EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

8 ways to stay toasty in a cold spell

It’s freezing on the pitches and training grounds in England so here are a few tips to help you stay warm, so you can focus on keeping attackers out rather than trying to keep the cold out when you’re playing in Arctic conditions.

Cold weather

COMPRESSION GEAR

A tight and warm under layer is essential in cold weather. Almost all the major athletic companies make compression clothing, but Under Armour and Nike have the best gear for cold weather. Everything from turtleneck shirts to full-length spandex pants are worth investing in. Compression gear is the number one weapon against the cold weather. It’s comfortable, and it doesn’t inhibit your mobility.

LAYER YOUR CLOTHING

Just because you have an Under Armour shirt on doesn’t mean you can’t throw a couple layers on top of it. While you don’t want to limit your mobility too much, the more layers the better. Sweatpants and sweatshirts are a good idea in extremely cold weather, but make sure they’re not too baggy or they’ll slow you down. If you have enough wiggle room in your cleats, doubling up socks is helpful as well. The more layers you have between your body and the elements, the warmer you’ll be, so pile them on.

HEADS UP ON HEAT

Did you know that most of your body’s heat escapes through your head? For this reason, wearing a cap is advisable for cold weather games. Wear one that covers your ears as your ears are extremely sensitive to cold weather. Some people have even complained about earaches due to cold air or cold wind exposure.

SMILE SOME WARM FEELINGS

Respond to the thought ‘it’s cold’ with movement and a smile. This physically increases heart rate, blood flow and temperature as well as activating the production of the thyroid hormone. This helps you feel more relaxed, comfortable and focused.

HAVE FUN, DON’T FREEZE

Neurologically, the brain changes during prolonged exposure to cold weather. People are quicker to get angry and irritable, meaning lower stress tolerances. Steer clear of the misery by changing the pre-match warm-up to a fast-flowing, fun and enjoyable session.

EAT TO THE BEAT

Beyond what you wear, what you eat and drink also has an effect on helping your body retain heat. To avoid hypothermia, stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the game. Warm drinks are particularly good for keeping you warm in cold weather. And food with high energy content will provide your body with the fuel it needs. By consuming enough calories, your energy levels will be maintained.

KEEP THINGS CIRCULATING

Training jackets are great for keeping out the rain, but choose the wrong one and you’ll create a humid environment for germs to thrive. “Wear one with venting,” says Dr Simon Hodder, ergonomics expert at Loughborough University. “Because you’re running, your body will pump air around the inside. Or remember to give the elastic on the cuffs a tug to create an air exchange.”

SUBSTITUTES NEED WARM JACKETS

If you get substituted it is important to put a warm jacket on straight away because you can lose a lot of heat standing still.

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