Imagine the world without overgrips. All those racquets slipping and flying all over the court. Tennis players wearing helmets and protective gear in case the racquet slips and hits them. Total chaos! Fortunately, we don’t have to live in that world. Overgrips are available in all shapes and sizes. In fact, there is so many of them that sometimes it’s hard to choose the one to go with. Tennis coaches usually advise their players to go out and try out as many overgrips as possible, in the quest for finding the one. The one that feels just right. The one that enhances the player’s game.
Let’s check out some factors that you should consider when searching for that perfect overgrip to go with your game. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the one that has a perfect blend of all the features mentioned below.
This is usually the number one priority for all racquet sports players. Overgrip needs to provides us with, well - a firm grip and traction. Added friction helps us keep that racquet steady in our hands. The most common term used to describe an overgrip that provides us with a nice and grippy surface is “tacky”. Tacky grip sticks to our hand and it makes it easier to hold the racquet while hitting different shots. Tennis technique incorporates a delicate blend of hand relaxation and how firmly we grip the racquet handle when hitting the ball. If we would grip the handle too hard, then our hand would become stiff and we wouldn’t be able to hit those elegant shots. This is why we need a good overgrip that feels tacky and which can provide us with a good grip, while holding the racquet in a relaxed manner. When choosing an overgrip, look for how tacky it is and how long does it stay tacky. Some overgrips just become extra slippery after few hours of play.
Overgrips differ in terms of how well they absorb moisture. If you’re a player that sweats a lot then this is a property of overgrips that you should pay extra attention to. Nothing is more frustrating than a racquet slipping and sliding all over the place while trying to win a tough match. If you’re living in a country with humid climate, then that’s an extra reason to look into overgrips that have enhanced moisture absorption properties. Those overgrips will soak up the water nicely and stay dry, even during those long sets you play. One thing to consider here is that water can really destroy an overgrip quickly, so make sure that you’re changing the overgrips regularly.
Some overgrips are textured while others are completely flat. It’s all up to you to find your preference. Textured overgrips usually provide extra tackiness that enhances the feeling you have when holding the racquet. Make sure that the texture of the overgrip feels good.
Overgrip enhances comfort when playing. Some overgrips wear and tear faster than others. Worn out overgrip is not comfortable. Using a comfortable overgrip allows you to stay on the courts and play longer without creating blisters on your hand. This is why you need to try out as many overgrips out there as possible, as you need to find the one that feels really comfortable and lasts reasonably long enough. As a reference, you should change overgrips at least once a week. Comfort overgrip provides is also important to prevent tennis elbow injury. Comfortable grip reduces the amount of vibration that is transmitted through your hand to the elbow. If this is something you’re suffering from, you should definitely put comfort as your number one priority when choosing an overgrip. Even if that means you’ll need to change them more often or compensate on some of other properties such as texture or moisture absorption.
Overgrips come in different thickness. From ultra thin ones to really thick. The thinner the grip the more feeling and feedback from shots you’ll have. Thin grip transmits all the vibrations from strings blasting the ball. Thin grip also doesn’t change the overall racquet handle size much. On the other hand, thick grip usually makes the racquet feel a bit muted and it feels more comfortable. Again, if you’re suffering from certain tennis injuries then choosing a thicker grip might be a good solution. Downside with using a thick grip is that it is harder to feel the racquet handle bevels. If you’re playing with a racquet that already has a handle that feels too big for your hand, then adding a thick overgrip is not a good idea as it can make the racquet handle even bigger. This will reduce the playability and may even cause potential injuries. Good news is that you can increase the handle size if you need to by wrapping a thick overgrip (or two!). This is a really cheap trick to do when you can’t get the racquet with just the right grip size.
Last but not least, the design. Overgrips are really fun to use as they come in all sorts of designs and colors. Wrapping a new overgrip feels like you’ve bought a new racquet, especially if you’re changing the design often. You can use overgrips to personalize your racquet. Match up the colors with your outfit or racquet strings to leave stylistic impression on the court. Feeling stylish will also boost your confidence. You can also use overgrips in different colors and designs to differentiate racquets in your tennis bag. Overgrip can also help you be more unique on the courts and send out a certain message.
Consider the above factors and write down the features that are the most important to you and your game. You’ll need to priorities some features over others and then go out and get a bunch of overgrips that seem fitting and try them out on the courts. Check out the specifications when making a purchase to make sure that they offer the features you’re looking for. The good news is that overgrips are affordable and meant to be changed regularly, so if a certain one doesn’t seem to fit your game - you’ll be able to try out a new one next week if not sooner. Once you find just the right overgrip, you’ll simply know it as soon as you start playing with it. It will feel good, it will play good and it will look good.