Maybe you don’t put much attention to your grip, but it’s quite important. We’ll get to why in a second. What grips do you like?
You can adjust the feel and size of the racquet handle quite a bit using different base grips and over grips. Back in the days most base grips (also called replacement grips) was made from leather, which adds weight to the handle and makes you feel the bevels of the grip better. The downside is a lack of comfort. The leather doesn’t absorb as much of the vibrations as a synthetic basegrip.
There are actually specific thicker grips that will improve the comfort of your racquet by absorbing more vibrations. The downside is obviously a more muted feel, but for some of you, they might be worth checking out. Just ask your tennis shop or search for the word comfort online and you should find them.
As you can see in this screen shot from Tennis Warehouse, the “cushioned” ones are the way to go.
When it says “feel” it often means that the grip is thinner and will allow you to feel the bevels of the grip better.
“Absorbent” is when you’re not using overgrips and want a base grip that doesn’t get slippery when you sweat.
Leather is what you want for that old school feel. Many pros still use them, but I know that even advanced amateur players complain about harshness or blisters when they use them. Again, it’s all personal.
If you want to increase your grip size, there is also a heat shrink sleeve, which will build up your grip either half a size (adds about 8 grams) or a full size (adds about 15 grams). Sadly, there is no way to reduce grip size unless you go to a professional customizer or have a HEAD racquet where you replace the grip pallets. What you can do is go for the thinnest base grip and thin over grips (or no over grip at all). Or you can even use two over grips instead of a base grip, but that will not be the most cushioned feel.
Over grips also come in various shapes, colors and types.
Tacky is the most popular, where you get good grip and a cushined feel. Some tacky grips might get slippery while wet though so for players that sweat a lot, the Absorbent and Dry category is worth checking out.
Textured grips create better grip, that also might benefit some sweaty hands or players who prefer that feel. And thin grips are for those who want minimum build-up of the grip. Usually an over grip builds the grip size up by half a size, so it might be worth considering if you’re already on the limit of what feels comfortable to you.
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