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Towel Grip - Ultimate Use & Maintenance

Discussion in 'Grip' started by VeritasC&E, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. VeritasC&E

    VeritasC&E Regular Member

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    A Bit of History: I started with the factory grip from Victor and Forza, then Yonex. It was not optimal at all. My hands sweat (I wouldn't say profusely but enough apparently) so in order to play well I needed to go wash my hands with soap and dry them between every set. My first improvement was to use a wristband and a thin Yonex Overgrip. The wristband significantly decreased the amount of sweat ending up on the handle and the overgrip made the grip much less slipery, and this made it much easier for me to smash without failing on my gesture because of a slipery handle, though it also resulted in a considerably thicker handle, which is not optimal for quick handling. My second improvement was to replace the factory grip & yonex overgrip by Karakal PU Supergrip alone and use Magnesium carbonate in conjunction with the grip. In terms or peak performamce, this was very close to optimum already, but I could feel the annoyance of co-players as I'd have to add the powder on my hands about twice a set, and having to think about it was a distraction for myself. The good side is that it was easier to handle than the overgrip solution, and it yielded quite a constant performance (I admitedly had to keep powder on my hands for it to work well, but the grip itself would perform within 90% peak performance for a month at least before it needed to be changed).


    Now Towel Grip: I've now been using towel grip for a month or two (along with "Yonex Grip Powder 2") and I feel I'm getting close to optimum but I'm not quite there yet, so I thought it would be interesting to learn the optimal way to use and maintain it.

    I have a bit of a love and hate relationship with towel grip as on one side I've got my absolute best grip experience with it, but on the other side it's performance fluctuates a lot (it performs within 90% of it's peak performance on two sessions max and it's still hard for me to anticipate when). If it were performing optimally from the beginning and then rapidly deteriorate it would be a bliss, I'd just change it very often and it would be the end of it, but that's not the case either. To complicate things further I use two different brands, which perform quite differently.


    Hereafter is what I've observed so far:

    > Babolat towel grip (White) has short "hair" with high density. It is the best peak performance I've ever had, but it's also the least constant performer of the two I've tried, it does not seem to last long at all (I feel like it would need to be changed every 1 to 3 sessions) and it seems not to improve much at all upon any maintenance trick I've tried so far

    > Victor towel grip (White) seems to have slightly longer "hair" with a bit less density. It is quite ok to play with. Performance also drops rapidly after the two first sessions, but it gets much better if it get's "combed" with a knife once dry. Unlike the Babolat grip, it rapidly looks like shit (especially when knife-combed) but it continues to perfom quite well and it's very durable this way (I'm trying to see how far I can go but I've been playing 4 weeks with the same knife-combed Victor towel grip and it's still performs well enough that I'm not feeling the urge to change it yet, despite the chaotic/wild appearance).

    > As mentionned earlier, neither brand plays well out of the package. It feels like they've been washed with softening product or something; not ideal.

    > Towel grip starts feeling better after a few hours of sweat on it. I tried to reproduce this by putting a bit of water on a 2 weeks old towel gripped handle before playing but though a tad better than dry 2 weeks old towel grip it didn't reproduce the same performance as sweat.

    > Towel grip get's bad as it dries between sessions. You can clearly see the difference between the middle and bottom portion and the higher end of the handle: where the hand has held the handle the towel "hair" aggregate while drying instead of remaining loose. This aggregated portion is more slippery than normal towel, especially when dry, and this is the main issue at hand. Wetting it makes it a bit better but it doesn't disaggregate it.

    > From day one I let my racket handles dry out of the bags between sessions (for sanitary reasons), but according to what I've read on the forum if anything this should be beneficial against the issue at hand

    > I've observed that putting grip powder on my hand, and spreading it completely thereon before touching the handle is better than following the manufacturers' advice and putting the powder on the handle directly

    > I've read on the forum that "combing" the towel hair once dry can help. I tried several versions of this and ended up doing the same by using the thin/cutting portion of a knife at 90 degree angle on the towel grip once dry in order to "scrap" the hair loose. It doesn't restore the towel's properties completely but it does help somewhat against the aggregation (a lot so on the Victor towel grip, restoring 50-70% of it's lost performance, but sadly without as much effect on the Babolat towel grip, whose shorter, higher density "hair" remain more aggregated). In any case, that's the best trick I've found so far.


