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Soccer goalkeepers don’t get as much on-field action as outfield players, but you can definitely make a strong case for them having a similar likelihood of picking up a serious injury during matches.
This is primarily because of the physically demanding nature of the position.
Just picture a specific scenario where a goalkeeper tries to claim a soccer ball that’s been swung in from a set piece.
You can imagine them jumping up to catch the ball whilst being under a raft of pressure from opposition players.
After an elbow swing here and a cleat stamp there, what you’re left with is a bruised goalkeeper receiving physio treatment for impact injuries.
In addition to the highly competitive nature of dealing with crosses, goalkeepers also have to make diving saves.
These acrobatic motions put various parts of the body at risk of strain and fracture, especially if the correct movement form is not adhered to.
Goalkeepers also run the probability of breaking their fingers during matches, the thought of which is quite brutal when you actually reflect on it.
The most probable culprit being those moments where players in this position stretch to make those last-ditch fingertip saves.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, because fingersave goalkeeper gloves exist.
Now I’m sure if you landed on this article from a Google search, you’re probably wondering…
What are fingersave goalkeeper gloves?
In a nutshell, they are pieces of equipment that help significantly with goalkeeper injury prevention.
But beyond that…
Fingersave goalkeeper gloves are goalkeeper gloves with additional finger protection. They typically feature easily removable spine inserts on each finger – designed to help prevent hyperextension related finger injuries that can take place during match play.
These days you’ll also find fingersave gloves that even have a thumb insert as well, which is great because that means even more protection.
And goalkeepers aren’t limited in how they want to use fingersave gloves either, as the individual inserts can be removed and added back with ease.
What’s also important to note is that they’re constructed to offer movement in one direction, as well as hardening when external pressure – say from a soccer ball – is applied onto the glove.
Ultimately, because injury prevention is rightly better than cure, fingersave goalkeeper gloves fall under the category of soccer gear that’s in consistently high buying demand all-year round.
- Benefits of fingersave goalkeeper gloves
- Drawbacks of fingersave goalkeeper gloves
- Do professional goalkeepers use fingersave gloves?
- Should you use fingersave goalkeeper gloves?
- Wrap up
Benefits of fingersave goalkeeper gloves
Let’s now explore some of the advantages that fingersave gloves offer goalkeepers who choose to wear them.
1. Extra finger protection against injuries
This plus point has already been alluded to in the introduction, but it’s always good to explain things in greater levels of depth.
Fingersave gloves decrease the chances of a goalkeeper picking up a finger-related injury because of the functionality that they offer.
Now it’s important to be aware that they don’t provide full finger injury-proofing!
In fact that’s far from the case, as they simply serve to decrease those injury chances.
You see, the plastic spines are embedded into the backhand of gloves to try to stop finger hyperextension possibilities through restricting overall finger movement inside the glove.
So, when you try to tip a soccer ball beyond the post, the finger spines will prevent your fingers from extending all the way backwards from the ball’s forward force.
2. Additional hand support
Fingersave goalkeeper gloves also provide structural hand support for the players that choose to wear them.
Goalkeepers can get a “stronger hand” to tip soccer balls away from the goalmouth.
Now, think of it in this hypothetical way.
You’re on the edge of a cliff and someone pushes you off of the edge, endangering your life as a result.
What would happen then is that you’d tumble down the cliff all the way to the bottom.
In a probable best case scenario you’d only sustain a couple of hand and leg injuries.
But what if there was additional protection for your well-being in the form of a safety net?
In such a case you’d get pushed off onto a net that cushions you and stops you from falling to your peril.
Finger spines perform the same sort of supportive role because they act as a safety barrier that supports not just your individual fingers, but your overall hand grasp of the ball after it’s traveled towards you.
Drawbacks of fingersave goalkeeper gloves
However, the facts are not all fine and dandy when it comes to fingersave goalkeeper gloves.
They can present a few problems that can create both short- and long-term difficulties for goalkeepers that use them.
Read on to find out how and why.
1. Restricted finger movement
Goalkeepers perform certain hand actions when they set foot on the pitch.
Incorporating fingersave elements into goalkeeper gloves can actually interfere with the natural flow of these motions.
