Learn The Difference Between a Tennis Racquet Grip and Overgrip

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Maybe this is easy for advanced players who are familiar with tennis. However, beginners and even some amateurs sometimes confuse an overgrip with a grip.

When I was a beginner a few years ago, I wanted to replace my worn-out grip with a new one. Instead of buying a replacement grip, I bought a pack of overgrips and I ended up having calluses all over my hands.

Yes, it was a rookie mistake.

In this article, we are going to distinguish a grip from an overgrip in tennis racquets and discuss why players use both of them.

A grip is a leather or synthetic tape that covers the handle and it comes with the racquet when you buy it.

An overgrip is a thin synthetic layer that covers the original or the replacement grip for protection, sweat absorption, comfort, and weight customization.

What Is the Purpose of the Grip?

When a racquet comes out of the factory, it has a wooden or synthetic handle with bevels on it. The factory grip is essential for the brand to be able to sell the racquet in stock form.

Handle without grip
Handle without grip

The grip or the replacement grip serves the following purposes:

1.     Soften the feel

The grip makes the handle rounder and softer when you pick up the racquet. Eventually, you cannot play with the original design.

2.     Offers friction

Friction or tackiness is essential to keep the racquet firmly in the player’s hand. The grip provides enough friction to keep control of the racquet, but not too much to be able to switch quickly to another grip.

My personal choice for many years is the Head Hydrosorb Pro grip.

3.     Absorb sweat

The grips are made from materials that absorb hand sweat so it doesn’t slip away from your hands.

4.     Customize weight

There are light and heavy grips like the ones made from leather. Some players like to have their racquet head-light so they tend to adopt heavier grips.

What Is the Purpose of the Overgrip?

Racquet with overgrip
Racquet with overgrip

I have seen two categories of tennis players, the ones who like to use overgrips and the ones who don’t. I personally like one overgrip, and other players or even pros use sometimes two or three.

The overgrip is meant to:

1.     Protect the original grip

By adding a thin synthetic layer, you only have to replace the overgrip and not the original grip.

While pros replace them every match, the average player might play two or three times before replacing the worn-out overgrip.

2.     Add weight

This is an important reason to use an overgrip.

Tennis players who like to customize their racquet might want to add an overgrip to the handle to have an additional 5 to 6 grams (0.17-0.21 oz) in static weight and also a little bit in balance.

Sometimes, it is necessary to add overgrips to the handle to counterbalance the lead tape used in the racquet head.

3.     Absorb more sweat

This is already an essential feature of the grip, but an overgrip helps absorb even more sweat from your hands, especially in humid or hot weather. Overgrips also tend to be stickier than stock or replacement grips.

Many pros like Sampras, Thiem, Brian brothers, only swear by the blue Tourna overgrip, as it almost never slips.

4.     Correct the Grip Size

When your hands fall between two grip sizes like 4 ¼ (L2) and 4 3/8 (L3), you can correct that by adding an overgrip to have a more comfortable and solid grip.

5.     Make the handle rounder

As the name suggests, some players like to have a rounder handle with the bevels barely apparent.

It is a choice for many, but the more you add overgrips the more the bevels disappear making it harder to hit your shots with a level of consistency.

Personally, I like to have only one overgrip as it doesn’t hide the shape too much so I can easily switch between my grips.

Should I Use an Overgrip?

Racquet with original grip
Racquet with original grip

As I’ve said earlier, it is a personal preference that depends on so many factors. Most tennis players use overgrips but you should ask yourself this:

  • Does the racquet’s original grip slip out of my hand occasionally?
  • Do I need to protect the original grip?
  • Do I need extra comfort?
  • Do I need extra weight on the handle of my racquet?

These questions should help you make a decision.

But if you ask me for advice as a long-time player, having one overgrip is good for the following reasons:

  • Protecting the grip
  • The cost of a replacement overgrip is at least 1/3 the price of a replacement grip as overgrips comes in a 3-pack, sometimes in a 20-pack.
  • Less slip and more comfort
  • More stability for the racquet
  • One overgrip maintains the feel of the bevels
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