This is admittedly going to be a disjointed blog entry. Had a conversation over the weekend with a customer in which we touched on the topic of overgrips. I have several random thoughts that are difficult to thread together nicely, but nonetheless they may be of interest and/or assistance to some of our readers.
Why use an overgrip? Several reasons. While not the primary reason it can be used to increase the grip size. Overgrips come in differing diameters and one of my greatest frustrations is that the majority of the manufacturers do not publish the diameter, which IMO is important information. I would suggest the majority of overgrips fall in the .65mm – .75mm range. When properly wrapped these will increase the size of the grip by approx. 1/4 – 1/2 of a size. Some of the most popular selling overgrips fall into this size category. These include the Wilson Pro overgrips, the Unique Tourngrip and Tournagrip II, the Yonex Supergrap and many others. I view it as the industry standard.
For those who are seeking overgrips that do not alter the grip size as much there are a series of overgrips available that are .50mm. IMO, this is an ideal thickness. It does not alter the grip size too much and the overgrip is still substantial enough to do what you expect it to do. We carry the Signum Pro Tour overgrip which is .50mm. We used to resell them, but due to the devaluation of the US dollar it no longer makes sense to import them for resale. We do have them available for our local stringing customers. We also have recently discovered the Alpha Excel II which are .50mm and available from our friends at New Tech Tennis. These are almost as nice as the Signum Tours and available at a reasonable cost. Our customer who we spoke with over the weekend recommended the Fischer On Top Pro Overgrips as one that falls into this category of thickness. Heck, I didn’t even know Fischer made overgrips, but they were highly recommended.
For those seeking even less of an increase in size, we did playtest some Kirschbaum Touch It Ultra Thin Overgrips that measured .38mm. Surprisingly durable for the diameter and a very good option for the player seeking an overgrip without increasing size. We don’t currently carry these, but may explore bringing them in soon. We have considered this in the past, but it just seems it is one of those things we never quite get around to doing.
Another major reason to use an overgrip is to help prevent the grip from slipping. Once the regular grip gets some wear it loses tackiness. Rather than replacing the grip every few weeks, it just makes sense to use the lower cost alternative, the overgrip. On average you can replace these for a buck (+/-.25) and it keeps your equipment in solid playing condition. Almost all the professionals use some form of overgrip for this very purpose.
Some overgrips have more tackiness than others. Generally the tackiness wears off, but there is a product called a Tacky Towel (we don’t sell these either…sorry) which can be used to re-tackify the grip. So when selecting your overgrip be aware there are varying levels of tackiness available.
Another task the overgrips perform is to absorb moisture to prevent slipping. We find that the grips made out of the materials like Wilson Pro overgrips have a point where they become overwhelmed with moisture which prevents them from being as effective as we need them to be, especially in the heat and humidy of a typical Georgia summer. Because of this we tend to direct our customers who sweat a lot in their hands to the Unique Tournagrip, the original. We have found no overgrip better at absorbing moisture. We sell these and recommend them in the summer months. They do not come in fancy colors, just the blue, but they have been around for many years and they do an EXCELLENT job. They tend to wear out more quickly than the Wilson Pro style, but for the summer months they are worth it.
For those who sweat profusely through the hands, perhaps a hand anti-persperant may be in order? I had a conversation with a customer about this last week. While I have not used or playtested them, I would love to get some feedback. I heard recently on a morning talk show that Certain Dri is a top shelf product that can be effective for preventing hands from sweating. (Not made specifically for hands and we have not used it, just heard about it.) There are other products also that can be used for this, but the Certain Dri received rave reviews from those discussing it. I made a note to one day check it out.
Most overgrips come in a length that is sufficient to cover all or most of the handle. However, the Tournagrip comes in XL and XXL. We find the XL the most effective at meeting most customer needs. The regular version often comes up short and this can be problematic for obsessive compulsives like myself who need to have symmetry. The XL is actually no longer, but wider so it covers more space. Likewise the XXL is no longer, but wider still and is capable of fully covering grips that are extra long and those that have been built up to 5″ or more.
Overgrips come in a variety of colors. Those like the Wilson Pro are available in light colors. For a long time the Wilson Pro was only available in white. Brilliant marketing because they get dirty and people will replace them faster. They tend to be durable and when not sweating a lot can last a several weeks, perhaps even into months for some players. However, when the light colors get dirty players tend to change them out. Brillant marketing.
We recommend black in the Wilson Pro style because they do not show dirt and tend to last a while. (Note: Wilson does not make them in black) However, the different colors can be fun and the Alpha Excel and Excel II we carry have fun colors as do the Yonex TournaGraps. Tournagrip even came out with this style of overgrip they call Tournagrip II and it is available in 3 colors. We prefer the Tournagrip original in the summer because in our opinion it is the king of overgrips in absorbing mositure and the Wilson Pro style in the winter months for a splash of color.
Oh yah, they still make gauze tape. Horrible stuff. I have a couple of customers who use it and it makes me shake my head. That stuff is gruff, ruff and can not be comfortable. Some old-schoolers never change