Whenever I talk with a beginner tennis player, I see that they don’t know more than one racket grip type. In fact, beginners often think that the grip that comes with the racket is the only option. However, this isn’t the case because there are original grips, replacement grips, and overgrips.
Well, what’s the difference between these three grips?
Tennis grip is the grip that comes with a racket when you buy it. The replacement grip is used when the original grip is removed and placed in its place. An overgrip is placed over the grip to get more cushioning, sweat absorption, width, and traction.
That being said, the difference between these grips is quite clear when you know about them. Before you go and live your life happily because you know about tennis grips now, I encourage you to stick with me because there are many differences between these 3 grips that you should know about.
- Difference between grip, replacement grip & overgrip
- Should I use a tennis overgrip?
- Can I use an overgrip as a replacement grip?
- Do pro tennis players use overgrip?
- How often should I change my tennis overgrip?
- How do you replace a tennis racket overgrip?
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Difference between grip, replacement grip & overgrip
There are many differences between these grips, such as where you should use one and when you should use one, what they are made of, and the best ones out there. Without further due, let’s start the comparison with the original grip.
1. Original grip
A tennis racket’s original grip is the grip that comes with the racket. This grip is applied in the factory, and if you were to remove it, you would see the frame’s handle, which is often made out of graphite, carbon fiber, and wood. There are many more materials that a tennis racket can be made of.
Anyways, the original grips are often made out of synthetic materials or rubber. When you buy the racket, the grip is there, and you can’t really have any say on what kind you would like to have. Thus, replacement grips but more on that soon.
The original grips on the racket often have a moderate amount of cushioning, and the back side is obviously sticky because it needs to stay on the frame.
2. Replacement grip
If you want to improve your racket’s original grip, you need a replacement grip. Various replacement grips are built for different purposes such as comfort, absorbing sweat, feel, handle thickness, and grip.
Replacement grips can be made out of synthetic materials, rubber, or leather.
Synthetic materials and rubber are easier for the hand because they are softer, offer more cushioning, and absorb shock better. However, they aren’t as good at giving the feel of the game, so to speak.
When it comes to leather, these grips are used almost exclusively under an overgrip because when these two are combined, the leather gives a more firm grip with a better feel on the handle’s edges. Also, leather allows more vibrations on your hand, and some players say that they want a better feel of the force and awareness. Leather isn’t the most comfortable grip, and they aren’t vegan either, is that is something you are aware of.
The final difference is that synthetic replacement grips are cheaper than leather replacement grips.
So, in conclusion, I have two recommendations for two different preferences:
Synthetic replacement grip for comfort, sweat absorption, and those who don’t want to use an overgrip.
Leather replacement grip for athletes that prefer firm grip with a close feel to the game.
The third grip type is overgrip. This differs greatly from the original and replacement grip because it isn’t attached to the naked frame. In fact, an overgrip is an additional grip that goes over the tennis grip that is already on the racket.
Overgrips offer many benefits, such as additional cushioning, increased handle thickness, better sweat absorption, greater tackiness, reduced blisters, and protection to the grip underneath.
When replacement grips can be made out of 3 materials, overgrips are generally made only from synthetic materials or rubber. This is because the leather grip isn’t so comfortable to hold directly. However, if you place a leather grip beneath the overgrip, it offers great benefits, as I already said above.
Overgrips are often sold in packs because they wear out much quicker than replacement grips. After all, overgrips are in direct contact with your hand. My personal favorite overgrip is the Wilson Pro Overgrip which offers a great deal of comfort and tackiness. As a bonus, it comes in a 12-pack which lasts dozens of hours of play!
To recap what you have learned so far, the differences between an original grip, a replacement grip, and an overgrip are:
- Original grip: Grip that comes with the racket when you first purchase it.
- Replacement grip: Grip that you can replace the original grip with for better benefits.
- Overgrip: Grip that is applied on the grip for increased perks such as cushioning, grip, tackiness, sweat absorption, thickness, and reduced blisters.
Should I use a tennis overgrip?
You should always use a tennis overgrip because it will preserve the grip that is attached to the racket. In addition, an overgrip will improve your holding comfort with cushioning, absorb sweat better, increase handle thickness if you need it, and your overall feel will be improved.
Can I use an overgrip as a replacement grip?
Technically, you can’t use an overgrip as a replacement grip because overgrips don’t have a sticky back that would stick to the frame handle. Thus, it would be impossible to use an overgrip as a replacement grip.
Do pro tennis players use overgrip?
Nearly all pro tennis players use an overgrip because the grip would wear out too fast, they can perfect the handle thickness, and the grip will be tackier. In addition, pro players change overgrips very often because it gives them a fresh feel to the game as if they would play with a brand new racket.
Pros don’t just use tennis overgrips, but they always use fresh ones. This is why they change the overgrip after every single game so they can play with a tacky and fresh overgrip that has a great feel to it.
How often should I change my tennis overgrip?
You should change your tennis overgrip as soon as you notice a drastic decrease in performance which is always sooner than you think. It’s impossible to give a time frame because things like your preference, amount of play, humidity, sweating, and swing power contribute too much to the time frame.
However, if you want a time frame, it is often somewhere between 6 – 18 hours of play. It can be quite tricky to know when to change your tennis overgrip, so here are some common do tells-when you should change it:
- When the grip looks worn out
- When you feel that the tackiness isn’t there
- If the color has changed noticeably
- When you don’t feel confident in your hold
- When you are annoyed by it
Personally, I like to change overgrips immediately when I feel that it has dropped a level down in quality. Especially when overgrips are cheap, and I don’t play super often, a pack of overgrips lasts me a long time nonetheless.
How do you replace a tennis racket overgrip?
Changing an overgrip can be overwhelming, especially when it’s your first time. However, after a couple of replacements, you will feel confident like a pro because it really isn’t hard. Below you can find instructions and a video on how to change one.
- Remove the old overgrip: Start by removing your old overgrip, if you have any, by taking the tape off from the racket’s neck side where it is most likely located. (If you have a new racket, ignore this step)
- Inspect your handle: Before getting ahead ourselves, inspect that the but cap is intact, the handle is in good condition, and that the grip beneath is looking good as well.
- Remove the cover from your new overgrip: Unwind your new overgrip and save the tape that is likely included for later use. Then, remove the plastic backing from the sticky side of the overgrip.
- Install the new overgrip: Take hold of the thinner end of the overgrip and stick it carefully to the bottom of the racket. Start winding it from left to right while maintaining a firm grip and pulling the overgrip so it is tightly installed. Proceed until you have reached the desired length.
- Finish the overgrip installation: Locate the tape that came with the overgrip or use your own adhesive tape. Fold the end of the overgrip into a triangle, so it is easy to tape, and finish the job by taping the overgrip starting from the triangle.
For visual learning, check out the video below!
There you have it; it wasn’t so complicated after all? Most people categorize original grips and replacement grips as the same; however, I wanted to clarify it further because the original grip can be replaced with a replacement grip. Remember, overgrips only go over the grip, and you shouldn’t use a leather grip alone.
I hope that this article was of use to you and you found some information that you can actually implement in your real life and benefit from. I always like to talk about tennis and racket sports, so stay tuned for more content every week!
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.