When preparing to play football, you will need to have the necessary gear and equipment. There is a list of equipment that a player needs in order to play, and there are a few additional accessories that players may use in order to stand out and look cooler or tougher out on the field. The necessities include: a helmet, jersey, shoulder pads, thigh pads, knee pads, pants, socks, and cleats. Some of the optional accessories include: a helmet visor, gloves, hand warmers, and a towel. We are going to take a look at what purpose each item serves, talk about some of the history of the sport of football, and explain what you should be looking for when buying these pieces of equipment or accessories.
Accessories are pieces of equipment that many players use due to the benefits that they provide. The difference between mandatory equipment and accessories is that athletes have the option whether or not they want to use them when on the football field. As mentioned under the "football equipment" section, popular accessories include: a helmet visor, gloves, hand warmers, and a towel. Players may use these for a couple different reasons. First, each accessory may give you an advantage on the field. For example, football visors protect players from sunlight as well as physical contact to the eye area. Another reason why people choose to use these accessories is due to the "swagger" factor that they provide. Those who wear football visors may do so because they look intimidating or cool. With that said, these accessories are not required; however, they are extremely popular in the sport of football.
Similar to some of the other accessories, arm sleeves are optional and are only used by some players. Typically, we see arm sleeves on skill-players, such as quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs. Aside from the fashion aspect, players wear arm sleeves for enhanced protection. These sleeves are built and designed to reduce the risk of injury. The muscle support and circulation from compression sleeves gives these players an edge over the opposition. If you are looking to purchase arm sleeves, manufacturers like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor sell them for about $15 to $20.
The structure of the ball used in modern day football has changed significantly over the last couple of centuries. In the 1800s, the first ball used was a round shaped ball that was difficult to carry and tougher to throw. A few decades later, the football evolved into a watermelon-shape where it was a bit larger than today's football. The ball used in American football today is shaped the same as a pig's bladder; this is why we hear the term "pig-skin" when referring to a football. The modern day football is made of leather and has laces which make it easy to hold, throw, and kick. If you want to buy a football, you can pretty much go anywhere. Local convenience stores, sporting goods stores, and on the web are all solid options. The standard football is relatively cheap, costing $15 to $20. However, if you are looking to purchase an official NFL ball, prices may go between $40-55.
Football belts are used like any other belt, to keep pants tight to the waist and from falling off. The National Football League has their own specific belt design that is used by all of its players. Youth, varsity, and collegiate levels use similar belts as well. Football belts may be a bit more difficult to find than some of the other pieces of equipment; however, they are sold at stores like Under Armor, Nike, Adidas for around $15 to $20.
Chin straps are extremely important for player safety, as they are used to protect the chin from forcible contact. Since chin straps were first required by the National Football League in 1976, the number of injuries has decreased dramatically, including detrimental head injuries like concussions. Despite being a bit uncomfortable, they are necessary due to safety concerns. Every member of a football team will be given a chin strap with their helmet. If you are looking to purchase a chin strap individually, you should look to shop at a sports equipment supplier such as Under Armor where they are sold at under $20.
Cleat cleaners are used in sports such as baseball, football, lacrosse, and soccer. Cleat cleaners have an all-rubber construction that is designed to remove mud and grass to increase traction and prevent injuries. On the football field, they are especially useful after playing on wet and muddy surfaces. Cleat cleaners are sold at stores like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor for $20 to $25.
Cleats are necessary when playing football, as they are for many other sports. Cleats are made of rubber which provide traction, allow durability, and give players a "lift-off", which allows them to run faster on the football field. The first shoes used by football players were actually baseball shoes; football cleats were not invented until the mid 1900s. Football cleats can be purchased at sporting goods stores for about $100.
Compression apparel are pieces of clothing that fit tightly around the skin. Compression garments provide support for athletes who have to stand or run for long periods of time. Compression apparel can be used to help prevent certain injuries. They are also more comfortable than wearing regular underwear or athletic shorts. Compression garments reduce rashes and burns and are also good for absorbing sweat.
Compression shorts are used by a wide variety of people, not just professional athletes. Almost all football players wear compression shorts under their pants. Like other compression apparel, these shorts are used to help prevent injuries. Compression shorts are known to reduce muscle fatigue, improve exertion, prevent strains, and much more. Most football teams or leagues will provide players with this piece of equipment. If not, they can be purchased at sporting goods stores like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor for under $40.
