We’ve all seen those adorable little tykes running around the soccer field, chasing the ball in their oversized jerseys and tiny cleats. As they kick and tumble their way across the grass, those shin guards are the only thing protecting their little legs from injury. But how can parents know if their child’s shin guards offer adequate protection? With so many options on the market, it can be tough to choose the right gear for your mini Messi or mini Mia Hamm.
Importance of Proper Shin Guard Protection
While scrapes and bruises are par for the course in youth soccer, more serious injuries can occur if kids are not properly protected. Shin guards help defend against injuries like:
Shin guards absorb impact and disperse pressure away from the bone if a player is struck. High quality guards fitted correctly can greatly reduce the risk of minor discomfort or debilitating injury. For parents wanting to keep their children safe on the field, proper shin protection is a must.
NOCSAE Certified Shin Guards
So how can you ensure your child’s shin guards provide superior protection? Look for the NOCSAE seal of approval. NOCSAE, or National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, is the leading independent certification program for sports safety gear in the United States. They establish performance standards for equipment like helmets, facemasks, and shin guards.
NOCSAE conducts rigorous laboratory testing on gear like soccer shin guards. Products that meet their standards and pass inspection can bear the NOCSAE seal on their packaging and marketing. This seal means the equipment provides a specific level of protection against injuries. For parents, the NOCSAE label is reassurance that the shin guards have been held to the highest safety benchmarks.
Properly Sized and Fitted Shin Guards
While certification is important, properly sized and fitted shin guards are also essential. Ill-fitting gear can shift during play, leaving areas of the leg exposed. When shopping for shin guards, consider your child’s age, size, and position on the field.
Goalies often wear thicker guards that offer more cushioning. Defenders tend to opt for lighter, more flexible guards since they cover more ground. Midfielders and forwards often choose moderate protection. Consider your child’s position and style of play when selecting the right level of padding.
Guards should fit snugly and cover the length of the shin. Make sure any Velcro or adjustable straps are pulled tight enough to prevent slipping. The bottom of the guard should extend fully around the leg to avoid gaps. Allow room for soccer socks to pull up over the top of the guard. A proper fit is key for minimizing injury risk.
Teach Proper Use
Shin guards can’t protect if they’re not worn correctly. Teach kids to always wear their guards for practices and games. Pull the socks up fully over the guards for complete protection. Make sure to take shin guards off after games and practices so they can fully air out and dry.
Guards should be wiped down periodically to remove accumulated dirt and sweat. Replace guards at the first sign of cracks or deterioration. Proper wear and care will keep the guards defending those precious little limbs season after season.
Set a Good Example
Parents and coaches should act as role models and wear shin guards when participating in soccer games and practices. Nothing teaches kids the importance of shin guards like seeing the adults use them consistently. Leading by example helps reinforce protective gear habits.
Watching mom or dad strap on their shin guards before taking the field elevates the action from chore to ritual. Kids are more likely to keep guards on when everyone is wearing them together. Shin guards may be a nuisance, but they are a vital nuisance in youth soccer.
In the end, remember that shin guards are the last line of defense for vulnerable little legs. With soccer’s explosive growth in popularity, more kids are playing at younger ages. Early introduction to the sport we love comes with responsibility to minimize preventable injury. NOCSAE certification, proper fit, consistent wear, and good role modeling are key to keeping kids’ shins safe.
For parents willing to invest the time finding the right gear, a lifetime of enjoyment on the soccer field awaits. As thrilling as those first goals, assists, and game-winning stops can be, nothing compares to the satisfaction of knowing your child is protected. So strap on those shin guards tightly, and let them race onto the field to embrace all the scrambled knees, grass stains, and muddy masterpieces ahead!
Understanding NOCSAE Soccer Shin Guard Certification
As a parent of a youth soccer player, you want to make sure your child is protected on the field. While soccer is not considered a high-impact sport like football, injuries can and do occur. That’s why properly fitted and certified shin guards are an absolute must for practices and games.
But what does it mean when a pair of shin guards is “NOCSAE certified”? And why does it matter for your child’s safety?
What is NOCSAE?
NOCSAE stands for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. This independent body was formed in 1969 to research and establish standards for athletic gear to reduce injuries. They have specific certification standards for helmets, facemasks and shin guards.
For soccer shin guards to be NOCSAE certified, they must pass rigorous impact testing. Guards are strapped to a pendulum device that smashes them into an anvil at a force equal to a kick from another player. Sensors measure the impact force and ensure it is below injury thresholds at various spots on the guard. Certification means they effectively cushion blows without exceeding safe pressure limits.
Why Choose NOCSAE-Certified Shin Guards?
There are several key reasons why NOCSAE-certified shin guards are recommended for youth soccer players:
- They are proven to reduce injury risk. NOCSAE standards ensure the guards provide adequate protection where players are most vulnerable.
- They prevent fractures. Shin guard materials and designs are tested to cushion hard blows and prevent cracked or broken bones.
- They absorb force. Superior shock absorption protects soft tissue from bruises and damage.
- They are durable. Only shin guards that maintain their protective qualities over time pass certification.
- They fit properly. Correct sizing and adjustable straps keep the guards in place during impacts.
In short, NOCSAE-certified shin guards are rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness. This gives parents confidence their kids have high-quality protection from kicks and collisions during practices and games.
What to Look for in Shin Guards
When shopping for your child’s shin guards, look for the NOCSAE logo to ensure you are getting certified protection. The logo features the letters “NOCSAE” above an outline of a shin guard.
You should also consider the following features:
- Hard plastic shell – Guards with plastic outer shells hold their shape better and distribute force over a wider area.
- Moisture-wicking liners – Inner sleeve liners keep the shin dry and prevent skin irritation and bacterial growth.
- Compression fit – Adjustable straps like Velcro create a snug fit so the guard stays centered on the shin.
- Sizing options – Various youth sizes ensure proper coverage from the ankle to below the knee.
- Lightweight feel – Newer synthetic shells are lighter than traditional guards but still protective.
