Innovation Lab: Glide Guard
Our Stories 11 Feb 20

Innovation Lab: Glide Guard

We sat down with Gray-Nicolls Product Designer Paul Jenkins the new Glide Guard.
What is the Glide Guard?
The Glide Guard is a system which helps you to have maximum protection, helps protect your joints under stress, but actually doesn’t stop your hand from moving, so that you’ve got complete flexibility in the glove without compromising on protection.
What does it do for a batsman?
When you’re thinking about a traditional cricket glove, you’ll be thinking about two types essentially. One would be a bolstered type which gives you great flexibility, the other type would be a sausage finger – not quite so good for flexibility, but it does give you an awful lot of protection, because the whole finger is encased, which means that there’s no gaps for the ball to penetrate. The idea behind Glide Guard is to try and create a fusion product. You’ve got some fairly traditional bolsters on there, these interlocking mechanisms which mean that you’re able to get good protection should the ball hit those areas. Aa those gaps open up, which means you’ve got great flexibility. They are potentially inherently a vulnerability though. So being able to bridge that gap with these Glide Guard sections just provides you with seamless protection. The guard is anchored around the knuckles, so that you can see here when you actually take it out of the upper it reaches the end of the finger when flat, but when you actually ball your hand as if you’re gripping the bat’s handle, it stays static, so that you maintain that flexibility of your finger moving, while simultaneously creating the seamless bridge over the joint.

What were the challenges with getting glide guard right?
I suppose one of the fundamental challenges is actually doing something new. I think that when you’re dealing with production of cricketing softs, or any equipment for that matter, you’re dealing with a very traditional industry, you’re dealing with some fairly pre-defined expectations about what to expect from some protection, so when you’re actually putting something together which looks a bit different, performs slightly differently, then potentially you’ve got to break down some those barriers and start a conversation about why this is going to benefit you.

Who would Glide Guard benefit most?
Given that there’s just an improved level of protection there, it’s going to help everyone. Although I have to say that it is intrinsically designed to stop the penetration of the quicker ball, so by definition it’ll be the more professional end of the spectrum, where the most benefit is going to be felt, when you’re fending off those really pacey attacks.

In the industry, was there a need for this new technology?
It’s possible for people to think that sometimes changes that we make to our equipment is arbitrary. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Basically in this situation what we’re trying to do is improve performance, and improve safety simultaneously. If you’re improving safety, that can sometimes mean that you’re adding weight, you’re adding volume, you’re adding something that is going to bog you down and actually might make you more at risk because you are unable to play in a natural way. But I would say that the beauty of this system and the whole intention behind the design philosophy is to make sure that you get maximum feel, maximum flexibility, without any compromise whatsoever on protection.

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