The world of pickleball paddles is largely focused on the face of the paddles and appropriately so. But playing pickleball and not paying attention to pickleball grips overlooks an important part of both comfort and feel.
A grip can be made from any material with any sort of design and pickleball paddle makers have a wide variety of grips on the original equipment coming from their factories. But the original grip does not have to be the only grip and doing a re-grip is a very simple DIY project.
Types of Pickleball Paddle Grips
Original Paddle Grip
An original paddle grip is the one that comes on the paddle handle of every new paddle. Most pickleball paddles have grips made by third parties but there are a few paddle makers who make their own grips too.
Replacement Pickleball Grip
A replacement grip is used when the original is completely removed. Replacement grips are highly effective when the existing grip does all the right things in terms of absorbing sweat and has the right thickness but simply is worn out.
Pickleball overgrips are applied on top of an existing grip. This increases the thickness of the handle and makes the handle softer to the touch.
Hight Light vs. Head Heavy Paddles
Applying pickleball overgrips will also cause a slight weight shift in the paddle making it more head light which is important to some players. With tennis, this discussion is very important but with pickleball paddles it is somewhat less critical due to the substantially shorter paddle.
The more head heavy a paddle is, it should generate more power and a head light paddle should offer more control and possibly improve the ability to spin the ball. Adding pickleball overgrips may make paddles slightly less head heavy. Players concerned about this ought to consider a thicker replacement new grip rather than an overgrip.
Pickleball Paddle Grip Sizes
The size of a grip will be dictated by the size of the handle as created in the factory. It is not practical to reduce the size of grips but it is easy to increase the circumference with overgrips.
Therefore, you are better off buying paddles a little too small and build them up rather than buying then too big. See our article on getting the size right.
Most come with a fairly standard length, but players using a two handed backhand ought to consider pickleball paddle grips specifically made longer for this purpose.
4 Things a Good Grip Will Do
1) Absorb Sweat
Sweaty hands are normal and some people have really sweaty hands. In pickleball, if you have your paddles slipping off your hand, your ability to control shots is compromised.
2) Provide Tack
Even if your hand is dry, the tack on grips will allow for better control and keep paddles exactly where you want them in the palm of your hand.
3) Help Manage Vibration
Thicker grips in particular, are great for making those off center hits feel less ouchy especially for those with elbow issues. Some feel may be compromised.
4) Improve Feel
Thinner grips are terrific for being in direct contact with paddles. This is important for those all-important dinks and angles.
Tennis grips are commonly used on pickleball paddles. However, they may be too long as they come right out of the packaging. All you have to do is use a good pair of scissors to cut off the length you need. The tape included for holding the top in place will work perfectly then.
Electrical tape is sometimes used by some DIY extremists but it is not advisable for best pickleball play. It is too slick for most players. However, it could be used as an underneath layer if building up the circumference.
Shop for the Best
Have questions? Call us! Our friendly team of pickleball experts is happy to help you get the maximum fun out of pickleball. We love pickleball!