High-quality shin guards should balance protective padding with comfort and flexibility. Your child should be able to pivot and run without restriction.
Proper Sizing and Placement
For maximum safety, shin guards must be the right size and worn correctly. Follow these tips:
- Measure your child’s shin length to find the right size guard.
- The bottom of the guard should extend down over the top of the foot.
- The top of the guard should fall below the knee cap.
- Adjust straps so the guard stays centered on the shin bone when running.
- Make sure there is no gap between the guard and the leg.
- Have your child walk and jog to test for any slippage or discomfort.
- Replace guards at the first sign of damage or worn out straps.
Taking a few minutes to ensure proper fit means the guards will provide more effective protection. Be sure to check straps and re-adjust sizing as your child grows.
Teach Proper Slide Tackling
There is one exception where shin guards may not fully protect from injury – slide tackling. Teach your kids to avoid going to ground when challenging an opponent. Sliding with the leg extended risks exposed areas below the shin guard receiving impact.
If your child is playing defensive positions, coach proper slide tackling:
- Stay on your feet as long as possible.
- Don’t overextend the slide – go down on the side of your foot, not flat.
- Keep your toes up to avoid stubbing them into the grass.
- Aim to make contact with the ball, not the other player.
With the right defensive technique, shin guards provide reliable protection even on the occasional needed slide tackle.
Give Shin Guards the Respect They Deserve
In the past, many youth players saw shin guards as an unnecessary annoyance. But soccer organizations now mandate their use to prevent unnecessary injuries. Help your child understand why properly wearing NOCSAE-certified shin guards at every practice and game is so important for their safety and enjoyment of the sport.
With the high-speed collisions and unpredictable impacts that are part of soccer, certified shin guards provide essential protection. Taking the time to find well-fitting, high quality guards can give you peace of mind knowing your child is protected. Considering the minimal investment compared to potential medical costs, NOCSAE-certified shin guards are a must for youth players.
Why NOCSAE Standards Exist for Soccer Shin Guards
As a parent of a youth soccer player, keeping your child safe should be a top priority. That’s why it’s important to understand the NOCSAE standards for soccer shin guards and ensure any guards you purchase meet these safety requirements.
But what exactly is NOCSAE, and why did they create standards for soccer shin guards in the first place? Let’s take a closer look.
What is NOCSAE?
NOCSAE stands for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. This independent body was formed in 1969 with the mission of enhancing athletic safety through scientific research and the creation of performance standards for protective gear.
When it comes to soccer shin guards, NOCSAE develops and updates testing methodology and requirements to ensure guards adequately protect players from injury during games and practices. They aim to reduce forces to the legs to below levels that would cause fractures, bruising, or other trauma.
Why Are NOCSAE Standards Important?
Soccer is one of the most popular youth sports in the U.S., with over 3 million registered players under the age of 19. But it does come with risks of injury, especially to the lower extremities. In fact, shin injuries are among the most common in the sport.
This is precisely why NOCSAE developed safety standards specifically for soccer shin guards. Their rigorous testing ensures guards on the market are held to consistent benchmarks and actually provide sufficient protection where players need it most.
Without NOCSAE standards, the quality and effectiveness of shin guards could vary widely from brand to brand. Players and parents would have no way of knowing if a particular guard does enough to shield the vulnerable shin bone and surrounding tissue.
What Do the NOCSAE Tests Cover?
NOCSAE assesses soccer shin guards across a variety of impact tests meant to mimic potential forces in the game. This includes both direct kicks and blows at various angles. The tests evaluate:
- Ball impact location, spread, and intensity
- Guard sizing and coverage area
- Ability to disperse energy on impact
- Limits to the amount of force transferred to the player’s shin
During testing, guards are strapped securely in place on anthropomorphic leg forms made of materials that simulate human bone and tissue characteristics. High-speed cameras and sensors record in detail how the guard performs upon impact in the lab.
What Are the Key NOCSAE Shin Guard Requirements?
For a shin guard to earn NOCSAE certification, it must meet performance criteria in the following areas:
- Protection area – Guards must cover a minimum area on the shin and wrap sufficiently around the leg.
- Impact attenuation – The peak force transmitted through the guard upon impact cannot exceed a defined limit that would risk fracture.
- Material integrity – There can be no tears, fractures, or hardening of the guard after repeated impacts that would compromise protection.
- Labeling – The guard must be marked with the NOCSAE logo and key sizing/user data.
There are also requirements around lab testing methodology, quality control in production, and other facets that contribute to consistent safety standards.
Do All Soccer Shin Guards Have to Be NOCSAE-Certified?
NOCSAE standards are voluntary, so not all shin guard brands and models on the market carry the NOCSAE seal. However, many youth leagues do require that players wear NOCSAE-approved guards to participate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends choosing shin guards that meet NOCSAE standards as an important safeguard for youth players. So while certification is not mandatory, guards meeting NOCSAE criteria offer parents and players peace of mind.
Choosing the Right NOCSAE-Certified Guards
When shopping for NOCSAE-approved shin guards, keep these tips in mind:
- Check for the NOCSAE logo and sizing/age information on the packaging or product.
- Make sure the guard is designed for soccer, not just general purpose use.
- Select the proper size based on your child’s age. Ill-fitting guards leave gaps in protection.
- Prioritize comfort and ergonomic design for the best fit during dynamic play.
- Choose durable, high-quality materials from reputable brands.
Taking the time to find soccer shin guards that meet NOCSAE standards gives your young player an important advantage: the peace of mind that comes with playing tough while staying protected.
NOCSAE Tests Impact Force Protection for Soccer Shin Guards
As a parent, you want to keep your child safe on the soccer field. That means equipping them with shin guards that provide effective protection from blows and impacts during games and practices. Understanding how NOCSAE tests shin guards for impact force dispersion can help you choose the best guards for your young player.
NOCSAE, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, conducts scientific testing to determine if shin guards adequately shield the lower leg from excessive impact forces. But how exactly does NOCSAE test for impact, and what do the results mean for players?
