April 18, 2017

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Spikes, Blades or Turf Shoes?

April 20, 2017


The answer to this question is serious and something I researched myself over a period of three years because the rate of knee injuries in youth had increased significantly with the introduction of artificial turf fields. What parents and coaches usually do not pay attention to, is the relationship between the playing surface and the type of cleats or soccer shoes being used. 


Add to that the underdevelopment of most kids who enter the sport while frequently not being physically prepared to play and compete, even at the recreational level. Positive traction and grip between the foot and the surface is good. Too much, and your child may be in danger of getting injured by someone else, or even themselves!


I watched a young, tall, very slim pre-teen girl jog and attempt to quickly turn, only to injure both her knees in an instant while both her feet were planted solid. I did just watch it happen, I heard the distinct POP. In my opinion, her indoor shoes should have been flats. Instead they had a highly aggressive bottom design that simply did not allow for easy movement to happen. The bottoms had gripped the surface and the movement of her body, above her knees, provided all the torque necessary to inflict the damage she caused to her knees.




Having experienced these issues first hand I recommend that all youth players and parents use a simple logic for buying shoes / cleats and make adjustments based on the child's height, weight, age, muscle strength, and understanding of HOW to properly run, jog, sprint and move on various surfaces when training and playing.




INDOOR FLAT SURFACES - Use flat bottoms

DRY HARD NATURAL SURFACES - Blades or short rubber pegs

NATURAL GRASS AND SOFT TO VERY SOFT SURFACES - Longer rubber pegs or plastic / metal screw-in pegs. These can be purchased in different lengths to adjust appropriately for different surface conditions, from firm to very soft.


Basically, if you play in soft to muddy natural field conditions, DO NOT expect necessary traction when you are playing with cool looking blades on your feet. It will be like trying to run on a surface caked in inches of butter. The most experienced coaches will always insist that players have at least 2-3 different soccer shoes with them to compete on different surfaces.


Recent article online



Common Knee Injuries explained



DON'T BELIEVE ME? - Pay attention next time you watch a championship match at a youth tournament. I watched a stronger team lose because ALL their players wore and used the latest, brightest and coolest cleats with blades against a less talented team that adjusted their footwear for the wet, soft and natural conditions of the pitch. Not traction, slipping, falling and most importantly TIMING will become an issues for the team that was ill prepared. Meaning, the team that was better prepared and able to stay on their feet had the advantage and performed more effectively.


I am a professional soccer and business coach with over 40 years of experience.
If you want to learn more, contact me. Note - I also do not encourage heading the ball until well into teenage years. Want to know why? Again, contact me.

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