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Look, feel and play your best
What you wear for sport can impact on your performance, safety and comfort. Football, in particular, is played throughout the year and in many different forms so it's important that you're prepared for all possibilities. Whether you're just starting out or in the twilight of your football career, deciding what to wear to training can be difficult, but it's mostly a matter of preference.
Football training essentials
Compared to sports like cricket and tennis, football is relatively affordable - in theory, you only need a ball. However, if you plan to take it seriously, there are a few other essentials you'll need to consider.
- Football shirt (or a standard, lightweight t-shirt)
- Football shorts (or general sports shorts/trousers)
- Football socks (to cover shin pads and sit just below knees)
- Shin pads (to protect your shins from stray tackles)
Coping with the heat
Pre/post-season training usually takes place on hard grass pitches or firm astro turf surfaces, in the warm heat of a late summer's evening. How can you stay cool to perform at your best?
Base layers - Pair base layers with lightweight outer clothing to improve heat loss through evaporation.
Moulded studs - Lighter, shorter and better suited to firm ground than normal studded football boots. Also, consider a pair of running shoes for the popular pre-season jogs.
Suncream - Often overlooked but always necessary. The sun sets later in the summer and although it may feel cooler, you can still get burnt.
Top tip for goalkeepers: Think about wearing a hat to keep the low evening sun from getting in your eyes.
Coping with the cold
It doesn't take long to warm up when playing football, but the time it does can seem like an eternity if you're not dressed correctly. So what can you wear to counter the cooler evenings, numb toes and frozen pitches?
Base layers - Base layers are just as effective in the winter as they are in the summer, helping to regulate your body temperature by trapping a layer of air between your body and outer clothing.
Moulded studs - Surely this one's a mistake? Nope. Recycle your summer boots for training on frozen or astro turf pitches. Moulded football boots are incredibly versatile; just remember to dry them out thoroughly between each use.
Training jackets - The beauty of football training is that there's no referee to tell you what you should and shouldn't be wearing. If you're cold, consider a lightweight (and preferably waterproof) jacket to shield you from the elements and pair with some jogging bottoms for complete warmth.
Gloves and hats – While it's sometimes frowned upon to wear gloves during matches, wearing them during training should be encouraged. You'll be amazed at the difference they make.
Always wear shin pads
Some players prioritise fashion over safety at football training; don't make the same mistake. Football is a contact sport with the potential to cause serious injury if the correct measures are ignored.
How to Wear
Shin pads are designed to protect your shins from the impact of opposition boots and studs; they should never be overlooked.
Training for children
One of the best things about football is how it's the same at all levels of the game. As a result, the above advice is just as relevant to children as it is to adults. You are in control of what your child wears; check the weather forecast the night before a training session to determine the most suitable kit and accessories for them to take.