Why Do Goalkeepers Tape Their Wrists? – Does It Really Work?

Fraser Forster File Photo File photo dated 28-11-2019 of Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster FILE PHOTO PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xAndrewxMilliganx 54467865

There are a couple of things that goalkeepers do, like spit on their gloves, or letting the gloves dry out after a game that have become a staple of goalkeeper routines. However, the effectiveness or the advantages that you can get from some of these things are actually not all that great! One of the things that we see a lot of goalkeepers do is tape their wrists. Why do goalkeepers tape their wrists? Is this really something that you should be looking to do? We’re going to explore the real benefits of taping your wrists. Ultimately, the hope is that at the end of the article you’ll be able to know if this is something that you should incorporate into your routine. 

Unlike some of the habits that I’ve talked about on the site, this is something that we see often in the pro game. Taped wrists and taped fingers are very common. Other things that I’ve covered like wearing knee pads are things that I would certainly say are a more common sight in Sunday league. People say that if you want to play the part you have to look the part. However, trying to copy or do things like the pros may not be the best idea for Sunday league goalkeepers and kids. For starters, we have to look at the potential benefits that you could get from taping your wrists.      

Are There Tangible Benefits? 

There can be tangible benefits. This isn’t something that should be understated. However, the big problem that you’re going to have in starting out with this habit is really learning how to tape your wrists. The idea is to strengthen the wrist area with the tape. I’ve mentioned in other articles on the site that I used to tape my wrists when I wore gloves with a really loose wrist strap. What you are trying to do through tapping your wrist is make sure that your wrists stay firm. That’s meant to help make sure that you won’t bend or twist your wrists particularly when you have to face hard incoming shots.  

The key for me though is making sure that you do this the right way. Potentially getting this right is going to allow you to wear different gloves and still find decent comfort levels. Because you’re confident in the way that you wrap your wrists, and not in the glove design per se. The main reason or potentially the answer to why do goalkeepers tape their wrists could be precisely what I just mentioned. Particularly with pro goalkeepers. You want to be confident in your wrapping and not have to worry about having a glove that gives you enough confidence in that department. Taping your wrists allows you to use looser gloves. Plenty of goalkeepers like that extra space, they see it as more comfortable.  

The Key is Finding Your Wrapping Style

Some goalkeepers literally just add a layer or layers of tape on their wrists in an effort to fill out the glove. If you’re wearing a glove that’s loose particularly in the wrist area it could be a good idea. Other goalkeepers have a complex wrapping style that goes from the wrist area and then flows through the fingers. These styles are going to potentially be an extra layer of protection to help you deal with hard incoming shots. It could really work for you if you’re dealing with 100+ shots a day. As is the case with professional goalkeepers in training. 

On the other hand though some goalkeepers avoid the tape because they find it restrictive. At the same time, you could find that you wrap your wrists too tight. This is something that I’ve certainly dealt with. What happens in those cases is that you’re restricting blood flow to your hands. At a certain point during training or the game you’re going to lose feeling in your hand. That’s usually not something that you want to be dealing with.

Before you take a ton of tape and wrap your wrists it would be a great idea to have a clear view of what you’re trying to get out of taping your wrists. Sometimes you may only need to tape your wrists with a particular glove model. As I’ve mentioned, one of the reasons why goalkeepers tape their wrists is because they want to “fill out” the glove. If you have thin hands you could really benefit. No offense, but usually ladies have an issue with this. As well as young kids that are starting out. Having thin hands is nothing to be ashamed of, I fall into that category. It is a challenge for us to find decent levels of protection and comfort.  

Why Do Goalkeepers Tape Their WristsCouldn’t You Just Rely On The Wrist Strap The Gloves Have? 

If you don’t want to tape your wrists the other option is to just rely on the strap that the gloves have to “protect” your wrists. Really pretty much everyone at the amateur level is going to be doing this. I do feel that a lot of the top glove manufacturers understand how important this is. Some of the newer models wanted to look fancy and just wrap around your wrist like a sock. The problem with that is that these gloves may not be able to provide enough support for your wrists. If you’re not going to tape your wrists you’re going to be better off getting gloves with a traditional strap. 

What you typically want is for the strap to be able to wrap around your whole wrist area. To be able to apply a bit of pressure on the area that will serve as that extra support that we’ve talked about. You probably don’t want to have loose fitting gloves if you’re not going to tape your wrists. Particularly for older folks and higher level of play you’re going to put yourself at a higher risk of developing a wrist injury if you don’t wear the right type of glove or tape your gloves to essentially fill them out. The good thing in this department is that all gloves manufacturers now understand the importance of wrist support. Most of the gloves that you’re going to find out there can provide a decent amount of support for you. 

