Having a freshly gripped tennis racket is a very satisfying thing.
Feeling the tack and softness of a fresh grip can give you more confidence when you play, as you feel the racket is nice and secure in your hands.
But, many players may not actually know how to re-grip their racket correctly, whether it be a replacement grip or an overgrip.
There are also a wide variety of grips to choose from, meaning that picking the ideal one for you may not be an easy task.
So, we will explore the types of tennis grips, how to choose the perfect grip for you, and of course how to properly re-grip a tennis racket.
The Types of Tennis Grips
Tennis grips generally fall under two main categories. These are replacement grips and overgrips.
A replacement grip is the foundation grip on the racket, that all new rackets come with.
These can come in a range of different materials and give the base ‘feel’ of the racket in your hand.
Overgrips on the other hand are commonly used to reduce the wear and tear of the replacement grip over time.
These come in different colours, textures and material types and add a different element of customization to your racket.
Generally speaking, most players will use an overgrip on top of their replacement grip.
This means you can get the best of both worlds, with the characteristics and underlying feel of a replacement grip, complimented by the overgrip.
Using an overgrip adds a bit more thickness to your racket handle, so make sure you try out different grip sizes and overgrip thicknesses to get the perfect fit for you.
Replacement grips nowadays are generally quite neutral in their feel, thickness and construction as the major manufacturers know that most players will use an overgrip on top of these anyway.
That being said, there are some variations in tackiness, thickness and texture that are worth taking into consideration when it comes to replacement grips.
What you have to remember is, the replacement grip on your racket is your main barrier between your hand and the hard racket handle.
So, a spongier, thicker grip with more padding will give you more cushioning between the racket’s handle and your hand.
This is great if you are looking for maximum comfort when you play, as it will likely absorb more of the vibrations from the racket, meaning they aren’t transferred to your hand or arm as easily.
These more cushioning grips tend to be made from ‘synthetic’ materials that feel more spongy in the hand.
If you are using just the replacement grip and not an overgrip on your racket, then you may want to consider the texture of the replacement grip, as this can impact the feel.
If you sweat a lot through your hands when you play, you may prefer a perforated replacement grip, as these absorb the sweat and stay dry as the racket moves through the air.
However, if you do not sweat as much but are looking for more comfort from your replacement grip, then you may want to consider a grip with a gel lining or extra padding.
This will add some extra thickness to your grip, so make sure you can still grip the racket comfortably.
On the other hand, if you are searching for more feel, meaning you want to be as connected to the racket and ball as possible and don’t mind feeling the vibrations from the racket, then a replacement grip with less padding would be more suited to your needs.
Most manufacturers will offer a ‘pro’ synthetic grip or leather grip option.
These are thinner grips that will allow you to feel the individual bevels in the racket’s handle a lot more distinctly than a more padded replacement grip.
This is ideal if you are looking for the ultimate feel and do not have any injuries such as tennis elbow.
Leather grips provide by far the most pure feel on the ball, but are generally heavier than synthetic grips and can be slippery in the hand.
So the vast majority of players that use leather replacement grips will also use an overgrip on top.
A lot of professional tennis players will use a leather replacement grip, topped with an overgrip of their choice, as this provides enough comfort to make the racket playable, whilst providing the most connected feel possible.
Overgrips also come in a variety of different types, so the right one for you will depend on whether you are looking for tack, feel, comfort or sweat resistance.
The idea behind an overgrip is that you can get more of a tailored feel for your racket, whilst stopping the replacement grip from becoming too worn down too quickly.
Also, overgrips are generally a lot cheaper to replace than replacement grips, so they are a good addition to your arsenal.
In a similar way to replacement grips, you can get perforated, tacky, thin feel and extra comfort overgrips.
Overgrips will always be thinner and lighter than replacement grips, and will provide the primary feel of your grip.
This is what your hand will be in contact with whilst you’re playing, so it is important to pick the right grip for you, as well as make sure it is fitted properly.
How to Properly Re-Grip a Tennis Racket
The process for properly re-gripping a tennis racket is similar for both replacement grips and over grips, although any major differences between the two will be explained.
Prepare Your Grip
Start by taking off any plastic covering or wrapper from either your replacement grip or your over grip.
Both of these grips will usually come with a small tab covering the sticky starting point of the grip, usually at the thinner end of the grip.
If you are re-gripping a replacement grip, you will want to remove the old replacement grip first, making sure the bevels of your racket handle are clean and free from any residue.
This ensures the new grip will be fitted to an even surface.
If you are replacing an overgrip, you can remove the existing overgrip from the current replacement grip, making sure that any remaining sticky material is removed from the base of the replacement grip.
On both of these grip types, make sure to also prepare your finishing tape (that almost always comes with the grip itself).
Remove the backing plastic from this so you can access it easily when holding the final part of the grip in place when you finish regripping.
Starting the Re-Grip
Start by placing the sticky, thinner end of the grip on the butt cap of the racket, hold it in place with your thumb whilst wrapping the grip tightly around the end of the butt cap.
You should cover the cap until you are back where you started, overlapping the initial part of the grip.
When replacing both over grips and replacement grips, you should ensure the grip covers the end of the butt cap on your racket, so you avoid any blisters from the bevels or any sharper edges.
Wrapping the Grip
Once you have started off your grip, you will need to wrap the grip carefully to ensure a nice even re-grip.
If you are regripping a replacement grip, there will be a sticky back to the grip, so it can stick securely to the bevels of the racket handle.
There will usually be a slight indentation that you can use as a guide for replacement grips, so you can start wrapping in light with this.
Your aim is to pull the grip tightly as you wrap it around the handle, as the tension will keep the grip from developing any creases or slippage.
You will usually be covering around a centimeter or two of the grip with each wrap on your replacement grip.
Keep wrapping with tension until you reach the end of the handle near the racket throat.
If you are wrapping an overgrip, the process is relatively similar, although you will not need to wrap with quite as much tension as a replacement grip.
Since the overgrip is much thinner than the replacement grip, you could stretch or even break the overgrip if you aren’t careful.
The aim with the overgrip is to wrap it tight enough to avoid it slipping or creasing, but not too tight as to damage the grip.
If the overgrip is relatively soft, you could add a bit more tension for a thinner, more dry feel (by stretching the synthetic fibres slightly).
You should try to keep the overgrip in line with the overlaps of your replacement grips, so give the most natural feel possible.
Finishing the Re-Grip
To finish your grip, both overgrips and replacement grips should be cut off at an angle to ensure they wrap around the end of the handle neatly.
You can then apply your finishing tape, whilst still holding your grip in place to avoid it from unravelling.
And there you have it, a properly regripped tennis racket!
Learning how to properly re-grip a tennis racket is a useful skill that will help you get the best feel from your playing equipment.
Make sure you try out a few different grip types, be it overgrips or replacement grips, if you are unsure of what feel is best for you.
Overall, you should be careful and deliberate when regripping your tennis racket to get the best feeling from your racket!