Racquet Tech: Gripping 101
The grip is a player’s connection to the racquet. Make sure it is installed properly.
Next to stringing, installing grips is the most expected racquet service we perform. Many technicians, especially those just starting out, will hesitate to offer services like customizations, but stringing and gripping are the basics of the business and it’s hard to do one without the other. (For more on grips and overgrips, see “Getting a Grip” in this issue.)
To do a good job, you will need a few tools: scissors, a staple gun, grip tape. Supplemental tools are a small, strong flat screwdriver to remove old staples and a tack hammer to seat stubborn staples.
You can refer to the USRSA Racquet Service Techniques Guide for a step-by-step tutorial, but we will cover a few basic points here to ensure that your grip job is a professional one:
Make sure of your customer’s preference. Are they right- or left-handed? What type of grip do they prefer? Do they use an overgrip? Is their handle the proper size? These are essential questions to ascertain what your customer needs. It is hard to provide a good job if you don’t have this information. Just as with stringing, you must first determine what your customer needs.
Make sure you remove all the old adhesive and grip material before you install the new one. If you have left old residue on the handle, the new grip will not feel right and may be too large.
Secure your starting point with a staple to ensure your job doesn’t come unraveled during play.
Make a clean, straight cut at the top. The finishing tape should cover your cut. This is the most common mistake we see in grip installation.
Your work is a product of your overall service. If you produce sloppy and unprofessional work, your customers will associate that directly and your business will suffer.
For more details on grip installation and racquet service, USRSA members can access the Racquet Service Techniques section of the USRSA website at racquettech.com.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
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