August 18th, 2009 by Kyle
Let me start this post with an interesting background story I heard recently. Have you ever wondered who the moron is that came up with the super-small (SS) & extra-small (XS) grip sizes for racquetball racquets? I was told that when racquetball began, racquets were available with large and medium grips which were originally modeled after tennis grips. After a while, racquetball manufacturers ditched the large grip because it was too big and far less popular. The medium grip size stayed and a small grip size was added. Well as you can imagine, the medium grip size was soon too big for players and the Extra Small (XS) was added along with the small grip. Finally, the small grip was too big and less popular so the Super Small (SS) grip size was added. This is how we have come to the current SS and XS grip sizes today.
And when you finally figure out which grip size is best for you, you then realize that sizing between manufacturers differs. Some manufacturers have the SS grip as 3 5/8″ and others have it as 3 11/16″. Ektelon & ProKennex grips are rectangular while Gearbox, Head, Wilson & E-Force all have smaller, rounder grips. So what are you to make of all this nonsense? First off, let me start off by giving you a general rule of thumb to decide which grip size is best for you and the logic behind it. If you fall in the size small-large glove category, you generally will use a SS racquet grip size. If you wear a large-extra large glove, you should consider using the XS racquet grip size. If you’re wondering why I mention the large glove size twice, it’s because large glove users are kind of on the bubble and should use what feels most comfortable. I found a great article from Bell Racquet Sports that explains grip sizing perfectly:
Racquetball racquets are typically available in two grip sizes:
Size: Sometimes Called:
3-5/8 Super Small*
3-7/8 Extra Small or 3-15/16″
*For the 2010 season, Ektelon has added a Super Small Rounded (SSR) grip size. It
is still the smaller grip size, but with a more rounded feel in the hand.
When you hold a racquetball racquet, you want your fingertips to wrap around the grip and be touching your palm.
Remember: The SMALLEST grip size you can comfortably hold will facilitate the best racquetball wrist snap!
Wrist snap is absolutely necessary to achieve optimum power in your swing and will help you tremendously in your matches. Another tip to get the best wrist snap is to hold your pinky finger off the end of the handle. You’ll see baseball players do this when batting sometimes to give their wrists a little extra range as well. Doing this in combination with a small grip, will generate maximum power. Of course technique is obviously the main factor but these grip tips will definitely help your game.