Cones are used by almost all athletes across a variety of sports. We often see football players taking part in cone drills during training or practices. Since athleticism is crucial for football players, many teams use them as a training technique. Cone drills help players work on agility, body control, ability to change direction, general quickness, and overall speed. The NFL Combine has a set of cone drills which help determine the athleticism and ability of players. Nike sells training cones for very cheap at $5 to $8.
Duffle bags feature a durable fabric, vented pockets, and a grab handle which allows athletes to carry around their equipment with ease. You do not have to be an athlete to own a duffle bag, but they are specific bags designed to help athletes transport their necessary belongings. Many football teams will provide players with a team duffle bag. Sporting goods stores such as, Adidas, Nike, and Under Armor sell a variety of football duffle bags. Depending on the quality and the brand, you can expect to spend between $20-60.
Energy drinks have been around for a very long time. They are loaded with caffeine which many people take advantage of in order to not only stay awake, but to be productive and efficient. Several football players consume energy drinks before practices and games to give them that necessary boost. When it comes to options, there are a wide variety of energy drink brands. Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and Bang are among some of the well known ones. Energy drinks are sold at pretty much all conveniences stores, grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations. If you want to purchase them in bulk and have them delivered right to your front door, you can shop online via Amazon. Prices will range between $3 to $8.
Several athletes put on eye black before practices and games. Eye black is a strip applied under the eyes to help reduce glare from the sun. Eye black is extremely beneficial for the vision of many players. We often see football players sporting eye black for other reasons as well. Eye black can be used as an intimidation factor. Ray Lewis, one of the greatest football players of all time, was known for wearing eye black before every game to intimidate and strike fear in his opponents. Eye black can be purchased at convenience stores and sporting goods stores for only a few dollars.
Flag football is an offshoot of tackle football that is extremely popular among the youth. Flag football consists of many of the same rules as tackle football. The main difference is that a player can be "taken down" by pulling their flag instead of tackling them to the ground. This is a great alternative because it reduces injuries dramatically. With that said, the belts used in flag football consist of two to five flags that the opposing team tries to grab and take away from the opposing player. Flag football belts are usually sold at stores like Kohl's, Walmart, and Target at prices that range between $12 to $20.
The penalty flag or flags used in flag football are cloths that can be used in several field sports. The flags can be of any color but they are typically yellow or red. Each player on every team wears the same color flag, so it is easy to tell apart the respective teams. This is the case in American football as well as all other team sports, as players on the same team will wear identical flags, jerseys, or uniforms as one another. The flags are typically attached to the belt with velcro which makes them easy to take off. If you are looking to purchase just flags (without the belt), you can do so by going to a variety of sporting goods stores. Football flags are extremely cheap for $3 to $7.
Football flak jackets may be better known as rib protectors. The jackets or protectors are pieces of protective equipment that are attached to the shoulder pads and wrapped around the rib area. Each player must wear rib protectors as they are a part of their required equipment. These are used to prevent rib and other abdominal injuries. Football teams will provide flak jackets or rib protectors with the rest of the necessary equipment. Under Armor is known for selling a wide variety of effective rib protectors for $40 to $50.
A football girdle is essential, yet it is rarely talked about as one of the necessary pieces of equipment. Girdles provide protection and stability, primarily to the lower body parts. A girdle contains pads on the thigh, hip areas, and tailbone. The pads are already built into the girdle which makes it convenient for players who already have to keep track of all their other equipment and belongings. Similar to other pieces of equipment, football teams will provide their players with girdles. For those looking to purchase football girdles, Nike sells them for about $60.
Football gloves are designed to help players gain an edge on the gridiron. Skill positions, such as running backs, receivers, and defensive backs use these gloves to better grip the ball. Linemen depend on them and benefit from the additional warmth and protection. With that said, gloves are one of the few pieces of equipment that are not mandatory; however, most players use them due to the benefits that they provide. Not all youth football teams offer players gloves, so they can best be purchased at Nike or Under Armor for $30 to $35.
Football hand warmers are designed to keep players' hands warm and dry from harsh weather conditions. We often see teams who play in colder regions of the country using hand warmers on the sidelines during games. Hand warmers are essential due to the fact that players must be able to catch, throw, and tackle to the best of their ability. Cold or wet hands can lead to the ball slipping away from the passer or receiver. In addition, tackling becomes a lot more difficult when you are faced with these harsh conditions. Those who are looking to purchase hand warmers do not have to go far, as many local convenience stores sell them. If not, online shopping is always a great option. You can buy a set of hand warmers for as low as a single dollar. Hand warmers are also in packs of 10 which cost about $8 to $12.
