Can racket grip size affect your performance in badminton?

First things first. Choose a grip size that makes you feel comfortable throughout your game. In practice, when you hold a racket, see that there is a slight distance between your fingers and the back of your palm. If that’s not the case, shift to a thicker grip. This can mean two things: Go for a racket with a thicker grip or wrap additional grips over the original racket grip to increase the circumferential grip size (G). While doing so, see that it doesn’t fill your palm completely. A perfect grip is the one that suits the size of your palm, assures flexibility and lets you control your game.

Can you improve your game by altering the grip size of your racket? Technically, yes! There are few ways to improve your performance by choosing a grip size that goes with your game style. The easiest answer would be “THICK grips for attack play and THIN grips for control/rally play”. Unfortunately, it’s not always black and white. We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, remember that comfort is the only thing that truly matters in a game of Badminton.

Badminton mens doubles painting

What are the available grip sizes for Yonex Badminton rackets?

Size relates to the circumference of the grip (G). I did some research and found that Yonex offers Badminton rackets with 4 grip sizes (G2, G3, G4 and G5), G2 being the largest. It is said that the G4 is the most common grip size. What’s the grip size of your racket? Check it out. You’ll find the racket specifications marked on its handles, at the point where the grip meets the shaft.

How does racket grip size affect an individual’s performance?

You can technically improve your game by altering the grip size of your racket. A research article published in a sports health journal clearly suggests a positive correlation between the grip size of a tennis racket and the hitting force generated during a soft tennis forehand stroke [1]. Hitting force was measured with a handheld dynamometer in players using rackets with 5 different grip sizes. The authors saw that experienced players with larger grips demonstrated an increased hitting force. However, this was not-so-true for beginner-level players.

You must be wondering why a tennis research reference is being cited here. In my opinion, the results of this study can be extrapolated to other racket sports like Badminton. It’ll be best to try it yourself though. See if THICKER grips help you deliver stronger smashes.

Similarly, THINNER grips let you maintain greater control over your racket. This is because you can easily switch from a forehand to backhand grip. Therefore, by rule, offensive or attack players are advised to opt for rackets with thicker grips for a tighter hold and greater forehand power [2]. Players who prefer to engage in drops, net shots and deceptions can choose rackets with a G4 or G5 grip size. Sometimes it also depends on the level of your game. For instance, if you are a beginner, do not start with a small grip size. You need to have a firm hold on your racket handle during the initial years of training. Thick grips allow you to do that. Once you advance to the intermediate stage, you can customize the size of the grip handle as per your comfort and game style. Do you want to know how to do that? Read on.

How to modify a racket grip to suit one’s game style?

Apart from the 4 grips that we talked about previously, there are 3 other types of grips that can be purchased separately. They are:

  1. Overgrips

These are thin grips that can be wrapped around original racket grips (ORGs) to increase the circumferential grip size. Overgrips can’t be used instead of ORGs. In other words, they can’t be directly wrapped around the wooden surface of racket handles because they are too thin.

  1. Replacement grips

Unlike Overgrips, Replacements grips CAN BE used to ‘replace’ ORGs. They are thicker than Overgrips and provide extreme comfort. They are also excellent sweat and shock absorbers.

  1. Towel grips

You must have seen cotton grips in the past. They are called towel grips. The biggest advantage is their ability to absorb sweat. Players who sweat a lot in their palms prefer towel grips. Unfortunately, they are very thick and heavy. You can read more here.

Having said that, it is important to note that grip size is NOT the only factor to have an influence on performance.  

Other factors that affect performance are:

  • Stringing tension
  • Racket weight
  • Racket Balance
  • Shaft flexibility

It is good to consider all these factors while choosing your racket.

Recommendation for beginners

If you are a beginner, you can opt for a racket with a G4 or G5 grip size. You can then wrap an overgrip around the ORG. If your palm size is large, you can go for a replacement grip instead. This will ensure you have a tighter grip on the racket handle. Sometimes, you may feel more comfortable without add-on grips and that’s perfectly okay. An incorrect grip size can sometimes cause injuries like tennis elbows when you hold your racket far too tightly [3]. It can also obstruct your wrist movement during the game, affecting the quality of your strokes. So, choose your grip carefully.

References

1. Ohguni M, Aoki M, Sato H, Imada K, Funane S. The effect of grip size on the hitting force during a soft tennis forehand stroke. Sports Health. 2009;1(4):321–325.

2. https://www.masterbadminton.com/badminton-grip.html. How to choose a good badminton grip for your racket.

3. John Edwards. Getting Started- Clothing Equipment and footwear. Badminton: Technique, Tactics, Training. Chapter 2.

 

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