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A goalkeeper is arguably the most critical part of a soccer team. Not only do they stop the opponents from scoring, but they also command the defense. No matter how many goals you score upfront, an unfocused goalkeeper can cost you the game. This is why goalkeepers must be comfortable at all times during matches, especially in the cold or rain.
Here are a few ways to stay warm as a goalkeeper:
- Wear base layers.
- Wear jackets.
- Keep your kit dry.
- Wear wet-weather gloves.
- Keep moving.
- Wear extra clothes.
Whether you’re a goalkeeper that’s in training, playing in the game, or sitting on the bench waiting for your turn, being comfortable on the field is crucial, and being cold hinders goalkeepers both physically and mentally.
Imagine you’re standing in goal, and suddenly your focus shifts to how cold your legs are instead of the ball. This could be disastrous for both you and your teammates. The cold can also hinder your natural movement, slowing down your reflexes during potential game-changing moments.
Wear base layers.
Nike, Under Armour, and many other sports apparel giants offer base layers that are made to fit your body tightly and keep heat in effectively. Compression clothing, both tops, and leggings are meant to keep you warm while not hindering your movement.
This apparel is also typically waterproof, so there’s no need to worry about moisture leaking through your clothes and making you chilly. They are manufactured using lightweight materials, so even if you wear multiple layers in extreme temperatures, you won’t be weighed down.
Most brands also produce base layers specifically made for goalkeepers, from bodysuits to shorts and jerseys. They also have targeted cushioning to protect you while diving, sliding, and during collisions.
Wear wet-weather gloves.
Gloves are almost like a permanent attachment to a goalkeeper’s hand, especially if they’re serious about making it to the top. Wet-weather gloves are a keeper’s best friend when the rain pours, and a chilly breeze hits the field.
Gloves lose their grip when they get wet, meaning you can’t hold onto the ball. To prevent this, wet-weather gloves have open-pored thick latex on the palm. While this holds off the water, you still need to wipe them with a towel regularly.
Wet-weather gloves, especially the higher-end ones by Nike, Adidas, etc., use specially-engineered materials to keep your gloves water-resistant and your hands warm. Cold hands make your fingers and your general body, more injury-prone, so it is better to use bulky gloves.
Wear a jacket.
Goalkeepers must wear jackets to stay warm and dry during the warm-up before the game or training. Jackets for professional soccer players are streamlined to fit the player’s body. Goalkeepers mainly use jackets during warm-up and in training.
To help goalkeepers maintain their body movement, their jackets have a tight fit and minimal designs. If you’re planning for an extended outdoor session in the cold or rain, then a good waterproof jacket is essential.
Keep your kit dry.
Outfield players, especially midfielders and forwards, get warmer the more they play since they run around a lot. Goalkeepers are mostly stationary, standing between the sticks for the entire game.
This lack of activity makes it even more imperative for goalkeepers to keep their kit dry for as long as possible. While this is impossible when the game is on, goalkeepers should wear waterproof jackets and pants to keep their underlying kit dry. You can also choose to change into your match-day kit after warm-up.
If you’re a goalkeeper that’s on the bench, you can stay warm by keeping their long coats and trousers on, until they’re called upon. Also, make sure to do a little warm-up when the coach calls for you to go on.
Staying warm during the game is a challenge in itself since goalkeepers move very little. Avoid staying still for too long. Busy games often tend to keep keepers on their feet, moving around the box and making plenty of saves, but what if your attackers are the dominant ones? What if you have very little to do?
During slow games, have a quick jog or sprint around the box when the ball goes out, or there’s a pause in the match. You’ve probably seen the pros doing this on TV, and it’s an effective way to keep your blood pumping and raise your body temperature. One thing to keep in mind is never to turn your back on the game while jogging/sprinting.
Wear extra clothes.
Some keepers are more sensitive to the cold than others. If you’re one of them, then you could try to keep a second pair of dry match clothes to change into during half-time. The same goes for base layers and gloves. A clean, dry, and warm kit could also make you feel more comfortable in the second half, helping you improve your focus.
Can the weather really affect goalkeepers?
Every soccer player’s dream would be to walk onto the grass in perfect sunny weather, with mild warmth and a gentle breeze. The problem is that this is not the case for most semi-professional or professional games. Whether the weather is warm or not, players are expected to train every day and be at their best on game day at the weekend.
In warm weather conditions, goalkeepers can shine. Their body movements can be precise, and they have great control over catches, throws, dives, and more. The ball is also less likely to swerve unexpectedly. If the weather gets too warm, simply wearing lesser layers and keeping a water bottle near should be enough.
Things get a lot trickier in rainy or cold weather. When it rains, ball control decreases dramatically. Dropkicks and throws become harder, diving becomes a tricky task, and ball movements change significantly. Staying warm is essential to maintain focus in these conditions.
Cold weather has a negative effect on the human body. Exposure to low temperatures for a long period leads to a lowering of your core body heat. This drop, in turn, causes goosebumps, numb hands, and slower coordination/ reflexes. In general, if your body temperature is not maintained, then your body’s response time gets worse. This could lead to injuries.
Being a soccer goalkeeper is a hard job. A goalkeeper can directly impact the result of the game. One late dive, one missed save, and your team is on the verge of a defeat. Goalkeepers need to keep themselves as comfortable as possible, so they can stay alert at all times and make split-second decisions.
Maintaining your concentration when it’s pouring rain or freezing cold can become harder if you aren’t dressed appropriately or are wearing the wrong gloves. As mentioned above, your body temperature directly affects the speed of your movements. Lower body temperatures lead to slower reflexes. Cold hands are also more likely to get injured, primarily upon impact.
To avoid this, you can use the above tips to stay warm as a goalkeeper and focus on the game without any distractions.