There are things that soccer players wear that often seem like fashion to the fans. However, when you take a closer look, you will discover the real purpose of why they do that.
If you are a strong soccer fan, it is likely that you must have come across soccer players that tape their wrists and fingers. Well, some goalies tape their fingers too—although theirs is harder to see because their hands are always covered by gloves.
Soccer goalies make incredible dives when trying to keep the ball from entering their post. When they dive, they mostly land with their hands.
It is not surprising that finger fracture is the most common injury among goalies. So, yes, soccer goalies tape their fingers to protect them from injuries.
Taping the fingers is often the difference between making a daring save and being stretched out of the pitch with a broken finger. Finger tapping gives the goalie confidence that they are better protected—and that is often all you need to attempt a save.
Some people may begin to wonder, “what is the use of the gloves worn by soccer goalies”? Well, the gloves are designed to cushion the effect of the shots so that the palm of the goalkeeper doesn’t feel the full weight of the shot.
However, the gloves do not restrict the movement of the fingers at all and are ineffective when it comes to preventing the fingers from moving in awkward positions.
Truth be told, that is not why they were made and we can not really blame the gloves for not doing something that was not primarily in their design. The best bet of any soccer goalie that is worried about the safety of their fingers is tapping the fingers.
Primarily, the reason why soccer goalies tape their fingers is for protection to their phalanges from dislocation when they land after a dive. But is there any other reason why soccer goalies tape their fingers? Read on to find out.
Do soccer goalies tape their fingers?
Some soccer players are known to have incredible shot power. It is on record that Arjen Robben once hit a shot that sent the ball flying at 190 km/h—and that is not even the fastest shot ever recorded.
Imagine what will happen when a ball moving at such an incredible speed touches the tip of your fingers. It will likely shift the fingers to move backward—if they don’t have any extra support.
Sadly, when goalies dive to make a save, it is usually the tip of their fingers that they use to tip the ball away. At other times other players step on the goalie’s fingers or he or she can smash it against another player, especially during corner kicks, or slam it against the goalpost.
Whatever the case may be, it is a painful and traumatizing experience that may keep the goalie off the pitch for some weeks. One of the ways that goalies try to protect their fingers from injuries is through drills with a medicine ball specifically designed to strengthen the fingers.
Even after going through finger strengthening drills, taping the fingers tends to provide an extra layer of assurance for the goalies.
The good thing about the tape used in the process is that they are flexible. Inasmuch as they prevent the snapping of the fingers in the wrong direction, they will not totally restrict the goalie from folding their hands into a fist.
When tapping the fingers, it is always good to make them tight enough to prevent the fingers from flexing in the wrong direction. However, it should not be so tight that it cuts off circulation.
Taping of the fingers is also useful for soccer goalies that are recovering from injuries. In this case, the tape acts like a cast that keeps the bones of the fingers in place during the healing process.
How do goalkeepers tape their fingers?
Inasmuch as every soccer goalie understands the importance of tapping the fingers, how they do this often varies slightly from one goalie to another.
None of these two different techniques is superior to the other. It simply boils down to preference and comfort.
For example, some goalies will tell you that wrapping the entire fingers makes it harder for their fingers to move which causes them discomfort. On the other hand, some goalies often feel that taping only the joints of the fingers is inefficient in stopping injuries.
With this forewarning in mind, the goalie may be unwilling to make certain dives for fear that he or she may still hurt his or her fingers. For this reason, it is always important to stick with the method that gives you maximum confidence.
When it comes to tapping the fingers, there are three important ways that goalies usually accomplish this.
The first is by taping between joints and leaving out the joints. The advantage of this form of taping is that it doesn’t restrict the joints from making proper movement—since the joints are not directly taped.
However, not taping the joints also means that you still have to nurse the risk of your fingers snapping back when you make a fingertip save.
The second type of taping involves partially wrapping the entire fingers. Inasmuch as this method offers better protection than the first, it often feels more restrictive.
The third way is totally wrapping the entire fingers. This provides the most protection but the restrictive nature of the taping forces the goalie into pushing balls away from their goal line rather than trying to catch the ball outright.
The reason is that the goalies may find it hard forming a fist to punch the ball. We all know that your fingers need to be bent to a certain degree to be able to catch a ball. Once you can’t bend them properly, your catching ability will be limited.
We have done a step-by-step guide on how to tape fingers for soccer goalies and you can find it here.
While taping the fingers has its obvious benefits, soccer goalies should do their best to avoid over-reliance on the tapes—except when they are already nursing an injury which makes it almost compulsory for them to use tapes.
Over-reliance on tapes can create a false sense of confidence and security that the goalie is immune from injuries. This may cause the goalie to make reckless dives thereby exposing themselves to more dangerous injuries.
As a new soccer goalie that has just been introduced to the use of tapes, it may be a smart idea to try out two or the three taping techniques to see the one that is most comfortable for you.
For teen soccer, it is always important to play with age-appropriate balls as the professional balls may be too strong for them to handle.
As a soccer goalie, always use protective gear that will limit how many injuries you can get. That is the only way you can ensure that you spend more time on the pitch rather than watching from the sidelines.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!