Sweaty Hands in Sports

A basketball player is dribbling a ball.
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When you play a sport recreationally or competitively, you can expect to sweat. Generating sweat can be good because it cools your body off. It can be bad because it leads to dehydration, and when you start to lose a lot of fluid your performance suffers. Sweaty hands are especially problematic, particularly when you need those hands to grip a tennis racquet, a basketball or a set of rings.

Safety Issues

If you are a gymnast swinging around on a set of bars or putting your hands down on a balance beam that's four inches wide, too much sweat can cause you to fall and injure yourself. Baseball players swinging a bat with all the strength they have can watch those bats fly out of their hands due to sweaty palms. Tennis players serving a ball at over 100 mph may wonder whether the racquet will slip. If your hands sweat, it's an indication you are rapidly losing fluid. In addition to keeping your hands dry, you need to replace that lost fluid if you want to stay strong.

Sport Specifics

The remedy for sweaty hands often depends upon the sport. Gymnasts like to use chalk on their hands to beat back sweat beads, and Olympian Jonathan Horton has even mixed honey with chalk to keep his hands dry and sticky on the parallel bars. Baseball players coat their bats with pine tar, and tennis players use waterproof tape on their racquet handles to cut down on the interference sweaty hands can cause. Try a bit of talcum powder to absorb the moisture on your hands if you don't have any chalk or honey available. Cornstarch also works to relieve hands of sweat.

Game Time Strategies

You can wear gloves or grips to prevent sweaty hands from getting in the way of your game. Think about batting gloves used by baseball and softball players. Golfers and weight lifters wear gloves to ensure their sweaty hands don't cause a slip. Gymnasts use leather grips to ensure their hands stay in place. The wristbands tennis players use are getting thicker and longer so they can better absorb sweat that comes from hands. Professional tennis players often ask for towels after every point in a game. Keep a towel close by regardless of the sport you play so you have a quick and accessible way to dry your hands.

Minimizing Sweat

It may be impossible to resolve all the sweating in your hands, especially while you're playing sports. However, you can cut down on your sweat levels by using over-the-counter antiperspirants. Rub the product directly onto your hands while they are clean and dry to cut down on the sweat you produce. Try to relax and meditate, since anxiety and stress can add to the sweating of your hands.

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