Tournament Kit Bag Essentials

While at a tournament and a long way from home it can be very off putting to not have equipment that is needed to do the job and perform at your highest level. For some of us (me too) representative duties can be quite a daunting task given that it may well be the first time that you are out of direct contact with your personal trainers/managers/equipment suppliers (Mum and Dad) (Long suffering wife in my case) Your team is relying on you, and your gear lets you, and them down………………….sometimes duct tape just don’t do the job!

To help with this I have come up with a list of contents for an effective “tour bag” for a keeper. (At least it’s what lives in my bag)

1/ Pads and Kickers
2/ Gloves and inners if worn
3/ Body Armour including Arms/Elbows
4/ Helmet
5/ Padded shorts/Girdle
6/ Stick
7/ Groin/Pelvic protector
8/ Spares Kit
9/ Consumables
10/ Tools
11/ Team supplies


Preparation of all the gear
1/ Pads and kickers.
Make sure that the foam is in good condition with all seams secure, straps in good nick with stitching/rivets secure and no buckles/clips rusty/broken. A new set of kicker straps is often a good investment if your’re playing schedule is heavy.
2/ Gloves.
Check for any tears holes etc in the foam and that any straps must be in good nick and clean the damned things (unless you really want your hands to smell like feet!) Wash in a powdered borax solution and rinse well if that doesn’t remove all the pong, try a weak bleach solution, again rinse well and allow to dry out of direct sunlight. Inners if you wear them should be washed with your over-shirts and helmet comfort pads.
3/ Body armour including elbows/arms.
If you wear the segmented fabric covered type, do up the straps and place it in the washing machine for a gentle cycle with a little laundry detergent and listen to it cycle. When the machine is on spin make sure that no part of the armour is above the rim of the drum and touching the stationary body of the machine ‘cause this will burn the fabric and embarrass the hell out of you. Place the armour on a coat hanger and allow it to dry out of direct sunlight. If you wear a foam chest-plate, treat it just the same as your pads and kickers.
4/ Helmet.
It doesn’t matter what type/brand or style you wear, the grill must be in good condition and firmly fastened to the shell of the helmet, all screws must be tight and clips in place and unbroken. Just for hygiene’s sake wash the helmet in a weak bleach solution and work the solution into the foam. Rinse well in clean water and allow to dry before packing the helmet away. I shudder when I see the inside of some helmets that are years old and never been washed. Make sure the comfort liner is clean and in place.
5/ Padded shorts or girdle and cover-shorts.
Put them in the washing machine with your body armour, inspect after washing for cuts, tears or broken seams. Replace of reposition missing/moved foam pads and make sure that the pockets that hold them are tight.
6/ Stick.
No chips, cracks or sharp edges. Grip in good condition and secured.
7/ Groin/Pelvic protector.
For gawd’s sake give the poor thing a wash (throw it in with the armour and shorts) then make sure the elastic is good and that any clips/buckles are whole.

Additional stuff that’s gotta be packed
(Spares Kit? Or what lives in my bag for my gear)
A ½ set of kicker straps (2 long 2 short toe straps)
A set of “StrapSecure” (webbing loops that stop the front toe strap riding up over my boot toe)
1 long pad strap with buckle (can be cut to make a kicker ankle strap with buckle)
Small assortment of helmet screws posts and clips to suit my helmet.
Stuff that my team-mates can use to solve all their little problems. This lot lives in a “Tupperware” container in a side pocket of my bag.
A roll of duct tape
A roll of strapping tape
A roll of insulation tape
2 spare stick grips
2 small tubes (1ml) of cyano-acetate cement
A small tube (25ml) of contact cement
A bottle of Ibuprofen tablets
A tube of ‘30+’ sunscreen
A bottle of nail-polish
A bottle of acetone (25ml max)
6 heavy duty zip ties at least 18” long
My good lady wife (also a keeper) carries tampons (I don’t, go figure)
Tools. (In the hold only on flights)
A box-cutter
Star and flat blade screw drivers
Pair bull-nose pliers with cable/wire cutters
Team supplies.
1 dozen practice balls in a cage
2 match balls
2 “Face-off” masks

Explanation of “Consumables”
Do I really have to explain the three tapes?
Every “fieldy” decides the fatter the grip the better the control.
Super Glue in 1ml size is a single use, throw away that can stick most stuff to other stuff.
Contact glue is great for shoes, foam, or any porus material.
Hmm… Drugs…. fixes headaches and inflammation (strains and sprains)
Sunscreen: Great stuff if you play in daylight outside.
No. I’m not going soft. Fixes chips in composite sticks (no moisture entry causing delamination). Apply to helmet screws before tightening to act as a thread lock. Great for marking balls. The correct shade goes well with your cocktail dress (?)
An all purpose cleaner, works on balls, foam, fingernails, removes the adhesive that the three tapes may leave behind removes grease before using glue to stick stuff together.
Sooo handy (known as “flexi cuffs” by police) at a pinch can even replace kicker straps. Let your imagination run wild.
I’m just not going there for the last item.
Explanation of “Tools”
Good sharp blade for cutting flexi cuffs, tape and anything else that needs to be shorter than it is
How else are you going to tighten helmet screws and service the team bus?
For the removal of fingernails under questioning (Oops. family forum) holding of small items with force. Just getting a grip on things that need to be gripped.
Explanation of “Team supplies”
Have you ever tried “warming up” to find that the coach left the balls at the hotel? This is a problem you don’t want and your responsibility to avoid by taking action yourself by providing “warm up” balls.
Don’t want to be seen as the poor country cousins by only having a crappy old ball for the match, get a couple of “kookas” and keep them clean using the acetone.
“Post men” have far more confidence when they have a “face off” to hide their fear behind. They have been known to prevent contamination of the playing surface by blood.