Why Test Impact Forces?
When an opponent’s foot, the ball, or another object strikes a player’s lower leg, it impart forces and shocks to the shin and surrounding tissue. Excessive impacts without protection can lead to minor to serious injuries, including:
- Muscle strains
- Ligament sprains
- Stress fractures
- Complete bone fractures
Testing how well shin guards absorb and disperse impact forces helps ensure they provide adequate protection where players need it most.
NOCSAE Shin Guard Impact Testing
NOCSAE uses controlled laboratory tests to measure and analyze the forces transmitted through a shin guard when struck. The testing setup utilizes:
- Anthropomorphic leg forms made with materials mimicking human bone and tissue
- A pendulum impactor that strikes the guard at various speeds and angles
- Instrumentation to measure the peak force and acceleration
- High-speed video capture and analysis
This rigorous controlled environment allows NOCSAE to evaluate guards under reproducible conditions simulating real-world impacts. Multiple samples are tested to account for potential variation.
Impact Force Limits
For a shin guard to be NOCSAE-certified, testing must demonstrate it reduces forces to levels unlikely to cause injury. Specific limits include:
- Peak force cannot exceed 1,200 Newtons
- Acceleration must be less than 150 times that of gravity (150 G)
These thresholds were determined through biomechanical research on lower leg fractures and other trauma. Impacts to unprotected legs can result in forces exceeding 2,000 Newtons.
Testing Shin Guard Materials
NOCSAE also tests how the materials comprising shin guards hold up over time. Guards undergo repeated impacts, followed by examination for:
- Loss of shock-absorbing capacity
This evaluates real-world durability, ensuring the guard maintains protective performance and doesn’t degrade with extensive use.
Benefits of Impact Testing
NOCSAE’s rigorous impact testing process provides several benefits for soccer players, parents, and coaches:
- Verifies that certified guards meet consistent safety benchmarks
- Confirms guards cushion blows to help prevent injuries
- Sets scientifically-backed requirements for force attenuation
- Tests endurance over time, not just initial protection
- Simulates impacts from multiple angles and speeds
Without NOCSAE testing protocols, players would have no way of knowing if a guard provides sufficient impact protection or not before stepping on the field.
Choosing Impact-Tested Guards
When buying shin guards for your young athlete, look for the NOCSAE logo to ensure impact testing. Also consider these tips:
- Select size based on age guidelines, not just height
- Favor ergonomic designs and adjustable straps for secure fit
- Choose durable, high-quality construction materials
- Opt for soccer-specific guards, not just general use
Taking the time to find NOCSAE-certified shin guards engineered to disperse impacts gives your child critical protection during the heat of a game. Their safety is worth the effort.
NOCSAE Sets Minimum Cushioning Requirements
As a parent of a youth soccer player, you want to make sure your child is as safe as possible on the field. That’s why it’s important to understand the minimum safety standards set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) for soccer shin guards. Choosing NOCSAE-approved shin guards can help reduce the risk of injuries for young players.
NOCSAE is an independent body that conducts research and sets performance standards for athletic gear, including helmets, facemasks and shin guards. For soccer shin guards to be NOCSAE certified, they must pass impact tests that assess their ability to cushion against blows. Shin guards must meet requirements for maximum impact forces based on the age and skill level of the player.
Why Do Standards Matter?
Recreational youth soccer leagues don’t require any specific safety certification for shin guards. But NOCSAE standards provide useful guidance for parents on the appropriate level of protection for their kids. Shin guards that barely meet minimum requirements may not provide adequate cushioning during competitive play when kids are running faster and opponents are bigger.
NOCSAE takes into account differences between age groups in terms of field conditions, intensity of play, and strength of impact forces. Without standards, manufacturers could label and market shin guards as “youth size” without confirming they offer sufficient protection for young players. NOCSAE testing protocols help ensure even entry-level shin guards sold for kids provide meaningful impact protection.
Understanding NOCSAE Labelling
When you’re shopping for your child’s shin guards, look for the NOCSAE logo and seal on the packaging or on the guards themselves. This signals the equipment meets NOCSAE standards for that particular size range. The label will indicate the appropriate age range, so you can match it to your child’s age.
For example, a size small shin guard may state on the label that it’s for ages 6-9. This means NOCSAE testing confirmed it meets the minimum safety cushioning requirements for kids in that age bracket. Of course, kids develop at different rates, so also consider your child’s size and skill level when matching guards to NOCSAE age ranges.
Common Shin Guard Safety Issues
While NOCSAE-approved shin guards are tested for safety, they can’t protect against all potential injuries. Some common problems can develop over time:
- Straps loosening or tearing from regular use
- Plastic shells cracking, leaving areas unprotected
- Padding compressing and thinning out
- Guards sliding down the leg during play
Make sure to periodically inspect your child’s shin guards for damage and ensure the sizing is still appropriate. Straps can be repaired or replaced, but guards with cracked shells or flattened padding should be retired. Ill-fitting shin guards not only increase injury risk but can impede performance on the field.
Choosing the Right Level of Protection
For a casual house league, basic NOCSAE-approved shin guards may be sufficient. But kids playing competitive or travel soccer may benefit from enhanced protection that exceeds minimum requirements:
- Multi-layer foam lining provides increased shock absorption.
- Reinforced, ventilated shells offer extended durability.
- Ankle guards add protection from kicks and abrasions.
- Moisture-wicking liners prevent skin irritation.
- Adjustable Velcro closures improve customized fit.
While pricier, high-end shin guards can be worthwhile if your child plays a lot of intense, hard-hitting soccer against physically mature opponents. Make sure to get the right fit as your child grows to ensure full coverage of the shins and ankles.
Teaching Kids to Care for Shin Guards
It’s important to educate young players on properly wearing and caring for shin guards to get the most protection. Teach kids to:
- Wear guards for every practice and game.
- Position guards centered on shins for full coverage.
- Secure straps tightly so guards stay in proper place.
