How to Take Care of Your Field Hockey Goalie Gear
Replacing goalie gear can be very expensive. That is why it is better to take care of the gear you already have than to buy more. As long as you maintain your equipment, you can keep it in good condition and it will last you through the seasons. This guide will cover a few routine activities you can do to keep your gear looking and smelling fresh.
Mold Your Kicker
If you’ve recently purchased new kickers, you might have noticed that they are a little tight around the shin. That is because the tongue of the kicker (like the tongue of a shoe) has not been broken in.
It’s the same as a baseball glove or new shoes, kickers come stiff and need to be broken in before playing in them. A new pair of kickers could damage your foot by bruising your ankle if they are not formed correctly. So to avoid getting hurt, you’ll want to break in your kickers before playing in them. Similar to wrapping a baseball in a new baseball glove, one way to mold a kicker is to form it with a two-liter soda bottle:
- Take your kicker and bend the tongue forward (towards the toe).
- With a hair dryer, warm the tongue by blowing hot air on it for about 10 minutes, or until soft and warm.
- Place a full, two-liter soda bottle in the kicker between the tongue and the back strap (where your ankle would normally rest).
- Strap the soda bottle in the kicker by buckling the back buckle that would normally cover your heel.
- Leave overnight to form.
In the morning, the tongue of your kicker should stick straight up and your foot should fit comfortably in the kicker. Just make sure to break in both kickers.
Wear Dry Fit Underclothes
Hot Tip: Re-grip Your Stick
Goalies don’t have to re-grip their sticks as often as field players. But if you find that the grip of your stick has worn down significantly, instead of buying a new stick, simply re-grip it. You can learn more about re-gripping your stick by visiting iSport’s guide How to Re-grip a Field Hockey Stick.
A great way to take care of your gear with minimal effort is to wear dry fit clothing underneath it. Some goalies prefer to wear a full body suit to cover their whole body, but socks, spandex, and a shirt will do. Dry fit material is great because it is made to absorb excess swear and keep you cool.
By wearing clothing under your gear, you reduce the amount of sweat that gets on your pads. You’ll reduce the possibility of wear and tear, as well. As an added bonus, wearing clothes underneath your gear is more comfortable for you and it will reduce your chances of getting a rash.
Air It Out
After every game, air out your gear. As you get home, hang it up. If the gear can’t be hung, leave it outside in the shade (to prevent fading). Most likely, you’ll have been sweating in your gear for at least two hours. By airing it out, you’ll dilute the smell and prevent it from molding in your bag. It will also allow the gear to dry faster.
Wash Your Gear
Hot Tip: Get Your Gear Sanitized
Ice hockey goalies often find themselves in the same predicament as field hockey goalies: Their gear needs cleaning. So, if your gear needs a thorough cleaning, you can take it to a hockey shop and get your gear “sanitized.” This takes out the odor and kills the bacteria that cause rashes and infections. Sanitizing your gear generally will cost between $20 and $40. So if your gear needs help, it might be worth it.
The pads in your helmet, chest protector, arm protectors, and leg protectors can all be removed. Once removed, you can wash the pads separately in a washing machine on “gentle” in cold water with or without detergent (your choice). Most gear will also come with an instruction guide for washing it or you can check the tag for any special requirements.
You can rub down the leg guards, kickers, and hand protectors with a damp and soapy wash cloth before leaving them outside to dry.
Don’t Share Gear
Putting on another goalie’s gear is like putting on her wet bathing suit — you don’t want to do it. So, if possible do not share your equipment with another goalie. If you must share, make sure to fully wash the gear afterwards. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of spreading germs.
Develop a Routine
If you keep your gear in good condition, you can save yourself tons of time and money. Plus, it will keep you smelling cleaner!
Maintaining your gear may seem like a lot of work now, but if you develop a routine, you will be able to easily refresh your gear after every game. Your body and wallet will definitely appreciate your efforts!