How To Regrip a Tennis Racquet: A Step-by-Step Guide

The single most important piece of equipment in tennis is the racquet. To use it effectively and hit your shots the way you want, it needs to feel good in your hands. All players know the importance of a comfortable grip. 

Like the strings, the racquet’s grip will wear down over time and should be replaced occasionally. A nice fresh grip is crucial for athletes to continue playing at their best.

Unlike with the strings, however, complex machines are not required to regrip a racquet, and doing so is a skill that players of all levels should learn. There are two different types of grips you should know about, namely base grips and overgrips. 

This guide will cover the roles of both grips. We will discuss different methods of setting up your racquet handle, plus step-by-step instructions on how to replace a grip. 

Background 

Before attempting to regrip your tennis racquet, you must understand the structure of a tennis racquet’s handle.

At its core, you have the racquet’s frame. In the past, racquet frames were made from wood, though nowadays, frames are made with lighter and stronger materials such as graphite or carbon fiber. 

The bare handle section on a tennis racquet has an octagonal profile with sides known as bevels. The bevels help with finger placement when gripping the racquet. 

Base Grip 

The next layer is the racquet’s base grip. This is the grip your racquet comes with when you first buy it and is usually attached to the handle with a staple. It consists of a strip of long and slim material (around 1-2″ wide) wrapped tightly around the racquet’s handle. 

You can think of a base grip as a protective layer between your fingers and the handle’s pointy surface. Because of this, base grips are quite thick and spongy for the sake of comfort, though you can still feel the bevels underneath. 

Traditional base grips were made from leather and some players still like the feel of this material. More modern versions are made with synthetic materials. 

Overgrip 

An overgrip is what lies on top of the standard base grip. It is not an essential feature of a tennis racquet, and many beginner players simply play tennis without one.

However, at more elite levels of tennis, players like to add an overgrip for many possible reasons: 

● The overgrip protects the base grip and prevents it from wearing out quickly

● The overgrip may provide comfort and offer a more pleasant texture than the base grip 

● The overgrip can have superior absorption properties to a base grip, which is especially useful for sweaty hands 

● The overgrip can provide more friction to reduce the chances of the racquet slipping from your hand 

● The overgrip can increase the thickness of a racquet’s handle so it can fit larger hands better 

Like the base grip, an overgrip is a long and slim piece of material, but is noticeably thinner and wears out faster. On the other hand, overgrips are cheaper and always synthetic. 

I listed my overgrip recommendations in this post.

Prepare Your Racquet 

Once you have decided on your grip setup, you need to prepare your racquet’s handle. If you just want to replace your overgrip, the only thing you need to do is remove the existing overgrip.

Simply peel off the tape holding the overgrip to the top of the handle and unravel it. If you have trouble peeling off the tape or grip, carefully use a pair of scissors to assist you. 

If you want to take off the base grip as well, the process is virtually the same as above. One extra step is that you need to remove the staple attaching the grip to the handle.

Before adding a new base grip, it is recommended that you wipe away any adhesive that remains on the handle. The regripping process described below applies both to base grips and overgrips. 

Now all you need to get started is the new grip plus scissors, a pen, and tape. Most grips come with small strips of electrical tape designed to secure them to your racquet. 

How to Regrip Your Racquet Step-By-Step 

  • 1. To regrip your racquet, it is ideal to hold it upside down with the handle angled away from you. Also, you may find it helpful to follow these steps while sitting down. 
  • 2. Take the new grip you wish to fit and unwrap it. The start of the grip is tapered and has a small sticky section covered by tape. Peel off this tape. 
  • 3. Hold the bottom of the racquet’s handle firmly in your non-playing hand and place the sticky/tapered part of the grip on the butt of the handle. Place it on one of the handle’s diagonal bevels, angling it slightly upwards. 
  • 4. Now that the end of the grip is fixed, pull it tight and begin wrapping it around the length of handle. Rotate the racquet slowly with your non-playing hand and ensure a small overlap between each layer of the grip. Gradually work your way down the handle. Right-handed players should pull to the right and rotate the racquet clockwise; left-handed players should do the opposite. 
  • 5. Maintain tension in the grip and keep wrapping it until you reach the end of the handle.
  • 6. At this stage, there will be some excess grip material. Wrap the grip slightly beyond the end of the handle and mark the points on the material where the strip intersects the boundary. 
  • 7. Unravel the grip slightly and place the racquet flat on a table. While keeping the grip in tension, use your scissors to cut a straight line between the two pen marks and discard the extra material. Now the end of the grip will be diagonal. When you wrap the grip up again, you will notice that it fits the handle perfectly without any gaps. 
  • 8. To finish replacing your grip, remove the back of the electrical tape and place it firmly at the top of the new grip. Make sure that the tape is secured correctly so it touches both the grip material and the racquet’s frame. If you have fitted a base grip, you may want to secure it with an elastic collar as well. 

Learn Your Preferences 

While covering a base grip with an overgrip the standard practice, this is by no means a concrete rule. While some players do indeed use this combination, others avoid the base grip altogether and prefer using two overgrips instead.

The advantage of doing this is an improved sensitivity and feel for your shots. 

The downside of having no base grip is a slight lack of comfort. As we mentioned before, beginners tend to use racquets without any extra grips. 

With time you will find the arrangement that works best for you ― every method has its merits and is not obviously superior to the others. 

You can read more about how to choose grip size in this post.

How Often Do You Need to Regrip Your Racquet? 

It’s up to personal preferences, but here are my recommendations for every level:

  • Beginners: Regrip after 30-40 hours of play
  • Intermediate: Regrip after 10-15 hours of play
  • Advanced: Regrip after 6-10 hours of play
  • Professional: Regrip after 2-5 hours of play (every match)

The answer to this is dependent on how often you use the racquet and the quality of your grips. Most players will consider replacing their overgrip when it loses its original texture and starts to feel slippery.

There are other good signs that your overgrip needs replacement, such as tears and discoloration in the material, or when the material looks dirty and dry. 

A professional who trains intensively for a big tournament could replace their grip every few days, but almost all players at this level regrips their racquet before each match. A recreational player might do the same every 6 months. 

If your base grip is protected by an overgrip, then it may take several months (or more) to wear down, obviously depending on your frequency of play. If you choose to play with the base grip alone, then it will disintegrate a lot faster but not as fast as an overgrip.

Fred Simonsson

I'm Fred, the guy behind TennisPredict. Apart from writing here, I play tennis on a semi-professional level and coach upcoming talents.

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