One of the key pieces of equipment for a soccer goalkeeper are his gloves. They not only protect his hands from injury, but also make it easier to grip the ball during a match. In order for goalie gloves to be an effective tool on the field, they not only need to fit properly, but also be well maintained. By knowing how to find the proper gloves and learning how to care for them, you can play most optimally.
Getting Proper Goalie Gloves
1Know general sizing ranges for goalkeeper gloves. In order for you to use your gloves most effectively during a match, they need to fit properly. If gloves are the wrong size, it can affect not only your performance but also the durability of the gloves.
- Measure your hands for perfectly fitting gloves, but the following is a general sizing guide for junior and senior players.
- For junior players: Size 4 or 5 is for a small junior goalie who is between 7 and 9 years old and wears size Youth Small goalkeeper gear. Size 6 or 7 is for a medium to larger junior goalie who is between 10 and 12 years old and wears Youth Medium or Large goalkeeper gear.
- For senior players: Size 7 is for a small adult or large youth keeper; Size 8 for a small to medium-sized adult keeper; Size 9 is for a medium-sized adult keeper; Size 10 is for a medium to larger adult-sized keep; Size 11 is for a large-sized keeper; Size 12 is for a large keeper who has very large hands.
- Visit a local sports store to try on gloves to give you an idea what size you need.
2Measure your hands for the best-fitting gloves. If you want goalie gloves that allow you to play most optimally, measure both of your hands because each hand can be a different size. This will also help ensure that your gloves don’t fall apart quickly.
- For the best fit, measure the circumference of the widest part of the palm excluding the thumb and round this number up to the next highest inch. Add 1″ to this measurement for your glove size.
- Every person has one hand that is larger. Measure both hands and order according to the measurements of your bigger hand.
- Sizing gloves is not an exact science because every goalkeeper’s hand is different. There are also usually slight variations in size between different manufacturers and the quality of the gloves.
- Goalkeeping gloves should be worn slightly larger than hand size. The gap between your fingers and the top of the glove should be no less than a ¼ inch, with ideal ½ inch being the ideal space. A gap of an inch or more is too much and can affect the way you play.
- For example, improperly sized fingers can stress the latex material of gloves and also cause premature breakdown or tears of the gloves’ seams.
3Learn about the construction of goalie glove. Goalkeeper gloves are made up of two main parts, the backhand and the palm, which are often different materials. Learning about the different material options will help you choose the right gloves for your needs.
- Your glove should be made of the cut and materials best suited for the surface(s) on which you play, as well as on local weather conditions and your budget. For example, all palms are made of latex, but only the best types of goalie gloves will have latex backhands, a feature you should consider if you frequently play goalie. Less expensive gloves will have one layer of foam on the backhand and generally do a good job of protecting your hand.
4Learn about the different cuts of goalie gloves. In addition to coming in different materials, goalie gloves also come in come in different cuts depending on how the palm material is constructed. Decide which one is best for your needs and hand size.
- Flat, or traditional, cut gloves have a single piece of flat foam and are a looser fit with a boxier appearance and exterior stitching.
- Roll or Gunn cut gloves have a so-called “rolled” finger construction, where the seams roll because they are on the back of the finger. This cut has a snug fit and allows for a larger contact area with the ball.
- On a negative cut, the seam is on the inside of the glove. It has the most snug fit, and is an excellent option for female goalies as well as those goalkeepers with smaller hands.
- Hybrid gloves incorporate several cuts, usually a combination of rolled or cut Gunn with either the flat or negative cut.
5Choose the right palm grip. The area of a glove most important to a goalie is the palm grip because it allows him to grasp the ball. In general, more expensive gloves have better grip and less expensive model will offer better durability. There are reasons to consider both types of gloves depending on your needs.
- Less expensive gloves are a good option for young or beginning players. These models show players the necessity of technique, not tackiness, to defend shots on goal.–
- Softer palms have better grip, while rougher palms are more durable. Gloves with rougher palms contain more rubber than tacky latex and are a good option for indoor play.
- Glove palms come in different thicknesses, with 3mm and 4mm the most common measurement. Thinner palms allow you to feel the ball more, but if you want greater protection, then consider thicker palms.
- Consider your playing surface when choosing a palm grip. Surfaces like artificial grass can wear down latex quickly. a thicker palm grip would counteract this. Most companies make goalie gloves specifically designed to withstand wet, dry and indoor conditions.
