Are Tennis and Badminton Grips the Same? Simple Answer
Athletes today rely on sophisticated gear to stay competitive in sports such as tennis and badminton. Because they can significantly impact a player’s performance, racket grips have become integral to modern racket design. But, given that tennis and badminton are both racket sports, are their grips interchangeable?
Tennis and badminton grips are not the same. Differences between tennis and badminton grips are influenced by significant distinctions in the types of shots played, the weights and shapes of rackets, balls, and shuttlecocks, and the size and shape of courts in the two sports.
In this article, I will explore the differences between tennis and badminton grips in greater detail. I will also delve into the factors that impact grip type and explain whether you can use tennis grips in badminton and vice versa.
Why Tennis and Badminton Grips Are Different
That tennis and badminton grips are the same is a common misconception. After all, both are racket sports. There is also no shortage of articles on the internet claiming that you can use tennis grips in other racket sports such as badminton.
However, the grips for the two sports have significant differences.
The reason for major distinctions in grip design between the two sports is that the mechanics, rules, and features of tennis and badminton are not similar. They require not only different rackets but also significantly different grips.
Most significantly, a tennis racket’s handle is considerably thicker and heavier than a badminton racket’s handle. This is because, while both tennis and badminton involve holding a racket, rackets are used very differently in the two sports.
Interchanging grips between a tennis and badminton racket can result in a loss of power and undermine control and stability in shot-making. To learn why this is so, read on.
Factors That Affect Grip Design in Tennis and Badminton
Four main factors affect differences in grip design between tennis and badminton. These are:
- Differences in shots played
- The shape of the racket
- Weight of the racket
- Height of the net
I will explain each of these in greater detail.
Differences in Shots Played
To fully appreciate the differences between grips used in tennis and badminton, it is vital first to understand how strokes played in the two sports differ.
There are a total of eight types of shots in tennis. These are:
- Slice forehand
- One-sided forehand
- Slice forehand
- Two-handed backhand
In contrast, there are five types of shots in badminton. These are:
The most notable distinctions that pop up in comparing the two sets of shots are:
- The use of hands. Tennis makes significant use of two hands in making shots. Often these are some of the most powerful strokes in a tennis match. In comparison, badminton players only make one-handed shots.
- Horizontal vs. vertical strokes. Shots in tennis need to travel further in distance and, unless a player is right up against the net, rarely travel upwards or downwards. By contrast, badminton players frequently execute upward and downward shots.
The differences in shots played mean that rackets are exposed to unique stresses depending on the sport being played. This is why both rackets and grips are designed with specific needs in mind.
Of course, other factors – such as differences in the type and speed of projectiles, the bounce (and lack of it) of projectiles, and the length of rallies – will also impact the demands made on both rackets and grips.
When you factor in the additional differences in terms of power and precision needs between the two sports, you will begin to appreciate the differences in grip types.
The shape of the Racket
Both tennis and badminton rackets have beveled octagonal-shaped handles. However, this is as far as the similarities go.
The tennis racket is typically hoop-shaped or elliptical, a feature of the game’s evolution towards more power and baseline play.
In contrast, badminton rackets are either oval-headed or isometric in shape. The badminton racket also features a notably smaller head and a longer neck than the tennis racket.
Weight of the Racket
The tennis racket is considerably larger and heavier than the badminton racket. This is mainly because the tennis ball is significantly heavier than a badminton shuttlecock.
The tennis racket is also made from more durable materials to meet the more rigorous demands of the game compared to badminton.
Height of the Net
Badminton courts are generally smaller when compared to tennis courts. This is another reason that the rackets in the sport are significantly lighter than tennis rackets.
Equally, net height in badminton is usually high relative to tennis. This is the reason the sport makes much more use of vertical shots than tennis. As described in the “Differences in Shots Played” section above, this, in turn, will affect your choice of grip for badminton.
Different Types of Grips in Tennis and Badminton
As discussed above, grips in tennis and badminton differ significantly. This is because of the equipment used, the various shots in each sport, and the different demands in terms of power, control, and accuracy, among other factors.
The main types of grips in both sports are:
- Continental grip
- Eastern grip
- Semi-western grip
- Western grip
- Hawaiian grip
- Forehand grip
- Backhand grip
- Bevel grip
- Panhandle grip
Now that I’ve answered how the grips in two sports differ let us consider whether you can use any one grip in another sport.
Can You Use Tennis Grips in Badminton and Vice Versa?
You can use tennis grips in badminton and vice versa. However, because of the differences in their design, you risk losing power, stability, and control over your shots.
Switching grips between tennis and badminton rackets is one of those things that you technically can do but shouldn’t.
Simply put, the mechanics and features of the two sports are just too different to ignore.
You will also need to make many adjustments when installing a grip on a racket not designed for it. Remember, the tennis racket is heavier, bigger, and has a thicker handle when compared to the badminton racket.
Ultimately, you risk compromising your stability and control when playing. So, your grip choice can significantly impact how well you play and even decide the winner of a game.
Worse, changing grips this way can also compromise your safety or your opponent’s safety and increase the chances of injury.
As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to stick to the preferred grips for each sport.
While tennis and badminton are both racket sports, their rackets and grips are significantly influenced by the very different demands that the two sports make of their gear. Ultimately, badminton and tennis use entirely different types of equipment.
Swapping tennis and badminton grips can significantly reduce stability, power, and precision for a player. Worse, it can also lead to injury. For a range of reasons, it is best avoided.