With so many factors in the life of your gloves, we hope to give you a few tips below on how to maximize the tackiness and grip of your most critical tool!
1. Wash Once A Week
One the many debated topics amongst soccer goalkeeper coaches is that of washing your goalkeeper gloves. Though one of the topics that takes a backseat to other more critical aspects of the position it is still one that can have a true impact on the performance of your gear.
Goalkeeper gloves at their simplest levels are essentially large sponges of latex material. Many of you may know that softer latex such as Giga or New Basic tends to offer a tackier, more responsive, and certainly absorbent palm. The challenges we face with these types of latex often come down to the very same attributes that give them their best qualities. Like a sponge, our goalkeeper gloves tend to absorb pretty much anything and everything they come into contact with.
Whether it’s training on a muddy field, playing in the sand, or even spending a day out at Old Trafford with Mourinho, your gloves are going to take on some of that debris. Most times we fail to recognize just how much of an impact this can cause on our palms. Many times, the small particulate that destroys gloves and impacts their tackiness is even invisible to the naked eye. For this reason, a proper cleaning every week can be the perfect solution.
When it comes to washing your prize possessions we tend to have some simple rules to follow to make it effortless and easy.
- Use lukewarm water; not too hot, not too cold
- Massage the gloves in a filled sink or tub
- If using soap, limit the amount to a drop or two
- The only method we suggest for drying is by air. Typically, if you hang your gloves overnight by the straps from a close hanger this should do the trick. We advise hanging them over a tub or shower to avoid water dripping onto unwanted surfaces.
Here’s a great video on How to wash gloves like a pro!
2. Gatorade – Shhh don’t tell
Now listen, this is the top secret of goalkeepers everywhere that no one wanted to tell you until now. It doesn’t matter what level, age, or skill you consider yourself a bit of extra tackiness only helps in that big moment. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to add a splash of sports drink to the palms of your gloves before hitting the pitch.
The theory behind this is truly a simple one, and if you’ve ever spilled a Gatorade on your hands then you know where we’re headed. By splashing some of the sports drink on your gloves it allows the sugars in the drink to begin to dry. As the liquid dries you are left with a sticky extra bit of grip on the palms of your gloves. The one thing we must remind our players and parents is that the darker the sports drink the more likely it is to stain your gloves. We caution you and suggest going with a lighter colored drink if you wear light-colored gloves so that you don’t notice a change in palm color after use.
Though this technique is tried and true it’s not for everyone which we acknowledge. Here’s an alternative that works almost as well. For those of us not carrying a Gatorade in our bag and more old-fashioned dousing your gloves with water also livens up the latex material that becomes much tackier when slightly moist. No matter what approach you take don’t forget to plan a regular glove washing each week!
3. Proper Technique
Honestly, the secret to tacky gloves really comes down to the longevity of the palm latex. When shopping for gloves it’s critical that you balance functionality and durability. The one issue with all gloves is that the higher end gloves tend to perform much better in the early stages but often wear much faster due to the softer materials that have been used in manufacturing. The reverse, of course, can be true with lower end gloves. Lower end gloves tend to be durable yet lack the quality grip associated with higher end German Latex. Unfortunately, as keepers and/or the parents footing the bill of goalkeeper gloves we hate to say it, but it’s just a part of the position. Gloves wear and gloves tear, it’s not if it’s when. Here are a few tips that we convey weekly to our youth goalkeepers that really focus on their technique and how that can have an impact on the performance of their grip.
One suggestion that we try to convey when working with youth keepers is to really focus in on their diving technique. We encourage all keepers to consider how they hit the ground when diving for a ball. Is your player diving to their side, yet allowing one hand to land face down to absorb their impact, or are they allowing both hands to make unneeded contact with the ground during play? These questions not only uncover areas of weakness in technique but more importantly decrease the life of their gloves.
Another area of concern with technique as it relates to the life of your gloves and their tackiness is how a keeper gets up off the ground. There are many drills out there that focus directly on this element of fitness and control. We will discuss training techniques in other posts, but we leave you with this as it relates to getting up off the ground during training or a match. When getting up off of the ground in a controlled setting we suggest using your knuckles to push yourself up, this will ensure very minimal contact with the ground and undoubtedly add to the life and tackiness of your gloves!