Soccer Equipment Essentials
Soccer Equipment Essentials 101
Soccer is a family-friendly sport that encourages kids to get active and have fun. But you'll find it even more enjoyable when you know you've got the right soccer equipment. Having the correct-sized ball is a good place to start. Consider a soccer goal too, since everyone loves to see the twine bulge when they blast it home. Soccer trainers are also a good investment: they let you practice your aim and work on your ball control all at the same time. Finally, don’t even think of taking the field without a good pair of soccer shoes.
Types of Soccer Gear
There are two different types of soccer trainers, but both will help you improve your game. Training goals are small-format soccer goals that are well suited to younger children. For more advanced players, a rebounder net bounces the ball back to you after every shot. This action works a range of skills, including touch, ball control and kicking accuracy. Some rebounder nets come with a conversion kit, allowing you to convert them into soccer goals.
Soccer Goals & Nets
Soccer is always more fun and exciting when you're kicking the ball at a real goal with a net. For families with young kids, small plastic soccer goals are easy to move around the yard and put away in the evening. If you're buying for older kids or adults consider a full-sized goal with a durable steel frame. Nets and goals go hand-in-hand, so make sure you purchase the right size net for your goal.
Choosing a soccer ball that’s appropriate for the age and size of the players is key to enjoying the game. You also want to ensure the ball is made of the proper material for the playing surface (indoor vs. outdoor for example). Soccer balls sizes range from one through five, with one suiting young children and five suiting teens and adults. Lighter balls are easier to control and have better momentum. For practice and casual play, a training or recreational ball is best as it’s durable and built to be used on a variety of surfaces. For more competitive play, a match soccer ball will offer better performance and reliability on the field. If you're playing indoor soccer, choose a ball with a soft, fuzzy cover. For skill building between games, a mini soccer ball comes in handy.
Whether you're running, passing or taking a corner kick, your feet do most of the work in soccer — so it's important to have the right footwear. Soccer shoes, also known as soccer cleats, come in two types: molded or detachable. When deciding which type to buy, you should consider both personal preference and the playing field conditions you’re most likely to encounter. Molded cleats provide versatility across a range of surfaces, including hard and soft surfaces, grass and artificial turf. The drawback is you'll require a different pair of shoes for each surface. If you play rain or shine, detachable cleats allow you to easily change the studs to match the conditions. Shorter studs are better for dry ground, while longer studs provide improved traction on wet ground.
With a sport that calls for lots of kicking, a shin or two will be bruised. Soccer shin guards should be selected based on skill level. For players just staring out, it’s best to get guards that are soft and non-restrictive; more experienced players should opt for guards that are harder yet lightweight. For more protection, get guards with ankle protectors, which provide soft padding on both sides of the foot to help prevent ankle sprains.
Street clothes are fine to wear during recreational play, but for added comfort soccer jerseys and soccer shorts will prevent you from getting too overheated. Soccer entails lots of running so you will work up a good sweat. For added comfort, choose a material specially designed to wick sweat away from your skin. Soccer socks should fit high up the shin to help protect the leg. For young players, combination soccer socks and shin guards are a great option. If you have a goalkeeper in the family, you’ll need to purchase a good pair of goalkeeper gloves. These gloves don’t come in one-size-fits-all, so make sure you get a pair that fits your hands.
Kick your game into high gear with a full assortment of soccer accessories. It's always good to have the basics on hand, such as a referee's whistle, soccer ball pump, inflating needles, ball sack and flexi cones for goal temporary posts. You should also consider picking up extra net attachments to keep the net secure, and goal anchors to hold the goal firmly on the ground.
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