    I've seen the peak performance on the Babolat towel grip which is "grip heaven" to me, and I've seen the effects of one great maintenance trick on the Victor towel grip (which I've now used at a quite good performance level for ~4 weeks!). So I'd hope that with the right use I'll be able to employ the Babolat towel grip at peak performance >90% of the time it sits on my racket, even if that needs to be as short as two weeks.


    To this effect I'd love to get some tips / advice from the elite players on the forum regarding the maintenance and use of towel grip. Any additional piece of advice can help.
     
    #1 VeritasC&E, Dec 7, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    boon_keng likes this.
  2. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    I hate that. And when it gets better, it's close to needing to change them again. That's one of the reasons why I always come back to PU grips after trying towel grips every few years.

    Well, I'm not an elite player, certainly, but even I have three of the same racket to be able to change after the string breaks or when the grip gets slippery. Even at my level, that's totally normal. It even is pretty common to bring a side racket to the court at a tournament in case the string breaks.
    This and a wristband is enough for me when using good PU grips for sweaty hands.

    Sorry I cannot help with the towel grip maintenance, but let me know when you've found the magic formula.
     
    VeritasC&E likes this.
  3. VeritasC&E

    VeritasC&E Regular Member

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    My best conclusion so far:

    1) Change the towel grip after each play session (Babolat)

    2) Just try to sweat as much as possible during warm up without using any grip powder until the grip is humid with sweat

    3) Then ~30-40min into the play session use a tiny bit of grip powder spread on your hand, not directly on the towel grip.

    The grip will then play perfectly for the rest of the play session (whether that's 2 or 5 hours after the initial 30-40min warm-up).

    Only drawbacks are:

    a) the huge towel grip turnover rate (1 Session = 1 Grip Change);

    b) the racket's wooden handle starts deteriorating with the frequent changes (at some point wooden fibers start comming off when the towel grip is removed).

    Does anyone have a better conclusion as to the optimal use of towel grip?
     
  4. Okaharu

    Okaharu Regular Member

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    Personally don't play with towel grips, but my friends who do, wrap the wooden handle with a layer of electrical tape.
    So it looks something like this:
    100305170522afb09ae0737c72.jpg
    1. Slows down deterioration rate of the wooden handle from perspiration
    2. Grip adhesive doesn't rip off wooden fibre
    Think it's good practice for all racquets using towel grip or not.

    If you think your wooden handle is coming to the end of its life, you can always replace it yourself.
    MBS for example, sells replacements: http://www.mybadmintonstore.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=909#.XE0V0i2B1E4

    Here's a guide on how to do so credits to badmintoncn. Pretty self explanatory just from following the infographics.
    http://bbs.badmintoncn.com/thread-200654-1-1.html
     
    VeritasC&E likes this.
  5. VeritasC&E

    VeritasC&E Regular Member

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    Awesome tips! : )
     
  6. adrianh

    adrianh Regular Member

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    this post made me try towel grips for the first time - yonex ac402dx and an apacs towel grip.
    I don't know if i'm doing something wrong, but i actually find fresh towel grips unusable and only starts becoming usable once it aggregates and bunches up. The apacs towel grip has been through 3 2 hour sessions and now looks like dried plaster, but it actually feels quite good once it is a little moist. I can't go back to my ac102ex grips now and i still have maybe 50 of them :(
     
  7. VeritasC&E

    VeritasC&E Regular Member

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    What you report is very luch the norm: You can't play well with towel grip no matter what until you are at least 30min into it (peak performance being about 1h to 3h into a new grip).

    You can get "faster" into peak performance by using some amount of grip powder (on your hand), but the more you'll use, also the faster the towel grip will end up useless.

    The durations you are using your grips seem too long for me (at least with Babolat). Because the towel grip won't get its peak performance anymore after it dries, even if you just played an hour with it, I have settled to the rule of changing the towel grip at the end of every play session (and even with that, within a single play session, when they go up to 5-6h: I find myself wishing I could just use two of them per such long session).
     
    #7 VeritasC&E, Mar 10, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019

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