The helmet is undoubtedly the most important piece of football equipment. Shockingly, the National Football League did not adopt helmets until 1949 which is pretty crazy considering how dangerous and violent the sport of football can be. The modern day football helmet is made up of a hard outer shell with padding on the inside to help absorb blows to the head. The facemask is also made of hard plastic and helps protect the front of the face. Due to the rise of concussions in contact sports like football, the football helmet is crucial for player safety. Those who are looking to purchase football helmets can do so by shopping online. The price of helmets will depend on the manufacturer, style and size. Football helmets typically vary between $99 and $250.
Helmet air pumps allow you to inflate and deflate the pads in your helmet. The pumps are designed for convenience purposes when transporting and storing them, as they are hand operated with an air release valve. Because the football helmet is so important for player safety, it is crucial to have helmet pumps on standby. The last thing you want as a player is to have a helmet that doesn't fit properly or is uncomfortable. All football teams will provide helmet air pumps to its players. If you are looking to buy a helmet pump, you can best do so shopping online through Amazon, in my opinion. Amazon sells helmet pumps at about $15.
Radios were not constructed into football helmets until a couple of decades ago. The radios are used for communication between the players and the coaching staff. They are especially important in college football and the NFL when crowd noise becomes a factor. In the National Football League, each offensive and defensive team is allowed just one player on the field with a radio receiver in their helmet. Radios are more complex and are not used in youth or varsity leagues. Football helmet radios are probably one of the more difficult pieces of equipment to find; however, you can purchase them on the web for $150 to $250.
A helmet visor is used by some players for visibility purposes and protection from the sun. Similar to eye black, players may also choose to wear visors because they look cool or intimidating. Visors also protect players from physical contact to the eye area. Since football is such a physical sport, eye-gouging is not out of the ordinary. Most football teams will provide players with visors and each individual athlete has the choice whether or not they want to sport one. Helmet visors can be purchased at sporting goods stores like Nike or Dicks Sporting Goods for $25-40.
A football jersey is a shirt worn by each member of the team. Every football team has a unique brand or mascot that is represented within their jerseys. Most collegiate players and all NFL players will have their last names on the back of their jerseys. The names help players and spectators identify each individual player. This is important in all phases of the game, whether it's used for scouting or simply being able to add a play to the stat sheet.
Every team offers its players a jersey with a different number. The numbers are primarily used to identify and distinguish each player. Typically the most elite players on each team get to choose their desired number. Jersey numbers usually dictate which position they play as well. Those who want to purchase jerseys can do so at sporting good stores or online. Football jerseys are extremely popular among sports fans, many fans buy the jersey of their favorite football players or teams. The price of football jerseys vary dramatically depending on the manufacturer and type. You can buy a football jersey for as low as $20. With that said, authentic NFL jerseys can go for as much as $300.
A jockstrap (also known as a cup or athletic supporter) is used to protect the pelvic area of a player. Jockstraps are required in other sports as well, most commonly known in baseball and football. Since football is such a physical sport, groin protection is absolutely critical. Most teams will provide their players with jockstraps or cups. You can best purchase football jockstraps at sporting goods stores for relatively cheap ($5 to $10).
K-balls are used in the National Football League for kicking plays only. These K-balls replace the regulation football during kickoffs and field goal attempts. The difference between these balls and regulation balls is that K-balls are slicker and harder than the average football. The structure of the ball makes it easier to kick for accuracy and distance. Furthermore, these kicker balls are kept separate from the rest of the balls on the sideline and are shadowed by team ball boys. Most lower level leagues such as youth or varsity do not require K-balls. If you or a friend is looking to become an elite kicker, purchasing a K-ball is not a bad idea. They are a little bit more rare, making them more difficult to find. With that said, you can buy K-balls on Amazon or at Nike for about $60 to $150.
Mouth guards are an essential equipment item used by all football players. The guard is used as a shock absorber that protects your entire mouth area, primarily the tongue and teeth. Similar to many other pieces of equipment, mouthguards have not always been required. In the mid 20th century, all youth, high school, collegiate, and professional football players were required to use mouth guards while playing. Since mouth guards became mandatory, both mouth and head related injuries have decreased dramatically. Football mouth guards are relatively cheap and can be purchased at about $12 to $15.
The neck roll became increasingly popular in college football and the NFL in the 1970s. Those who used neck rolls were considered to be the toughest and most intimidating players on the field. Neck rolls were a lot more common for defensive players such as linebackers and defensive lineman. In today's game, we do not see neck rolls nearly as much. Aside from the swagger factor, the main purpose of the neck roll design is to cradle and hold the neck for protection. The price of football neck rolls vary drastically; they can be purchased at a price as low as $25. However, the most elite neck rolls can go for over $150.
