All tennis racquets have a handle. On that handle is a grip. Whether or not you’ve got the standard factory grip or an overgrip or a replacement grip – your racquet has a grip on it.
If you’re new to the sport of tennis and haven’t taken your racquet on a significant test drive, the factory grip might be perfect for you – for now.
At some point you’re likely going to experience some hand discomfort and be looking for a way to have the racquet feel good again in your hand. You’ll have options for moving forward and one of those options will be to use an overgrip.
What’s a tennis racket overgrip? They’re a layer of grip material that’s applied on top of your already existing grip. They come in all sorts of materials and thicknesses and colors.
Some will help to keep your hands feeling drier. Others might bulk up the racquet handle base grip size a bit.
Let’s look at the details of what overgrips are and the benefits of using tennis overgrips.
What is the Difference Between a Replacement Grip and an Overgrip?
As just mentioned, an overgrip goes on top of a grip. It’s in addition to any grip that might be on your tennis racket.
Removing and using a replacement grip takes your racket down to the studs, per se.
When a racket handle grip is removed, you’ll find an almost plastic-like material for the base of the racket. It can be rough, but the racket bevels are very apparent.
A grip is used to smooth over that surface and make the racket playable. A replacement grip is just like it sounds – a replacement for the grip already present.
Benefits of Using Tennis Racket Overgrips
There are a number of reasons why overgrips are both popular and practical for use by tennis players.
Cushioning Compared to Original Factory Grip
Just like with strings, when a tennis racquet is purchased, it doesn’t often come will the highest quality bells and whistles. It may come with nylon string and you’re more accustomed to playing with synthetic gut.
The same occurs with grips. You may want one with ridges on it and the factory grip is smooth. Your preference may be smooth with some stickiness to it, but this has ridges and a dry feel.
By using an overgrip, you can add touches to the feel of the racquet based on your preferences.
It’s the racket handle, but the name of it is spot on. One must grip the racket so it doesn’t go flying when you rip that backhand down the line.
Using an overgrip will provide a better feeling of control of the racket due to it having increased grip capacity.
Reduce Blisters and Hand Discomfort
If a tennis racquet isn’t solidly in your hand, that means it’s moving around.
Friction can cause blisters which are painful and take a while to heal.
By using an overgrip, you have more control over the racquet without as much movement and can prevent painful blisters.
Many of us who play tennis sweat a lot. The sweat may or may not originate in the hands, but invariably your hands end up damp (to say the least).
Some overgrips are designed to assist with absorbing sweat just like wick-away t-shirts do.
If finding a sweat absorbent grip is what you need, many options exist.
Whether or not sweaty hands is a factor, some like the feeling of tackiness in their hands. There isn’t much need to worry about flinging a racquet across the net if it feels a little sticky in your hand.
Some overgrips are even designed to get more of a tacky feel the more you sweat.
If you prefer the feeling of a tacky grip, there are overgrips designed specifically for that purpose.
Affordable Way to Fine Tune Your Tennis Racket Grip Size
Just like a vibration dampener, overgrips are not very expensive. Some of them are $5 for a 3-pack.
You can generally feel pretty good about trying out different options without feeling like you’re wasting a ton of money.
Because it is extra material, you have the ability to build up the grip size without having to get a new racket.
Some start playing tennis and choose a racket grip size that might be a little too small for their hand. But because they’re new, they’d rather have a smaller grip than a larger one so they feel like the racket is more secure.
After a time and the comfort level increases, they want something a little more substantial in their hand. An overgrip to the rescue.
It’s easy and economical to use an overgrip to increase the size of the racket handle to fit your hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
When to Use an Overgrip vs a Replacement Grip
Overgrips are disposable. Replacement grips are as well, but replacement grips are designed to be used for a much longer time period than an overgrip.
Overgrips help to prolong the life of a grip/replacement grip.
Some professional tennis players will replace an overgrip multiple times during a match, but won’t touch the actual grip during the match.
If you don’t use overgrips, use a replacement grip when your racquet handle feels too smooth or not how you prefer it.
Adding an overgrip might help, but most likely you’ll need to change out the grip with a replacement grip.
If you have a grip that you generally like, but just want to tweak the feel some, try out an overgrip.
When to Replace Tennis Overgrips
If the overgrip is starting to fray or no longer offers you the reason you’re using it – extra cushion, tacky feel, dry feel, etc. – replace it.
Depending on how often you play, that might be daily, weekly or quarterly. Only you know how you want your hand to feel on your tennis racket.
How Many Overgrips Should You Use?
Ideally, you’ll use a single overgrip if the one you buy meets the criteria you have. But it isn’t unheard of to use multiple overgrips at one time.
Yet again this is another personal preference situation. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about what you can and can’t do with your own tennis racquet.
Can You Use an Overgrip As a Replacement Grip?
Physically you can use an overgrip as a replacement grip, but it likely won’t be as comfortable to your hand.
Overgrips are made to be used in conjunction with a replacement grip, so using it solo may not yield you the results you desire.
But heck – try it out and see if you like it. If you don’t, you’ll likely have wasted an overgrip, but since they’re reasonably priced, it won’t be a tremendous hardship.
Have the Benefits of Using Tennis Overgrips Made You a Convert?
Hopefully this post has given some good information about the many benefits of using tennis overgrips.
If you’re now in the market to consider buying one, check out our guide on the best tennis overgrips out there.
It’s a list of numerous tennis overgrip options categorized by cushioning, tacky feel and sweat absorption. Check it out!