of mould around the handle of the racket handle.
  • If the grip is too small you cannot hold it tightly enough and it strains the muscles to hold the racket. This can cause a sore elbow/arm.  The racket then can slip around, or slip out of the hand too.
  • If the grip is too large it can feel cumbersome, and in fact hard to keep the correct grip.
  • For juniors, they usually comprimise by holding the racket handle shorter, which in turn gives better racket head control, and shortens the lever....makes it easier to keep the racket head up, etc ...that is ok.  Look at Rodney Martin (when he was tops) he shortened the grip and sort of started a bit of a fashion then a few years ago.
  • In fact for juniors there is no harm to cut off an inch or so to make the grip/handle smaller, and they can then hold it without the end of the handle sticking out and digging them into the ribs.
Now, about the grip wear itself -
  • Wear a sweatband to stop the perspiration running into the hand.
  • Do not hold the racket handle right on the end, as that tends to cause more wrist movement and friction when holding the racket.
  • Try not to strangle the racket and twirl it around.  Treat it softly and friendly.
  • Use all the fingers to grasp the racket, except the lst finger, and keep holding it firmly. Hit and Grip.
  • If you try all of this and the grip still does not work (especially at $8 a piece) I would be looking at putting on a towelling grip, or an overlay of towelling.  Got an old towel or nappy to give it a try!.  You can easily make one yourself, and it will stand water, and washing and will fluff up.
  • Why would any manufacturer want a grip to last too long?.  Towelling was very durable.
It is a bit hard to really understand as I cannot see you swinging the racket.  I hope some of the above helps.

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From BizarreCo - 14 Apr 2006 - 01:55   -   Updated: 14 Apr 2006 - 01:56

This is a contoversial topic in my club with the juniors at the moment. It's certainly true that a slightly thicker grip does everything listed in your original post Rippa, but from personal experience, having a grip that's too thick can cause a player to lose that extra bit of touch.

To give a bit of visualisation to this: I have a handspan of 25cm with a height of 20cm (base of palm to tip of middle finger). My preferred grip is a single Karakal PU super grip over the original factory fitted grip that comes with the racket. I've tried to go for thicker options (but lost touch) and thinner ones (hurt my elbow), and so settled on the option listed above.

Now my main problem is that I seem to be going through a grip every 3 matches (approx length of 1 hour per match). I've tried drying out the grip after use (seems to lose tack), washing the grip (did nothing!), putting it straight back in its case (went spongy and slick). Nothing seems to work - Any suggestions?


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From rippa rit - 01 Apr 2006 - 17:11

Not sure, but from what you describe, you may have been not just holding the grip firmly with the wrist slightly cocked but maybe over-cocking the wrist, which then can make you hold the racket by the thumb and forefinger (which means the heel of the racket moves about)  rather than be gripped firmly in the palm.
There is no need to force the wrist up to make it stable. So long as you are getting the pronation of the forearm, in the swing and wrist stability, that is all that is required.
My son hurt his wrist, and I think may have a bit of calcification in the joint, and he seems to use his wrist, particularly on the forehand incorrectly, hence the racket seems to be too flat in the forehand corners.
Definitely the third finger must not bite into the hell of the thumb.
Make sense?

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From missing_record1 - 01 Apr 2006 - 11:27

I used to use a very built up grip -- usually a replacement grip over the original and then maybe 1 or 2 grip tapes (overwraps). My hand holding the racket looked like the picture above. But then I hurt my wrist (not due to the grip) and when I started playing again the only thing that felt comfortable was the smallest grip possible -- I had to remove the original grip and only use an overwrap directly on the bare handle. It almost felt like holding a golf club.  I have quite large hands, but this smaller grip gave me no problems and forced me to get my body into the shot more to get power instead of just flicking my wrist. I was much more precise with the smaller grip. I didn't have any problems with the racket twisting. I'm not sure I will keep it so small as my wrist gets stronger, but it has not hurt my game and has maybe even helped it. I guess my point is that grip size doesn't seem to matter as much as I used to think. You just can't expect to swing the same way with different sized grips and get the same result.

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From lowrider - 18 Mar 2006 - 19:06

thanks for the reply.  so i played a match tonight and all was fixed, (not really, i got crushed, but i played the ball much better and hardly and shanks.)
i figured out that when i was hitting the ball off-center,  the racquet was twisting in my hand.  my grip was pretty worn and slick.  i put a thin overgrip over the already existing grips that i had on there, it built it up just a little but was much tackier. 
worked very well and my control was much better.

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From rippa rit - 18 Mar 2006 - 18:48

Hi lowrider - can you take a photo of you gripping the racket, and post it into the forum? 
Just put the racket in your hand, like the picture above.  
The gap referred to is really between the heel of the thumb and the fingers.
The idea is to leave enough room to squeeze the grip tightly so it does not turn in your hand, especially if you hit the ball a bit off-centre.
From what you are saying it seems the grip is the right size but a photo would be good.
Another question:  Are you using the correct grip?

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From lowrider - 18 Mar 2006 - 08:50

so i have read everywhere that your thumb should not overlap your pointer finger when you are gripping your racquet.  i play with a grays powerflow lite 140 and have a prince grip and a karakal overgrip over the stock grip.  my thumb overlaps almost down to the knuckle on my thumb.  i dont really think that i have that big of hands but they are bigger than some peoples.  i have noticed in the last couple matches that i am hitting many dead shots (shanks).  so i went and hit it around by myself the other night and noticed that the racquet was moving in my hand much more than before.  the karakal grip i have is somewhat beaten down.
do you guys think i should build up my grip even more so that my thumb doesnt overlap or what?  any adivice is appreciated.

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From rippa rit - 08 Feb 2006 - 10:29

arthur - actually if you grip the racket, as shown in the pic above, and can just fit the tip/top of your finger in the gap, that is about have to be able to squeeze the handle/grip tightly but comfortably.

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From aprice1985 - 08 Feb 2006 - 08:29

I find playing with too big a grip very inhibiting though, i couldn't play my shots as naturally, that said i did have two thick karakal grips over the normal one so it was quite bug, i now use one karakal and one very thin strange wilson one which may be meant for tennis

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