Sweat—or sweaty hands, in particular—is the bane of any tennis player.
If you are playing in a very hot and humid climate, you probably know what I mean. Sweaty hands can easily discourage tennis players from playing because they can ruin your game in the blink of an eye.
So how to deal with sweaty hands in tennis? A combination of a wrist band, a sweat absorbing overgrip, and a moisture-wicking towel is an excellent way to deal with sweaty hands in tennis. Antiperspirant sprays, grip enhancers, or a rosin bag can also help in dealing with sweaty hands while playing tennis.
I have experimented with various ways and methods of reducing and keeping sweating under control while playing tennis.
Not all methods have shown the same efficacy, but a good combination of a few different techniques can make your next tennis match (or tournament) a lot more pleasant.
Let’s take a look.
How Sweaty Hands Affect Your Tennis Game
Not all tennis players will have to worry about sweaty hands while playing tennis. However, for others, sweat will be a constant battle. Sweaty hands can destroy any hope for becoming a better tennis player.
If your hands and palms are sweating excessively, this will affect your grip and control of the racquet.
You will be more likely to have the racquet fly off your hand as you swing. This can damage your racquet and essentially eliminate any hope of playing well. But that is not all. If your hand is sweaty and you cannot get a good grip on the handle, you will end up using more force to prevent the racquet from slipping away. This will not only tire you out faster, but it can also lead to blisters.
Some people may be predisposed to sweating, but it will often be due to the ambient and weather conditions. High temperatures, high humidity, and closed off courts that are not temperature controlled can cause excessive sweating. (People in Florida know what I am talking about.)
How to Deal With Sweaty Hands in Tennis
1. Get Extra Overgrips
I cannot stress enough on the importance of overgrips.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of overgrips, (1) overgrips that provide more tackiness, and (2) overgrips geared toward extra sweat absorption.
Choosing the right overgrip can make a whole world of a difference, and seeing how we need something to deal with the extra sweat the absorbent overgrips are the ones that we need to focus on.
Usually, overgrips that have higher moisture-absorbing power will also be perforated, which improves their ability to dampen the sweat and makes them a little more breathable.
A high-quality moisture-absorbing overgrip is a must.
A lot of tennis players swear by the Tourna grip and the Yonex Tennis Overgrips. The Tourna grip is hands down one of the most popular types of overgrips because the more sweat it absorbs, the grippier it becomes. Another overgrip that performs very well under these conditions is the Wilson Pro Perforated Overgrip.
Base grips usually last a very long time, but overgrips need to be changed more frequently, especially if you sweat a lot—in which case you may need to change your overgrips every 3 to 24 hours of play, or even more often.
Bring a few spare overgrips and a pair of scissors so that you can change your racquet’s overgrip if necessary.
Don’t play with an old overgrip—especially if your hands and palms sweat a lot. Old, worn-out overgrip will cause your hands to get even sweatier and negatively impact your game even more.
2. Use a Hand Sanitizing Gel
Wash your hands with regular water, dry them up, and apply some hand sanitizing gel.
This will keep your hands nice and dry for a while.
The sanitizing gel will remove the dirt, dead skin, and skin oils that tend to accumulate on your hands as you play.
3. Use a Grip Enhancer
Keep in mind that you will have to reapply those grip enhancers often at changeovers.
4. Use an Antiperspirant Spray
There is a whole myriad of different antiperspirants and deodorants. However, I am not referring to those but a particular product line of antiperspirant sprays.
Those can be a little more aggressive, but I have found that they do an excellent job in sweat prevention even for people that have hyperhidrosis.
They are applied very rarely sometimes once every one to two weeks and will keep your hands from sweating. I tried a few products like the Odaban Antiperspirant Spray for a while, and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.
Those are great, but you have to be careful not to touch your eyes. The antiperspirant can create that distinct burning sensation, which, in all honesty, is not very pleasant.
5. Use Wristbands
Wristbands are one of those small accessories that can make all the difference sometimes. Although wristbands may look cool, this is not their main purpose.
You can try to keep your hands dry using everything I have talked about so far; however, the whole venture will be fruitless if you don’t do anything for the sweat that will run down your arms.
Some people will just have a lot more sweat running down from their arms, and a good wristband will do wonders for them. Wristbands come in various sizes; wider ones will do a better job of absorbing more sweat than regular ones.
Keep a few wristbands in your bag. They are a great addition to your tennis accessories and will keep your hands noticeably dryer.
6. Get Yourself a Towel
I know it seems like an obvious thing, but you may be surprised at how many people forget to bring a suitable towel with them on the court.
The word ‘suitable’ is the key here.
Not all towels are created equal and will have the same moisture-absorbing qualities. I have made that mistake a few times, and trust me, some towels are irreplaceable, while others will barely do anything to get the sweat away from your hands.
Keep the towel somewhere handy where you can easily take it and wipe your hands dry.
Getting to the court without a towel, not that you need me telling you this, will leave you with having to wipe your hands on your clothing, which is neither hygienic nor effective.
7. Use a Rosin Bag
A rosin bag is a must-have if your hands and palms tend to sweat a lot while playing tennis. (Liquid chalk is another good alternative.)
Some players have been known to bring talcum or chalk powder, but this is a little inconvenient and messy. Rosin bags are more convenient and easy to use.
Quality rosin bags, like the one by Hot Glove, are usually cheap and will last you a lot of time—at least a few months or so, depending on how often you use them.
However, the only downside is that a rosin bag will ruin your overgrip and potentially your base grip as well. With time and sweat accumulation, the talc that has accumulated on your hands and your grip will get very messy and slimy.
8. Use the Right Clothing
The clothing you use is of the utmost importance. There is a good reason why experts are always trying to improve the sports clothing athletes use.
Using the right clothing can do wonders for you. There are plenty of tennis t-shirts and shorts that are specifically designed to keep you cool and dry.
Don’t forget to bring a few extra shirts to the court as well. If your t-shirt gets too sweaty, make sure to change into a dry one. This will keep you fresher and more confident.
9. Rotate Racquets
Those who can afford it should have a few matched racquets.
Even two racquets can be more than enough as you can switch between them back and forth at changeovers.
That way, you will give the sweaty racquet grip enough time to dry.
How Not to Deal With Sweaty Hands in Tennis
Some tennis plays may be tempted to use gloves, of course, your mileage may vary, however, gloves will do little to nothing about sweaty hands. In fact, they can make matters worse as they soak up the sweat and as a result of the reduced ventilation.
That being said, I know some tennis players that have seen a lot of improvement by using a golf rain glove. Their grip is designed in such a way that it will hold even when soaking wet. So it may be worth giving it a try.
If you are suffering from a medical condition that causes excessive sweating such as hyperhidrosis, then you may need to undergo some treatment like taking or applying some topical medications or undergoing a surgical procedure. In any case, this has first to be discussed with your doctor.
Don’t use the methods I have listed above for sweat prevention all at the same time—but use a combination of them.
Some of these will be almost mandatory, while others will be optional and interchangeable like the antiperspirant sprays and grip gels—using both may not necessarily hurt your performance, but it can make for a messy experience.
Experiment and find what combination works best for you.