I’m sure that all cricketers have at one point in their cricketing career had to deal with the arduous and frustrating task of adjusting their grip after it has risen up from the bottom of the handle. I have seen a few interpretations of players trying to stop this from happening, using a number of things from sellotape, fibreglass edge tape or even the unsightly yellow and green striped electrical tape – with all proving to be ineffective.
It seemed that this familiar problem would never be solved until the introduction of the revolutionary and innovative GripGrip, which was released nearly two years ago.
GripGrip, like many ground breaking products, came from humble, home grown origins. GripGrip creator, Mike Trim, was approached by his grandson to fix his bat grip from riding up the handle, which he was finding distracting to his game. From there, GripGrip was born. After a mission to help out a family member, the realisation was that many, if not all cricketers suffer from this ailment and this tape could finally provide a solution to the age old problem.
What is it, and what is the science behind it?
In a nutshell, GripGrip is a highly flexible and stretchy black rubber tape; in fact it is so flexible that it can stretch up to ten times its original length before snapping. The tape is also incredibly thin. It has to be, because any thicker, and a batsman may be able to feel it – as many cricketers are particular about their handle shapes and specifications, so their desired feel would be lost. The brilliant scientific part about GripGrip is that, during the manufacturing process, the makers discovered that rubber doesn’t move very much when it is stretched tightly over rubber. You can test this by placing two eraser rubbers over the top of each other and try and rub them together, but you’ll find that there’s so much friction between them that they’ll barely move.
What are the benefits?
In advertising, the company selling a product to a market is not specifically selling you that product, but the end benefit it produces. For instance, take a new lawn mower, the company isn’t actually selling you the mower, but instead a smart new lawn. It is in the sizzle, not the sausage. With GripGrip, the benefits are massive: it provides an end to constant re-gripping and grip replacement, no more concerns about the grip moving up during an innings or during a shot, which in turn helps to generate confidence in a player’s batting.
The additional benefits of GripGrip are that it has no adhesive or glue – it sticks to itself – leaving no residue or any adverse affects to the binding or the grip that it sits underneath. This makes it incredibly easy to apply and remove; taking just a few minutes to put on. If my fellow blog author and IJC Owner, Paul Cole, the world’s most unpractical man, can apply GripGrip then it should be a doddle for you!
If you are unsure of how to apply GripGrip to the handle of your bat, or if you don’t believe that Paul can actually apply it, check out his video here (he probably had a couple of attempts before shooting it anyway!) It’s just as easy to remove, but once it’s off, it’s off – you can’t reapply it.
Therefore, GripGrip is not only a product that is an innovative problem solver, but can also assist with performance. I would stress however, that GripGrip is not designed, nor will it be marketed as a performance enhancing product. It can help performance by minimising distractions and annoyances, but it cannot help you become a better batsman (sorry!)
As I have mentioned in previous posts, batting and cricket in general is a very personal and individual game, despite being a team sport. Many batsmen have routines and rituals at the crease, either in marking their guard or readying themselves for facing their next delivery and having something like their grip ride up the handle during their innings can be a very distracting thing, putting them off their stride, especially if they are in the moment and very much absorbed in their innings.
For example, imagine that you are batting and in the second ball of an over that you are facing, after playing a shot, you see that your grip has risen up the handle. For the remaining four balls (if you can survive them), part of you is going to think ‘I need to get my grip sorted at the end of the over’ and that part of you that was thinking and watching the ball and wondering what to do, is now focussed on the grip of your bat. With the application of GripGrip, this should eradicate this distraction.
Why do bat grips ride up? Can’t grips just be made differently?
GripGrip is especially beneficial for bottom handed players: cricketers who play more shots where the bottom hand takes control of the bat, where a greater amount of force is generated in the bottom of the handle, forcing the grip to ride up. These players are more likely to experience their grip riding up their handle. But really, GripGrip assists all type of cricketers, at all levels. The main reason why the rubber grip rises up a cricket bat handle is that when a shot is played, particularly cross batted shots such as the pull or hook, the hands of the cricketer twists the rubber grip upon impact of the ball. The boffins at GripGrip found, through the assistance of super slo-mo cameras, that when the rubber is twisted, albeit marginally on some occasions, the only direction it can go is up.