The football nose guard is probably one of the least talked about pieces of equipment, primarily because they go unnoticed. Nose guards have a rock-hard, high density, rubber design which were created before the modern helmet. Traditional nose guards, those used when football was first founded are no longer used because they are less effective than the modern football helmet. The modern day football helmet has a built-in nose protector that is less noticeable and much more effective. With that said, you can still purchase football nose guards, seperate from the helmet, for $10 to $30 on the web.
The structure and design of football pads has changed dramatically since the game of football was first discovered in the mid 1800s. Pads are a crucial piece of equipment as they are designed to absorb the several physical blows a player may take during a game. Other than the helmet, there are pads that protect just about each part of the body. As a part of necessary protection, the National Football League mandated that all players wear thigh and knee pads in 2013.
Other pads include shoulder pads, hip pads, rib protectors, and girdles. Until the early 2000s, shoulder pads were a lot larger in width, which made it a little bit more difficult for a player's speed and durability. Modern day shoulder pads also look a lot better than they used to. All required football pads are necessary for the game and each and every team provides its players with the equipment. Those who are looking to purchase pads can do so by going to sporting goods stores like Dick's Sporting Goods and Under Armor.
All football players are required to wear hip pads as a part of their equipment. Like thigh and knee pads, they are designed for protection and comfort. Hip pads can also be found built into girdles. Taking a blow to the hip area does not feel good, so these pads are crucial. All football teams will provide players with hip pads like they do with all other pads. If you are looking to buy hip pads, Dicks Sporting Goods and Nike sells them for $25 to $40.
Football knee pads are an essential piece of equipment that every player on the football field must wear. These pads are lightweight and molded and are designed to fit easily into football pants. These knee pads provide a tough outer shell designed for protection. There are a variety of different knee pads. These can best be purchased at sporting goods stores or on the web for $25-40 (similar pricing as hip pads).
Today, shoulder pads weigh a little bit less than 4 pounds. About 15 years ago, shoulder pads were much heavier and larger in stature. The reason for the change in size is due to the fact that smaller pads are more comfortable and they allow players more durability and flexibility. Smaller shoulder pads have especially benefited skill position players such as running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs. As a skill player, it is important to be as quick and agile as possible. All football teams will provide players with shoulder pads. Those that are looking to purchase official shoulder pads can buy them at a little over $100.
Thigh pads are a part of the required equipment in football pants. They are made with thick foam to ensure comfort and protection. They are light and flexible and they come with self-adhesive backing that keeps the pads together. Thigh pads also come in girdles, in sets of two. Similar to the other necessary pads, thigh pads will be provided to players by their team. You can purchase thigh pads that are built into compression girdles at stores like Nike and Under Armour for relatively cheap ($25).
Similar to the jerseys and helmet, football pants are a key part of the makeup of a football uniform that every player wears during competition. Today, most football pants are constructed with built-in pads. These pants consist of seven pads that protect all parts of the lower body. Those areas consist of the hips, thighs, knees and tailbone. The design of football pants, like the rest of the uniform, varies for every team. The most common football pants are white; however, they come in all different colors and designs. Each team will provide their players with football pants. At youth levels, some of the pads may not be integrated into the pants and will need to be put in manually. Football pants generally cost between $20 to $40.
Football teams wear different jerseys while practicing and training than they do in games. Practice jerseys are usually made up of different material and they are less durable than game jerseys. Jerseys that are worn on game day are designed to last the entirety of a season. Depending on the level of play, practice jerseys may not have a number or name on them. We usually see the quarterback wearing a different color jersey in practice so they can easily be identified. Since the quarterback is the most important position in football, they are especially valued and protected. The distinct jersey color will prevent defensive players from tackling them, possibly leading to injury. Manufacturers like Nike sell practice football jerseys for about $20.
Regulation footballs may differ in size from practice or recreational footballs. A regulation football is approximately 11 inches in length, with a circumference of roughly 28 inches (long side of ball) and 21 inches (short side of ball). Regulation footballs were designed by the NCAA and they are typically used in youth and varsity leagues as well. NFL balls are typically a little bit bigger than regulation balls. A Wilson Traditional football costs approximately $40 and can be found at a variety of convenience and sporting goods stores.
Skull caps are considered an accessory (optional) and they are worn by some players. They are designed to prevent sweat from the head and hair area from reaching the face. Skull caps are also constructed for comfort, as helmets are hard and heavy and they may hurt the player's head. Athletes may also wear them because they look cool under the helmet. They are especially popular among college and professional football players. Some teams may offer skull caps to players but those that are looking to purchase them can do so at a low cost. Nike and Adidas sell them for about $10 to $12.
