If you are a tennis player or somebody who is interested in playing Tennis, it is important to understand the benefits of various tennis grips types and choose accordingly. There are several types of handle shapes available for tennis racquets like Finnish Type, Western Type, Penhold Type etc. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages which will be discussed here.
What is Tennis Grips?
The tennis grip refers to the dimensions of a tennis racquet’s handle. The circumference, weight and surface design all determine the shape of a certain handle. The diameter, length and width are some other factors that define a tennis racquet’s handle.
Different Types of Tennis Grips
The Finnish Type is characterized by a thin grip that tapers to a narrow butt and is traditionally made of wood. Players who prefer this type of grip usually hold the racquet with an eastern forehand grip, and the shape helps players to move their hands towards the butt cap for a more secure feel.
The Finnish Type is well known for its ability to absorb shock and vibration that travels up from the handle into the arm and shoulder. The Finnish Type is beneficial for those who like to hold their racquet with a strong grip as it does not have a bulky handle.
With the advent of technology, manufacturers started producing Finnish Type handles from other materials such as steel, aluminum or fiberglass instead of wood.
In recent years it has been common to see Finnish type handles made of rubber, which has an even better vibration-dampening quality than wood.
This is one of the most common types of tennis grips. The Western type is characterized by a larger grip and thicker butt compared to the Finnish Type. Players who prefer this type of handle usually hold the racquet in a semi-western grip, with the fingers resting on the little finger side of the handle.
The Western Type handle is beneficial for players who like to hold the racquet with a strong grip as it does not have a bulky handle. However, if you get intimidated by such large handles and feel that they may cause problems later on in tennis life, there are also plenty of options available to suit your requirements.
Penhold Type handles, which originally were only made of wood, are now available in many variations; this style is characterized by a flared handle and exaggerated “heel” and “toe”. The shape allows the player to hold the grip like a pen (hence its name) with either an eastern or semi-western forehand blade orientation.
The Penhold Type handle is beneficial for players who like to hold the racquet with a strong grip as it does not have a bulky handle. However, if you get intimidated by such large handles and feel that they may cause problems later on in tennis life, there are also plenty of options available to suit your requirements. The same holds true for the Western Type handle as well.
The French or Anatomical Type is a relatively modern invention, and it has only been around for about 30 years. A bell curve-like design runs from the butt of the racquet down to the throat, with a bulge in between which creates enough space to rest your fingers when you hold it. It is actually very comfortable to hold and the bulge is in exactly the right place for your index finger.
The Anatomical Handle can be held like a Semi or full Western grip depending on the player’s comfort level. This handle design gives you great control over where the racquet head is at any point during your swing, allowing for accurate drop shots and overheads.
The benefits of the Anatomical handle design include its easy to hold shape which makes it easier to control shot direction or add spin according to your needs. The player can switch grip orientation easily if necessary since the bulge is in exactly the right place for your index finger. For players who like to hit with a flat, full swing the Anatomical handle is ideal.
Not all tennis racquets conform to these common handle shapes. The racquet’s design should be based on personal preference. Some players prefer a smaller grip while others may have large hands and will benefit from the larger grips of some models.
The following are some examples of non-standard handle designs.
The Head Liquidmetal 8 uses a teardrop-shaped handle, which provides more surface area for the player to hold onto than traditional handles. The 4D 300 uses an asymmetrical design, with the throat being much wider on the non-strung side of the frame. While this racquet does not conform to a standard Finnish, Western or Anatomical type handle, this unique design is actually beneficial for players who like to hold the racquet with a strong grip.
The Yonex EZONE DR 98 features a flared Handle that starts off small and then flares out just before the throat. This racquet also has an elongated ‘S’ curve design, with the handle being much longer than average. The racquet’s unique design gives it a lively feel and makes it easier to accelerate through contact.
The Babolat Pure Drive has an inverted cone-shaped Handle that allows for optimal comfort and hand access to all parts of the frame. This type of handle is beneficial for players who prefer a larger surface area to hold onto and like to hit with a full Western grip.
The Wilson Pro Staff 90 has a flared Handle that starts off thin on the throat side, becomes thicker between the butt cap and head, then tapers back down before getting thin again just before it reaches the throat. This shape is beneficial for players who are looking for a handle that can be held in different ways.
The Head Graphene XT Instinct PWR features a Handle with five individual segments which are closest to the throat where it tapers down to four smaller segments before becoming thicker again just outside of the butt cap. This unique design allows for optimal feel, power and control over the ball.
The Head PK Edge features six individual segments which are closest to the throat where it tapers down to five smaller segments before becoming thicker again just outside of the butt cap. This handle is similar in design to the Graphene XT Instinct PWR but made from a different material.
Tennis racquet grip is a very important aspect of choosing a tennis racket since it affects how easy or comfortable it is to hold and swing. A racquet with an Anatomical handle is best for players who have larger hands, while the smaller Semi-Western handles are better for those with small hands. In some models, the preference will also be based on whether you are looking for a lighter or heavier racquet. As with all factors of choosing the tennis racket that is best for you, the main thing to keep in mind is your personal experience and preference.