Overwraps Yes or No?Tim Strawn
This is an addendum to an earlier post from the IART website group and it addresses something I often encounter in my tennis shop. Factory grips on racquets only have just so much cushioning in them. Every time you hit a ball you naturally squeeze the racquet handle and after many hours of play, the cushioning in the grip is so compressed that it becomes as hard as a rock. When these grips begin to show wear and tear, many people will buy a pack of overwrap, wrap the handle and call it a day. That may be ok for a quick fix but it’s definitely not permanent. At best, this may be good for one or two applications but after that, it’s time for a new factory grip.
There are a few basic reasons players use an overwrap so let’s take a closer look.
- Their hands sweat a lot so they choose a tacky overwrap to keep the racquet from twisting at contact
- Aesthetics – color coordinating your grip with the cosmetics of your racquet, strings or your clothes for example
- To slightly increase the size of the racquet’s grip. Let’s take a look at those 3 bullet points one at a time, elaborate on them a little bit and add a couple of other points to the conversation.
- In my experience sweat is the number one reason to use an overwrap, especially if you live in a more humid climate or if you’re just one of those players who naturally have sweaty hands. The right overwrap can definitely address that issue
- I get it when it comes to aesthetics. You’re a player who wants to look your best on the court. Ladies love to color coordinate and that’s perfectly understandable. I say put your best foot forward, we love to see you “styling” on court.
- Many times a player ends up with a racquet where the grip is way too small. Unfortunately, an overwrap is not designed to enlarge the grip size. That’s why I sometimes get racquets in my shop with multiple overwraps on them. If you need your grip size increased your best bet is to take it to a professional who has the tools, supplies and the expertise to do the job right.
- It should also be pointed out that multiple overwraps can add significant weight to a racquet. You purchased your racquet for a number of reasons, overall weight being one of them. If the racquets weight was suitable for your game you’ve just completely changed that aspect of it.
- Multiple overwarps also negate the bevels in your racquet and those are there for a reason. They help you with grip changes on different strokes like your backhand, forehand or volleys and serves. If the handle is rounded due to too many overwraps it’s impossible to feel those bevels.
Overwraps are fine and they come in a multitude of colors and most importantly, thicknesses. Some will state on the package that they are “thin” and obviously, these will be your best choice if you’re not looking to change the grip size. If you don’t choose a thin overwrap you should be careful when wrapping it around the handle. If you overlap too much on each pass around the handle you’re definitely going to see a change in grip size as well as seeing the handle begin to lose shape. Too many overwraps on the same handle is the worst culprit I see and I definitely try to discourage players from doing this.
Overgrips are made out of Polyurethane, also known as PU. This material which is also used to make heart valves and sofa cushions, is not designed to biodegrade. Every year more than one billion tennis overgrips made from PU are discarded into our planet’s environment. These overgrips will take many years to decompose. To make tennis more sustainable, in 2014 Own the Zone Sporting Goods (OTZ) launched high performance, biodegradable EcoGRIP. Ecogrips, which come in Smooth, Hi-Tac and Pro versions, will safely biodegrade in the environment within one year after changeout. In 2019 and 2020 EcoGRIP received outstanding reviews from Tennis Express, Tennispredict.com, various tennis blogs and top stringers based in the UK and Germany. Many top young players across the US and Europe have switched to EcoGRIP. It’s a better grip for a better planet. Check out our website at http://www.ecogripzone.com and Instagram at #zone4tennis
Thanks for your comments David. I believe when these were first introduced they were only available in white and now I see you have black. Are there any plans to add a black perforated model? I have always liked the intent behind EcoGRIP and wonder if adding colored pigments would have an adverse affect on the biodegradable aspect of the product.
Thanks Tim for your response. Good questions. We are looking at a pigmented Hi-Tac grip for 2021. The pigment color will not have any adverse effect on the biodegradability of the overgrips. Besides black and white what colors of overgrips are most popular with your customers?
Optic yellow would be top of the list, especially with my high school players who also like optic yellow string. Blue, red & purple/violet would be next on the list.