There’s a lot of misinformation and bad science floating around about goalkeeping gear that players buy into for one reason or another. In baseball, superstitions are well founded, and surely soccer players experience this too, but at every level goalkeepers are subject to some of the most interesting rumors about the sport.
It’s said, for instance, that a neon goalkeeper jersey somehow makes the keeper into a giant bullseye. This has never been proven, and would actually be a benefit for the keeper. His or her job is to stop the ball from going in the net, and they’ve already agreed to use their body as a shield. [READ MORE]
With a semi-light hearted approach, this article looks at some of the more prominent myths about goalkeeping gear and how to maintain and manage it.
Towels and Grip
Often, you’ll see professional keepers on television who have towels either hanging from their jersey or near the net. This is a measure players use to keep goalkeeper gloves free of dirt and mud when playing on less than ideal conditions. You should practice getting up off the ground without using your hands, if possible, but having a towel near you ensures you don’t sacrifice grip when you have to use your hands to stand.
Grip is important, by the way, but is it more important than comfort? Some players say no! In fact, new adidas gloves (codenames TUNIT) are built to be “modular”, offering better range of motion and comfort for the hands. The glove itself has a replaceable palm too. It’s not a new idea, but it’s an interesting one that might allow players to find a glove they love and keep it for life.
How much is too much? The short answer is that it’s up to you. If a keeper is well protected, he or she won’t really fear the ball or the hard falls as much. That also doesn’t help your technique, so serious players often prefer the range of motion and minimal protection offered by compression shorts and small pads.
You should ultimately choose the best protection for your body, based on your pain tolerance and the kinds of situations you’re willing to dive into. Goal keepers have a dangerous position on the field, and often play with minimal protection. It’s important to note that having better protection doesn’t make you a bad player, ignoring your technique and using the pads to cover up your mistakes is the root problem.