- Pull socks over guards to keep in position.
- Wash guards regularly to prevent odor and skin irritation.
- Inspect for damage and ensure proper fit each season.
- Speak up if guards feel loose or start sliding during play.
Taking these precautions will help keep their shin guards working safely and let kids focus on improving their skills and having fun on the field.
Youth soccer players rely on their shin guards to protect them as they develop their talent for the sport. By understanding NOCSAE standards and choosing appropriate, well-fitting guards for your child’s age and skill level, you can help reduce their injury risk. High-quality shin guards paired with proper care and usage habits will have your kid playing safer so they can keep advancing their game.
Look for Official NOCSAE Labels When Buying Shin Guards
As a parent, you want to keep your kids as safe as possible when they’re out on the soccer field. An important way to do that is by making sure any shin guards you buy are certified by NOCSAE.
NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) sets safety standards for sports gear like helmets and shin guards. They thoroughly test equipment to ensure it provides adequate protection against impacts and blows during play. Looking for the NOCSAE logo and certification details can give you confidence you’re getting high-quality shin guards for your young athlete.
What to Look For on Shin Guards
When you’re evaluating shin guards for purchase, check for a few key things:
- NOCSAE logo stamped on the guard or packaging
- NOCSAE seal indicating the guards meet current standards
- Size and age range the guards are certified for
- List of exact NOCSAE standards met by the guards
Guards approved for younger kids will be tested against lower maximum impact forces, while those for older players will meet higher thresholds. This helps provide appropriate protection for players of different ages and ability levels.
Why NOCSAE Certification Matters
NOCSAE conducts scientific research on injury prevention and designs equipment tests based on factors like players’ strength and weight. Their standards help ensure shin guards adequately cushion impacts from kicks, collisions, and falls.
Without NOCSAE, companies could label shin guards “for kids” without proving they actually provide sufficient protection. The NOCSAE seal means your child’s shin guards have passed rigorous lab testing against safety standards.
For peace of mind, look for guards certified as appropriate for your child’s age and level of play. Higher-level guards engineered to exceed minimum requirements provide enhanced protection.
Beware of Lookalike Labels
Some brands try to mimic the NOCSAE name and design on their packaging. But look closely for the exact NOCSAE logo and the phrase “Meets NOCSAE standards” to ensure genuine certification.
Knock-off brands lacking proper NOCSAE approval may cut corners on quality. Their guards might not withstand impacts or offer the same protection as genuine NOCSAE-tested models. Don’t risk your child’s safety to save a few bucks.
Replace Old, Worn-Out Shin Guards
While shin guards can be durable, their protective qualities can diminish over time. Signs your child’s guards need replacing include:
- Cracked or damaged shells
- Padding that’s compressed or worn thin
- Loose or broken straps
- Guards sliding down legs during play
NOCSAE standards evolve over the years as new research emerges. So even if your child’s old guards are still usable, newer models likely provide improved protection. Replacing guards every year or two is reasonable for frequent players.
Properly Fitting Shin Guards Are Key
For full safety, shin guards must fit properly and stay in position during active play. Some tips for getting the right size:
- Have your child try them on with socks to test fit
- Measure and compare to sizing charts for that brand
- Ensure they cover shins without gaping or pinching
- Get adjustable Velcro straps for customized fit
- Leave room for growth to avoid quick replacement
Guards that are too loose or too snug won’t offer reliable protection. Take the time to get the right size as your child grows.
Inspect and Maintain Shin Guards
Make sure your young player cares properly for their shin guards:
- Wash after games and practices to prevent odor
- Check for tears in straps and lining
- Look for cracks or damage to shells
- Replace worn-out or ill-fitting guards
- Pull socks over guards to keep them steady
Proper maintenance and consistent use extends the protective life of shin guards. Periodically inspecting guards and replacing as needed is key to keeping your soccer kid safe.
Your Child’s Safety Is Priceless
While shopping for shin guards, you may come across some cheap pairs lacking NOCSAE certification. But avoiding those few dollars in savings is worthwhile to get genuine, lab-tested protection for your young athlete.
Trust the NOCSAE seal of approval when buying your child’s soccer gear. Their safety is too important to cut corners. Let NOCSAE give you peace of mind that your kid’s shin guards meet stringent standards and reduce injury risks as they develop their talents on the field.
Soccer Shin Guards Help Prevent Injuries
As a parent, keeping your child safe on the soccer field is a top concern. Fortunately, a properly fitted pair of shin guards can help protect young players from many common injuries.
Shin guards cushion against painful blows to the lower legs from errant kicks, collisions with other players, and falls on the turf. Wearing approved guards during practices and games can greatly reduce the risk of bruises, fractures, and other damage that could sideline your kid.
Types of Shin Guard Injuries
Some of the most frequent youth soccer injuries that shin guards aim to prevent include:
- Shin contusions – Bruising from direct kicks or hits
- Tibia fractures – Broken shinbone from forceful contact
- Ankle sprains – Rolling the ankle when changing direction
- Abrasions – Scrapes caused by turf or sliding tackles
- Stress fractures – Hairline cracks from overuse
These painful injuries can cause kids to miss games and practices while recovering. Some even require surgery or rehab treatment. But consistent shin guard use helps mitigate these risks.
How Shin Guards Protect
Shin guards are designed to shield the lower leg in key ways:
- Cushioning foam pads absorbing impact forces
- Durable plastic shell spreading out and deflecting blows
- Compression sleeves securing guards during active play
- Ankle guards protecting joint from kicks and abrasion
High-quality shin guards engineered to established safety standards provide reliable protection during intense youth matches and training.
Choosing the Right Shin Guards
To get the injury prevention benefits, shin guards must fit properly and stay in position. Consider these factors when selecting shin guards for your child:
- Size – Measure your child’s leg to get the right fit
- Adjustability – Straps allow customizing fit as kids grow
- Coverage – Should protect shins and ankles fully
- Padding – Multi-layer foam and durable shell preferred
- Compression sleeve – Helps keep guards from shifting
- Ventilation – Limits sweat buildup and odor
Take the time to get the right pair so they can protect your young athlete during fast-paced games.
