American Football is one of the most hands-on and technical sports. It can also be very dangerous with all the tackling and clashing that goes on in the game. For these two reasons, players ought to have the correct gear in order to help them stay safe while enjoying the game. The right equipment is critical in terms of safety and allows the players to carry on the game without fault. The right boots, for example, are essential because it is very easy for a player to slip on a wet surface and cost the team.
So, what are some of the essentials when it comes to football gear? Well, if you are a parent whose kid is about to join lower league football or a coach looking to put together a team, these are some of the gear that you must ensure they have for them to be able to play well and, most importantly, safe.
Being a contact sport, there tends to be a lot of charging and shoulder banging during a football game. Considering the aggressiveness of the sport, players can easily injure themselves when tackling or trying to stop an opponent from making a run or releasing a pass. That is why shoulder pads are a necessity.
Football shoulder pads vary depending on the position in the field. Some have light padding, while others have very heavy padding. Quarterbacks, for example, will wear shoulder pads with soft padding for them to be able to throw the ball at considerable distances. On the other hand, some positions such as kickers and punters need little or no shoulder pads because they don’t make any difference.
Head injuries are usually one of the worst types of damages for a player. While one may heal from a broken rib and get back to the field with no long-term effects, a head injury can be very detrimental. You could have cognitive damage or even lose your life. That is why a helmet is the most important gear to remember when getting into the field. A helmet will protect your head and keep it in place in case there is any banging. It is important to make sure it has the right padding with helmets and is the right size. A helmet is useless if it won’t protect your head when called upon. Similarly, an oversize helmet might not be of much help since your head isn’t secured in the right place.
When playing football, you need as much traction as you can get. Ordinary footwear or sneakers can’t provide this, so you need special boots with spikes on the bottom to give you a grip. Imagine running with the ball to the endzone in a wet field chased by the opponents wearing normal sneakers. There’s a very high chance they will catch up with you before you get there, and if you’re fast enough, nine times out of ten, you’ll slip because your shoes don’t have the grip demanded in such a situation. That is why cleats are such a critical component of your gear.
One hit to the jaw can easily knock your teeth out. The force can also make you bite your lips or tongue, which can be very painful. That is why you need a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect the jaw and entire mouth from injuries during extreme contact. It is like an interior helmet that protects your mouth, tongue, teeth, and even lips. Just like for the helmet, it is important to make sure that the mouth guard perfectly fits because otherwise, it isn’t of any help.
Jockstrap & Cup
The groin area is one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. A little hit in that region and best believe your coming generations will feel it. That is why a jockstrap and cup and necessary. They will protect the groin area, and the player can confidently go into tackles knowing that the risk of injury is minimal.
These are some of the essential gear for football players. However, the list is not exhaustive because there is so much different gear that players put on. These, however, aren’t as necessary and are more of a comfort thing and less of a safety issue. They include gloves, extra padding, and neck collars.
How To Choose The Right Kind Of Equipment
Now that we know what equipment is needed, it’s time to look at some of the things worth considering when purchasing football gear to ensure they serve the purpose they are supposed to.
The importance of size when it comes to protection gear cannot be overstated. From helmets to shoulder pads, jockstraps, mouth guards, and even cleats, you have to make sure the gear is of the right sizing. If necessary, have the player fit them to see if they cover all the necessary bases.
As touched on earlier, football shoulder pads are either cantilevered or flat. Cantilevered pads are somewhat more prominent and contain heavier padding, making them ideal for players such as linebackers who endure all the roughness. Flat pads are smaller, hence less confining, and suitable for players who do many movements, such as quarterbacks and wide receivers. The gloves needed also vary depending on the position since some players such as receivers and QBs need more freedom of hand movement.
Quality is another thing that you have to look at when purchasing football equipment. Go for the more trusted brands when it comes to quality because the better the quality, the protection the player is assured, and therefore, the lesser risk of injury. Avoid going for the cheap stuff because that tends to be of low quality and not durable.
Football gear is an essential part of the game, and each player needs to have the right equipment for their position for them to be safe during the game and to play at their best.