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The majority of tennis players are somewhat familiar with the idea that their gear can play a big role in elevating their game. Differences in racquets and strings can help or hurt a player based on their individual play style. However, there are other items that can make subtle, yet impactful changes to a player’s game that they may not be as familiar with.

OVERGRIP

What is it?

Overgrip is an extra layer of material that can be applied to the existing racquet handle. This extra layer is usually tacky and easy to replace compared to the factory grip. Overgrips come in a variety of colors and textures and are produced by several manufacturers (most notably Wilson, Turnagrip, Babolat, and Gamma).Lake Country Racquet & Athletic Club, Tennis Blog

How can it help?

Overgrip is extremely useful because it serves as protection for the factory grip. From average use, the racquet grip will endure a lot of wear and tear with dirt, sweat, and who knows what else, making it gradually more difficult to hold on to. When using an overgrip, the under grip is protected and the overgrip can be easily replaced. Plus, overgrips enable the user to change grip colors on a regular basis. This may not help or hurt your game, but changing things up a bit may make you feel like you’re holding a whole new racquet!

SHOCK ABSORBER / VIBRATION DAMPENER

What is it?

A shock absorber is a small piece of rubber or plastic that attaches to the racquet strings. Its purpose is to eliminate some of the vibration caused by making contact with the ball. Shock absorbers come in almost every shape imaginable from simple product logos to emojis.

How can it help?

The tennis community is split on whether it feels better to play with or without a shock absorber. Proponents of the shock absorber note the softer feel of the racquet as one of its great benefits. Those on the other side argue they prefer the pure feeling of strings without a dampener. In addition, some like the different sound of a racquet with a shock absorber while others prefer the noise of open strings. If you’ve never tried a shock absorber, it may be worth it to try one and see if it’s preferable.

LEAD TAPE

What is it?

Lead tape is a heavy adhesive that sticks to the frame of a racquet. Its purpose is to add weight to a specific part of the racquet to either make the entire piece heavier or to change the weight distribution of the handle and head.

How can it help?

Lead tape can be useful in adjusting the weight and balance of a racquet. Furthermore, if a player thinks they may need a heavier racquet they can experiment with lead tape to help decide how much heavier they prefer. Be warned though, opting to use lead tape can be a dark hole of endless adjustments and second guessing. Used in the right way though, it can be a very helpful tool.

All three of these items can be used to make small adjustments to a player’s game without breaking the bank. Feel free to experiment with all three and decide if any make a noticeable difference.