Playing football/soccer in cold weather is part of it. It really helps if you have the right gear/clothing. European countries train outdoors and in all types of weather. Dressing the right way helps prevent injury and illness going into the games because the athletes are used to the weather from practicing as they play. 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
I remember one from a few year ago like it was yesterday. It was a fairly cold day in the low 40’s or so, and I was all set to train two girls who were 7 or 8 years old.
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 I knew the families driving in lived 45 minutes away, so I didn’t want them to have to drive for nothing.
They were pulling up just as I was, and I asked, “Do you guys want to train under that pavilion? We can do volley 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.”
So 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 playing soccer and 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 take care of yourself before, during and after sessions you will be okay!
8 workout items for cold weather [easy shopping list]:
1. Hand Warmers: Hot Hands
2. Thermal Wear
3. Protective Wear: Soccer Jacket
4. Skin & Lip Protectant: Aquaphor Lip Repair
5. Waterproof your shoes: 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. Gloves: Smartwool Ph.D. HyFi Training Glove
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.
Again, for me this works because I live in Texas. It gets cold here, but we don’t have snow build up like in Canada, Europe or Northeast U.S.
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.
Travel kit for cold weather days
A few essential considerations that you should remember as you deal with cold weather.
What should go in your resource bag
Read why using Newspaper [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.
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 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.
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 TENT for the individual.
Extra long soccer studs for wet ground.
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 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!