Why I Wouldn’t Recommend Wrist Taping For Kids

We’ve already established that wrist taping is something that we do see quite a bit of in the pros. Why then do most of us in the business say it may not be the best idea for kids? Really it’s simple your kid would have to get in the habit of tapping his or her wrists potentially on their own. They would have to do so accurately every time. Most kids don’t have the patience for this. Even Sunday league girls and guys probably don’t do this because they just don’t have the time. You’re usually running to get to the game. Taping your wrists is something that usually requires a certain level of patience. Particularly if you want to get things right. 

There’s an argument to be made that if you’re not able to tape your wrists correctly you’re better off not taping them at all. The worst case scenario is something that I’ve already mentioned. If you wrap your wrists too tight you can start losing blood flow and therefore movement and feeling in your hands. Making clean catches becomes way more of a challenge. Plus, it’s just uncomfortable overall. If you tape your wrists and your fingers, limiting movement in your whole hand can be a possibility if you do things wrong. 

Ultimately the benefits that you’ll get from properly taping your wrists are not great enough when weighed with the risks of getting wrong. Especially for amateur players that don’t have the time to try out different taping methods. Pro players also have tape provided to them. So using a bunch of tape isn’t something that they are worried about. For you, it could be an added cost that you would have to factor in aside from the goalkeeper gear that you wear. I just feel that overall the potential benefits are not considerable enough. Compared to the hassle that taping your wrists could be. 

Why Do Goalkeepers Tape Their Wrists? – Finding The Sweet Spot    

I realize that at this point I have potentially dithered many of you from taping your wrists. Still, I would say it’s worth exploring why many pros do it. Really it comes down to finding that sweet spot where you get optimal comfort and that added layer of protection. When you’ve had the time to try and fail after going through countless rolls of tape you could become very accustomed to that comfort level that you get. The first thing that you want to figure out is how tight is too tight for you. There are goalkeepers that really want their wrist to feel stiff and that to them is optimal protection. Others are just looking for a little extra support. 

Finding the sweet spot in your wrist taping is really not that hard. Literally, all you’re going to need to do is wrap one layer of tape around your wrists. See how that feels. If you can take more, add another layer, and do the same thing. Remember that different goalkeepers are essentially looking for different things when taping their wrists. It all starts at the wrist though. When you’ve found the amount of pressure that you’re comfortable with you can start looking into maybe combining that with your finger tape and see how that feels. You could go through several rolls of tape in this process. Ideally though, you’ll find a taping technique that gets you what you’re looking for.     

What Type of Tape Should You Use? 

This is another issue where I would say that there’s no one right answer. Granted, if you asked a trainer they would probably be able to give you a better answer. I’ve seen all sorts of things being used for this kind of thing. There’s the guy that uses some regular cotton bandages to tape himself up. For me that’s not a great option. Cotton can get sticky, and it usually doesn’t hold up well when it gets wet. Ideally I would say that using kinesio tape can be a great option. The problem is that people find it’s too expensive to be able to use on a regular basis and just throw it away.  

The price issue is potentially why you see folks with the cotton bandages or the kitchen tape on their hands. The problem with sticky tape is that when you take it off you’ll be pulling on the hairs that you may have on your arms. That could be a bigger issue for some people than for others. It’s certainly something that you want to keep in mind. You can go for a more pro style taping method with pre wrap particularly in those areas where you do have hairs. Ideally I would say K tape. I do understand the price concern. So there are other types of tape that could work. Look for something that’s at least used in sports. 

Why Do Goalkeepers Tape Their Wrists Conclusion 

Goalkeepers tape their wrists because they are trying to find an extra level of protection. Also, this is for goalkeepers that like to feel their hands firm. If you’re going to be facing 100+ shots on a daily basis in training it certainly makes sense to want to ensure that you have firm hands. Another reason why goalkeepers tape their wrists and their fingers is because they have a very loose-fitting glove. If you have thin hands, or you’re wearing a glove model that doesn’t have a decent wrist strap feature you could look into adding tape for more stability.    

Is this really something that you should look into if you’re not doing it? If you haven’t had any type of wrist problems it may not be a must for you. As I mentioned before, you have to also find a taping technique that you feel comfortable with. Not only as you’re wearing the tape, but ideally replicating that taping method should be easy to do. If you do it wrong, tapping your wrists could potentially bring on more troubles than actual help. It would be a good idea to talk to a doctor or a trainer to try and develop a taping method that works for you. 

When it comes to kids or some of us who are a bit lazy ideally you should be looking to find a glove with decent wrist support. Just because it’s unlikely that kids are going to be willing to take the time to tape their wrists. It could be a good idea to try and build some discipline. The problem that I see is that if you do it wrong you could end up hurting yourself. Any goalkeeper who wants to take the easy way out should look into gloves with a good wrist strap. That’s what can make taping your wrist kind of irrelevant. Also, if you have stronger hands you’ll have less of a need for extra support!