The grip on a tennis racket is an important feature that allows you to grasp and control the racket. When the base grip (the grip that originally comes on the handle) of your racket wears out, you will experience a loss of control and comfort. Replacing a base grip is difficult and expensive, so consider applying an overgrip!
Overgrips are applied over the original base grip, and they provide the feel of a brand new racket handle. When worn out, they can be easily removed and replaced by a new overgrip. Read these instructions to learn how to apply an overgrip to your racket!
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Step 1: Remove Old Overgrip From Your Racket
Note: If you don't already have an overgrip on your racket, skip this step!
Your racket handle may already have an overgrip over the base grip. If you want the diameter of your racket grip to remain the same, you should remove the old overgrip before applying the new overgrip.
- Locate the piece of electrical tape that is securing your old overgrip to the racket. The tape is found at the top of the grip near the V-shaped segment of the racket.
- Remove this piece of tape, disconnecting the old overgrip from the top of the handle.
- Unravel the old overgrip from the racket and discard.
Step 2: Know How to Compare Overgrips
Overgrip attributes can be broken into three categories: comfort, tackiness, and moisture absorption.
- Comfort - How comfortable does the overgrip feel during game-play? Does your hand feel relaxed and properly cushioned?
- Tackiness - Does the overgrip feel secure and easy to handle? Can you grasp the racket with minimal effort? Will the racket slip out of your hand during game-play?
- Moisture Absorption - When your hands get sweaty, does the overgrip get slick and lose tackiness? Can the overgrip evaporate moisture quickly?
Consider all three of these traits when looking for an overgrip to purchase.
Step 3: Choose the Best Overgrip for You
When shopping for overgrips and comparing attributes, you should consider the frequency and skill level of your tennis lifestyle. Hundreds of different overgrips exist, so here's a basic guide on how to pick the overgrip that fits your game best:
For Casual Players (1-3 times per week, friendly competition)
I would recommend an overgrip with high comfort and high tackiness. These characteristics will give your racket exceptional feel and control. The Wilson Pro Comfort Overgrip is a highly esteemed overgrip that maximizes comfort and tackiness.
For Competitive Players (several times per week, tournament competition)
For competitive tennis players, an overgrip with moisture absorption capabilities is almost necessary. During intense matches and hot conditions, an overgrip with poor moisture absorption will cause your hands to slip, regardless of tackiness or comfort. For outstanding dryness during competitive tennis, I would recommend Tournagrip, an overgrip used by many professional players.
Middle of the Spectrum
For a reliable mix of all three traits, I would recommend the Senston Perforated Super Absorbent Overgrip.
While the recommendations in this step are popular choices, you should experiment with many overgrips and find your favorite mix of comfort, tackiness, and moisture absorption.
Step 4: Set Up Before Overgripping
- Find a seated location to perform the overgripping. A sitting position will provide stability and balance while you are learning how to overgrip (when you become experienced, a seated position is unnecessary). Remove a single overgrip from the packaging.
- One side of the overgrip will have a thin plastic cover to protect the sticky surface. Remove this plastic and discard.
- Save the small piece of electrical tape that came with the overgrip. This tape will be used to "finish off" your overgrip at the end of the process.
Note: Remember which side of the overgrip you removed the plastic from. The sticky side of the overgrip will be the side that makes contact with your racket handle.
Step 5: Get the Overgrip Started
- Locate the end of the overgrip that tapers off to a skinnier width. The tapered end will have an adhesive sticker. Remove this sticker.
- Pick up your racket, handle facing upwards, and attach the sticky tip of the overgrip to a long bevel of the racket handle (see definition).
Long Bevel: A racket handle is not completely cylindrical. It has eight flat edges, called bevels. The long bevels are the two opposing edges that are widest. Locate one of these edges to begin your overgrip.
- The adhesive tip should be angled slightly upward (about 30 degrees, see picture). The end of a racket handle bulges outward, so beginning the overgrip at a slight angle will ensure that this bulge is wrapped smoothly without bubbling.
Step 6: Wrapping Your Overgrip
- Hold the racket handle securely in your right hand while holding the overgrip in your left.
- With the racket handle still facing upwards, make the first wrap around the base of the handle.
- Continue to wrap the overgrip down the racket handle, moving from right to left at a downward angle. Consecutive rotations should overlap at about 1/8 inch.
Tip: If the overlap is too thick, the overgrip will run out of length before covering the entire handle.
- While wrapping, rotate the handle with your right hand while directing the overgrip with your left. Maintain constant tension in the overgrip throughout the process to ensure a smooth fit.
Note: For left-handed players, execute the same process but wrap the overgrip from left to right. This change of direction provides a more comfortable overgrip contour for left-handers.
Step 7: Finish the Wrapping
- Continue to wrap the overgrip until you reach the end of the handle. Most overgrip lengths will match up well with the end of the handle when you finish wrapping.
- If your overgrip doesn't reach the end, your overlap thickness was probably too thick. Unravel your overgrip and repeat the previous step with a thinner overlap.
- If you have excess length on your overgrip, you can remove this excess for a clean finish. Continue to wrap the excess overgrip, passing up the end of the handle on your racket. Using a pen, mark a disc around the overgrip at the end of the handle.
- Use a scissors to cut away the overgrip beyond your marked line. Your overgrip will now line up perfectly with the end of the racket handle.
Step 8: Secure Your Finished Overgrip
Remember the piece of electrical tape that was packaged with your overgrip?
- Remove the adhesive backing and use the tape to secure the end of your overgrip to the racket. The electrical tape will ensure that the overgrip does not unravel or shift.
- Half of the tape should be in contact with the overgrip, and the other half should be in contact with the racket. Once the tape is secured, cover the connection point with the rubber band on your racket (thick rubber bands come on all modern racket handles). The rubber will protect the tape from unwanted friction.
Your overgrip is now complete! Overgrips are changed quite often for competitive players (once every few sessions), while overgrips for casual players can last several weeks. When comfort and tackiness decrease significantly, it's time to change your overgrip again. Go dominate the courts!