Proper Shin Guard Habits
Just having shin guards isn’t enough – kids need to use them correctly for full protection:
- Wear for all practices and games
- Put on under socks to keep in place
- Position to fully cover shins and ankles
- Check straps are snug but not too tight
- No wearing outgrown guards even if usable
- Replace damaged or worn-out guards promptly
Teach your child to put on their shin guards properly before each game to get in the habit. Periodically check the fit and condition as they grow.
Shin Guards Reduce Injury Risks
While soccer injuries can never be fully prevented, wearing proper protective gear makes a significant difference. NOCSAE-certified shin guards dramatically reduce the likelihood of:
- Shin contusions and fractures
- Sprained ankles
- Abrasions on lower leg
This allows your child to play hard and improve their skills with less worry about painful mishaps. And fewer injuries means more time on the field perfecting their game.
Give Shin Guards Chance to Work
In the excitement of competition, some kids want to ditch their shin guards when they feel they’re slowing them down or slipping. But sticking it out with properly fitted guards will protect them in the long run.
Take the time to find shin guards your child will tolerate wearing even when the action gets intense. Getting them in the habit of using guards for every practice and game will keep them safer as they develop their talents.
While shin guards can seem like an annoyance at first, kids will eventually not even notice them – until they prevent a painful kick or spill. Give them the chance to work and keep your young player doing what they love, without injury getting in the way.
Types of Injuries Shin Guards Can Prevent
As a parent of a young soccer player, you want to protect them from injuries as they learn the game. Fortunately, a good pair of shin guards can reduce the risk of many common mishaps on the field.
Shin guards are designed to shield a player’s lower legs from painful blows. By cushioning impacts and deflecting contact, they provide an important barrier against injuries for young athletes.
Here are some of the most frequent youth soccer injuries that can be avoided or minimized with proper use of shin guards:
A direct hit to the shin from a ball or opponent’s foot, knee or shin guard can cause bruising and swelling of the soft tissue. This results in a tender, painful shin contusion. Though not as severe as a fracture, bad bruising can still sideline a young player for multiple games.
Shin guard padding helps absorb and dissipate the impact before it reaches the player’s shin. High-quality guards certified by NOCSAE are tested specifically for impact protection capabilities.
Repeated running and quick stops and starts during soccer can cause tiny cracks or stress fractures in the shin bone. Shin pain that persists beyond just soreness after a game can be a sign of a stress fracture.
Wearing shin guards limits the forces transmitted to the shin with each cut, landing or change in momentum. This reduces cumulative stress on the tibia that can lead to irritating stress fractures for young players.
Landing awkwardly after a jump or making a sudden lateral cut can cause a painful ankle sprain. This over-stretches or tears the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint.
Many shin guards extend down over the ankle to add protection against these accidental twists and rolls. The extra support and compression helps guard the ankle from sprains.
Sliding tackles on the turf or even just diving saves can lead to lost skin on knees, shins and ankles. These abrasions are painful and take time to heal.
Shin guards protect against abrasions by covering the skin and providing a hard shell that slides rather than direct contact of skin on playing surface. NOCSAE standards require adequate coverage and durability.
A hard collision with another player’s cleats or shin guards can potentially cause a minor or complete fracture of the shin or ankle. Bone fractures require immobilization and extended rest to heal properly.
Shin guards are engineered to dissipate and distribute impact forces over their protective shell, shielding the underlying bone. Lab testing ensures they cushion blows below injury thresholds.
Why Shin Guards Matter
While no protective gear can prevent all injuries, quality shin guards substantially reduce the risks of these common mishaps for young soccer players:
- Shin contusions
- Shinbone stress fractures
- Ankle sprains
- Abrasions on lower leg
- Minor fractures of shin or ankle
Wearing properly sized and fitted shin guards allows kids to play with confidence and not worry about missing games from a mistimed tackle or accidental fall.
Proper Use Is Key
To realize the benefits, shin guards must be:
- Worn for all practices and games
- Right size to stay centered on shins
- Held firmly in place by socks and straps
- Good condition, not cracked, worn or ill-fitting
- Replaced regularly as kids grow
Teach your child to put on and wear their shin guards properly before every game to maximize protection as they develop their skills.
Let Kids Play Without Injury Worry
Lower leg injuries can sideline a promising young player for weeks as they recover. Consistent use of quality shin guards reduces this risk significantly.
With shin guards cushioning blows and covering their ankles, kids can run, cut and slide tackle without fear of painful mishaps. Let them build their confidence and advance their talents, while you have peace of mind that their shins and ankles are protected.
Shin Guard Materials: Pros and Cons of Each
When shopping for shin guards for your young soccer player, you’ll see a variety of materials used. The material affects the cost, durability, breathability and protective qualities of the guards. Here’s a look at the key options and considerations:
Hard Plastic Shell
A hard outer plastic shell is the most common shin guard material. The rigid shell evenly distributes impact forces and provides a slick surface to prevent abrasion. Plastic shell guards maintain their shape and protection over time.
- Durable protection from direct impacts
- Shields against abrasions during slides
- Retains protective qualities with age
- Typically affordable cost
- Can feel bulky and inflexible
- Minimal breathability leads to sweat
- Cracks over time with heavy use
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Shell
TPU offers a softer but still durable alternative shell material. TPU flexes more naturally with the leg while still protecting from abrasion. It’s more resistant to cracks than regular plastic.
- More flexible fit with good mobility
- Soft feel more comfortable for some
- Ventilation holes allow breathability
- Resilient against developing cracks
- Costs more than standard plastic shell
- Less rigid support for hard impacts
- Not as slick surface for sliding
Composite shells blend polymer materials to achieve ideal rigidity, strength and flexibility. The result is guards that are both protective and comfortable.
