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Imagine…you are playing in an intense badminton game. Both teams involved are giving it their all in a brilliant display of athleticism, stamina, and strategy. You are neck and neck with your opponent and the score is tied at 29 all! You deliver a stunning smash and the return is weak, setting you up for an ideal game-winning shot. As you swing your racket to deliver the finishing blow, a flash of despair crosses your face as the racket slips from your grasp and flies off the side of the court due to all of the perspiration accumulated on the handle while at the same time you see all of your hard efforts fade before your eyes.
The scenario above paints the picture of why grips should be treated as more than just an accessory in badminton. Finding the right badminton grip is quite critical to the success of a badminton player and when properly chosen, will enhance their play style. While it may not be as important as choosing the right racket, a properly selected grip can amplify a player’s power or control. Fundamentally, grips are chosen to fit the taste of the player, be it tacky, dry, thin or thick!
If you’re looking for other badminton equipment, make sure to look at our Badminton Equipment page where you can find all of our posts on shuttlecocks, strings, racquets, and more!
What is a Badminton Grip?
A badminton grip is a thin layer of material that is wrapped around the handle of the racket, altering the size or texture to provide players a different feeling when gripping the badminton racket.
Grips are typically made out of 2 types of material:
- Synthetic Rubber – most commonly polyurethane (PU), is typically found in original grips, replacement grips, and overgrips.
- Cotton/Cloth – as seen in towel grips.
Choosing the Right Badminton Grip
Choosing the right grip for you will most likely follow a process of trial and error as many factors play a role in the decision process. Things to consider include: how big/small of a palm you have, how much you perspire during badminton, and whether you prefer a stickier or drier material. Ultimately it comes down to the personal taste of each individual player. While a badminton grip is not as fragile as a feathered shuttlecock, it does need to be replaced more than a badminton racket. The saving grace is, unlike a badminton racket, a badminton grip is relatively cheap. As such, players should learn about the different types and properties of grips to find the one that suits them the best. However, if you find that the grip you chose initially is not the best fit, check back here to identify the next candidate until you find THE one. At the end of the day, players should strive to optimize the connection between their hand and their racket.
Tackiness refers to how sticky the material of the grip is. Grips that are more tacky in nature require less pressure from your fingers or hand to actually grip the racket, allowing the player better control. Especially in hot and humid playing conditions, a tacky grip will help prevent the racket from slipping out of your hand if you are sweating. Tacky grips are great at repelling moisture and tends to have high durability. The major drawback of tacky grips is, due to the friction between the grip and your hand, players may develop blisters more easily than with grips that are less tacky. Through repetitive use, tacky grips will transition to resemble more of a dry grip.
Dry grips are on the opposite end of the spectrum from tacky grips. Dry grips soak up moisture from the player’s hand, serving a completely different purpose than tacky grips in hot or humid playing conditions. While dry grips may feel more slick initially, its texture arguably provides players the best feel between a player’s hand and his/her racket. Dry grips run a low chance of developing blisters on a player’s hand. If you prefer a racket that does not stick to your palm, a dry grip would be ideal. However, dry grips run the risk of slipping out of your hand if it becomes too wet, and are typically less durable.
Absorbency refers to the grip’s capacity to absorb or soak up liquid, which in the case of badminton players, refers to the sweat from their hands or what may drip down from their arms. Grips with higher absorbency will be able to take in and retain more liquid without becoming a hindrance for the player, while simultaneously helps prevent blisters from forming. Grips with lower absorbency will reach a point of saturation faster which will not allow for further absorption and become quite slippery for the player.
Hardness can be broken down into hard or soft. Grips on the softer end provide comfort to the player and decreases the potential of developing blisters. Soft grips are bulkier and will enlarge the badminton grip more than a hard grip – which enables players a better grip to execute powerful shots, such as smashes.
Hard grips are characteristically thinner than soft grips, but are not as well padded. However, the tradeoff of comfort is the ability for optimal feel and control of the racket. By producing a firmer feeling, a harder grip enables the player to translate the subtle movements of the fingers into maximum racket handling.
Common Grip Categories
Original / Replacement Grips
The original grip refers to the grip that comes with a new racket by default, which is applied directly to the wooden handle of a standard badminton racket. The replacement grip refers to the replacement of this original grip.
Original/replacement grips are typically thicker and more expensive than overgrips (described below). Players will usually apply an additional grip on top of the original/replacement grip to add more texture or girth to the grip. Situations in which players may opt for just the original/replacement grip is when the player has a strong preference towards using as thin of an overall grip handle as possible for maximum control and finger flexibility. However, only using the original/replacement grip option is only recommended to players who do not have sweaty palms and want to keep things simple, as excessive sweat seeping into the wooden handle may diminish the racket’s longevity through the rotting of the wood.
