My young team kids are always anxious to get grips. When the coveted item is ordered, delivered, and the package ripped open, the gymnast believes she is the luckiest girl in the world! She will wear her new grips around the house (or to bed) with pride, and romanticize the rite of passage that will occur the following day at gym. Unfortunately, it only takes one workout and the magic is gone. Much to the mother’s frustration, the forty dollar purchase sits in a grip bag, an item of contention. (click here to learn more about purchasing grips).
Why do girls struggle with grips so often at the beginning?
Gripping the bar with a leather-bound hand is unique. It can be uncomfortable. If the leather is stiff, often times gymnasts feel loss of control. Grips become scary.
What can be done to assist in the adjustment process?
After you have confirmed with a coach that the grips are the right size, you can begin the “breaking-in” process. American Gymnasts provides some great tips in this video:
First: soften the leather. Roll the leather down over the dowel and back up.
Second: use sandpaper to widen the finger holes to a comfortable size (not so large that they slip on and off too easily)
Third: practice using the grips while performing basic swinging motions. I often times suggest that gymnasts attend Open Gym with their new grips. This way they can spend time swinging and hanging on the bar without wasting their normal practice time.
There are many things you should not do to your grips. Find the DO NOT list here.