How Gloves & Other Equipment Affects Goalie's Performance
Aug 5, 2021
Goalkeepers need to develop a wide range of skill sets through practice, persistence and patience to become great. However, their choice of goalie equipment can add or take away from their performance. This post will take a look at how goalie equipment has a direct impact on performance and skill development.
Glove Size Affects Blocking/Saving Skills
Ultimately, goalkeeper skill comes from years of training but we can't ignore the importance of good goalie gloves. In fact, your choice of goalie gloves in soccer can make or break your performance so you want to make sure you’re picking the best. The two main characteristics of goalie gloves that affect performance are size and cut.
Goalie Glove Cut
Goalie glove cut refers to how manufacturers make the palm of the gloves. There is no right or wrong cut - only the right or wrong cut for your particular needs. For example, the flat or traditional cut allows for a looser fit, making it better for goalies who need more hand and finger movements. Negative and rolled cuts, on the other hand, allow for better ball control and a tighter grip.
Ultimately you should choose a glove cut that matches what you want to focus more on. So if you want a good grip, it’s better for you you'd get a negative or roll cut. If you want a little bit more finger flexibility, you should get a traditional cut. The wrong match can take you out of your element in a game.
Goalie Glove Size
Don't overlook goalie glove size either. Generally speaking, larger gloves improve ball blocking ability because the more surface area there is on the glove, the easier it is to grip and stop the ball. Wearing gloves that are too tight can reduce surface area and make it difficult to make those great saves. You should buy gloves that have a little bit more palm size as well as fingers that are a little bit longer than your actual fingers. This allows for more surface area, which, in turn, makes it easier for your hands to connect with the ball.
Jerseys & Padding Affects Injury Susceptibility & Aggression
The goalkeeper is just as vulnerable to body injuries as any other player on the field. Think about it. Goalkeepers run, dive, jump, and do all sorts of acrobatics. That leaves them open to all sorts of contact. They can collide with a forward on a break, take a knee or elbow to the body (or face), or get hit by the ball. Even making contact with the ground repeatedly can be injurious over time.
Goalkeeping depends heavily on one's mental toughness and confidence. If for any reason, the goalkeeper fears making contact or getting injured, that may chip away at their confidence. We also can't forget that not all goalkeepers bring the same level of mental toughness to the field as others. Some are more likely to get psyched out by hits and blows. These are the keepers who may underperform because they're reluctant.
A great way to help players overcome that fear is to invest in soccer protective gear that contains armour-like materials. They provide a sense of protection that regular gear does not, in both a physical and mental sense. In a physical sense, items such as our padded pants, padded tops and crop tops reduce the impact of collisions and falls. Mentally, though, players are less likely to fear a collision or fall when they feel cushioned from an impact. That can restore their drive to play aggressively.
Head Guard Can Affect Injury Susceptibility/Movement
One of the biggest concerns in soccer right now is brain injuries and concussions. There's more evidence emerging from different studies that show soccer players’ brain sustaining damage due to head-to-head collisions or heading the ball too much. It doesn't necessarily make soccer an unsafe sport, it just means that there is a need to protect the brain.
Goalkeepers are not exempt from these concerns.
Although headgear doesn’t completely stop a concussion from happening, there is sufficient evidence to show that it can reduce the impact of a collision or header. How does this affect performance?
It gives players an added sense of safety and comfort knowing that they may not sustain as hard a hit to the head. That may allow them to play with full intensity. But one thing we've heard from some users of our own ExoShield HeadGuard is the fact that it seems to serve as a tactile reminder for players. Essentially, players seem to have a better sense of where they are and are less likely to get into an accident. Who would have thought!
Skill and Gear Go Hand in Hand
Skill will always matter more than equipment. But goalie equipment can affect a goalkeeper’s ability to play skillfully. Choosing the right equipment from head to toe helps goalkeepers to get more out of their own performance than if they relied on skill alone.
Looking for goalie gloves and other goalkeeper equipment to power your performance? Browse through our selection of goalie gear.