by Pierre Bastien, squash equipment blogger at squashsource.com
Squash grips are a critical piece of squash equipment. Whatever your level of squash, you need to keep a firm hold on your racquet. And beyond that, you want the racquet to feel comfortable and natural in your hands.
Picking a grip is a very personal choice. What feels comfortable and natural to one player could feel lousy to another. What grip works best for you? There’s really no single answer, you just have to try out different options until you get a solution you’re happy with.
There are tons of grips to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for.
Firstly, every racquet comes with a factory grip. Many players are happy to stick with the factory grip, but there are a few performance factors that you might want to consider, including:
• Sweat absorption
You’ll care about some factors more than others. No matter what, if you play squash on a regular basis, durability will come into play. As sweat and grime build up on the grip, it starts to wear down and become more difficult to hold onto during the match.
If the factory grip is worn out, you may want to consider a replacement grip. To put on a replacement grip, you remove the original factory grip and then wrap the new grip on the bare handle, starting from the butt of the racquet and working your way up to the top of the handle before finishing it off with a bit of sticky tape.
Most racquet manufacturers sell replacement grips, so if you like the grip that came with your racquet you may just want to stick with the same brand. If you’re looking to try something new, the most popular replacement grip is probably the Karakal PU Supergrip. This is also the grip that seems to be used by a majority of pros. It comes in a variety of colors to suit your style, though many Karakal connoisseurs insist that the yellow version is the most comfortable.
Personally, sweat absorption is the factor I’m most worried about. When things get hot and heavy in the fourth or fifth game, I don’t want the racquet sliding around on me. My favorite grip is Tourna Grip, which is mainly pitched at the tennis market, but it works great for squash too. (I like the regular version and the XL version). Tourna Grip is an overgrip, meaning it’s applied on top of the factory grip, not instead of it. Another one I’ve personally had good luck with is the Wilson Pro Perforated overgrip.
The thickness of the grip is also a major factor in your comfort level. This really boils down to the size of your hands and how big you want the racquet to feel. If you want the grip to be a little thicker, try putting on an overgrip, and for a still larger feel, try wrapping a replacement grip on top of the factory grip.
One last thing to consider is tackiness. Not tackiness as in your Christmas sweater collection, but tackiness as in how sticky the grip feels. Most brands of grip will have a few different varieties, some with more tack than others. Personally I prefer a low or medium tack, but again, this is a personal choice for each player.