RacquetTech: Proper Grip Installation
Consistency is key when it comes to customizing the player’s point of contact with the racquet.
While grips can be customized to each player’s liking — such as more or less overlap, or extended up the shaft for two-handers — most recreational players expect a “factory wrap,” like the frame comes from the manufacturer, with a consistent and even overlap that produces a nice, flat surface. While factory grips come wrapped for right-handers, we recommend you ask the player his or her preference. You may be surprised that many lefties prefer the right-hand wrap because that is what they are used to.
To provide a consistent grip job every time, follow these rules:
- Start with a clean surface. Remove all old material and residue before installing the new grip.
- Start the grip in the same spot every time. While it doesn’t matter which of the eight bevels you choose, being consistent means that all your grip jobs will feel the same. If you feel a staple is necessary to secure the end, use a narrow-crown staple and make sure it is seated well and can’t be felt once the grip is wrapped over it.
- As you wrap the grip around the butt cap, keep it taut, but don’t stretch it too much. As you come around the butt cap, go one or two bevels past the starting end before moving down the grip with the wrap. This will ensure good coverage, and the grip will stay put.
- As you wrap the rest of the grip — again — keep it taut but not stretched. Overlap about 1/16 of an inch to achieve a consistent, flat feel.
- When you reach the top you will need to trim the excess grip for a neat finish. Unless you have a great eye and years of experience, the best method is to mark the grip with a pen or pencil so that your cut will produce an even taper on the top edge. Many beginners make the mistake of cutting the bottom edge, which is then exposed and unsightly. With the cut at the top, it can be fully concealed with finishing tape.
- For good adhesion, make sure the finishing tape is half on the grip and half on the frame, with no wrinkles and no excessive overlaps. Twice around should do the trick.
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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