A fine case in point is the way in which fingersave goalkeeper gloves inhibit fist clenching.
The plastic spines are not flexible enough to provide a platform for a wide range of hand movements, so what you experience is a sturdiness that can present on-field issues.
For example, goalkeepers are generally called into action during set pieces, and on occasion they may have to punch a soccer ball clear.
If they can’t clench their fist well enough, how would they then go about making an effective punched clearance?
The answer is, they wouldn’t!
In fact it’s quite ironic, as such inhibition could even lead to a serious injury because of the suboptimal finger placement when a punch is made.
2. Fingersave dependency
Another key disadvantage relates to goalkeepers developing a dependency on fingersave goalkeeper gloves if they wear them for a long stretch of games.
Where the problem lies is that the fingers are not given the opportunity to strengthen naturally through being bent back and forward every now and again.
Here’s a brief excerpt which explains this concept in detail:
“When playing any sport your body encounters micro fractures and injuries that you don’t notice but over time increase the strength of your bones and joints. It’s important that your body experiences these micro-fractures and injuries to maintain and develop bone density and joint strength. When wearing the spines, it doesn’t allow for these minor injuries and therefore doesn’t allow the fingers to strengthen in the same way.”Source – Pinnacle GK
So, what happens is goalkeepers grow accustomed to having the additional protection and letting the finger saves “do all the dirty work”.
And then what subsequently happens is that a situation where a player has to suddenly wear non-fingersave gloves arises.
In such an event, an injury can occur relatively easily.
This is primarily because a goalkeeper who’s used gloves with fingersave for many years has had their mind subconsciously conditioned into believing that the finger save properties will stop their fingers from getting snapped backwards, regardless of whether finger saves are being worn or not.
Do professional goalkeepers use fingersave gloves?
The vast majority of professional goalkeepers don’t wear fingersave gloves.
A lot of the top athletes in this sport prefer to maintain flexibility in their hands and good ball control, which are performance factors that are partially lost by wearing gloves of protective nature.
Professional goalkeepers also have access to the highest possible levels of healthcare.
What this means is that their strength and conditioning through periods of injury recovery is largely prioritized, as opposed to being thrown back in the firing line with first-team appearances.
So, for example, professional goalkeepers will simply be allowed to rehabilitate on the side lines instead of having to wear finger save gloves when they haven’t fully recovered from a previous hand-related injury.
Have a read of this article that covers the sort of gloves that professional goalkeepers wear to get a bit more insight into their specific preferences.
Should you use fingersave goalkeeper gloves?
The choice of whether a person should wear fingersave gloves purely boils down to a matter of personal preference.
Although it’s strongly advised that younger players should avoid wearing them, because this type of gloves will restrict the natural strength development of their fingers.
You should also avoid using them if you:
- Are a beginner goalkeeper
- Are wanting to develop your catching skills and overall feeling for the soccer ball
Conversely, fingersave gloves can be useful for dedicated shot-stopping training sessions, or if a person has fragile fingers that get injured easily and with frequency.
Have a look at the informative video below, as it can help you weigh up your decision more effectively:
If fingersave goalkeeper gloves are an option that you’re genuinely considering, then you can make the selection a lot easier for yourself by opting for Storelli’s Gladiator Pro 3 goalkeeper gloves.
They come equipped with five removable finger protection spines that prevent those pesky finger jams and stop those particularly dangerous finger hyperextensions.
But if you need a little more time to decide which fingersave glove option is right for your own personal needs, you can simply have a look through our dedicated roundup post on the finest fingersave goalkeeper gloves.
It aptly summarizes all the benefits and drawbacks of the most popular fingersave glove options.
However, on the off chance that fingersave solutions are no longer what you’re looking for, then you can head over to this article which covers the best all-round goalkeeper gloves.
As a reminder…
Fingersave goalkeeper gloves protect the fingers of a goalkeeper, with special finger spines that are integrated into the upper hand of such a product.
They prevent fingers from being overstretched backwards, as they function to support movement in one direction.
What they offer is substantial protection against powerful shots, as your fingers can’t hyperextend due to a natural hardening of the spines that occurs when pressure is applied against the gloves.
And all in all, fingersave goalkeeper gloves make soccer a much safer game, particularly for the men in between the goal posts.