One common question I get from tennis players when showing them taping techniques is “ is pre-wrap worth using?”
In my opinion there are only a few specific indications for pre-wrap, otherwise, direct tape-to-skin is best practice. Those include taping over an excessively large area, adhesive allergy, sunburn, or any other inflammatory skin condition necessitating a softer touch.
The reason I typically counsel athletes not to use pre-wrap is that for tape to work in restraining a joint/muscle it must have as much resistance to that joint or muscle as possible, putting pre-wrap in between that structure and the tape just provides another layer for that tape to interact with, when it should be interacting with the skin.
Remember, the skin is a barrier to tape as well, that is why we use adhesives and “locking’ techniques with tape to make it more resistant to movements.
Typically, tape that is adhered to the skin has a peak performance of only 45 minutes, anything that impedes the function of the tape further with take that peak performance time down.