Grommets form a rarely-spoken but integral part of a racket across multiple sports like tennis, badminton and squash. In this piece below, we look at all things grommets and its importance and why is it also used for a racket.
If you are a beginner in one of your favorite racket sports, tennis, squash or badminton – or any other which uses a racket and not a paddle – you might wonder what is the functionality of a grommet.
In fact there’s a possibility you might not have even heard of a grommet – well, I didn’t for a long time after I held my first tennis racket!
For anyone who plays squash, tennis, badminton, or any other racket sport, you know how important it is to have the right equipment.
And while beginners often focus on getting the best racket (the best rackets for badminton beginners here and squash beginners here) in business obviously, some of the smaller things, the one percenters, could also go a long distance in helping us with our game in various ways.
A grommet is such a piece of equipment which can provide great protection to your rackets, in turn increasing their lives. This, as a beginner, becomes vital, especially in a expensive sport like tennis where a beginner could be deterred from following one’s dreams because of the costs.
In the passages that follow, we will roll out everything we can about grommets. Let’s start with defining what are grommets.
What are Grommets in Rackets?
Grommets are small rings or loops of metal, plastic, or rubber that are inserted into the holes in the frame of a racket to provide reinforcement and prevent the frame from tearing by ensuring the strings don’t rub against the frame’s graphite.
Importance of Grommets to a Racket
Why grommets are important is because they not only provide protection to the racket frame but also to the strings itself. They help to protect the strings from friction and wear, and also provide a smooth surface for the strings to slide against when the racket is strung.
Many a tennis player make the mistake of replacing the racket string when it splits without checking if the problem is with the grommet itself. A worn out grommet could be the reason for the racket string breaking or snapping.
This issue could continue even after you have replaced the string because the grommets have changed in shape as a result of aging.
It is imperative to either check these grommets yourself before restringing your racket or get them to be checked by an expert. A professional stringer should be able to tell a good grommet from a worn-out one and advise you to replace it.
While replacing grommets will add to your costs (check the price of a tennis racket grommet on Amazon here) it will also ensure the longevity of both, your strings and the racket frame.
In short, a small time and money investment into grommets could go a long way in increasing the life-span of the aforementioned racket components.
What Happens If A Racket’s Grommets Breaks?
The grommets of a racket can break if it’s dropped or mishandled. If this happens, the frame can become warped and the strings may become loose.
This could cause a lot more strain on the racket string, eventually forcing an early snapping and replacement.
In essence, grommets provide a safety net for racket strings without which they could push against the frame of the racket, and in turn cause the string to snap.
This could also make the racket to lose its shape and performance. And when this happens, it may be time to replace your racket altogether if you’ve failed to replace the grommets.
What Causes Grommet Breakage?
There are multiple reasons for grommet breakage, but whatever the case might be, it is important to take notice and replace them because of the effect it might have on both, the racket and the string.
Here’s a list of things that might lead to issues with racket grommets:
With time and consistent racket usage, grommets often start to come off on their own
Storage Bag Zippers
Players store their rackets in bags which have zippers. These zippers could rub against the outer portion of the racket and cause grommet issues.
Picking Shuttlecock off the Ground
As a badminton player, one could get into the habit of picking shuttles off the ground using one’s racket. The outer part of the racket, which includes the grommets could repeatedly scratch against the ground and damage them.
Tennis players don’t do this as often but that’s a possibility there too.
How Much Time Does it Take to Replace Racket Grommets?
A professional stringer could take about half hour to replace an entire racket’s grommets. This could go up to an hour for older rackets and depends on the age and brand of the racket.
How to Add Grommets to Your Racket?
The straightforward answer to this is to get a professional stringer close to your home to help you with your grommet-ing and stringing needs. Of course, if you want to learn how to do this, here’s a basic overview for it.
- First, identify the areas of your racket that need grommets. These are typically the places where the strings rub against the frame.
- Next, purchase grommets of the appropriate size for your racket. Be sure to get both round and oval-shaped grommets, as they serve different purposes.
- Once you have your grommets, use a sharp knife or razor blade to make a small hole in the racket frame at each grommet location.
- Carefully insert a round grommet into each hole, making sure that the ridge around the edge is facing outward. For oval-shaped grommets, orient them so that the long axis is parallel to the string bed.
- Use pliers to gently press each grommet into place until it is flush with the surface of the racket frame.
You can also watch this video on how to replace racket grommets:
Best Grommets Brands
There are a few different brands that make quality grommets for racket sports. Some of the best ones include Babolat, Wilson, and Head, but it is important you talk to your local racket stringer which grommet works best for your racket.
Babolat is a French company that has been making racket equipment since 1875, while Wilson is American and been around since 1913. Head kick-started their production in Austria in 1950 and all three of them are well-known for their tennis and badminton rackets and racket parts including grommets.
Buy your Babolat grommets from Amazon here, while grommets from Wilson and Head can also be purchased with Amazon here and here respectively.
Final Words on Grommets on a Racket
While they aren’t often as talked about as a racket or even racket strings itself, grommets are quite vital to the health of both, the racket frame and the strings.
What we have done in the aforementioned piece is to give you a fairer picture of why are grommets important, what can go wrong with them and what must be done if the grommets on your racket are damaged.