Playing football/soccer in cold weather is part of it. It really helps if you have the right gear/clothing. European countries train outdoors in all types of weather. Dressing the right way helps prevent injury and illness. When you train in cold weather, games are easier because you’re used to it. Now if it’s below freezing and raining hard, well that’s usually a different story. Personally, having done this for a living for some time, I have had some interesting weather experiences. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Crazy funny cold day story
A few year ago on a fairly cold day in the low 40’s, I was set to train two girls age 7 or 8.
Just as I was leaving the house, it started to rain.
I thought about canceling because I only live 7 minutes from where I train, but the families driving in lived 45 minutes away, so I didn’t want them to have to drive for nothing.
When they got to the field I asked, “Do you guys want to train under that pavilion? We can do tight space drills.” The dads agreed, “No, let’s work on the grass. No problem.” I thought to myself with a half-smile and shock, “This will be a great story to tell.”
The girls got out of the car and the dads said “We will be right back we are going to Starbucks for coffee.”
I told the girls jokingly “So we are out here in the cold rain while your dads are warm in the car heading for some coffee.” We all laughed and agreed this would be a practice session to remember.
Before they left, I let those two girls know what tough players they were and how coaches love that kind of attitude.
For me, that was a great memory because that’s how athlete’s do it! We love to play so much that we will play in cold rain or scorching heat.
As long as you wear the right gear it’s not a big deal.
8 workout items for cold weather [easy shopping list]:
1. Hand Warmers: Hot Hands
2. Thermal Wear
3. Protective Wear: Soccer Jacket
4. Gloves: Smartwool Ph.D. HyFi Training Glove
5. Waterproof your jacket: Beeswax or Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield
6. Socks: Darn Tough Road Warrior Micro Crew Ultralight Athletic Socks – the wool stays warm even when wet, which helps keep you healthy
7. Head Gear: Half Headband Ear Protector or Soccer Beanie
8. Skin & Lip Protectant: Aquaphor Lip Repair
Why we train outdoors
That is one reason why Global Fútbol Training athletes train outdoors as well – to mimic the conditions of play for our athletes.
However, that does not mean that players [& parents!] shouldn’t also dress warmly.
If you live in Europe, Japan, Northern US or Canada you know how to dress warm.
Even the top pro teams in Europe play outside during Winter. Look at this funny video of Bayern Munich training with snow on the field. You can see they ALL wear gloves and most have long pants.
These items will not only help you stay warm & able to play, but are perfect for warding off illness.
Also ideal for parents to consider as they stand on the sidelines supporting the athletes.
What should go in your resource bag
Read why using Newspaper trick [to stuff in your soccer shoes after a ‘wet’ practice] helps your boots/shoes – this will help dry out your shoes more quickly after training.
You can use Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield or you can go the DIY route [which I personally recommend as highly effective] & use Beeswax and a blow-dryer.)
A soccer bag [or a plastic grocery bag] – I am all about going the inexpensive route, but too often the bags get discarded so for an inexpensive, one-time purchase that can repeatedly be used, I recommend purchasing a reusable shoe bag.
Hand Warmers. I recommend Hot Hands. I have used them for years. They work, last a long time, & are not merely for your hands – they go great in shoes before training too!
After-game [warm] shoes.
Gloves – I have used soccer-labeled / marketed gloves for years. I have also tried ‘working man’ gloves. Some of the best I have seen on the market are wool soccer gloves. Wool can get wet and yet remain warm.
An additional pair of socks
Additional pair of clothes in case it rains, you can have dry clothes for the drive home.
Sunscreen – yes – in Winter. The wind and rain can be hard on your face. This sunscreen not only protects your skin but adds a layer of protection from the elements.
Lip Balm – I personally recommend Aquaphor. This stuff is so good they use it on prematurely born baby skin to protect it at early birth so you can imagine how effective it is on us!
BONUS – for parents – a POP UP SPORTS TENT for the individual.
Extra long soccer studs for wet ground.
RELATED: The best transition workout gear for Fall
Before you train
– Layer your clothes – use thermal layers that help regulate your body temperature. You can always shed layer when warm.
– ‘Break’ the HotHands Hand Warmers to begin their activation. Place them in your gloves.
– Place your shoes beneath the floor heater in the car. This will give you warm, soft shoes.
– Hydrate! Don’t go for the cold sports drinks. Stick with room temperature water.
RELATED: Tips for soccer boots & foot care
During warm up in cold weather
– Wear your jacket! I cannot tell you how many athletes show up, warm from their car ride, and get out without a jacket. Why do you think NBA players, MLB pitcher and NFL quarterbacks wear jackets while warming up and while they are on the bench?
They know that keeping their muscles warm is essential to good performance and muscle safety.
The same is true for soccer players. Your leg muscles stay warmer due to muscle mass & movement, but the upper body must stay warm as well.
– Pull your soccer socks up over your knees. Former French star Thierry Henry used to do this all the time, but more for style. You can do it for that, but when it’s cold weather do it to stay warm:)
Cold weather during training / games
– Use another pair of Hot Hands if you need to – put them in your gloves/pockets.
Since soccer is not about hand use [unless you’re a goalie] then run around with them during the game!
– Drink lukewarm water or sports drink.
After the training / game
– Remove the wet socks/shoes, put on dry ones.
– [If shoes are wet] Stuff your shoes with the newspaper & place them in the soccer bag.
– Keep your ears covered with a beanie – like this or hood
– Keep the jacket on – until you’ve been in the car a few minutes
That’s it! Stay warm, dry, healthy and able [& ready!] to compete!
Travel kit for cold weather days
A few essential considerations that you should remember as you deal with cold weather.
Resource bag [with items listed below], a winterized car, & additional safety items for winter weather travel, including flashlights, road flares & an extra cell phone battery, if possible.
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