Overgrip is a highly common additional feature seen on tennis rackets across the globe, irrespective of skill level. While overgrips were more common when all tennis racquets came fitted with leather grips instead of the contemporary alternatives, they are still in great use today.
While technically you can use overgrip without a base grip underneath it, it is not recommended. Your racquet’s handle will be smaller, it will be less comfortable, the racquet’s balance will be affected, vibrations will be stronger, your hands will tire, and you will be more prone to blisters.
While it does not come highly recommended to use overgrip directly on the handle without a base grip or replacement grip underneath, it can work well for some players. Several grip combinations can be used depending on the player’s preferences and their frequency of play. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
Can You Use Overgrip Without Grip?
When you purchase a tennis racquet of any kind, it will always come fitted with a grip. This is referred to as your base grip. This grip will become worn out with time. It should be replaced depending on several factors, such as frequency of use and how the player handles the equipment during play.
When it comes time to replace the original grip that the racquet was fitted with, a replacement grip is used. This is the same as the base grip that was factory fitted onto the racquet.
Overgrip is a much thinner cover generally wrapped over the base grip or replacement grip. This product reduces wear on the replacement grip while simultaneously providing additional traction and sweat absorption for the user.
Due to its inherently thin nature, it is not advisable to use an overgrip on its own without a proper grip beneath it. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, your racquet grip was a specific size when you purchased it. This size is generally suited to the hands of most people. By removing the original grip and replacing it with an overgrip only, you will significantly reduce the size of the handle. The reduced handle size can significantly impact your ability to maintain control of the racquet.
Because overgrip can be around a quarter of the thickness of a replacement grip, you would need to use four layers of it before your grip would reach the same thickness as the original grip.
The comfort of your racquet is significantly reduced if you use only an overgrip on its handle. Because the overgrip is around a quarter of the thickness of a replacement grip, you will feel the impact of the tennis ball, and the vibrations will be felt far stronger.
Some players will claim that using only an overgrip is better as the bevels of the handle become easier to feel. However, your hands will become tired far more quickly. There is a greater chance of developing more blisters due to the reduced padding.
Another significant effect of using only an overgrip is on the overall balance of the racquet. By removing the original grip and replacing it with a thinner overgrip, the weight on the handle end is significantly reduced. This affects the racquet’s weight distribution on the whole, and it becomes unbalanced and head heavy to a large degree.
Advantages Of Using An Overgrip On A Base Grip
Instead of using only an overgrip on your racquet handle, most players recommend using a combination of a replacement grip with an overgrip fitted over it. This combination – the most common one – will afford several advantages to the user.
This combination is also the most cost-effective option. Overgrip is far cheaper than replacement grips, so it makes financial sense to preserve the integrity of the original grip while replacing the overgrip whenever required.
Because your hand does not directly contact the racquet’s original grip, using an overgrip on top will significantly increase your grip’s lifespan. This is a major advantage of overgrip.
Overgrip is also far better at sweat absorption than the factory-fitted grips. The grip with which your tennis racquet is fitted will usually be made of a less porous material than an overgrip. Suppose you are the type of tennis player who has very sweaty hands during play. In that case, overgrip should make a significant difference to the issue.
Another benefit of overgrip is that it allows you to customize your grip size to your liking. If you find that the original grip is too thin, an overgrip can assist by bulking up the grip as much as you need it. If you feel the need to, you can layer the grip with two or three overgrips if you need a higher degree of cushioning.
Difference Between Overgrip & Base Grip/Replacement Grip
A replacement grip or base grip is a thick, durable cover for your racquet handle. This long-lasting item is applied directly to the handle of your racquet. It usually consists of multiple layers. The top layer provides traction, ensuring the racquet does not slip out of your hand and that you can retain full control.
The middle layer of the grip usually consists of gel or foam, and it provides a good degree of comfort required for a lengthy game of tennis. The lowermost layer of a tennis racquet grip is made up of an adhesive backing that ensures the grip remains attached to the racquet’s handle.
On the other hand, an overgrip provides a fresh surface over a replacement grip, giving the required amount of additional tackiness and moisture absorption. This cloth-like cover is cheaper, thinner, and less durable than a replacement grip. However, it is designed to be wrapped onto the replacement grip and replaced as it wears out.
This will maximize traction and sweat absorption while preserving the integrity of the replacement grip underneath it.
Some tennis players prefer a less cushioned grip when playing and prefer the way their racquet feels without the cushioning provided by a base grip or replacement grip. While less cushioning may result in several undesirable side effects, some players see a major advantage. At the end of the day, the decision comes down to personal preference.