Subject: Starting with dowel grips??
Gymnastics Level: 2
My daughter is one of the newest members of her gymnastics competition team although she has been taking classes (not to include uneven bars) for the past two years. She has incredible upper body strength and flexibility (she looks like a little body builder). People often stop and ask “Does she work out?” We just reply “she’s a gymnast.” My question is about the grips used for uneven bars. Her coach suggested she start using dowels as opposed to palm guards or pre dowels because of her strength. My concern is whether or not the dowels will pose a safety concern, because they are used primarily by higher level gymnasts. She is starting out level two but she may be a level 3 very shortly (says her coach). What are your thoughts concerning the use of dowels by new gymnasts?
Many, many gymnasts your daughter’s age use dowel grips safely so you should have no worries there. The use of palm grips or pre-dowels would require, at some point, that your daughter switch to dowel grips any way, so you might as well get it out of the way.
What is unusual is having your extremely strong daughter in a Level 2 or even a Level 3 program. I am assuming that you are in the USA Gymnastics training system and those programs are not real gymnastics at all. If your daughter is as strong and flexible as it seems, it would seem to me she should more appropriately be in a TOPs training (or similar) program fast tracking to higher level gymnastics. High strength levels at a young age are a prime indicator of a potential fast track gymnastics career. You should be asking if your gym has such a program and ask if there is any reason your daughter should not be placed in it.
Instead of four more years in a slow track or no track Compulsory program, your daughter could be jumping ahead in the sport based on her high strength and flexibility levels. Â Further information about the TOPs program that you should probably read is this article.
If your gym does not have such a program, you should find out why (they may have their own even better program) or take a look at gyms that do have a TOPs program.
Good luck to you and your daughter. Â It sounds like she has all the physical attributes to be a great gymnast. Â Please make sure she gets the training she needs.
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