Rik Feeney is one of our most prolific gymnastics coach authors.
The best guide still for parents with questions about what happens after their child is invited into competitive women’s gymnastics is his 1992 book simply titled Gymnastics.
Checking Rik’s website â€” Gymnastics Training Tips â€” is inspirational.
But did you know that Rik has has articles posted which you can download and republish for free? (One of these might be ideal for a club newsletter.)
One I particularly like is called: How to size, break in, and take care of your grips
It’s written by Mike Jacobs from US Glove and edited by John Deary of Dearyâ€™s Gymnastics Supply.
The article has information on selection and sizing of “hand guards” for bars, rings and horizontal bar:
… never borrow a teammateâ€™s grips …
… it’s always a good idea to have a backup pair of grips broken in and ready for use in case of untimely breakage.
… keep your wristbands clean and in good condition and to discard worn or thin wristbands.
Suppliers are also often asked to recommend Velcro or buckle closure. This decision is a personal choice. What does the athlete or coach prefer? Velcro is easier for younger athletes, but many higher-level coaches prefer buckles because they are more secure and the athlete does not have a tendency to wrap and unwrap the Velcro closure constantly throughout a workout. Constant wrapping and unwrapping the Velcro straps on their handgrips causes the Velcro to wear out long before the useful life of the grip.
Athletes often complain about breaking in new handgrips. …
When not in use it is a good idea to store your grips in a separate bag to protect them from damage from other items in your gym bag. This will also keep the chalk and smell of the grips from transferring to the other items in your gym bag.
Read the full article on Rik Feeney’s website …
The most important topic of discussion is the question of water usage on handgrips.
Mike Jacobs says that water usage on leather is not recommended.
“Water can cause deterioration and rotting, as well as stretching of the leather. This can shorten the life of your grips.”
Yet many gymnasts persist in using water to both “break in” new grips and in day to day training.
Of course you must cut grips in half once they are weakened or a nick appears in either edge as they can “rip”. Don’t simply toss old hand guards in the trash (as some inexperienced gymnast might pull them out and use them). The cutting of old hand guards was a ritual in our gym â€” often with the gymnast jumping up and down, complaining that they are still perfectly good.
Reisport are still my favourite grips.