Do your forearm muscles always feel fatigued at the end of your women’s league tennis match? Chances are your racket’s grip is too small. Don’t be too quick to run out and buy a new racket. A few quick fixes with a lot less impact on a Nestie's budget can come to the rescue. The easiest fix is to wrap an overgrip over the existing grip to add half a grip size. If this doesn’t do the trick, increase your grip a full size -- you’ll need a few supplies for this. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling this on your own, most tennis pro shops can help.
Increase Half a Grip Size
Take the overgrip out of its packaging and unroll it. Most overgrips have protective, plastic film on the top side with one end cut on an angle. Start at the angled end and remove the film. On the backside of this end is a small piece of paper covering a sticky spot. Remove the paper.
Hold the overgrip so the angled side is at the bottom and the straight side at the top. Align the top, straight side with the end of the butt cap and stick the overgrip to the handle.
Grasp the racket with your left hand and hold it vertically with the handle pointing straight up. Rest the tip of the head against your thigh for support. Grasp the overgrip with your right hand. While keeping a little tension in the overgrip, slowly turn the handle clockwise with your left hand.
Wrap the overgrip, diagonally, with each turn of the handle. Overlap the edges 1/8 of an inch as you make your way to the top of the original grip. When you get to the end of the original grip, cut any excess overgrip with scissors and secure it with the provided finish tape.
Increase a Full Grip Size
Remove the finish tape from around the top of the original grip. Unwind the grip until you get to the bottom of the handle. Take note of how the grip was installed so you can reverse the process to install a new replacement grip. Remove the staple holding the grip to the handle with needle-nose pliers.
Rub fine-grit sandpaper along each side of the handle to remove any adhesive residue left from the original grip. After sanding, wipe the handle with a clean rag.
Slide a heat shrink sleeve onto the handle. Position the sleeve so it evenly extends beyond the top and bottom of the handle. This allows for sleeve shrinkage.
Plug in a heat gun and turn it on to a low setting. Starting at the butt end, hold the gun 3 or 4 inches from the sleeve and move the gun back and forth around the handle. Continue working your way toward the top of the handle until the entire sleeve has shrunk tightly.
Trim the excess off at the top and bottom of the handle with a utility knife. Take extra care when trimming the top to avoid scratching the painted shaft. Trim the bottom to within 1/8 inch of the butt cap.
Install the new replacement grip using the same technique for installing an overgrip. There’s one exception -- insert a staple through the angled end of the grip to attach it to the butt cap. Then, wrap the grip around the handle, trim the excess and secure it with the provided finish tape.
Items you will need
- Overgrip with finish tape
- Replacement grip with finish tape
- Needle-nose pliers
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Clean rag
- Heat shrink sleeve
- Heat gun
- Utility knife
- Staple gun
- Allow the heat shrink sleeve to cool before trimming off any excess.
- Move the heat gun constantly to avoid melting a hole in the sleeve.
- Stringer's Digest 2009 - United States Racquet Stringers Association
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images