Overgrips refer to the type of grips that are appended on top of the original/replacement grips which increases the thickness of the handle grip. Overgrips have more versatility than the original/replacement grip in providing any combination of the grip qualities of tackiness, absorbency, and/or hardness.
Overgrips are generally thinner and less expensive than replacement grips. This makes a prime opportunity to test out various overgrips until you find the one most suitable to your playing preference. Overgrips explore various textures such as perforations, contour lines and degrees of squishiness offered by different rubber materials used to make the grip. Overgrips act as a layer of protection between the player’s hand and the original/replacement grip, so you won’t need to replace this more expensive grip as frequently.
While it is possible to apply an overgrip directly to the wooden handle, this is very uncommon as an overgrip alone is typically too thin of a grip and subjects to a higher risk of damage from liquid (e.g. sweat).
A towel grip is a grip made of cloth or cotton that resembles the fuzziness of a towel, hence its name. Towel grips are the ultimate grips when it comes to offering superior sweat absorbency. Towel grips are the perfect companion for players who tend to produce a lot of sweat – either naturally from their hands or dripping down from their arm.
The towel grip is considerably thicker than most overgrips, but are light and comfortable. As such, this thicker grip complements players who prefer power or offensive play who require a bigger, yet light grip, to deliver explosive overhead shots.
A drawback of the towel grip is that it can become weighted down by the amount of liquid it has soaked and retains – making it quite heavy. At a specific point the material may stop absorbing sweat and become stiff, instead of soft and frizzy, and lose its comfort to the player, making it less durable than the previously mentioned grip categories.
The towel grip may develop an odor over time, as its excellent absorbency of sweat can lead to the cultivation of germs – so players may want to consider replacing their towel grip prior to it losing its usefulness. An alternative to extend the life of a towel grip is the application and usage of grip powders. Grip powders are applied directly to the hand and serve to reduce the amount of hand sweat produced, which can help prevent towel grips from reaching saturation and losing its effectiveness.
Grip Recommendation by Play Style
Grips are capable of enhancing a player’s play style, be it power or control. When selecting the ideal grip, players should be aware of which grips would complement their game and which ones should be avoided.
Offense / Power Play
Players who enjoy the thrill of overwhelming their opponents with dominating smashes should gravitate towards thicker, yet light, grips. Players who favor power plays tend to hold their rackets tighter, which helps to generate more power. Thicker grips allows for the hand to achieve a solid grip on the racket without exerting as much force to do so. You can imagine this as your hand not needing to curl as far to grip the racket.
Players, however, should be wary that applying a grip to the racket handle will alter the balance of the racket. The rule of thumb for optimal power generation is to keep the racket head-heavy, as the extra weight distribution at the top of the racket produces more momentum in the swing and more transfer of power from the racket to the shuttle. For a prime series of head-heavy rackets, check out our post on the crushing power of the Yonex Voltric Racket Series.
Recommended Grip: Towel Grip
Technical / Control Play
Players who are crafty and seek to control the pace of the game and force their opponents to move around against their will should look towards grips that are thinner as to allow for more flexibility and subtleties in finger movements. To focus on accuracy and technique, players will need to have the highest degree of racket handling as control players depend on nimble wrist action and finger mastery to execute their shots. Technical players tend to hold their rackets looser than power players as not to overdo it with power, while allowing them to toggle between forehand and backhand grips with ease.
Weight of the grip is not as vital as the thickness for control players as generally this style of play favors head-light or even balanced racket weight distribution. Weight being located more towards the racket handle allows for superior control. If you are looking for a formidable head-light racket, check out our post describing the rapid fire of the Yonex Nanoflare Racket Series. If you are seeking a superior even balanced racket, read our post about the innovative dual impact of the Yonex Duora Racket Series.
Recommended Grip: Dry Grap, Wave Grap
Yonex Grip Products
Let’s take a look at what Yonex has to offer against the 3 categories of grips:
- Towel Grips
- Replacement / Original Grips
AUTHOR’S PICK. The Yonex Super Grap is the flagship overgrip that Yonex produces. Its popularity speaks for itself – since the launch of the super grap in 1987, there have been enough units of this product sold to wrap around the world 4 times (with an estimate to hit 5 by the summer of 2020).
The Yonex Super Grap displays great absorbency, durability and tack, without being too sticky. The Super Grap holds its out of the box feel and texture for a while before it starts deteriorating. Another key feature is the Super Grap’s ability to absorb shock from the racket, preventing its transfer to the players arm. This yields better control and feel of the racket.
