Your pickleball paddle grip size helps ensure you're comfortable and mobile while playing. Paddle grips that are too big will lead to reduced mobility, while paddles that are too small can cause increased grip pressure, leading to injury. To measure the grip size for your pickleball paddle—and find the perfect paddle for you—read on.
Here’s How to Measure the Grip Size for Your Pickleball Paddle
There are a number of different ways to determine the correct grip size for your pickleball paddle. Below we have laid out a step-by-step guide for four of the most common ways to find the right grip size for you:
The Ruler Test
To complete the ruler test, all you need is (you guessed it) a ruler! This test should give you quite accurate results, as it relies on numbers rather than estimates.
Place your dominant hand flat on a table with the palm facing up. Lay a ruler against your palm, with the bottom of the ruler (the “zero” measurement) aligned with the bottom lateral crease.
Measure the length from this crease to the tip of your ring finger. This should give you a measurement somewhere between 4 and 5 inches, which will correlate to the correct US pickleball grip size.
The Index Finger Test
The index finger test is slightly less numerical and relies more on feel. It also requires access to a number of different pickleball paddles with larger grips and smaller grips, so the best place to do it is in a sports shop.
- Take a pickleball paddle and hold it in an eastern grip. If you have correctly taken the eastern grip, there should be a small gap between your ring finger and your palm.
- Take the index finger of your non-dominant hand (the hand not holding the racquet) and slide it into that gap.
- If the grip is the correct size, your index finger should fit comfortably into the gap.
For this method, it is best to try a number of different paddle handles to find the grip that fits your hand size the best.
The Natural Grip Test
The natural grip test is a variation of the feel method above. It requires the pickleball player to have a large selection of paddles to find the perfect grip size.
Simply pick up a selection of paddles with different grip sizes and fit them into your hand. Which paddle feels the best? Which feels the most comfortable? That paddle is the one for you!
To ensure the grip is roughly the right size, you want there to be a gap of up to an inch between the tips of your fingers and your palm while holding the paddle. Any bigger and the grip is too big, meaning you need a smaller size. If there is no gap (your fingertips are touching your palm), you need a larger grip size.
This method is best undertaken by more experienced pickleball players who have more understanding of how a grip should feel.
The height test is by far the least accurate of the four methods we have outlined because it relies on the assumption that taller people have a bigger hand size and vice versa.
If possible, we would always recommend using one of the three methods above. However, there are times when this isn’t possible – if you’re ordering online and don’t have a ruler, for instance.
The height test assigns you a grip size related to your height in the following way:
- Shorter than 5’2” = 4 inches
- 5’3” to 5’8” = 4.125 to 4.25 inches
- Taller than 5’8” = 4.5 inches
Tips When Selecting Your Pickleball Paddle Grip Size
Even with the above methods, selecting your grip size can be slightly overwhelming, especially for beginners. Here are some general tips to help you in your quest to find the best pickleball paddle for you:
- When trying out different grip sizes, try a number of different grips (i.e the continental grip, the eastern grip, ect), especially if you tend to switch grip styles between forehands and backhands.
- When testing grips, don’t hold the paddle too tightly, as this might encourage you to select a grip smaller than the one you actually need.
- As a general rule, there should be a one-inch gap between the tips of your fingers and your palm while holding the paddle.
Why Does Grip Size Matter?
Grip size might sound like a tiny part of the equation that makes up your pickleball equipment. Surely there are more important things when choosing a pickleball paddle: Graphite or fiberglass paddle face? Nomex or polymer honeycomb paddle core? Should I have a lightweight paddle or a midweight one?
However, grip size is crucial for your comfort and ability while playing pickleball.
- Grips that are the right size offer much better control than those that are too big – this is due to reduced wrist action.
- However, oversized grips can provide more stability, especially for volleys and defensive shots.
- Paddles with a smaller grip circumference can allow more mobility for players with a wristy play style; however, a grip that is too small can lead to holding the paddle with too much tension. This can reduce your playing ability and also cause injury problems such as pickleball elbow.
How to Increase Your Paddle’s Grip Size
If you already own a pickleball paddle that you love but have realized that the grip is too small, don’t fear! You can increase your existing grip size using overgrip.
Overgrip simply consists of wrapping another layer of tape around the handle to increase the grip circumference.
This can be done at home by purchasing grip wrap. Or, many tennis or pickleball shops will do this for you for a small fee.
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