A Guide on Choosing the Right Grip

One of the least considered yet most important parts of playing a racquet sport is having the right grip on your equipment. Basically, there are no rules about materials but it is extremely important for your equipment to fit your hand (or hands) and it is comfortable to hold for as long as you are playing. Factors such as sweat absorption, tackiness, thickness, softness and shape all influence how the hand feels as it touches a grip.

What is Grip or Replacement Grip

Typically the grip is the part between the handle and the hand. A replacement grip is simply a grip that is placed on the handle instead of whatever came from the factory. It will have some sort of adhesive that attaches it to the handle and keeps it stable while you are playing. It is usually thicker, softer and absorbs more sweat than an overgrip. See our guide for more differences between replacement and overgrips.

What is an Overgrip?

Placed over the top of a grip, it is often used to build up the diameter of the handle. It is generally thinner than a regular grip. Overgrips will generally include some highly adhesive tape to wrap around the top to insure it will not unravel from the handle/ grip.

What is Grip Tape?

Thinner than an overgrip, it is usually applied to the grip for a specific purpose such as greater tackiness. In theory, tape could be applied over an overgrip which is applied over a grip. Typically however, grip tape is applied directly to a grip. Highly abrasive tape, almost a gauze-like material, is sometimes used by players whose hands sweat profusely. This adds significantly to the diameter of the handle.

What kind of shapes do they come in?

Different manufacturers use many different shapes. Most grip tape is flat. Overgrips may be flat, have holes, tread patterns or other perforations. Grips themselves could be any of these and even have ridges or other protruding surfaces.

What are grips made of?

Two categories of materials: leather vs. synthetic. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Roger Federer, for instance, uses a leather grip covered by a synthetic overgrip.

 

 

Leather

Synthetic

Firmness

More

Less

Feel

More

Less

Vibrations felt

More

Less

Arm Stress

More (vibration caused)

Less

Overall Comfort

Less

More

Tackiness

Less

More

Weight

Slightly more

Slightly less

7 Things To Know When Choosing Your Grip

1. Know what you need most from a grip: comfort, sweat absorption, or tackiness (stickiness.)

2. Understand the thickness of the product. Thicker grips produce greater comfort and absorption but may compromise power. Thinner grips may be tackier but hurt control

3. Make sure the product will fit your racquet. Some grips may only work for certain racquet lengths, brands or models.

4. Make sure the grip results in the proper size that best fits your hand. Our guide to Measuring Grip Size will keep you on track. Poor fitting grips can result in injury to the arm and shoulder.

5. If replacing a grip for equipment other than tennis, all the same principles apply except you must be sure it fits your specific equipment.

6. There are no rules! While you can’t really reduce your handle’s diameter, you can increase the overall thickness. See our guide to Increasing Your Tennis Racquet Grip Size. Try out a few grips until you find what works best for you. They’re cheap!

7. Get a cool color and make a bold statement! The color does not impact grip performance.

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