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"Where are my shinpads?" "Have you seen my towel?"" These are the kind of things you'll often hear in a changing room. To avoid having to ask those questions, here's how to prepare your kit bag.From training sessions to away games, I've got all the info you need.
My advice is to take your time in choosing the right bag for you. There are different kit bags that can be carried in different ways.
The classic holdall. Very popular with footballers, the holdall comes in many different sizes. No matter how much gear you want to carry, there will be one for you. If you're the type of player who likes to take two pairs of boots or two or three pairs of shorts in case a team-mate forgets theirs, then this could be the type of bag for you.
You can also go for a backpack, which is easier to carry, especially if you take a bike, moped or motorbike to training.
There are roller bags too. They're very easy to move around when you're on foot. Roller bags with rigid bottoms protect your gear too. You'll often see professional players stepping off buses with a roller bag.
Forget to pack something in your kit bag and you might have to say goodbye to your training session or, even worse, the weekend match. I can tell you from experience that it's hard to just sit there watching your team-mates without being able to help because you forgot to put your boots or your shinpads in your bag.
Let's start at the beginning: you'll need at least two pairs of boots in your bag - one for dry pitches and one for soft pitches. You need to be ready for every eventuality. The unexpected can always happen, and if for some reason you end up having to play on grass when you thought you were playing on an artificial pitch, what are you going to do if you haven't prepared for something like that happening?
I'm not telling you something you don't know when I say you need your shinpads (yes, you have to wear them), a pair of short socks to wear under your match socks, a pair of training socks (short or long), shorts, a shirt and, last but not least, your boots. Some of my team-mates (yes, my team-mates) have forgotten to bring them in the past and it's pretty inconvenient.
From October onwards I recommend you always take a base layer with you, training tights, a jersey or jacket and a pair of gloves.
Choose a base layer that wicks away perspiration and which maintains your body temperature when you're training. If you want to wear one for matches, make sure the sleeves are the same colour as those of your shirt.
The same goes for the tights, sweatshirt and jacket: before you make your purchase check that they wick away perspiration and that they're designed for football. If they are, you won't notice you're wearing them and you won't run the risk of injuring yourself.
As for gloves, you'll need a pair that offers good grip and palms that ensure excellent ball handling.
You'll need a towel, shower gel, shampoo and a change of underwear for after the match or training session. Packing a snack is always a good idea too. Football puts your fitness and muscles to the test so you'll need to eat something within a half hour or so after you've finished to help your body recover. The best post-match snacks have lots of protein and nutrients.