Similar to most other sports, fans can purchase t-shirts that represent their favorite football players or teams. Football t-shirts are very popular and they are an alternative to football jerseys. They also typically cost a lot less than purchasing a college or NFL jersey. Several sports stores such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armor and Dicks Sporting Goods sell a variety of football shirts at a relatively low price. Football t-shirts may cost as low as $10 compared to jerseys which are typically sold at a minimum price of $40 to $50.
Football tees or holders are used to keep the ball in place before being kicked. During a kickoff, the football will be placed on top of the holder, with the laces facing downward. Tees and holders are not used during field goal or extra point attempts, as there is a designated player who is responsible for catching and holding the ball for the kicker. During kickoffs, it is not uncommon to see one of the special teams players holding the ball down with their finger, since strong winds will blow the ball off the tee. Tees and holders are especially important for practice and training. If you are looking to purchase a football tee or holder, you can do so without spending much at all. Football tees or holders can be bought for as little as $3 to $5.
Many football teams wear alternate or throwback jerseys on special occasions or for major games. We typically see throwback jerseys being worn by teams in collegiate football and the National Football League. Since the majority of programs or franchises have been around for several decades, most of them have changed their respective designs and brands throughout their existence. Throwback jerseys provide fans with a different and more exciting viewing experience. Many teams who wear their throwback jerseys do so to honor the players that have played before them. This means a lot to many current and former athletes. Throwback jerseys can be purchased online just like regular jerseys; however, they may be a little bit more expensive due to the unique tradition that they represent. Throwback jerseys can best be found on the web, costing at least $100.
Towels are worn by some players, typically the quarterback of the offense. Towels can be extremely beneficial, as they are used to dry both the ball and the hands of the player. Moisture and water can affect the grip that players have on the football and it is critical that these athletes have the best grip possible before throwing or catching the ball. Every football team will have towels available to players. Towels can be purchased pretty much anywhere and they are inexpensive (less than a couple bucks).
While training and practicing, football teams offer a variety of training equipment to their players. Common training equipment includes cones, agility ladders & hurdles, nets for target & kicking practice, speed chutes & strength chutes, and training dummies. Training is important in all sports, but especially in football due to the fast paced and physical nature of the game. Players will train in order to improve their strength, speed, durability, and overall skill set. Those who are looking to train in their backyard or at the local park can purchase most of this equipment on the web or at a variety of sports manufacturers. Prices will vary depending on the type of equipment or product. Cones can be purchased as low as $5, whereas training dummies can range between $50 to $600.
Football uniforms consist of a collection of matching pieces of apparel & gear that teams wear to distinguish themselves from their opponent. In football, a uniform consists of a helmet, jersey, shoulder pads, thigh pads, knee pads, pants, socks, and cleats. Every team has their own unique brand or logo that is represented within their uniforms. Football uniforms have changed dramatically over the last several decades.
In the NCAA, The Oregon Ducks were the first team to present a new and exciting wave of style and swagger represented in their uniforms. In the early 2000's, Oregon came out with an incredible variety of different uniform combinations that they alternate between on game days. Since then, many other teams, across all levels of play, have followed the trend and have implemented new and unique uniforms which are appealing to fans and its players.
Unique and cool uniforms are also a large contributor to recruiting in collegiate and even NFL football. Those who are looking to purchase a whole uniform can expect to spend between $200-500. Prices will vary significantly depending on the brand and style.
Several football players choose to wear visors that are built into their helmets for protection and visibility. Even though they are not mandatory, visors are appealing to players for many reasons. Not only do the visors protect players from physical eye contact and light reflection, but they also allow athletes to be unique and stand out on the football field. Players may wear visors in order to look intimidating. Football visors were first invented in the 1980s and they have been increasingly popular ever since. Most teams will provide players with visors that they can use if they choose to do so. Those who are looking to purchase a football visor can do so at Under Armor for about $60.
Whistles are used in football by both coaches and referees. Similar to many other sports, coaches use whistles as a "start" or "stop" signal during practice drills. Coaches also use whistles while trying to maintain order amongst their players. To cut through the noise during a given practice or drill, coaches may use their whistles in order to get the players' attention.
On the other hand, referees use whistles to start and stop play during game action. For example, when it is time to snap the ball, the referee will signal to the quarterback and then blow their whistle so each member of the team knows when to start play. There are many different types of whistles that coaches and referees can use. You can purchase a whistle for as little as $5.