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Overgrips fit over existing handle grips (and thus increase the grip size a bit) and absorb the sweat better. Some overgrips are "tacky" or sticky. Some are even essentially gauze with tape and some sticky powder. They should be replaced about every five times of playing or sooner. Otherwise, they get a little sticky. Some overgrips feel rubbery, others cloth like, others a bit powdery.
If you want to feel the position of the racquet in your hand (for example, you rely on feeling the bevels when you switch from a backhand tennis grip to a forehand tennis grip), a smooth surface is your best bet, followed by perforated, embossed, and ribbed. But if your biggest worry is racquet slippage, reverse the order. Here are the benefits of each.
Smooth: The no-frills version - no bumps, ridges, or treads. This high-feel, low-cushioning option is preferred by most pros. Perforated: This one's for heavy sweaters. It has hundreds of pinholes in the outer layer that channel sweat to the more absorbent layers underneath.
Embossed: It's close to perforated, but instead of pinholes, the embossed grip has a tire-tread pattern. It won't absorb as much sweat, but it will move it away from your hand (in much the same way that radial tires keep a car from slipping on wet, twisting roads).
Ribbed: This is the most secure of the tennis handle grips because it has corkscrew-shaped ridges in which to place your fingers. It's especially good for players suffering from arthritis and for those who have difficulty maintaining a firm grip.
The easiest way to determine grip size is to grab a tennis racket handle grip and place your index finger from your opposite hand in the space between your fingers and your palm. If your index finger fits comfortably, the grip is just right. If your finger will not fit, the tennis grip is too small.
To determine your proper tennis grip size, measure the distance from your "lifeline" on the palm of your hand, to the tip of your middle finger. Grips range from 4" to 4 5/8 and larger. Be sure your grip size fits your hand before purchasing. The proper grip size will mitigate injuries, and maximize your playing potential.
Most tennis racquet grips used to be made of leather and would become hard to grip when the pores became clogged with dirt from your sweat. A solution to this problem is the use of an overgrip. Overgrips are "temporary" handle grips, and it is not recommended that you attempt to actually replace a racquet's existing grip.
To put on replacement tennis grips or an overgrip, start by wrapping the tapered end around the butt of the racquet, then work your way up the handle. Don't overlap or leave gaps as you go. Right-handed players should wrap clockwise; lefties, counterclockwise. This is a semi-skilled job, so you may want to have someone at the pro shop or tennis shop do it for you. Make sure you ask for a quality grip like Prince tennis grips.
Firm is high-density felt, leather, calfskin, or cowhide, and it's the number-one choice of players who want to feel the ball collide with the racquet. The trade-off is comfort, which is where the cushioned tennis grip comes in. It's usually made of a spongy foam that provides relief for your hand, but it makes it tougher to feel where the ball lands on the racquet face.
Would you like a forehand like the touring pros of today? Well, besides endless hours of practice, you must have a semi-western tennis grip. To find the semi-western yennis grip, simply place the racquet on the ground. Now, pick it up like you're holding a frying pan. You now have the western grip. To find the "type" of western tennis grip you prefer, slightly shift the handle grip until it feels comfortable!
"Feel" refers to the adhesive qualities of the tennis handle grip. There are three types.
Soft Tennis Grip: The choice for least friction, and consequently, the least likely to cause blisters. The downside: You relinquish some control because you have to squeeze the handle harder to keep it from twisting on off-center hits.
Tacky Tennis Grip: Makes you slightly more blister-prone, but it's a big step up from soft in terms of slip prevention. The tacky tennis grips should provide you with the kind of friction you need to keep your racquet from going airborne on a 90-degree day.
Sticky Tennis Grip (dry): Congratulations, you've just reached the top of the adhesive chart. In fact, this feels a lot like flypaper, so it makes gripping the handle easier. A possible downside: The stickiness may hinder your ability to change grips quickly (say, from an Eastern to a Western forehand).
|Sheri Ann Richerson|