So you just finished an intense game at your local pickleball court, and as you sit down to change shoes for the walk home, you notice your opponent’s paddle. The handle doesn’t look anything like yours! It’s thicker and seems to have some sort of protective wrap that catches your eye immediately.
That’s called an overgrip, and if you’re not using one, you aren’t giving yourself the best pickleball experience.
In this article, we’ll look at what an overgrip is, what it does, and how to choose one that you’ll love.
What is a pickleball overgrip?
A pickleball overgrip is a layer of material, usually synthetic (like silicone), that goes over the existing grip on your paddle. Its purpose is two-fold: protection and performance.
The first thing an overgrip does is protect the underlying grip from wear and tear. If you play a lot, your paddle’s grip will start to show signs of use. Eventually, it might become shiny in spots, or feel slippery when you sweat. An overgrip will prolong the life of your paddle’s grip and keep it feeling fresh.
An overgrip also has performance benefits. The correct material can improve your grip on the paddle, giving you more control over shots. They can also add absorbency to help with sweat and vibration, or tackiness for a better feel.
Generally, overgrips fall into three different categories.
- Tacky: These overgrips are designed to improve your grip on the paddle. They will feel almost sticky to the touch and lock in your hand to help prevent slippage.
- Dry: These overgrips are designed to help with absorbency. They will wick away sweat and moisture to keep your grip dry and comfortable.
- Textured: These overgrips add a bit of both tack and dryness, with a textured surface that helps you grip the paddle while also providing absorbency.
Will a pickleball overgrip help improve my game?
While no piece of equipment can turn a beginner into a professional overnight, giving yourself the best chance at consistent performance is important for anyone who wants to improve their game.
An overgrip can help with that in two ways: by giving you better control of the paddle, and by improving vibration dampening. A good grip is important for any athlete, but it’s especially key in pickleball. The game is played on a hard surface, which can make ball control difficult - if your grip isn’t secure, you won’t be able to put spin on the ball or hit your shots with precision. An overgrip can help you keep a firm grip, even when your hands are sweaty.
Vibration dampening is another important factor, especially for those who are just starting to play. Pickleball paddles can vibrate quite a bit when they make contact with the ball, and that vibration can travel up your arm and cause discomfort. Overgrips can help reduce that feeling, making it easier to play for longer periods.
How to choose the best pickleball overgrips
Now that we know what an overgrip is and does, let’s look at how to choose one that will work best for you. There are a few things to consider:
An overgrip should feel comfortable in your hand, even after hours of play. It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin, and the material should be soft enough that it doesn’t rub your skin raw.
It's not much use to you if it falls apart after a few matches! A good overgrip should be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear.
FeelThis is a personal preference, but some overgrips have a tacky feel while others are drier. Consider what you like best and choose accordingly. The most important thing is to find what suits your playstyle and stick with it.
SizePeople often overlook this by just buying a high-end tacky grip. If it's too big for your hand, you'll never use it. Make sure to try out different sizes until you find the perfect fit.
This is especially important if you live in a humid climate or tend to sweat a lot when playing. A grip that can wick away moisture will keep your hands dry and comfortable, even in the heat of battle.
Ease of application
Some overgrips are easier to put on than others. If you’re not mechanically inclined, look for an overgrip that doesn’t require too much effort to get it on right.
Quality of materials
Not all overgrips are created equal. Some use cheaper materials that will degrade quickly, while others use more expensive, high-quality materials that will last longer. Consider your budget and how often you play when making your decision.
Just because it's functional doesn't mean it can't look good too! Many overgrips come in a variety of colors and designs, so you can customize your paddle to match your personality.
Like anything else, you get what you pay for with overgrips. That said, there is no need to break the bank - a mid-range grip will suit most players just fine.
At Gamma, our wide selection has something for everyone. Not only do we provide high-quality textured grips on all of our paddles, but we also offer a variety of overgrips to customize your paddle’s feel. Take the Super Soft, for instance, which offers a comfortable, absorbent overgrip that is ideal for the casual or intermediate player that wants something that will last. If you are at a higher level of competition and need something a little tackier, the Supreme Power was made for you. This performance grip has a "power ridge" built in to give you elite control as you're taking on tough opponents. Playing in the summer sun, or just a natural sweater? The PB Pro offers superior absorption for those players who are focused on keeping their hands dry. Even with repeated use, it will last longer than many other overgrips thanks to top-of-the-line materials. GAMMA pro players like:
- Paul Olin
- Sarah Ansboury
- Megan Fudge
- Ryler DeHeart
All depend on our overgrips to perform at the highest level in competition.
ConclusionIf you want to get a leg up on the competition and start performing your best, consider adding a pickleball overgrip to your game. From paddle control to vibration dampening, an overgrip could give you the edge you’re looking for.
By Brandon Mackie, Co-Founder of Pickleheads