Fashion vs Production: Kids and Their Game Day Wear

Every team has that player(s), usually the pretty receivers and defensive backs, who hit the mirror before hitting the field on game day. Pull the socks up to the perfect length. Pull out the fresh pack of wristbands and spend extra time in the locker whipping off the cleats so they have that clean look once they hit the field. Problem? Not at all. Everyone likes to look their best when it’s time to make a big impression. In sports, no better time than game day. But, can kids overdue it?

The older generation never had some of the neat, cool looking football attire kids wear now. The multi-color cleats, flashy compression pants, customized socks and just straight up awesome uniforms. Most of the time “Old Folks” wish we had some of that gear back in the day. Is all that gear necessary? That’s what older coaches and parents ask when kids strap on the cool stuff, “What do you need it for? Will it help you perform better?” Depending on the piece of attire questioned, the answer boils down to, it just looks cool (to the players).

Coaches of team sports never want players drawing more attention to themselves than the team. Trust, kids are not the only ones who do that. Humans thrive off attention. Disagree? See social media and see if that changes your mind. Adults always show off what they are wearing, visiting, eating, etc on social media. Big kids themselves. So don’t “Poo Poo” on the kids for doing pretty much the same thing.

IMG_1254Let’s go back to that question of “What do you need it for? Will it help you perform better?” Skill position players are a great example. Take your above average skill player on any team. Confident, pretty good player and coaches trust his play; his practice attire = Dirty cleats, one pair of socks, gloves and whatever the padding is for the day. Now…fast forward to game day; clean cleats, multiple pairs of socks, compression pants, wristbands on legs, gloves and towel hanging out pants. Laugh…you know it’s true. Why do kids do it? Why do adults do the crazy stuff they do? Let’s not start on the adult list. Could get long.

We never addressed “What do you need it for? Will it help you perform better?” We are 1/3 of the way through the high school football season. Often the temperatures and humidity remain high, increasing the risk for heat illness. We reached out to BCP Certified Athletic Trainer Raena Steffen, MS, LAT, ATC, CKTP for her expertise. She explained that heat illnesses include heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, all of which put an athlete’s health at serious risk and require them to STOP participating in football until cleared by an appropriate healthcare provider.

Every wonder why so many kids cramp during the start of the football season? It’s not just do to a lack of intaking liquids to hydrate the body. Also has plenty to do with the bodies ability or lack of ability to cool. ATC Steffen explained when healthy and properly hydrated, the human body has the ability to cool itself through sweating and subsequent evaporation. However, when multiple layers of clothing and equipment are covering the skin, the body’s ability to cool down is REDUCED.

When it comes to football, helmets and pads are necessary for protection from injury, so we cannot have athletes participate without that equipment. However, the layers of clothing an athlete wears UNDERNEATH their football equipment can be controlled! The more layers of clothing, including leggings, compression shirts, compression shorts, t-shirts, etc. that an athlete wears under their necessary equipment, the less able the body is to cool itself down, thus increasing the risk for heat illness.

All that means this…the body has to work HARDER to cool down, thus using MORE energy and taking that energy AWAY from muscles. Less energy means less power, less speed, less endurance, and less minutes on the field. ​

Coaches want production more than anything else. So when practice, more so game day attire has no football purpose and does not increase production, coaches and old folks see it as a selfish thing. Kids are not purposely being selfish. They just like wearing the cool stuff. We get it. We dig it and really have no problem with it. But, the problem occurs when the fashion affects the production.

High school kids can be influenced by those in favorably positions they would like to be in, I.E. college football players. Comparably the large majority of college athletes wear only the necessary equipment. Not saying they don’t want to look good. But, there is an emphasis on playing fast and unrestricted. The less on, the faster the play. The less layers, the faster the body cools.

In conclusion, people like attention. Young adults are no different. They are exposed to more now than ever before and they are very in tuned with the amount attention they receive. This whole article is to help the young athletes understand how their play could be impacted by their fashion.