GripGrip is unique to the cricket equipment market as it caters for a universal cricket problem, making it a universal product and we have noticed this first-hand at It’s Just Cricket, as we have been shipping them all over the world in the past year or so. Not only does it solve a problem for batsmen, but also for coaches. GripGrip’s importance is perhaps even greater for coaches, who perform a large amount of one handed hitting, gripping solely at the bottom of the grip, where this ‘bottom handed play’ will only be exacerbated.
Secondly, many junior cricket coaches have introduced GripGrip to the players that they teach, to use on their bats. Primarily, for the same reasons as adult cricketers, but also because a coach will often be approached before, or during a coaching session to help with a player whose grip has risen up the bat handle. It may only take a few minutes to sort out, but this time taken could have been put to better use: coaching. A main reason junior grips are often a problem a is that many manufacturers will consider the junior grip to be an afterthought, it is either just an adult grip cut down to size – which can hamper the structural integrity of the grip – or a poor quality grip.
This is something I have seen first-hand having helped in coaching junior cricket at my club, which I’m pleased to say gets more popular with each season. I saw a player’s bat grip that was inches from where it should really be, so I sorted it out before they went into bat. Shortly after, I had a couple of players come up to me asking for me to do the same for their grips. I’m sure that it’s other coaches and not just myself, dealing with this carousel of junior cricketers requiring their grips to be repositioned.
Taking the World by Storm!
I truly believe that GripGrip is a ground breaking and game changing product. There aren’t many products or features that products possess that are frequently talked about in my standard of cricket (village league cricket) as much as GripGrip is. At the beginning of a new season, a bowler may buy a brand new sparkly pair of Adidas Vectors with teammates and opposition commenting on how bright and garish they are, but that’s as far as the topic of the conversation goes, there’s nothing talked on the Adiprene foam or the bevelled heel spike positioning; but with GripGrip it’s always when someone has a grip that has risen up the handle that the phrase ‘oh, you need some of that GripGrip stuff, mate’ is churned out. For me, it goes to show that if the people in my region of extremely rural Kent know about GripGrip, they must be doing pretty well for themselves.
Interestingly, GripGrip was in fact initially targeted for the amateur and recreational levels of cricket and on hearing the benefits, professional players wanted to start using it too. The testimonials and positive feedback that the professionals provided helped to boost publicity even further and the affinity and trust that many amateur players place on professional cricketers using a particular product or brand meant that more amateur cricketers started purchasing GripGrip, creating a full circle effect for the product.
Personally, I like the way GripGrip operate on their social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. They love their cricket but don’t feel the need to take themselves too seriously and repeatedly churn out the same sales bumph about their product, like some other brands tend to do. Instead, in keeping with the modern trend, they create humorous videos such as the ever popular ‘tag a mate who would do this’ in a video where a professional cricketer has made an embarrassing mistake. Or even the ‘thug life’ style videos where Jos Buttler’s recent audacious stand up reverse sweep in the ODI against Pakistan being compared to a coaching drill being led by Ian Bell about technique, proved popular.
Value for money & it fits nicely in the bag!
After hearing on feedback from the product launch in 2014; the product was rebranded in early 2015 with two price points: The Pro, and Strips. Pro, is the original product and comes in the form of a roll and is used by most professionals around the globe. It is ideal for players who have a number of bats, but also great for coaches and club teams wanting to share the roll amongst the squad. Secondly, the strips are perfect if you have one or two bats and these come in the form of pre cut strips. There are four strips in each pack, and GripGrip recommend using two strips per bat: one at the top and one at the bottom of the handle, so in the strips pack there is enough to do two bats. Personally, I believe that the strips are a perfect ‘ready to go’ option, especially if you haven’t got the time nor the patience to cut out to the correct length as you have to do with the Pro. The Pro retails at £8.99, and the Strips retail at £4.99, which is an affordable price and also a great stocking filler for any cricket lover at this time of year!
Finally, and most importantly, it must be stressed that GripGrip is not a cure all solution. In some circumstances, it may fail to hold the grip, perhaps due to loose or dirty binding or the grip might just be old. GripGrip works best on a brand new grip.
So, if your bat grip keeps on moving up your handle and you find yourself adjusting your grip during an innings or before you go out to bat, why not apply some GripGrip? It’s great value for money, rigorously tested and used by numerous professionals and barely takes up any space in the kit bag. It may just save you time and your wicket – although I can’t actually promise anything about GripGrip making you a better batsman, that’s on you I’m afraid!
As a thank you for reading this post, enjoy 5% off all GripGrip items by using discount code BLOGGRIPGRIP at checkout on http://www.itsjustcricket.co.uk