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Jan 2, 2008
Bay City, MI
My daughter is almost 9 years old. Last summer her coach said she wasn't ready for grips. A while back her coach had her put some on and try them, but didn't tell us to buy some. How can you tell when she is ready for grips? She wants them so bad and I keep telling her she will get them soon. She is a level 6.
Nov 5, 2007
I don't know if they have to be ready or not.I think it is up to the coach.Some believe they should start with grips when they learn kips others not.My daughter is a Level 8.Does not have any grips right now but her coach wants her to start using grips after the competition season when they start learning release skills for Level 9 and 10.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
My gymmie got hers once they started working giants full time after her L6 season was over. Best time to get them once she needs them is after a competition season. They do take a little getting used to.


Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
Pacific NW
If all the other Level 6s have them, I don't know why the coach wouldn't want her to. If it's because her hands are small, there are several brands that make extra narrow grips for little hands, so she should be able to find something that fits. Waiting until after the season to get used ot them makes sense though.
Feb 17, 2008
in our gym when your tap swings get above the bar on each side regularly you are 'ready' to get grips. our level 5's trying to go 6 just got their grips last week. They were extremely excited! but I don't really think it matters when you get grips.


With girls, our coach likes to have them get grips after kips at least. Part of this will also depend on their grip strength ( going hand in hand usually with their overall strength ) , size of hand, and swing height.

I put my boys in grips as soon as they have a decent technical swing that is really starting to get big. No hiccups. Also if I see them taking steps in their swing to reduce their swing because they are starting to swing past their grip strength is also an indicator.

Getting back to girls, it will also depend on what they are doing. Basically, if they are grip strong itty bitty, I probably wouldn't have to put her in grips even if she was doing giants.

Some of this also depends on how tough their hands are. Grips are not a cure all for the abuse of bars, but can alleviate it somewhat. I don't particularly care about rips on the base of the hand caused by the grip as this isn't as bad IMO and steps can be taken to deal with it.


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Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding to put girls in grips. It kind of funny that the girls are so desparate to get grips when they don;t have them but almost always they hate them once they get them and pretend to leave them at home and we have to force the girls to wear them because getting used to them is difficult and they feel like grips make things worse.


1. How much time the girls spend on bars each training session and each week? If they are doing 40 minute or longer bar sessions then grips are failry important because they increase the amount of time the girls can work on bars. If they are doing 20 minute or less bar sessions then they tend to spend more time putting them on, adjusting them and chalking up than being on the bars.

2. Does your daughter rip easily and frequently complain of sore hands? All kids have a different skin type and some kids have more sensitive hands than others, kids with more sensitive hands need grips earlier. Some kids have really tough hands and go right through optionals without them. The girls body weight will play a big role too. Heavier girls rip more because there is more pressure on their hands. Heavier gymnasts need grips earlier than lighter gymnasts.

3. Can your daughter grip the bar well and do failry good skills? It sounds like she can if she is in level 6. We like the girls to have their kip very consistent and solid with straight arms before grips.

4. Is it a good time to be getting used to them? Avoid changing to grips mid competition season. The ideal time is at the begining of their non competing season.


Be Patient

I'm sure your coach is waiting for the end of the season. My dd always said she had to re-learn her skill with grips. She was also very tiny and it took an entire off-season for her to adjust. She couldn't wait to get them like the "big girls" but after a few weeks her coach had to make her get them out of her locker. lol! She still acts the same way when breaking in a new pair.
Jan 2, 2008
Bay City, MI
She has very tough hands. Her coach has her carry a calluse remover in her bag. I can't even remember the last time she had a rip, probally 1 year ago. She has had 8.500 on level 6 bars before, but her bars isnt the greatest yet. Her kips are very nice, her big problem is keeping her body tight! Being so young is probally a advantage for her give her more time too get use to them. Joyce:p


Most coaches don't want girls to start using them in the middle of competition season. As a lot of others said - some have to "re-learn" skill with grips since the feel of the bar is different. My dd's coach had them start using grips when going from level 5 to 6.


In our gym they get them when they have mastered a low bar and high bar kip. My duaghter got her first pair while working her kip and made the kip the first time she used grips (so she was sold). This weekend we saw Level 10's from Funtastics performing really big skills with NO grips...DD was horrified!
Feb 26, 2007
Charlotte Mackie a Canadian Elite gymnast doesn't use grips, none of the gymnasts from her club (Omega BC) wear grips ever, they are awesome bar workers.

I think the coaches of each club dictate when and if girls use grips. Some clubs we compete against have their girls wear grips from the start, our club some wear grips, some do not, it is their choice.


Jun 26, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Wow, I never even noticed that Charlotte Mackie doesn't wear grips, and she's one of my favourite gymnasts.

Edit: Gael Mackie (Charlotte Mackie's older sister) wear grips even though she's also from Omega Gymnastics.
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Feb 26, 2007
She began to wear grips after she went to school in the states, if you check old vids she didn't wear grips as a younger gymnast. I sat with Brit Rogers parents and the other club parents last yea, none of their girls wear grips. Odd, but true.
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