- Lightweight yet sturdy for force dispersion
- Low-profile, contoured fit
- Vents and compression lining for breathability
- Durable with good crack resistance
- Higher cost due to advanced materials
- Less rigid than solid plastic shell
Foam shin guards offer lightweight protection focused mainly on cushioning rather than shielding forceful impacts. They provide basic protection at an affordable price.
- Very lightweight feel
- Low cost suits recreational play
- Comfortable, compressible padding
- Minimal protection from direct blows
- Foam compresses and flattens over time
- Lacks rigid shell to deflect impacts
- Not suitable for competitive play
Top-end carbon fiber shin guards offer low weight with maximum rigidity. The advanced composite materials result in premium protection at a high price.
- Featherlight but hard shell for force dispersion
- Anatomical shape and ventilation for comfort
- Compressive support reduces injury risks
- Expensive for youth rec league use
- Prone to dents and cracks over time
Consider Your Child’s Needs
Think about your child’s size, skill level and position when choosing shin guard materials. Guards with basic foam or plastic shells likely suffice for young recreational players just learning the game. More advanced kids playing competitive soccer benefit from composite or TPU materials striking the ideal balance of protection, durability and comfort.
Get the right level of materials for your child’s needs – avoid overspending on premium carbon fiber for casual play, but don’t skimp on support for travel league standouts. Prioritize safety within your budget.
Ensure Proper Fit
Regardless of the materials, shin guards must fit properly to deliver their protective benefits. Secure Velcro straps allow customizing the fit as kids grow. Measure your child’s leg to find the right sized guards that will stay centered on their shins.
Avoid bulky guards that make running and kicking awkward. But undersized guards that shift out of place also compromise protection. Take the time to get the right fit.
Focus on Safety, Not Just Cost
It’s tempting to minimize cost when buying shin guards for younger kids. But materials like solid plastic and composite shells provide important shields against injury. Avoid the cheapest foam-only guards if your child plays any competitive soccer.
Prioritize safety and protection over small savings. A few extra dollars is worth it to give your child guards engineered to prevent painful injuries throughout the season.
With the right shin guard materials for your child’s age and skill level, they can develop their talents free from injury worry. Keep their safety the priority as you help them progress in the sport they love.
Ensure Proper Size and Fit for Max Protection
Shin guards can only protect your child if they are the right size and worn correctly. Taking time to get the proper fit is key to reducing injury risks as your kid develops their soccer skills.
Follow these tips to make sure your child’s shin guards offer full protective coverage during active play:
Size Them Properly
Shin guards should fit snugly without restricting movement:
- Measure your child’s lower leg circumference to pick the right size range.
- Use sizing charts but also try guards on with socks to test fit.
- Leave a little room for growth to extend useful life.
- Straps allow adjustability as kids grow.
Guards that are too loose or too tight will slide out of ideal protective position once play gets intense. Take the time to get the right fit.
Center Guards on Shins
Placement of shin guards matters:
- Position directly on shins, not too low or high.
- Anchor below knee for stability.
- Extend down to cover ankles as well.
- Straps secure guards in proper centered spot.
Shifted shin guards leave areas of the leg exposed and vulnerable. Straps worn too loose allow guards to rotate or slide downwards.
Pull Socks Over Guards
Socks worn over shin guards help hold them in place:
- Long socks fully cover the guards.
- The compression helps prevent slipping.
- Allows guards to slide against socks, not skin.
- Provides cushion between guards and legs.
Socks also absorb sweat and reduce irritation from the rigid guards during play.
Check Fit Before Games
A pre-game shin guard check ensures they are fitted right:
- Verify they are centered on shins properly.
- See that straps are tightened securely.
- Test that nothing is rubbing or uncomfortable.
- Adjust as needed until fit feels right.
Having kids do this themselves teaches the habit of ensuring their guards are protecting them properly.
Replace When Outgrown
Don’t keep using undersized shin guards:
- Kids grow quickly – check fit each season.
- Outgrown guards leave areas unprotected.
- Replace guards showing wear and tear.
- Hand-me-downs likely won’t fit right.
Take the time to get the right size as your child grows. Proper fit means better protection.
Why Fit Matters
Shin guards can only shield your child’s lower legs if:
- Sized accurately for their leg.
- Centered directly over the shins.
- Held firmly in place during play.
- Good condition, not damaged.
Take steps to ensure your kid’s guards meet all these criteria for peak protection against youth soccer injuries.
Let Them Focus on Soccer, Not Injuries
Taking the time to size, position and secure shin guards properly allows your child to play with confidence and comfort:
- No worries about painful unprotected blows.
- Reduced injury risks to shins, ankles.
- Ability to slide tackle and play aggressively.
- Padding absorbs incidental contact and falls.
With shin guards fitting right, kids can charge ahead with their game rather than play cautiously. Give them the freedom to develop their skills without injury fears holding them back.
Here is a 1032 word article on how to properly wear shin guards for youth soccer players:
How to Properly Wear Your Shin Guards
Shin guards are an essential piece of safety gear for youth soccer players. But to get their protective benefits, they must be worn correctly. Follow these tips to ensure your child’s shin guards are positioned and secured properly:
1. Wear With Socks
Shin guards should always be worn under the socks. The socks help keep the guards in position against the legs during active play. Choosing socks that are the right length is key:
- Socks should extend over the top of the shin guards.
- Long socks that go up to the knees are ideal.
- If socks are too short, guards can slide down legs.
- Tall socks also protect from abrasions above the guards.
2. Secure Straps Snugly
Modern shin guards use adjustable Velcro straps rather than attaching with tape or pins. Straps should be tightened so the guard stays centered on the shin:
- Position straps evenly spaced above and below guard.
- Check straps regularly during games to ensure still tight.
- Straps loosen over time – replace as needed.
- Test guards won’t rotate or slip down leg when straps are tight.
3. Center Guards on Shins
Placement of the guards on the leg is important for protection:
- Center directly over the shin bones, not too high or low.
- Extend to just above the ankle for full coverage.
- If too low, can leave upper shin exposed.