ROBO Elbowguards Review

Here is a couple of stills and a couple of vids that are a bit tongue in cheek.

My comments are as follows…

1. Great adjustability and wearability c/o the amount and placement of the velcro strips.

2. very minor impediment to full movement.

3. Courtesy of my immense bodyweight I regularly end up with burstitis (deep haematoma around the joint) on my right elbow c/o heavy/poor landings on my elbow when diving….I know it is a technique problem but I have not been practising enough to address the poor technique. These elbow guards have negated the problem so far this season.

4. Inner elbow protection when logging is far far superior to anything I have come across before. I dont wear or buy/sell crap and I wear as well as sell these. I cant give any higher recommendation than that. I know what Mrs Animal is getting for Christmas.


How To Keep Your Goalkeeping Kit In Top Condition

Here are some great tips and advice on how to keep your kit in its best condition.

1.After each training session or game, take the gear out of the bag to allow it to dry. It helps prevent odours and damage to body armour and other gear can be monitored and repaired.

2.Before putting the helmet into the gear bag after use wipe out the inside (use a small towel or rag kept in the bag and regularly washed). This will prevent both mould and a build up of odours in the helmet.

3.Where possible try and wash all the gear at least every month. Washing the gear will help to reduce odours and will prolong the life of all the gear in particular the body armour.

3.1 Use your bathtub or washtub to soak all gear including pads, kickers, gloves, helmet and any body armour in a solution of borax (approx 1 lid full) in plenty of cold water. Borax is available in the cleaning products section of most supermarkets.

3.2 Leave to soak for several hours or till the next day if possible. The pads, kickers and gloves will not remain covered with the solution. It is important that they are turned a couple of times and are re-immersed when possible. (You can use a scrubbing brush to remove any marks and dirt off any equipment if necessary).

3.3 After soaking drain the water completely.

3.4 Refill the tub with cold water and add a generous measure of fabric conditioner. Ensure that the tub is reasonably full to allow all items to be well rinsed.

3.5 Allow the gear to soak for at least 2 hours to remove any residue of the borax. If this is not done it is possible for a skin reaction to occur so it is quite important to ensure a good rinse process is followed.

3.6 Drain completely and hang the gear on the line. The gear will dry quite well overnight. The gloves need to be stood up to allow water to drain away. If the left hand glove still smells after the washing process put a diluted solution of bleach into it and leave for a short while then rinse thoroughly with clean water and some fabric softener. This will remove the odour.

3.7 The bag can also be washed in this solution if necessary, as it will absorb odours from the gear it carries.

3.8 If the helmet has any mould on the foam inside, this can be removed by using bleach and a small brush (toothbrush or similar will do the job). You will then need to rinse to remove any residue.

4.When the gear is dry, check all the gear for any damage that needs repairing.

4.1 Look for any areas of separation on the pads and kickers, which may need reglueing. This includes any tears or splits. Reglue as necessary using contact adhesive or shoe goo.

4.2 Check kicker and pad straps and if necessary, replace prior to them breaking and being a problem. It is likely that the kicker straps will break more often that the pad straps. Checking for wear and early replacement can prevent these problems from occurring. Look for any padding in the helmet, which may be loose and need reglueing. Check any straps and other replaceable items such as chinstraps are in good order. Repair and replace as necessary.

4.3 Check all the screws on the helmet and tighten any that may be loose. You may need to do this on a weekly basis. It can be useful to carry a couple of short handled screwdrivers in the gear bag to manage this process. If any screws or other pieces have been lost, replacement kits can be purchased. Also check for any splits or cracks to ensure that the helmet continues to meet the safety standards required.

4.4 Check body armour for any wear. If necessary repair any small tears and broken seams with a large needle and strong thread. Any major damage can be repaired by a saddler or a shoe repair company. If maintenance and checking of body armour is carried out on a regular basis, this allows repairs to be made quickly with minimal disruption to training and games.

4.5 Check the bag for any damage, which can be repaired. A saddler or shoe repair company can repair damage.

5. To assist with odours emanating from the gear and bag whilst in the car, a can of Glen20 kept in the bag and sprayed in the car and gear bag can temporarily neutralise the odours. However, keeping the gear reasonably clean and dry can help prevent any problems with odour. DO NOT USE DE-ODOURANTS AS THEY ATTACK THE FOAM If you are not leaving the playing fields straight away it may be helpful to leave the gear out to dry a bit before packing up.

6. It is in your interests to keep the gear well maintained and clean as it will last longer and will therefore not be a financial drain. If the steps listed above are adhered to any replacements or repairs due to wear and tear can be carried out quickly to minimise any disruption to you, your team, coach or club. Any repairs should be carried out as quickly as possible to ensure that gear is always ready for use.

7. It is imperative that you check your gear at the completion of the season to ensure that your gear will be in good playing order at the beginning of the next season. You will also be able to organise the purchase of new gear, which will reduce any extra costs to start the next season. This will also enable you to wear any new gear in prior to the start of the next season.


Download the PDF

Thanks to Animal who supplied the PDF and wrote the content.