If you are interested in playing any sport seriously, having the right equipment is crucial as it can complement your skills and playing style, thus feeling more comfort in a heated game than if you were to use ill-fitted equipment. For badminton, racket grips are quite an important part of your equipment; to buy the right type of grip may be a hard decision especially for a novice player, so this article will act as your perfect guide to buying the perfect badminton racket grip made just for you.
There is no ideal racket grip made to suit all, rather each person has to take into consideration a few things to identify the grip suited best for them. Factors such as style of play, the size of your palm, the level of sweat you need to combat with your racket grip, all are crucial to consider when choosing a grip for you.
Styles of Play Dictates Badminton Grip
There are two types of players in badminton, i.e. the Power/Attacking Style and Speed, Control & Deception Style.
Players that go on the offensive side and play to force their opponents to go for weaker shots in return are known as players with Power/Attacking Style.
Often these players use attacks like Drives, Net Pushes, Attacking Overhead Shots, and Jump Smashes.
These players would most commonly hold their rackets with a strong and sturdy grip as they need to utilize the most strength and thus need a Thicker Grip.
The players whose strategy is to keep a style that focuses on accuracy and technique, such as “stroke players” or “rally players” who often coerce their opponents into long rallies are known as Control Style players.
These players often use advanced skills and strategies to gain control over their opponents and influence the opponent’s next moves.
Furthermore, they use deception techniques to persuade their opponents and have great control over their speed. Thus, this type of player would require flexibility to change between forehand and backhand grips would need more control rather than power and hence the most suitable grip option would be a Thinner Grip.
Types of Grips
There are 3 types of grips, each of which allow you a certain level of thickness or thinness and other factors you should take into consideration.
Full Grip/ Replacement Grip/Rubber Grip
The “Full Grip” is also interchangeably known as the “Replacement Grip” because it offers as a replacement upon the original grip of the racket that is already attached to the racket.
These grips contain a material known as “Polyurethane” or simply call it “PU” which provides the most comfort as the material acts as a rubbery cushion between your fingers and the grip itself.
Furthermore the grip also allows for moderate shock and sweat absorption and tackiness, perfectly suited for the previously mentioned Power/Attacking Style players. These are more durable than Towel grips and don’t allow for the bad smell of sweat for a longer time.
This grip is the thickest out of the 3 types and thus allows for better sweat absorption than Full Grips. Towel grips are usually made out of cotton and thus make the handle lighter than PU Grip.
Remember to buy a “Grip Powder” to help increase better quality of grip and this will lead to more power and better attacks. Thus, Towel Grips are also best suited for Power/Attacking Style players.
Unfortunately towel grips have a lesser durability than Full Grips and require constant changing after every few matches. Also, because these grips are better sweat absorbers, they have a higher tendency to smell bad due to the bacteria build up within the grip.
As the name suggests the Overgrip is traditionally used to “go over” the original manufactured grip or “Full Grip” of the racket to allow for a thicker racket handle without being too bulky.
This is a thinner grip than the other 2 types and thus is much cheaper. The purpose of this grip is to allow sufficient tackiness and stickiness without being too much to bear.
Because Overgrips can be wrapped around the racket multiple times at an affordable cost, Overgrips would be best suited for players who prefer more customization for their racket grip thickness rather than using a standardized thickness made by the factory.
Unfortunately, as these are very thin on their own and are tacky, they do not allow much sweat or shock absorption, thus it would be better used by Control Style players or players who generally do not require a lot of sweat absorption.
Beware that Overgrips wear and tear quickly as well as they are quite thin, hence the player should know how to tie grips themselves as they will need to do so quite often.
Your racket’s grip sizes can affect your control and power; usually with a thinner grip you have more control whereas a thicker one will provide more power and strength.
If you have been playing badminton for a while and generally prefer to switch between forehand and backhand grips, a smaller grip would suit your style. However, this is subjective to each player and the player should experiment with grip sizes to see what fits their technique the most.
Grip sizes are represented by the letter “G” with numbers.
For a famous brand like “Yonex” the general notion is that, “the higher the number, the smaller the handle size”.
Typically, the most used racket size is G4 but you should choose according to your size of palm and how comfortable you feel. Racket grip sizes have yet to be standardized but the most well-known brand which is “Yonex” puts the sizes as follows:
- G1 = 4 inches
- G2 = 3 3/4 inches
- G3 = 3 1/2 inches
- G4 = 3 1/4 inches
- G5 = 3 inches
Best Grip Size for You
A simple method to determine which grip size is best suited for you is:
- Open your dominant hand and keep your fingers closed together, fully extended. Your hand should be palm side up so you can view the bottom lateral crease in your palm.
- Take a measuring tape and measure from that bottom lateral crease up to your ring finger’s tip. The measurement should be done in inches. Your measurement should be around 4 inches.
- That measurement of your hand equates to your ideal grip size. For example if you measured your crease up to your ring finger to be 3.5 inches, grip size G3 would be best suited for you (if your manufacturer is Yonex)
Grip weights will also affect your game-play and comfort level with your racket.
Generally, players feel that the heavier the grip is, the less power they have and it affects the maneuverability adversely as well. It is so because if the handle is heavier, the racket head will become the lighter end and thus the force you hit the birdie with will become significantly less.
But that of course is also subjective to each player. Try to find the perfect balance for you.
The grip weights are denoted by the letter “U” by popular brands like Yonex. The weights are usually as follows:
- 5U = 75-79.9 grams
- 4U = 80-84.9 grams
- 3U = 85-89.9 grams
- 2U = 90-94.9 grams
- 1U = 95-99.9 grams
As already mentioned, the heavier the grip is, the lesser power you will attain and thus your shots will become less competent. Thus, heavier grips are advised for players with stronger wrist strength so that they can cancel the inverse relationship between the grip weight and power.
Attacking players generally would use heavier grips while Control players would prefer lighter ones. To put the best use of each weight specifically
- 5U = Defensive Doubles = Allows more speed
- 4U = Defensive Singles/ Doubles = Allows more speed
- 3U = Singles/ Attacking Doubles = Allows more stability and control
- 2U = Attacking Singles = Allows more stability and control
- 1U = Training = Allows more stability and control
How Frequently to Replace Grips?
If you are looking to understand how often you should replace a badminton racket grip, then the simple answer to that is it depends on each person.
If you sweat quite a lot and use Rubber Grips, you might find the grip becoming smellier and take more time to dry out, in which case you should replace your grips every month. If you do not, the sweat might seep through the grip and into the wood of the original racket grip thus damaging the handle permanently.
For those with dryer hands, you might be using tacky grips, which do not have a long life unfortunately and might require replacing every 2-3 weeks (provided you play every day).
A good tip is to use bright colored grip so that when your grip has lost its color and shine, it would indicate a need to replace the grip immediately. Some wearing and tearing might happen on the slight edges of the grip as well. A general notion is to change the grip every three to six weeks depending on the state of the grip.
Difference between Badminton Racket Grips and Tennis Racket Grips?
Often players wonder what the difference is between a badminton racket grip and a tennis racket grip, as they both serve the same purpose, the handles don’t seem too far apart from one another.
However, since the tennis rackets are designed to hit a firm and solid tennis ball rather than a light-weight birdie, the tennis racket grips are much thicker and heavier than any badminton racket grips and thus would be ineffective for power plays, even control and stability would be very weak.
However, some see it helpful to use a tennis racket grip because they can handle it well and the use suits their style of play. If you use a tennis racket grip over a badminton one, all you would require is to perhaps cut out some part of the grip because the length of the tennis grip is more than that of a badminton racket.