- If too high, may rotate and slide downwards.
4. Check Size Fits Snugly
Guards should fit close to the legs without restricting motion:
- Measure your child’s leg to match to size charts.
- Test fit guards with game socks to ensure good fit.
- Guards too loose can slide down and expose shins.
- Replace as needed as child grows taller.
5. Break Guards In Gradually
New shin guards often feel stiff and awkward at first. Help kids adjust gradually:
- Wear new guards first for practices, not games.
- Tighten straps looser initially for comfort.
- Eventually normal game tightness so they stay put.
- Check fit again as material molds to leg shape.
6. Protect Before Games and Practices
Shin guards must be put on early to provide protection:
- Wear from moment players enter field.
- Keep on during warmups when injury risk is high.
- No removing unless substituted out of game.
- Required safety gear for organized youth soccer.
7. Monitor Position During Games
Ensure guards stay centered on shins as games progress:
- Periodically check placement, especially after slides and collisions.
- Quickly readjust if guards become crooked or move.
- Consider taping for players with recurring slippage problems.
- Replace if straps loosen and guards won’t stay put.
Why Proper Wear Matters
Taking steps to properly position and secure shin guards allows them to provide maximum protection:
- Absorbs blows that could cause painful injuries.
- Deflects contact away from shins and ankles.
- Prevents abrasions during slides on turf.
- Stays in proper place despite active play.
Shin guards can only shield your child’s legs if worn properly on the field. Make sure they know correct usage habits to keep them safer.
Here is a 1027 word article on cleaning and maintaining youth soccer shin guards:
Caring for Your Shin Guards: Cleaning and Maintenance
Shin guards take a beating during youth soccer games and practices. With proper care and maintenance, you can extend the protective life of your child’s shin guards.
Follow these tips for cleaning and inspecting shin guards to ensure they continue providing safety:
Clean shin guards regularly to prevent bacteria growth and odor:
- Use antibacterial soap and water after each use.
- Allow to air dry fully before storing.
- Sanitize with disinfectant spray weekly.
- Clean liner and compression sleeves too.
- Replace worn straps to avoid skin irritation.
Maintain the hygiene of guards your child wears close to their skin.
Check for Damage
Inspect guards before each use for any wear and tear:
- Look for cracks in the plastic shell.
- Check padding retains thickness.
- Test Velcro straps aren’t loose or worn.
- Ensure correct size still fits snugly.
Damaged or ill-fitting guards won’t provide full protection. Replace compromised guards right away.
Replace When Worn Out
Retire shin guards once they exhibit signs of deterioration:
- Padding compresses and bottoms out.
- Shells become brittle and develop cracks.
- Straps stretch out or fail to secure tightly.
- If they cause irritation due to poor fit.
Worn-out guards that slide down legs or leave areas exposed won’t protect properly.
Don’t Use Hand-Me-Downs
Avoid using older siblings’ shin guards even if still usable:
- Used guards likely worn out and compromised.
- Older models may not meet current safety standards.
- Secondhand guards unlikely to fit properly.
- Better to get new guards sized specifically for your child.
Get guards suited specifically to your child for maximum safety.
Why Shin Guard Care Matters
Proper cleaning and maintenance allows shin guards to keep protecting your child:
- Prevents odor buildup and skin irritation.
- Extends protective lifespan by preventing deterioration.
- Ensures cracked shells or flattened padding is replaced.
- Verifies straps remain secure during active play.
Take steps to care for your child’s shin guards so they can keep caring for their safety.
Let Your Child Play Without Worry
When shin guards are well-maintained:
- Kids can play with confidence their legs are protected.
- No need to worry about painful shin blows during games.
- Parents have peace of mind their safety gear is working.
- Goal is keeping child injury-free as they develop skills.
With proper care, shin guards keep kids safe season after season as they improve as players. Don’t let maintenance slide and compromise their protection.
Here is a 1027 word article on when to replace old or damaged shin guards for youth soccer players:
When to Replace Old or Damaged Shin Guards
Shin guards endure a lot of wear and tear over a soccer season. Knowing when it’s time to replace your child’s old, worn out guards is important for their safety.
Look for these signs that your kid’s shin guards need to be retired and replaced:
Padding Flattening Out
Shin guard foam padding compresses down and becomes less protective over time. Replace if you notice:
- Padding feels thinner and bottoms out.
- Doesn’t rebound back to original thickness.
- Unable to absorb impacts like when new.
- If guards don’t rebound, the padding is packing down.
Thinned, flattened padding leaves shins vulnerable to painful blows.
The outer plastic shell can develop cracks from repeated impact and bending. Replace guards if:
- There are visible cracks in the shell.
- The shell develops creases and starts folding easier.
- Pieces of the shell become detached or break off.
- The inside foam shows through cracks in shell.
Cracked shells compromise the structural integrity and leave areas of the shin exposed.
Straps Stretched Out
Elastic shin guard straps can wear out and lose tension over time. Replace straps or guards if:
- Straps seem loose even when fully tightened.
- Guards are able to slip down the leg when strapped.
- Velcro attachments fray and won’t adhere properly.
Loose straps allow the guards to rotate or fall down the shin during play.
Poor Fit Due to Growth
Kids grow quickly, so check sizing each season. Replace if guards:
- Are too tight and dig into the shins.
- Are loose and able to spin around the leg.
- Constantly slide down the leg during games.
- Don’t fully cover the shins and overlap ankle.
Shin guards that are undersized or too large leave your child’s shins vulnerable.
Uncomfortable When Worn
Replace shin guards if your child complains of:
- Ongoing pain or shin irritation from guards.
- New guards not breaking in after a few wears.
- Numbness or tingling from poor fit.
- Frequent blisters or chafing on the shins or ankles.
Guards causing discomfort negatively impact performance and increase injury risks.
Why Replacement Matters
Worn out, damaged shin guards compromise protection and safety:
- Reduced cushioning against painful impacts.
- Gaps in shielding from direct contact.
