In soccer, the goalkeeper is the last line of defense. Without them, most soccer games will end in double-figure digit goals. This is why the goalkeeper with the cleanest sheets in any tournament is awarded the golden gloves statue.
Ironically, maintaining a clean sheet for goalkeepers usually comes at a cost. For example, veteran goalie, Petr Cech had a head injury on October 14, 2006, that changed his life and career.
A collision with a player during a game between Chelsea and newly-promoted Reading left him with a depressed skull fracture. Eventually, two metal plates had to be fitted in his skull and he returned to the pitch always wearing a helmet.
For most goalies, the part of their body that is mostly at risk of injuries is their fingers. This is because they often have to push away balls coming at an insanely high speed.
For example, Ronny Heberson has been recorded to have struck a shot of about 210 km/h. A ball coming at such a speed can cause the goalkeeper’s fingers to snap if he or she tries to punch it away.
Also, when the goalkeeper dives to save the ball, landing awkwardly with their fingers can cause serious problems. That is why soccer goalies wear hand gloves in the first place.
However, hand gloves are often not enough in protecting their fingers from potential injuries. This is why soccer goalies often turn to tape their fingers to give them that extra protection from injuries.
How do soccer goalies tape their fingers? Is there anything you should pay attention to when taping your fingers? We will discuss everything you need to know about wrapping tape around the fingers and the right way of doing it.
How to tape fingers for soccer goalies?
Properly taping the fingers can be the difference between a stunning save and being stretched out of the pitch with one or two broken fingers. Finger taping reduces the chance of the goalkeeper sustaining an injury from impact with the ball or landing after a diving save.
Persistent dislocations on the fingers can leave you with weak joints and an unusual range of joint movements. Taping tends to offer protection for the joints by limiting their range of movement.
By acting as an extra layer of support, the tape prevents the joints from moving in awkward positions—especially when the goalkeeper makes a fingertip save.
Taping is also often recommended for goalies that are recovering from injuries as it can prevent the exacerbation of their injuries. Soccer players recovering from a wrist dislocation will also normally wear tape on their wrists.
Besides the physical benefits, taping can have a psychological benefit on the goalie. Goalkeepers will be more willing to make daring saves if they know that they are properly protected from potential injuries.
There are different techniques when it comes to the taping of the fingers and the results often vary. We have highlighted the most important techniques below.
Method 1: Taping between joints
There are three joints on your fingers and this technique focuses on taping in-between the first two joints from the base rather than taping the joints. To achieve this, follow the steps below;
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Take a roll of athletic or medical tape that is ½ inch thick and start with a full clean circular wrap around the base of the finger
Move the tape diagonally through the under of the middle joint and make another clean circular wrap around the second section
Complete another circular wrap around your finger’s middle section
Move the tape diagonally again through the under part of the finger to create an X on the underside of the joint
Complete another circular wrap at the base of your finger and cut the tape
- This wrapping technique used by UFC fighters doesn’t restrict the joints
- You can still bend your fingers
- It may not stop your joints from snapping backward
Method 2: Semi total finger wrap
For this method, you can use slim finger tape or wider athletic tape. However, if you are going to be making use of the wider athletic tape, make sure that you divide the tape into small long strips.
Tear out a long strip of your athletic or finger tape. It is better to have a tape that is too long than the one that is too short
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- Bend your fingers a little so that it looks like a semi arc
- Start wrapping the fingers beginning from the base
- Give small spaces at the joints in your wrapping so that they can still flex without much difficulty
- End your wrapping just before the first joint
- Offers better protection than just wrapping the gaps between the joints
- Still allows the movement of the joints
- Feels a little more restrictive
Method 3: Total finger wrap
When it comes to wrapping the entire finger, you will need a wide athletic tape. The most important advantage of this method is that it is faster—you can even complete the wrapping of your entire fingers with just a few minutes left to the start of the game.
- Tear out a strip of the self-adhesive athletic tape (about 5 inches long)
- Position it so that it covers the two upper joints of your fingers
- Wrap it around the joints two or three times
- Make sure that the taping is not too tight
- Repeat for the rest of the fingers
- It is arguably the easiest and fastest finger wrapping method
- Provides adequate support for the joints
- It is more restrictive than the other methods
- Goalies may experience difficulties with punching the ball if the taping is tight and thick
There are a few precautions that you have to pay attention to when you are taping your finger. The first is that you should not stretch the tape to its limit.
Experts advise that you should only stretch the athletic tape to about 50% of its tension when wrapping it around your fingers. This allows the tape to stick better to itself and stay longer without causing you any difficulties.
Also, it is important to make sure that the taping is not too tight. To know if your taping is too tight, pinch the tip of the finger. If it stays white for longer than 3 seconds, it is a sign that your taping is too tight.
Ideally, you should see the blood rushing back to the fingers within a second after your pinch. Also, if you are feeling a pinch or lack of sensation on the tip of the fingers it is a sign that the taping is too tight and you need to take it off immediately.
Again, if the area where you applied the tape feels itchy, irritated, or inflamed after the first two or three uses, it is a sign that your skin is reacting to something in the tape and you have to stop using it immediately.
If you feel like you have injured your finger, it is always nice to seek the advice of your physician for proper examination. Your physician should be able to tell you the best taping technique for your fingers if you are recovering from an injury.
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!