One thing to watch for is that when replacing the Super Grap, there may be residue left on the original/replacement grip. While this is not permanent, players should be mindful to budget time and energy to clean off the residue before applying a new overgrip.
|Amazon||Black | Deep Blue | Deep Purple | Navy | Orange | White | Yellow | Lime Green|
|Yumo Pro Shop||Black | Deep Blue | Purple | Orange | White | Yellow | Wine Red | Pink | French Pink|
The Wave Grap overgrip is based on the classic Super Grap, but boasts increased comfort and shock absorption. The most noticeable difference between these two overgrips is the rubber strip that runs through the center of the grip. This rubber strip gives a ribbed feel to the grip, providing an increased feel of the racket to the player through a unique texture to grip.
The Wave Grap is comfortable and durable, and allows the player better racket control through the increased feel offered by the rubber center strip.
The Mesh Grap overgrip exhibits a perforated texture, otherwise observed as an array of tiny holes throughout the grip. The perforation allows for extra ventilation for excellent sweat absorption. The Mesh Grap is quite tacky and retains its stickyness even through long sessions of badminton where players duly perspire. As such, the gripping performance of the Mesh Grap is highly regarded.
Twin Wave Grap
Exhibiting the same features as the Wave Grap, the difference with the Twin Wave Grap is the inclusion of a second rubber strip embedded underneath the grip. A double-ribbed grip provides even more traction, cushioning and shock absorption, giving players even more options to wield and handle their racket.
The Strong Grap overgrip highlights delivery of comfort and control for the player. The Strong Grap is tackier than the Super Grap.
The Dry Grap overgrip offers the best feel for the player at the expense of tackiness. It offers great sweat absorption and low risks of developing blisters or the infamous callouses on badminton players. The surface of the grip is rather smooth in comparison to grips of raised surfaces such as the Wave Grap.
The main deterrent of the Dry Grab is its relatively low durability as compared to other overgrips.
The Towel Grip reigns supreme in its ability to absorb the sweat from a players hand or arm while. Typically made of cloth, the Towel Grip provides a uniquely soft and comfortable feeling to the players that use it. Light and thick in nature, the towel grip is ideal for power players who will grip their rackets forcefully to deliver dominating shots, with minimal risk of the racket slipping from their grasp.
The Towel Grip is thicker than all of the overgrips described above.
|Width||32 / 30 mm|
|Length||660 mm / 11.8 m|
|Amazon||Baby Blue | Blue | Yellow | Orange | Black|
|Yumo Pro Shop||Light Blue (SAX) | Yellow | Orange | Black | Red|
Hi Soft Grap
The Hi Soft Grap overgrip displays an extra soft feeling, providing maximum comfort to the player. The Hi Soft Grap is long lasting, and demonstrates non-slipping qualities. Similar to the Yonex Super Grap, this overgrip can leave behind a residue on the original/replacement grip through its usage. Players will need to budget time and energy to clean the racket handle after removing the Hi Soft Grap.
|Amazon||Black | Blue | Pink | Red | Yellow|
|Yumo Pro Shop||White | Pink | Yellow | Taki Blue | Red | Black|
Premium Grip Core Type
The Premium Grip Core Type is a thicker replacement grip that sports high shock absorption. It does not have an overly tacky feel and offers a comfortable grip.
Premium Grip Comfort Type
The Premium Grip Comfort Type replacement grip can be the thickest of all grips with a range of 1.6 – 2.6 mm. The Premium Grip Comfort Type provides utmost comfort through its supreme cushion grip – making gripping easy for players. The grip helps reduce the vibrations transmitted from the racket to the player’s hand when striking the shuttle.
|Thickness||1.6 – 2.6 mm|
Yonex Grip Accessories
The following products are not grips in and of themselves, but are accessories that will help extend the longevity of your grip of choice, or help alter the feel of the grip to best match a player’s ultimate preference.
The Cushion Wrap is an extremely thin material that is applied directly to the wooden handle. The purpose of the Cushion Wrap is to provide additional cushioning for the players and is more so relevant to professional players that have the a distinctive preference in the desired feel from the gripping of their racket.
To apply, players should first remove the original/replacement grip, then apply the cushion wrap with the number of layers that suit their preference. Check out this following video from the Yumo Pro Shop that demonstrates how to apply the Cushion Wrap.
Grip Powder 2
The Grip Powder 2 is a potent substance to reduce the amount of perspiration produced within a player’s palm. The Grip Powder 2 is excellent with water resistance and provides players prone to sweaty hands some relief with a cool and dry feeling – ultimately helping them maintain the optimal connection between their hand and the racket by drastically increasing traction. The Grip Powder 2 helps to artificially add tackiness when gripping.
The Grip Powder 2 is typically applied in small amounts directly to the player’s hand, rather than to the racket’s grip. Players will then rub the powder into their hand and enjoy its benefits (Note: a little powder can go a long way!). The Grip Powder 2 helps with extending the longevity of a grip by preventing too much moisture from seeping into the grips themselves – especially recommended to players whose desired grip is the Towel Grip.
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