You don’t cut corners on training and prep for your sport, but it’s also important to take care of the equipment you’ll need. Taking time to check your equipment will help you hit the ground running when the season begins. For a few of the most popular spring and summer sports, here’s what you can do to make sure your equipment is prepped and ready now that the weather is starting to warm up.
Baseball and Softball
Before the season begins, inspect all of your equipment to see if anything needs to be replaced or cleaned. Shake out gloves and shoes to make sure insects haven’t crawled inside during the off-season. If your glove has a hole in it, it will need to be replaced in time to break it in before games begin.
Properly maintaining a glove can help to ensure it lasts the span of the athlete’s career. “When it comes to baseball gloves, it’s not uncommon for players to develop a deep attachment to their glove. It’s the same glove they trot out onto the field with every inning and many players, once they are into the ‘adult’ sizes, use the same glove for their entire life!” according to Sports Unlimited. “It might seem crazy to outsiders, but there’s just something about a high quality, leather baseball glove that becomes part of a player to the point that it feels wrong to wear a different glove.”
To maintain the glove, wipe dust off with a microfiber cloth. Soiled spots can be addressed with a dab of rubbing alcohol on the cloth or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If the glove has mold or mildew on it, soak a rag in vinegar and wipe the glove clean. Let the glove dry completely, and then apply a re-conditioner like saddle soap, mink oil or neatsfoot oil.
Hard-surface baseball and softball equipment—such as bats, balls, helmets, catcher’s gear and shoes—can be wiped clean with wet wipes. Wash practice jerseys, synthetic-material batting gloves, and equipment bags according to the manufacturer’s directions (usually in the washing machine on delicate setting is appropriate). Remember to skip the dryer and just allow everything to air dry.
A majority of equipment prep for golf needs to be dedicated to the clubs (with a minor portion dedicated to the care of the bag). A quality set of golf clubs, when taken care of, can last a lifetime. The following list will help you prep your golf clubs for the spring season:
- Clean the club heads with a toothbrush dipped in warm, soapy water. The toothbrush will help release dirt and debris that get caught in the grooves. Use a soft towel to dry, and then put the covers back on.
- Inspect your grips for wear and tear (look especially closely along the top edge, where the thumb rests on the grip). The local golf pro shop can repair torn or worn grips. If the grips are in good condition, wash them with soap and water.
- Check around the club’s hosel to make sure the shaft is in great condition. This is especially important if your golf club has a carbon fiber shaft.
To prep your golf bag, completely empty it and gently clean it with soap and water. If you play in muddy conditions, mud from the heads of the golf clubs can drip into the golf bag, so don’t forget to clean the inside too. Check each pocket, purging trash and items you no longer need. This is a good time to take stock of your accessories (tees, gloves, balls, scorecards, etc.) to see what you need more of for the season.
Outdoor soccer is popular among young athletes and adult recreational players alike. It’s played in virtually every climate because it’s warm enough in the spring and the summer to play outside. Before the season begins, check jerseys and practice clothes for dirt and grass stains; treat the stains and wash all items so the clothing is ready to go. Cleats and shin guards can be wiped clean with wet wipes. If the leather on your shoes is too stiff, consider conditioning it with a leather conditioner or mink oil to help soften the shoe.
Make sure the soccer balls are properly inflated, and check your pump to make sure it works (don’t forget to keep extra needles on hand). If you’re in charge of the soccer goals, check the netting to make sure it’s free of holes. If you’re coaching a team, make sure you have
- a coach’s board and extra dry-erase markers,
- a stopwatch,
- two whistles with lanyards,
- cones (approximately twenty), and
- a first-aid kit.
The national summer sport of Canada, lacrosse is a cross between hockey, soccer and basketball. Adults and kids alike enjoy playing it. When compared to other sports, like baseball or soccer, lacrosse requires a lot of protective equipment, including
- shoulder pads,
- athletic cup (for males),
- back and kidney guards,
- mouth guard,
- slash guards,
- helmet and facemask (with chin straps)
Inspect all of the protective equipment thoroughly to make sure it fits appropriately, that it’s free of holes, and that you have all of the equipment required for each position. For instance, the goalkeeper doesn’t wear shoulder pads, but instead wears a throat protector and a chest protector.
When it comes to maintaining your lacrosse stick, spend a few minutes each day to inspect it and identify problems before you have trouble on the field. “Your pocket is non-functional when the strings that hold the mesh in place on your head become frayed and torn. This sign of wear and tear is one of the most common causes of pocket failure,” according to iSport. “Even a minor irregularity, such as a loose top string or shooting string, can severely affect the way your stick performs.” You should also check the head of the stick to make sure it maintains its structural integrity, especially if there have been a lot of hard checks.
Pull out your surfboard and prep it for the season, deciding if you want to use surf wax or traction pads. Surf wax is preferred by many surfers, but traction pads are gaining in popularity. Check your surfboard leash to make sure it’s secure; replace it if necessary.
Before the season starts, try on your wetsuit to make sure it fits properly. It’s designed to be snug, but not uncomfortably tight. If the wetsuit is too loose, water will pour in through the neck and arms. When you check your wetsuit, take time to check your rash guard, boots, gloves, and hoods, if you use them.
The popularity of beach volleyball could be chalked up in part to the minimal equipment needed to play. If you want to mark off a court with cones, you can. However, all you really need is a ball, a net, and a patch of sand.
Check the volleyball to make sure it’s properly inflated; it may need to be replaced if it’s been stored through the winter. If the net has holes in it, take the time to make repairs or replace it. Most of the prep work for beach volleyball comes in prepping the court—the sand should be free of debris, including rocks and shells, to prevent player injury.
Check back as we’ll update this for winter and fall sports gear later in the year!
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