Well, most racquets actually do have grips on them, when we buy them but some players decide to change it right away or immediately put on an over-grip! Why?
OK, let’s start this grip topic with the question: “What size grip is the best one for me?” The answer is that the correct grip-size is quite individual. Some players prefer a “thicker” feel and some a “thinner” feel. As a rule of thumb, if you grip a racquet, you should be able to place a finger between the ring-/middle-finger and the thumb-pad. If the gap is too large, the grip is too big. If the fingers touch the thumb-pad, the grip is too small. Having said that, the trend over the last years, has gone from larger grips towards having smaller grips, as players largely have moved on from being predominantly flat-hitters to being top-spin hitters.
Grip-sizes are normally to be found from size 0 (the thinnest) to size 4 and even above. Most adult club players use grip-sizes 1-3.
If the grip really is too thin, you might have the problem that the racquet turns in your hand, when you hit harder balls, i.e. losing control of some of your shots. If you then chose to tighten your grip to avoid the “turn”, you may strain your muscles, which could lead to injuries. If the grip is too thick, you will struggle to hold onto it and again be straining your hand/forearm muscles unnecessarily, which could also inflict injuries, such as wrist pain, tennis elbow etc. So, getting a correct and comfortable grip-size, which fit your game style and ability, is quite important.
Back to the “new grips” and “over-grips”, why do we change? This is basically down to what is called FEEL. How does it FEEL in your hand? Do you prefer a thin leather grip, where you can feel the edges/bevels of the grip? Are you more the “spongy” player, who likes a soft grip? Do you feel the need to have a more “sticky” grip, so it is easier to hold onto the racquet? Do you sweat a lot from your hand and need assistance to “dry out”? etc. etc. All about FEEL and comfort ability. Today we have solutions for all “problems”.
GOOD ADVICE: Check with the tech guys, if you have the right grip-size. Sometimes you do not need to change the racquet, if you feel the game is not going the right way. A “new grip” and maybe a new set of strings can create an almost brand new racquet for you and possibly rid you from wrist- and elbow pains….!
Most racquets, like Wilson and Prince have grips, which are square/rectangular octants, i.e. with 8 sides (called bevels) changing between a bigger and a smaller one. Some racquets, like Head, have an almost round grip. The bevels help you in knowing, how to hold the racquet for different strokes. The grip’s bevels can be viewed as a clock, with 12 o’clock as the top bevel, second bevel being 1 o´clock etc. You probably are aware of this already but if you want to talk “grips/bevels” being sure how to hold the grip for the various shots you use, ask your coach.