Tip of the Week Archive

   Countless times I have strung tennis racquets that were several years old and still had the
original grip on the handle. People tend to pay more attention to their strings than their grip.
The interaction of the hand and the tennis grip is equally as important as the interaction of the
ball and the strings.
   Today we have a multiple of synthetic materials used in grips and their feel in your hand is
remarkable. First, you’ll notice the cushioning or padding. Second, you notice the
adhesion or tackiness. These grips will actually stick to you hand for a better grab. And lastly,
you’ll notice the increased ability to absorb moisture. All these qualities make grips quite
impressive but also more costly.
   When forking over money for new strings, one is often concerned about not spending even
more money on a new grip. Grips soon become an item of last resort. Since most grips donâ
€™t break or come apart many people see them as still effective. Nothing could be further
from the truth.
   Everyone’s hand becomes filled with moisture when playing tennis in warm or hot
conditions. All grips will absorb this moisture, they might be able to channel the sweat  (or
moisture) away from the surface of the grip but it doesn’t disappear. Your grip becomes
filled with sweat and dirt every time you play. The more your grip absorbs this debris the less
it can do it’s job of cushioning, adhesion and moisture absorption.
Your grip might look okay but it could be filled with sweat, grime and dirt.  Try a light colored
grip and you’ll soon see how soon you need to replace the grip.
   Players should replace their tennis racquet grip more often then they have their racquet re-
strung.  There is nothing like the feel of a clean, fresh grip when playing tennis.
   Replacement grips are the best for cushioning, adhesion and moisture absorption and
require replacing the grip on the handle. Overgrips are an economical alternative to
replacement grips and may even offer more moisture control and cushioning because they
are placed over the regular grip. The down side is that overgrips tend to build up the grip size
and can decrease the bevels influence.
   Every racquet handle has 8 sides called bevels. It’s these bevels that tell your hand
how you’re holding your racquet. I find some people have trouble controlling their
groundstrokes because they have several overgrips on the handle and it has “roundedâ
€� the handle.
   The last thing to know about tennis handles is that the size can be increased but not
decreased. The best method to build up a grip is by having a heat shrink sleeve put on. This
will build the grip up a full or half size and still keep the bevels fairly sharp.

Doug Hofer, USPTA & USRSA                  June 1, 2004