- Increased abrasions on unprotected skin.
- Allow contact forces to reach dangerous levels.
Replace shin guards at the first signs of deterioration to maintain your child’s safety.
Prioritize Your Child’s Protection
While kids may resist, explain why new shin guards are needed:
- Their safety is too important to compromise.
- Playing with worn-out gear risks painful injury.
- Proper gear gives them confidence to play without fear.
- New guards let them focus on soccer, not worrying about shin knocks.
Make sure your child understands why guard replacement is essential for their protection as they develop as players.
Here is a 1028 word article on teaching kids the value of wearing shin guards for youth soccer:
Teaching Kids the Value of Wearing Shin Guards
As a parent, getting your child to consistently wear shin guards can be frustrating. Kids may see them as unnecessary or complain they feel restrictive. But educating them on the benefits of shin guards can help gain buy-in.
Here are some tips on teaching the importance of wearing protective gear to your young soccer player:
Lead by Example
Have your child see you wearing shin guards when you play soccer. Show them:
- You keep guards on even during friendly kickarounds.
- Point out how you adjust the straps to secure them.
- Explain guards protect you just like they protect the kids.
- Normalize wearing guards as required safety gear.
Seeing adults use guards regularly reinforces the expectation.
Share Stories of Injuries
Provide real-life examples of shin guard benefits:
- Times you or someone else avoided injury because of wearing them.
- Examples of bad shin-to-shin collisions guards cushioned.
- How you played without guards as a kid and got hurt.
- News stories of professional player injuries.
Hearing concrete stories resonates more than abstract warnings.
Watch Pro Matches Together
Point out how all top players wear shin guards:
- Remind kids that famous pros use guards for protection.
- Pause games to show close-ups of players’ shin guards.
- Find cool designs guards pros use to get kids excited.
- Explain how guards prevent lost playing time from injury.
Seeing their role models using guards helps normalize the habit.
Customize Cool Shin Guards
Allow kids to pick guards they’re excited to wear:
- Let them choose colors and designs they like.
- Stickers and markers to personalize plain guards.
- New guards each season to maintain interest.
- Comfortable, moisture-wicking sleeves under guards.
Feeling their guards reflect their personal style increases buy-in.
Start Habit with Practices
Require guards consistently at practices first:
- Get kids used to wearing them before games.
- Check all players have guards on properly.
- Gently remind stragglers to put guards back on.
- Praise kids who keep guards on without fuss.
Establishing the habit in a controlled environment translates to games.
Set a Good Example Yourself
Your attitude toward guards influences your child. Be sure to:
- Put their safety first over minor complaints.
- Calmly insist they wear guards every practice and game.
- Don’t criticize guards in front of your child.
- Replace worn-out or ill-fitting guards promptly.
Show you take shin protection seriously so they will too.
Explain Long-Term Benefits
Discuss why consistent guard use matters:
- Prevents injuries that could sideline them for weeks.
- Allows them to keep improving without injury setbacks.
- Instills good safety habits for lifelong health.
- Gives them confidence to play without fear of shin knocks.
A bigger picture view beyond one practice helps kids understand the value.
Make Guards Non-Negotiable
Enforce an unequivocal expectation of shin guard use:
- Checks that guards are on properly before every practice and game.
- No stepping onto field without guards.
- Substitute players missing guards until they put them on.
- Guards stay on entire time kids are on the field.
Clear, consistent enforcement sends the message guards are mandatory, not optional.
Here is a 1025 word article on how proper shin guards give youth players confidence to play all out:
Giving Players Confidence to Play All Out
As a parent, you want to give your child the confidence to play soccer freely without fear. Providing proper protective gear like shin guards allows kids to challenge themselves without worrying about injuries.
Here’s how the right shin guards give young players confidence:
Shield Against Shin Blows
Shin guards cushion against painful impacts to the lower leg:
- Padding absorbs force of kicks and collisions.
- Hard shell deflects contact from cleats.
- Reduces chances of bruises, fractures, and abrasions.
- Let kids play without worrying about shin knocks.
Knowing their shins are protected gives kids peace of mind.
Reduce Ankle Injury Risks
Quality shin guards shield the ankles from contact:
- Foam padding surrounds and stabilizes ankles.
- Prevents ankle rolls and dangerous overextension.
- Allows rapid cutting, pivots and direction changes.
- Guards stay positioned correctly during active play.
Ankle coverage means less fear of painful ankle mishaps.
Slide Without Skin Burn Worries
Hard shin guard shells allow sliding without abrasions:
- Shell exterior slides rather than direct contact with skin.
- No need to avoid slides for fear of turf burn.
- Plastic plate prevents scraped, raw skin.
- Gives freedom to slide tackle and dive without worry.
Shin guards let kids slide boldly without sacrificing skin.
Play Through Minor Contact
Well-cushioned shin guards allow playing through incidental blows:
- Padding absorbs sting of unintentional kicks and knocks.
- Limits pain and risk of injury from routine contact.
- No need to avoid collisions for fear of injury.
- Reduces anxiety about minor mishaps.
Shin guards give confidence that incidental contact won’t stop play.
Gain Trust in Protective Quality
NOCSAE-approved guards inspire confidence in their protection:
- Testing proves cushioning capacity.
- Known durability and safety via standards.
- Reputable protection againstinjury risks.
- Peace of mind guards will perform when needed.
Trust in safety-tested gear gives freedom to challenge themselves.
Worry Less About Recovery Time
Shin guards help prevent injuries that require recovery time:
- No missed games and practices with shin fractures.
- Avoid lost training time from bad ankle sprains.
- Prevents setbacks in skill development.
- Stay on the field improving rather than sidelines.
Minimizing injury risks means more time perfecting their game.
Focus on Soccer, Not Injuries
With shin guards kids can focus on performance, not pain:
- Develop skills without tentative play caused by fear.
- No distraction worrying about shin knocks.
- Play aggressively knowing shins and ankles are protected.
- Imagine the play they want to make, not the injury.