For Coaches Slippery handguards

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Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Hi

I have a girl who has been using grips for the last 2 months. They fit her well as far as i can tell (Can someone explain exactly what categorizes a good fit). The problem is this. we have 1 set of UB. When i chalk up the bars (How do you chalk up the UB and keep them that way??), by the time the competitive girls get on all the rec kids have wiped of the chalk. Unfortunately everytime she gets on we have i am slipping issues. I chalk up the bar, 2-3 goes later she feels the bar is slippery again. No other girl has complained of this before..so its a new issue. I accept that it is probably a genuine one as well, and not some dramatization from this girl.

I guess my questions are:
1- How do you a grips supposed to be fitted. What makes good fitting grips
2- How do you maintain and upkeep you grips so they stay gripy. The girl i refer too, her grips are smooth as silk. I get her to sand/rub of the chalk and roughen them up..is that good.??
3- How do you chalk up the UB?? what do you use?
4- How do you keep the chalk up?

I was never a gymnast so i have never worn guards. Personally having done more UB work than HB work, i feel like i would rather have sore hands than use guards (on HB its a different story). ANy help would be really handy. I suppose i am after finding out all there is to know about using hand guards and preparing the bars?

Thanks
 
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K

KBT

Guest
We try to keep our rec kids off the team bars for this very reason. Spraying the bars with water and rubbing chalk into the bar seems like the best way to do it, but it's going to come off after a few turns.

How is her grip strength? It may be that the grips are making it harder for her to feel the bar and grip it, which can make it feel like she's slipping and going to peel. Maybe some thinner grips would help? I feel like I'm slipping all the time now due to decreased grip strength from an arm injury.

I like my grips all roughed up. I use one of those wire brushes to rough them up (or a bar cable in a pinch) and only chalk my hands, not the grip. I do not use water or chalk caked on the bar because it feels more slippery to me. I also get new grips more frequently than most people because once the leather gets flattened, it's impossible to rough them up.

This might be a situation when honey on the bars would work. Although I don't know how that would affect the other kids.
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Thanks.. i will just have to invest in the brush and get it sorted.
At least i know that i am not exactly doing anything wrong.
 
E

emacmommy

Guest
Which tpe of grips are she using? Beginning palm guards (no dowel) or dowels? I didn't catch the Level either?

If she is using dowels sometimes the issue is where the pressure on the dowel is being placed... usually the dowel is too high above the fingers, hence a similar issue of not being able to feel/grip the bar well.

The type of skills she's trying will also help me decide if she is using the right "tension/pressure" on her grips.
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
She is working kipping and giants, clearhips to HS, ect.. Level 5 (in NZ).
She is using dowel grips. Had a look today when she just stand and holds the bar the dowel is about bar level (the bottom of the bar). They grips are definitely in need of a scrape, which we have been doing but the stiff brush thing is needed for sure.

I think that what it comes down to is to constantly keep chalking up and caking on the chalk.

Is there any other info i can provide to help you help me.

Thanks
 
E

emacmommy

Guest
As she grips the bar the dowel should be under the top joint line or so of her middle finger and the ring finger next to it should also be able to apply pressure to the dowel. At the same time the leather that extends down through the palm to the wrist section of the grip should be taught, as if the leather is pulling on the buckle or velcro portion of the grip. If the grips are stretched or too big they will feel like the may slip, chalked or not.

As for applying chalk, it is a matter of finding what works for you. KBT likes her grips dry, but rough. I used to like mine caked using a combination of water (water bottle spray) and block chalk. Spray, pick up crumbled chalk from box, get the chalk to stick to the grips by rubbing both grips together, finish caking and drying up the grip with the block chalk on individual hands. After I block chalked, I didn't rub the grips together anymore. Also used my fingers to make sure the chalk was caking into the water and the water was fully absorbed. Now, grip manufacturers nowadays warn that excess water will speed up the stretch process, so monitor the state of her grips carefully. Have her store them wrapped in a ball around themselves... I can post a picture if necessary. Water use will also make the grips dry in the wrong shape if she just leaves them laying in a bag.

I asked about the skills she was working because the drop on many skills will provide the best opportunity to "lock" (or apply pressure on) the dowel. Lots and lots of taps (just hanging arch-hollow tap drills) will help her get comfortable with that locking feeling). The dowel is there to help the fingers apply better and even pressure around the bar, so less of the palm of the hand has friction. If she is afraid of the drop, it will be more difficult to get a good dowel grip on the bars.

I hope my explanations make sense. Unfortunately, it is a very hard concept to "teach" how a dowel should feel. They just have to keep sticking with it until they get it and the dowel works for them.

Feel free to volley any other questions at me.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
As for applying chalk, it is a matter of finding what works for you. KBT likes her grips dry, but rough. I used to like mine caked using a combination of water (water bottle spray) and block chalk. Spray, pick up crumbled chalk from box, to "adhere" the grips togother by rubbing both grips together, finish caking and drying up the grip with the block chalk on individual hands. After I block chalked, I didn't rub the grips together anymore. Also used my fingers to make sure the chalk was caking into the water and the water was fully absorbed. Now, grip manufacturers nowadays warn that excess water will speed up the stretch process, so monitor the state of her grips carefully. Have her store them wrapped in a ball around themselves... I can post a picture if necessary. Water use will also make the grips dry in the wrong shape if she just leaves them laying in a bag.
This is how most people I know chalk their grips. I don't know anyone who doesn't use water. I can't imagine being able to hold on, but maybe that's because everyone else uses water, I don't know. I never bothered balling mine up and they were always fine, but it probably depends on the kind of leather you have. Mine was a harder kind. My grips have lasted 5+ years with daily water use. I know the manufacturers say not to, but according to equipment manufacturers you're basically voiding their warranty by using a mat on your beam or bars, and I've done both those things too ;)

Honestly it sounds to me like she just isn't used to grips yet. It took me at least 6 months before I was competing with grips and there are numerous stories on here about gymnasts taking more than 2 months to adjust. You do feel like you're slipping at first particularly if you aren't chalking them right and the bar isn't chalked right but having done both, I would much rather wear grips. Some high level gymnasts can work bars great without grips but there's a reason that probably the majority do wear them. I have also swung on HB without grips and while it hurts more, I think it's easier to hold on...even without my thumbs wrapped (cause whenever I do it, all the guys who see are like "you better wrap your thumbs..." so I gather that's some acceptable technique or something on there).

Edit: also, another kind of grip might suit her better. Even if they fit lengthwise, if she has relatively small hands, she may be better suited for some of the slim-cut type of grips like Hot Shots. Obviously it would be best to be able to use the ones she's already purchased, but if it's still not working out, then it might be something to look into.
 
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Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Thanks everyone i think i have enough now to know what to look for and sort it out.. I think i know the issues at hand.
Until now i have been telling her not to use the spray on her guards but clearly that is not the case..
Its cool...let me try things out and get back to you all.
Thanks everyone for the advice.
 
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