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Over the decades, goalkeeper gloves have undergone several adaptations to match the current needs of the sport.
Most of these professional gloves are geared towards creating the best grip and may not always offer that comfortability that goalkeepers look for.
You may end up buying a good pair of goalkeeper gloves that offer excellent grip and durability but, the bottom line is that they may not offer that comfort that you’re looking for.
The proportions and dimensions of the gloves such as the wrist, palm and fingers could all be appropriate but the fingers can feel squished after the gloves are tightened.
And that naturally leads me on to answering the question of today’s article topic…
Goalkeeper gloves are unable to stretch expansively due to the limited properties of the materials used such as latex. In order to maximize on grip generation and durability, the flexibility of the gloves is sacrificed.
Tight gloves can put greater pressure on the materials of the gloves and lead to premature wear and an unnatural grip on the ball.
A suitable way of tackling this problem is by “breaking in” the gloves which offers new pathways to increase the stretching capacity of the gloves.
This concept will be explained in greater depth as we head deeper into the article.
How you can stretch your goalkeeper gloves
This article will now delve deeper into the different ways that goalkeepers can stretch their gloves as well as discuss the additional benefits that breaking in gloves can provide.
Step 1 – Tape the glove fingers backwards
One of the best universal techniques for increasing glove flexibility is by taping the glove fingers backwards.
This can be done by using masking tape, electrical tape or rubber bands to hold the fingers and gloves in place as well as spread apart.
After holding this position for prolonged periods of time, the stiffness of the gloves loosens up as the latex is forced to expand in order to maintain its shape.
Latex – the material that covers the surface of the gloves – is formulated to act as a synthetic rubber and is comprised of hundreds of holes spread across the gloves.
Upon impact with the ball, the latex expands and morphs itself to complement the shape of the ball and provide the goalkeeper with the necessary grip required.
Consequently, forcing the latex to expand would produce a similar effect and stretch the gloves beyond their static state.
Another alternative method of applying this technique is by wrapping the glove fingers around a softball and taping the two together.
This will increase the flexibility of the gloves at a higher rate as the gloves are stretched to a greater degree.
It is advised to leave the gloves in this position for a couple of days as the longer they remain in this position, the more flexible the fingers are going to be.
However, be careful not to leave the gloves in this stretched state for too long as the long-term flexibility of the gloves could be compromised and you may end up having gloves that are too loose to wear.
Step 2 – Test your gloves through match play
A practical way of stretching out goalkeeper gloves is by performing physical activities while wearing the gloves.
These activities can range from playing catch to doing push-ups as well as going through some simple goalkeeper drills. The aim of playing catch is to increase the wrist mobility, whereas push-ups are targeted at loosening the gloves’ fingers.
Here’s a practical demonstration of goalkeeping catching drills that are good step towards achieving increased flexibility:
Notice how the goalkeeper doesn’t just stick to one exercise and carries out a range of drills geared towards activating the latex?
These drills are suitable for all levels of goalkeeping experience and do not require any extra equipment.
Professional goalkeepers in the big leagues are accustomed to this principle and always have pre-match drills to warm up for the match.
Here’s a video of the FC Barcelona Goalkeeper – Marc-André Ter Stegen – going through some warm up exercises with the first team goalkeeper coaches:
This illustrates just how crucial utilizing the gloves to their maximum potential is, because it can have a significant impact on the performance of the goalkeeper.
You can certainly check out our article on why goalkeepers wear gloves for a more comprehensive explanation on the reasons why goalkeepers always wear gloves in amateur and professional games.
Step 3 – Apply glove lubricant
Glove lubricant can consist of glove balm or glove oil and these products are excellent for softening the gloves and providing the necessary moisture.
As stated before, latex is the primary material that covers the surface of the gloves and will naturally dry out with increased usage.
In order to counter this, the glove lubricant is key in reactivating the latex and bringing back that moisture required to maintain an adequate level of grip.
Applying a glove balm ensures that the glove fingers are flexible and provides a stretching effect as the glove fingers have more omni-directional flexibility.
If you’re looking for a good glove balm to use for your gloves, why not check out this Keeper Balm which enhances and restores grip as well as being compatible with both wet and dry weather conditions.
Alternatively, you can use a glove oil for more fluidity.
I’d recommend the GloveGlu Mega Grip Goalkeeper Formula Glove Grip Spray, which enhances grip for goalkeeper gloves in all conditions and at one of the highest grip levels.
It looks like this:
- Enhances the grip and performance of any goalkeeping glove
- Revives old gloves and improves new
- Equally effective in wet or dry conditions
Ultimately, it’s very important to wear goalkeeper gloves that fit correctly, as this gives goalkeepers more confidence in their ability to catch a ball as well as providing a more natural grip on the ball.
Tight gloves put greater stress on the materials of the gloves and lead to more wear and tear, whereas loose gloves lead to an unnatural grip on the ball.
The materials that comprise the composition of goalkeeper gloves have a low elasticity and are not typically made to provide a large range of stretching capability.
However, the process of breaking in gloves allows goalkeepers to manipulate this molecular composition and yield the higher elasticity they desire.
Now go ahead and get yourself a pair of the finest goalkeeper gloves available!