- It’s important to know the conditions for which your gloves are suited: dry conditions, wet conditions, hard ground, or natural surfaces. This is important information for their care. For example, soft and tacky professional-grade latex palms considered “all weather” or “dry weather” are moistened for play. Wet weather gloves require soaking before a match and possibly again at half time.
6Consider the life span of goalie gloves. Since you will be playing with your goalie gloves each game, consider how long a pair will last when you buy them. You may want to get two pairs- one for practice and one for games- so that they last longer.
7Buy your goalkeeper gloves. Once you’ve learned about all of the different goalie gloves available, you’re ready to buy a pair or pairs. You have many options of places you can purchase your gloves, from sports stores to specialty soccer retailers.
- There are many options for buying gloves if you are not a professional player or looking for the highest quality models. You can purchase them at large retailers and specialty sports stores both in-store and online.
- If you are a serious and experienced goalie, you can buy high-quality models at sports stores or online at specialty soccer retailers.
Caring for Goalie Gloves
1Understand that goalie gloves have a limited life span. Latex begins to deteriorate as soon as you use it, and the more often you play, the quicker your goalie gloves will wear down. But by caring for your gloves properly, you can decrease the speed at which you have to replace them.
- Soft and tacky latex palm grips, like that in professional grade gloves, gives exceptional grip at the expense of durability. Very tacky game gloves can show signs of wear, including flaking, during the first use.
2Use training gloves. Ensure that your game gloves stay in optimal shape by using training gloves. You can either use an old pair or game gloves or buy an inexpensive pair, which has the benefit of forcing you to work on your technique.
- Buy a relatively inexpensive training glove that has less palm grip but more durability. Not only will this save your game gloves, but it will refine your technical skills.
- You can convert old match gloves to training gloves once you have a new pair. It’s important to maintain one quality pair for matches and another for training.
3Care for the gloves during the match. Your gloves will get the most use during a match, so caring for them during the match is important. This is particularly important with “all weather” or “wet weather” models.
- Many areas of a soccer field can be dirty or muddy depending on the weather. If you warm up in these areas, it can reduce the efficacy of your gloves, so consider warming up someplace where there is less dirt. You can also use your training gloves for the warm up period.
- Softer latex gloves need moistened with water as the palm dries, but very soft latex palms can become slippery if they’re too moist. Figure out the correct balance before a match so you don’t hamper your efforts to defend shots on goal.
4Clean your gloves. Using your gloves will make them dirty no matter how carefully you play. Dirt and sweat breakdown the glove’s latex and will eventually affect your game. By cleaning your gloves after every use or every few uses, you will extend their life.
- Clean each of your gloves separately and delicately.
- Put on one glove and run it under lukewarm water. Use a mild detergent or glove specific cleaner to clean off dirt, grime, and sweat.
- Rinse until the water runs clear and then press out excess water. Don’t wring out your gloves, which can tear the seams.
- Hang your gloves to dry naturally without the aid of anything that will accelerate the drying process like a hair dryer or the sun, which will cause them to dry out and deteriorate more quickly.
- You can roll newspaper and place it in the fingers to help them keep their shape and dry more quickly.
5Store your goalie gloves properly. After you’ve played a game or washed your gloves, it’s important to store your gloves properly. Most gloves will come with a bag specifically made for storing them.
- Store your gloves in a cool and reasonably moist environment. You don’t want the gloves or the storage area to be wet because this can promote the growth of bacteria or mold, which will break down your gloves.
- Don’t just throw your gloves in a bag and forget about them until the next game. Wipe them off if necessary and then place them in their storage bag. If they’re especially sweaty, allow them to dry a bit before you place them in the storage bag.
- Don’t place them with palms together when you store your gloves since they can stick together and then rip when you try to separate them.
6Keep your gloves from smelling. Your goalie gloves are a close and contained space that are exposed to sweat and bacteria that can promote odor. By properly cleaning and storing them, you’ll inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold that make your gloves smell.
- Making sure to clean your gloves with a disinfectant will help remove sweat and bacteria so they don’t smell.
- Airing out your gloves properly will ensure that they do get moldy or promote the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This means that you should allow your gloves to dry thoroughly after each game and cleaning.
What are the best goalie gloves?
You’ll have to find the ones that work best for you. Some prefer gloves with fingersave and grip, while others tend to like harder gloves with better deflection ability.
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