The more you become familiar with tennis, the more you will notice details you used to have no idea even mattered. And the more you understand tennis, the more you will realize how much good equipment matters.
When you’re just watching tennis on TV, one of the last things you’ll probably pay attention to are the overgrips placed on the players’ rackets. And when you start playing, you’re suddenly supposed to know which overgrip to buy, when, and how to replace them. We realize that not all of us are born knowing everything about overgrips, so today we’ll cover all the basics you should know.
In essence, how do tennis overgrips work? Overgrips are cloth-like tapes that are wrapped over the original grip of a tennis racket, working as an extra layer of comfort, stability, and sweat absorption for tennis players. Playing without overgrips can be uncomfortable, and you will need to replace them after about 10 – 15 hours of playing. You can buy them individually or in larger rolls, with each overgrip costing between $2 and $5.
If you’re just now starting to understand what an overgrip is, we highly recommend that you continue reading below. We’ll cover everything in more detail, and we’ll give you some great insights when it comes to what overgrip you should choose.
What Are Tennis Overgrips?
Overgrips are tape-like accessories that are used in racket sports in order to increase the comfort, stability, and sweat absorption of the player holding the racket. In tennis, these grips are wrapped over the racket’s original grip and need to be replaced once after a while. Tennis overgrips can usually be bought as individual units or in bulk (usually a roll of 15 or 30 units).
What Are Tennis Overgrips Made Of?
Overgrips are usually made out of specially designed materials, and most of the big brands have their own proprietary overgrip material. They usually feel cloth-like, but some of them are made of sticky materials while others are made of more absorbent products.
Different Types Of Overgrips
When you buy a new racket, it will usually come with a black or white built-in grip. You should look into adding overgrips on top of the original grip, in order to improve sweat absorption or to increase thickness and/or comfort.
You can find dozens of different overgrip options out there from all sorts of different brands, but essentially you can divide all of them into 3 different categories: dry, tacky, and all-around. Each one of them has different benefits, and you should choose the one that best fits your game. Below we will cover each one of the 3 categories.
On a side note, you should usually stick to white or light blue overgrips. The majority of professional and advanced players choose these colors, and unless you want to be seen as a beginner, you should stay away from different grip colors.
These overgrips are excellent for players who tend to sweat a lot or who normally play in humid weather. They are generally thinner and absorb moisture extremely well, giving you great control of your racket – even if you are drenched in sweat.
Unfortunately, I’ve gone through the experience of cracking a few rackets after they slipped out of my hand after a serve. Trust me, it’s a horrible feeling and you don’t want to go through that mistake. These dry grips really help to avoid that, so if you tend to sweat when you’re playing you might want to try these. The best dry grips I would recommend are from Tourna Grip, and you can get them for some nice prices on Tennis Warehouse.
The drawback of these grips is that, since they are thinner, they can get old fairly quickly and you might need to change them often. If that doesn’t sound good to you, you can try some Tacky or All-Around overgrips.
Tacky overgrips are on the other end of the spectrum, and they usually have a very “sticky” feel. They will give you a good grip on your racket at all times, and they are usually nicely cushioned and last longer than dry grips.
I’ve personally used tacky overgrips throughout most of my career, as I loved the feeling I got when using them. I’ve never struggled with sweat too much, so the tacky overgrips provided me with the perfect grip. The best brands I recommend for tacky overgrips are Tourna Grip and Wilson. I’ve used both in the past and they are equally good. I find the Tourna Grip one to be the tackiest of both, but the Wilson overgrips are slightly cheaper. They are both good and you can also get them cheap on Tennis Warehouse.
Finally, you also have the option of choosing all-around overgrips. They are a mix between both Dry and Tacky overgrips, as they start off with a tacky feel and turning into a drier grip after a few uses. They are a good option if you’re not particularly passionate about any of the two overgrips mentioned above.
The best option of all-around overgrips is Babolat’s Pro Tour, as they provide both the tacky feel and still are considered very absorbent.
When To Change The Overgrip
The more frequently you play tennis, the more often you will need to change your overgrip. After some time playing, the grip will start getting old and dry, and that means it’s time to change it. If you play once or twice a week, you can go up to a month without getting a new grip, but if you play every day you will end up having to change it pretty much every week. The better quality grips will last about 10 – 15 hours of playing time.
How To Install (Regrip) an Overgrip
Once the time comes to change your overgrip, you can either do it yourself or take it to a tennis shop and have someone change it for you. Most times, if you’re getting a racket restrung you can just ask the stringer to change your grip for you. However, it is incredibly easy to do so yourself and it’s something you should learn eventually if you want to call yourself a true tennis player. If you’re interested in doing it yourself, you can just follow the steps below.
Changing A Tennis Overgrip – Step-by-Step
1) As you can see, tennis rackets come with an original grip (usually black or white), but it is usually not very comfortable. So when you’re changing your overgrip, you’re going to wrap it over the original grip.
2) When you get a new overgrip, the first step is to find the small edge that has a sticky portion. In most cases, it will be covered with a small paper that you can just peel off. Only one of the sides will have those, so you’ll know which one it is. The side with the sticky portion will be the one in contact with the racket.
3) You should start by placing the sticky portion aligned with the bottom of the racket. If you’re right-handed, you will be holding the racket with the left hand and the grip with your right hand. If you’re left handed, you’ll do the opposite.
4) The beginning is a little tricky, so you should hold the start of the overgrip in place with your thumb while you wrap the overgrip with your right hand, making sure the bottom of the overgrip is aligned with the bottom of the racket.
5) The grip in the photo is older, so you can see the mark that shows where the second turn of the grip lays on top of the first. You should leave only a small piece, otherwise your new overgrip won’t go all the way up to where it’s supposed to be.
6) In order to have an easy time changing your grip, you need to hold it in the right way. What I usually do is I push the grip down with my thumb (to make sure it stays stretched at all times).
7) When you reach the top of the grip, you will need to use the small sticky tape that comes with the new overgrip. Just make sure you’re holding the newly placed overgrip in place with your left thumb, otherwise it will all fall apart.
8) Just wrap the sticky tape around the end of the overgrip, and it will stay in place when you play. Keep it pretty tight!
9) Voila! You have successfully changed an overgrip. If you did it correctly, it should look somewhat like the photo below. The overgrip in the photo is quite old though, so yours should look a lot fresher.