Coaches Tiny Hands on Tap Swings

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


Mar 26, 2013
Hey, all! I'm so happy I finally have a question I can post here (yeah, I know, I'm a little weird). Anyway, I am working with a small group of old level 4's training (old) level 5 skills. They're all very tight, talented, determined girls, but they're small and have tiny hands. We started working tap swings a couple weeks ago and I've had several of them peel off (one of my littlest ones tried her taps 3 times in a row last night and peeled every stinking time!).

Right now, because of this, I'm giving them a lot of heavy spot during the "back" portion of the tap swing so I can easily catch them when and if they peel, but it's so consistent I was wondering if there was something I or they could do to remedy the situation. They use proper form (toes in front, not behind), they wear grips (non-dowel), and I make sure they use chalk, but I was wondering if there were any drills or conditioning I should have them doing to improve grips strength (NOTE: We do not have a rope), or if the peeling was something they will just grow out of as they improve? Any ideas are welcome!

Finally, random but somewhat related question, do any of you fellow coaches think it would be helpful for them to start using water and chalk on their grips? Right now I just have them using chalk (gym owner isn't a big fan of little girls using the spray bottle), but I've noticed they've rubbed most of the chalk off the high bar during practices and it seems pretty slick.

Thanks in advance! You guys are the best!
you need a little water with the chalk. it's how it is. or a bit of coke in with the water. also, if you don't have a rope, have them hang on the bar in both grips. hang for 60 seconds. or make a game for longer times and have them win a bottle of water or something else. this will increase their grip strength sans the rope. :)
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
We do not let our gymnasts use water until they are level 8's. But I do chalk the bar prior to each rotation, using water and chalk. We also do not put grips on our kids until AFTER 1 year of level 5, (old 5). I would have to say that the peeling has NOTHING to do with chalk or no chalk though,,, since thousands of gymnasts worldwide don't use chalk and some actually use a wet bar with zero chalk, (which is annoying at meets). But thats another subject... First off you need to look at the body position in the back swing, they should be in a hollow shape by the time the feet rise above the low bar. If they are arching all the way up to the top then this will contribute to peeling with the little ones. Second, lower the bar and stack a few soft mats including a soft cheese mat behind them so if they do peel off it won't kill them.... Third, spot and shape the back swing all summer. Next what size grips are they all in? if they are really small then a double zero should be the correct size, here is one of the smallest kids I have ever coached wearing a double zero doing giants after years of compulsories and tap swings, no problems peeling. She also was raised on regular grips never wore trainers,
I came across a gym that makes all their kids use grips once they start doing tap swings. That means you have ittie bitties in custom made grips. Honestly, it's not a bad idea or to have them just work their tap swings on a Men's High Bar.

I might allow those L4/5 to use grips for tap swings but degrip for kips and circle work.
If they're peeling every time from a swing generated under the bar, they most likely aren't strong enough. Try doing chin up hold on a ledge like a beam (so hanging more from the fingers than the hands) to strengthen the lower arm. Also, they should use water to chalk the grips.
Wow, thanks for all the help, guys! Tonight I'm going to teach my girls how to use the spray bottle (lightly!) on their grips with chalk and do a lot of "form" work for our tap swings to make sure potential falls happen safely. Also thanks for the drill ideas. I hadn't thought of doing plain ol' "holds" on bars, or chin-ups on the beam. Brilliant ideas from so many people, as always. I so love being part of this community. :D
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
Not open for further replies.

New Posts