6 key things you need to dominate football pre-season training
It’s never too early to prepare for pre-season, and the right gear is the key to staying ahead of the competition.
Another season of amateur football has well and truly come to a close. Whether you are celebrating winning your league or are licking your wounds after a year of disappointment, we guess you’ll already be obsessing over the upcoming 2019/20 campaign.
Unlike the professionals, you will be given the task of keeping yourselves in shape between now and a pre-season, consisting of an hour kickabout each week where you will again fork out registration and training fees all for the love of playing the beautiful game.
But which boots will help you score more goals, or at least make sure you stay on your feet while you’re running the line? Which shinnies will offer the best protection when one of those inevitable late challenges comes your way? And which shoes will help you with those planned pre-season road runs you loathe more than a smug referee?
Well we’ve decided to help you committed individuals in the best way we can by highlighting a range of must have pre-season equipment and apparel. Although we can’t guarantee you’ll turn from Dog & Duck waterboy to sub-county league legend, hopefully the following will maximise the attributes you already have.
1 - TRAINING TOP
Although it’s summer, the weather up and down the UK can be very unpredictable so a training top is essential.
Starting off with the adidas Core 18 Training Top for men. This lightweight product is perfect for those cool evening runs. Don’t worry about sweating too much in it though, as its Climalite fabric sweeps moisture away from your skin. As well as good for performance, the Core 18 – available in black, red, blue or stone - also looks great with its contrast colour piping providing a nice tidy finish – just like you’ll be come matchday.
For women we feel fellow football giant Nike have come up with a great football product in their Drill SS Top. The top works with a full range of movement meaning there’s next to no distractions while you’re in full flow. A great fit, the product is incredibly breathable suiting the most vigorous of pre-season workouts, with its Dri-FIT technology working hard to move sweat away from the skin. Like adidas’ Core 18, this is also a slick looking garment and is available in various colours.
2 - BASE LAYER
Another modern-day training essential for any serious footballer at any level of the game is a baselayer. Keeping your body dry whatever the weather, these step-up from vests can really benefit you when it comes to performance.
We can’t mention base layers without experts Under Armour and their HeatGear ARMOUR. Despite being ultra-tight for a true second-skin feel, innovative HeatGear fabric means it’s also incredibly comfortable. Working to keep you cool and dry via strategically placed stretch-mesh panels and a Moisture Transport System, the HeatGear is Champions League when it comes to wicking sweat. If we have a summer like 2018, you’ll be delighted to know that it features UPF 30+ which protects your skin from the sun. Anti-odour technology will also assure that you can confidently stand close to your teammates after that dreaded beep test.
Compression clothing experts SKINS have created the A200 training top for women. Designed to be worn across various contact and non-contact sports, it would be a decent addition to the pre-season training kit bag. Scientifically proven to improve circulation, fresh oxygen gets to your muscles more easily to assist during both workout and recovery. Like the HeatGear, the A200 also has mesh to increase ventilation, plus UV protection to fight that beaming July sun. A perk of this product is that it’s available with long sleeves, short sleeves or as a tank top.
3 - ROAD RUNNING SHOES
All footballers hate running. That’s just a fact. But if you have the correct shoe it could really help you not despise it as much and improve those all-important pre-season road runs.
The Reebok Floatride Run Fast is one of the best road running shoes on the market. Extremely light with a large cushioning area on the bottom, it will ensure you stay as fresh as possible no matter how far you go. The Run Fast’s cushioning - made from leading Pebax material – provides a huge amount of pace which will assist in helping you to maintain your speed. Available in various colours, the shoe has been made to help both men and women stay ahead of the competition.
Another fantastic shoe for running on your local roads is ASICS’ GEL-Kayano 25. With versions available to both men and women, these clogs are especially great if you have flat feet.
Benefitting from FlyteFoam cushioning, this show also has a spacious toe box and Ortholite X-40 sockliner to provide you with a comfortable ride. Endurance is all important as a footballer throughout a long season and the GEL-Kayano bows to that with its support system and metaclutch. These have ensured an improvement in levels of heel-holding and FlyteFoam Lyte technology to enhance performance.
Many worry that long distance running can ruin their shoes soon after purchase but these clever things have a fibre-reinforced midsole which will them recover their shape after impact. Versatile and durable – just like you’ll be out on the pitch next season - a wider width option is also available for those with broader feet.
4 - FIRM GROUND BOOTS
A football pre-season essentials list wouldn’t quite be one without a pair of boots. Here’s a couple of firm ground options which will help you hit the ground running on those dry, cracked summer pitches.
adidas are world leaders in firm ground boots and the Copa 19.1 is certainly one of their star turns.
Developed with a mono-tongue construction, these boots allow for an adaptive fit and sock-like experience. Assisted by the foam pads, Ortholite insole and injected TPU, adidas guarantee superior comfort for the entire 90 minutes – and who doesn’t want that. Available in various colourways for both men and women, the Copa 19.1 boots also benefit from being engineered with Fusionskin technology which utilises a revolutionary leather treatment process to make them seamless and less permeable. With an X Ray K Leather vamp claiming to help with ball control, these could help rectify those embarrassing heavy touches even if you’re not on the top of your game.
For something a bit different but just as reliable you may want to opt for the Puma Future 19.1 boots. Worn by France star Antoine Griezmann and Germany winger Marco Reus, the eye-catching design will make sure you have no hiding place. A 3D Havoc Frame will help when it comes to your first touch, while an evoKNIT PRO upper with customisable NETFIT ensures they are as comfortable as you’d like them to be. Extremely lightweight and perfect to use on firm and artificial ground, these will aid you in your quest to become a legend within your club.
5 - SHIN PADS
A must-have in the kitbag is a decent pair of shin pads for those all-important pre-season matches and training games. We’ve experienced those late tackles that so often occur in the amateur game so it’s important you protect yourself as much as possible.
If you’re looking for the champions of champions when it comes to shinnies then look no further that the G Form Pro S Shin Guards. Benefitting from cutting edge technology, the pads are based on a sleeve design to account for the perfect fit. Featuring RPT (rate-dependent technology), the G Form Pro S stiffens on impact meaning you will be able to stand the toughest of tackles. Although on the pricey side, these will provide your legs with the ultimate shield.
A cheaper alternative but one that will also offer good protection is the Under Armour Challenge 2.0 shin pads. With a durable hard shell outer combined with a foam inner, these shinnes will do the job in deflecting the impact of a challenge away from you as well as keeping you comfortable during game time. Armed with ankle discs, these will also help keep you safer if any lower late tackles come your way.
6 - WATER BOTTLES
Something most people don’t drink enough of is water. It’s so important to stay hydrated and even more so during and after exercise. Here’s a couple of nice looking and practical bottles to aid you throughout pre-season.
We love the fact that the Nike T1 Swoosh Water Bottle allows for nearly 1 litre of liquid. Most bottles on the market hold between 400ml-750ml but the more water you can get on the better you will feel. It also comes equipped with a built-in straw so it’s easy to get every last drop with minimum effort.
With under a third of the capacity of the Nike T1 Swoosh, the Reebok Running Water Bottle will not provide as much water but it does have something unique. Its ergonomic design allows the owner to comfortably hold it while running, something that can so often be annoying with other bottles. Its see through design also allows you to track how much you’re knocking back.