While the rules of play are very strict about right and wrong ways to touch, soccer is most definitely a contact sport. It’s not as dangerous as ruby or American football – both of which are considered collision sports – but injuries are common.
This is why shin guards and socks are a requirement in almost every soccer league. However, despite their familiarity, there are plenty of players who don’t wear their safety gear correctly. Often, they’ve never been taught the right way to do things.
Sometimes, coaches assume all team members join with the same basic knowledge. Yet, an individual may have been picked for a club on the basis of raw, informal talent. This is why it’s important for teachers and leaders to review standard practices on a regular basis.
This article outlines the correct way to wear shin guards with ankle protectors and socks.
Wearing with Ankle Guards
Some shin guards come with full ankle guards attached. These are bigger than regular guards and protect more of the leg during a match. They have a hard plastic shell that fits over the shin and a flexible sock type attachment for holding the ankle protectors.
Ankle guards aren’t usually a requirement, but they are common in youth leagues. To wear them correctly, you slip the sock attachment over the shin and position the two plastic cups over both sides of the ankle.
If wearing with long soccer socks, make sure the shin guard is secured and tightly strapped first. Then, when both ankle cups are in place, pull the sock right up and over the entire shin guard. It should be completely concealed.
Wearing without Ankle Guards
Adult players are more likely to wear regular shin guards, without ankle protectors. These are easier to wear because you don’t need to secure multiple parts before it feels comfortable. Often, the guard isn’t secured to the leg at all. It is just inserted into your sock.
The best shin guards do come with a strap that fastens around the leg so that they don’t come loose during a game. To wear them correctly, put your socks and cleats on first. Then, position the shin guard, before pulling the sock up and over the whole thing.
If you have any issues with the guard coming loose, a little band of athletic tape can work wonders. Just circle two loops around the shin, one at the top and another at the bottom of the guard. This should prevent any slippage.
Getting a Comfortable Fit
As long as guards are worn in a way that provides full protection, it’s okay to adapt them for a comfortable fit. For instance, some players hate wearing the plastic shells flush against their skin. Sometimes, they rub and chafe, and this distracts them during games.
One easy way to fix the problem is to take a spare of socks and cut off the toe section. This leaves just the long part of the sock, and you can wear it underneath a guard for extra padding. Again, just make sure it’s tight and unable to move around while you’re playing.
There is a huge variety of shin guards on the market, so take your time when shopping. Make sure the product you choose is the right size, shape, and thickness for your leg.