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Pickleball Education | Aug 07, 2023

By Jaclyn Brandt

How do I find my pickleball paddle grip size?

The grip on pickleball paddles affects how you play

 

Finding the correct size of pickleball paddle grip for your hand is essential to ensure that you’re performing at your best on the pickleball court

Think of it like a shoe. In order to be comfortable and stable on your feet, the shoe must fit just right. The same goes for your paddle grip. 

Pickleball paddles have to follow strict parameters when it comes to size. The combined length and width of a paddle can measure a maximum of 24 inches, so most paddles are around 8 inches wide and 16 inches long. Any length that’s added to the handle of the paddle takes away from the paddle face size, so handles are usually around 4.5 inches long, with a maximum of 6 inches for those who like to play some shots two-handed. 

How to find the right grip for my pickleball paddle handle

When it comes to picking the appropriate grip for each type of pickleball paddle handle, there are two factors to consider: thickness (or the circumference of the grip) and texture

The thickness of the paddle grip depends on your hand size, as your fingers need to comfortably wrap around the circumference. The texture is based on your preference — whether you prefer a tacky or smooth texture on your grip.

You can always ADD an over-grip (or two) to your paddle to increase the circumference:

Does the tennis index finger grip test work for pickleball?

There are many misconceptions around pickleball grip sizing, including the “index finger test,” which states that when you’re holding your grip tightly with your playing hand, you should be able to fit your index finger from your non-dominate hand snugly in the gap between the fingertips on your dominate hand and palm.

While this idea may work for tennis players, it is not the same for pickleball grip sizing. Instead, read on to find out how to properly determine which pickleball grip size is right for you.

Does pickleball grip size make a difference?

Choosing the right grip size can significantly improve your performance on the pickleball court while helping you to avoid injury. 

A pickleball paddle that fits snugly in your hand gives you the best possible control over the direction and weight of your shots. Good grip also allows you to generate more power and achieve finer techniques such as spin on the ball

Playing pickleball with an improperly sized grip causes unnecessary strain on the hand and arms over time. If the grip is too small, you tend to hold the paddle more tightly than necessary, but if the grip is too big, you have to strain more to get the control you need over your shots. 

All of that causes muscle fatigue and can eventually lead to "pickleball elbow" or other pickleball injuries that are best avoided.  

You can add grip tap to change your pickleball paddle grip

What to look for in a pickleball grip

When choosing a pickleball grip, there are a few important factors to take into account. 

Pickleball grip size circumferences vary by a small margin, typically within an inch. Although it’s a small variation, the circumference makes a huge difference when holding the paddle.

Pickleball paddle grips start at 4 inches and go up to 5 inches in circumference. They can be different materials and textures and they vary slightly in weight. The best grips are approved by the governing body of pickleball, the USA Pickleball Association.  

Pickleball grips are designed to absorb sweat, add tackiness, and provide cushioning. Therefore, the material used is usually synthetic leather with an absorbent padding. The texture of the grip is often a pattern designed to stop your hand from slipping off the grip. 

How do I choose a pickleball grip? 

There are three methods you can try to help find the pickleball grip that gives you the best comfort while allowing correct hand placement on the paddle.

You can use the ruler test to choose your pickleball grip

1. Using the pickleball ruler test

To begin this method, you need to measure your hand. Open your dominant hand face up, with your fingers extended. As you examine your hand, you’ll notice two lateral creases and a crease that runs in an arc toward your wrist.

Measure the distance from the bottom lateral crease (the middle of the three), up to the tip of your ring finger. This measurement will be somewhere between 4 and 5 inches, and should be the perfect circumference for your pickleball grip.

2. Using your height to determine your pickleball grip

You can use your height to determine grip size, but it’s less accurate than the ruler test. 

Height

Pickleball Grip Size

Below 5’ 3” (160cm)

4” circumference (10.2cm)

5’ 3” to 5’ 8” (160-173cm)

4.25” circumference (10.8cm)

Above 5’ 8” (173cm)

4.5” circumference (11.4cm)

3. Testing different pickleball grips — what to look for

Of course, the only way to truly know if the grip size is right for you is to actually use the paddle in a game. It’s important to try out paddles in-store or use grip tape to customize your grip.

Grips can change size over time as they wear away or swell up with moisture, so it’s crucial to keep checking and adjusting your grip to ensure optimal performance. Selkirk provides several different types of grips for different preferences!

Wrist mobility is key to fine-tuning your pickleball shots. The best grip size is large enough to play comfortably, allowing for the full range of motion.

Getting a grip on your game

Having a correct grip on your paddle genuinely affects your pickleball game. Losing control of your paddle is disastrous, and even minute discomfort or strain in your paddle hand will lead to reduced performance. 

The best way to make sure a grip size is right for you is through actual court time. Try out different grip sizes until you find the perfect match. 

Check out our pickleball grip guide here, to make sure you’ve got a firm grip on your game.
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