The sporting ritual - Kitbag essentials

Two Footballs In Net

Playing football this weekend? Here's what you might need to take with you...

Sportsmen and women today might be different to the ones we used to know, with many looking to have the latest and most advanced equipment on the market.

In the past it was all plain black football boots, whatever clothing you could lay your hands on and even hand-me-down equipment to make sure we fitted in and were well protected. Many even came off the field at half time for a quick cigarette!

In the modern era it’s all about super-light fluorescent green boots, equipment designed to ensure that we get the maximum performance from our muscles and stringent fitness plans based around hitting the gym as often as possible and partaking in protein shakes to improve our physique.

When you arrive at a sports centre, football ground, cricket club, rugby pitch, wherever you might be playing; you probably take a kitbag with you containing what you deem to be your essential equipment – footwear, protection, clothing, toiletries, that kind of thing – but what in your bag is classed as genuinely essential, and what is more of a personal ritual?

A lot of people will participate in their chosen sport – football to use an example – wearing tape around their wrists and ankles, maybe with a pair of cycling shorts underneath their playing shorts to help keep warm, some even in gloves (although gloves with short sleeved shirts does baffle me somewhat…)

So, if you’re an amateur footballer – you might fancy yourself as a Ronaldo, Beckham Agüero, van Persie or Wilshere, but playing for Dynamo Derby isn’t the Premier League I’m afraid – what do you actually NEED to have in your kitbag?

Here are five things that might not make you a superstar, but will let you play and – hopefully – perform to the best of your ability.

Boots

Now, obviously, you need your football boots. But you’d be amazed at just how many people arrive for training or a game having left theirs at home. It’s an easy mistake – you get home after your session or match and start cleaning them, leaving them to dry and then rub on the dubbin to keep them in peak condition – then forget to take them to the club the next week. Here’s a tip – you’re playing football, start packing your bag with your football boots, not your hair gel!

Shin pads

The only real protection you need to play football, (unless you’re a goalkeeper, although some players choose to play in gum shields), these should follow your boots into your bag. They are a compulsory piece of kit and can make the difference between getting up and on with the game after a tackle, or ending up in hospital and out of the game for months.

‘Skins’

A lot of players choose to wear clothes underneath their match day kit, such as thermal t-shirts or cycling-style shorts. These don’t only help you to stay warm during the winter months, but when you buy specialist base layers as they’re known, (visit Compression Sportswear for examples), you can actually help to keep your muscles and joints warm throughout the game or training session and reduce the risk of injuries occurring.

Spare equipment

If you wear boots with removable studs or blades, you can find that they shake themselves loose and you lose them during the game or training session. Don’t try and play in them without the studs because you’ll find that you’ve got reduced grip on the sticky or slick turf, so keep plenty of spare studs in your bag.

Toiletries

Of course, you need to take something with you so that you can wash off the mud and sweat after the game. Shower gel and a towel are often enough, although you do get some players who choose to take moisturizer and hair gel with them…each to their own I guess!

image: © stevendepolo

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch