My Cart

Racket Customization Series: Weight in the Handle

Sometimes even your most trusted racket could use some tweaking. A bit of weight, a slight modification, a small adjustment to make the racket perform and feel just right. The world of racket customization can be complex, so we had Racket Specialist Luca Berg break it down in a few bite-sized chucks.
Racket Customization Series: Weight in the Handle Featured Image

Recently, I wrote an article in which I mentioned platform rackets: rackets ripe for customization. It got me thinking, why not go more in depth on this subject that, within the world of tennis, is both interesting and important.

The truth is, racket customization is so complex, it can’t be discussed in one, short article. Instead, we’ll be doing a series on racket customization.

Why do we add weight?
Where do we add that weight?
What different materials can be used to change the way your racket feels?

Today, I'll tackle adding weight to the handle of your racket.

Why add weight to the handle?

The handle of the racket is the least consequential area to customize; that means you can add the most weight with the lowest total impact. The farther up the frame you go, the more effect that weight will have on the racket’s inertia (swing-weight), and feel on contact. (Think twirling a bowling ball around at the end of a ten foot rope vs. Holding that ball in your hands and doing the same thing.)

Because of this, the handle is the best place to add the most weight.

Whereas a small dab of lead tape at the top of the hoop could drastically change your racket’s performance, it takes at least a dozen grams to feel any significant difference when weight is placed in the handle.

So customization in the handle is mainly done to increase static weight. But why?

Static weight is the most important factor in determining a racket’s stability; how the racket reacts to a collision with the ball. A heavier racket will feel more solid on contact, fluttering less and also striking the incoming ball with more force. There is also a direct correlation between skill, and racket weight.

Generally. the better you get, the heavier you want your racket to be.

As you and your opponent improve, you begin to hit the ball harder and faster. The best response to that accelerating incoming ball is a faster stroke, and a heavier racket. We all remember grade school physics. F = ma. Force equals mass times acceleration. Your racket is the mass, your stroke is the acceleration.

There is, of course, a limit to the amount of weight you want to add.

Too heavy a racket will slow your stroke down; there’s a reason we’re not all swinging 200 pound frames. It’s about finding that sweet-spot between the speed of your own stroke, and what weight complements that stroke best. 

Adding weight will also make a racket more comfortable on impact. The shock on impact is absorbed by both body and frame, the more the frame weighs, the more it takes away from the impact on the body, putting more of its own mass back into the ball. Again, like with the increase in stability, there is a point at which the racket becomes uncomfortably heavy. If you are having to strain your muscles and alter your technique to swing your racket, that will only cause further damage.

The last reason you might want to add weight to your racket’s handle is to make the frame more head-light.

It’s important to note that this will not actually make the racket swing lighter. Instead, it moves the balance point farther from the head, making the racket more “whippy”, which perfectly complements the modern windshield wiper groundstroke. Finding that proper balance is essential, and trying various different weight adjustments can be the key to success in developing your optimal swing.


How do we add weight to the handle?

We’ve talked about why you might want to add weight to the racket’s handle, but how do you actually go about doing it?

Lead Tape

The easiest way to add weight to the handle is with lead tape. Not only is it cheap, it is also very easy to remove and re-adjust.

When adding lead to the handle, it is best to use 1/2 inch strips. Because you are generally attempting to add significant amounts of weight, thicker strips will simply get the job done more efficiently. You can either put the lead directly on the handle under the replacement grip, or you can ball up the pieces, and stick them inside the buttcap.

Lead is extremely easy to work with, and, despite some conflicting opinions, certainly not as dangerous as it might sound. Any racket technician worth their salt will know how to play around with lead, and it’s a skill that you can develop at home with trial and error. Lead is ideal in that it does not actually change any characteristics other than weight. There are other methods, however, that not only add weight, but also change the way the racket actually feels, sometimes for the better.

Leather Grip

My personal favourite method of adding weight to the handle is with a leather grip. A leather grip is a replacement grip and is generally 10 grams heavier than stock or synthetic grips.

Beyond adding weight, a leather grip feels firmer, and lasts significantly longer than any sort of synthetic. The firmness may take some getting used to, but over time, many players grow to love the direct and consistent feel leather provides. The bevels are far more pronounced, and the racket’s feedback on contact is more direct than with spongier synthetic grips.

But most importantly, a leather grip looks insanely cool and gives you huge brownie points in the tennis community. Ok that last part might be a bit of a stretch but you get what I mean…


The last way of adding weight to the handle of your racket is by adding silicone to the inside of the handle. This method is much more permanent, and more difficult than adding strips of lead.

My suggestion: experiment with lead through trial and error, then once you are happy with a certain spec, get a professional to add that weight in silicone.

Silicone will also alter the feel characteristics of your frame. Once hardened, silicone is rubbery and acts as a sort of dampening material. Many players like silicone in that it dampens vibrations without altering the positive “feel” feedback we all crave from our rackets. It seems to help negate the “bad” vibrations, while maintaining all of the good ones, leading to an overall more solid response from the racket. Again, silicone is permanent, and not everyone likes the feel, so before sticking it up your frame, it’s really best to play with a racket that already has it.

Final Thoughts

Customization is a beautiful thing and there is infinitely more to discuss than we already have. It can also distract you from what is most important, your game.

Customization and tinkering shouldn’t be seen as a way to “make you better” or “negate your flaws," but rather a technique to fine tune an instrument that is an extension of your arm.

Rackets & Runners offer a full line of racket services, including restringing and customization. Come in and chat or contact us


Related Articles