We often see the question on the groups, “are shin pads mandatory” ? And to that we always suggest that by now we should all be mature, experienced and wise enough to make our own sensible choices, we all know the risks versus reward. Many don’t, some do which is fine, you are making your own choices. We do always encourage everyone to play in a none aggressive way to avoid excessive contact.
The question though triggered the thought, where did shin pads come from and who started the trend, surely it is a relatively recent thing ?
Well turns out actually not, In 1874 Sam Weller who played football and cricket at the time cut down a pair of his cricket pads and strapped them to the outside of his socks with leather straps for a game. Can you imagine what the others lads said the first time Sam wore them 🤣 ? Well turned out he was on to something.
And in 1874, the same year Nottingham Forest first adopted wearing them as a team for a home match at the Forest Recreation Ground
Since those days you could argue that shin pads haven’t actually changed that much. Materials have got lighter and a sock has been added for those who want to protect their ankles too.
Defenders and the CDM 🤦♂️ tend to wear a more robust shin pad extra ankle protection to protect them in their heavier tackles. While the more forward thinking players and goalkeepers wear a smaller lighter shin guard to assist with quicker movement and touch.
Some attackers in the Premiere League at first glance don’t appear to be wearing any shin pads at all, anyone recognise the picture ? But it is actually mandatory at that level and they are there if you look close enough.
And superstition can also form part of the professionals choice of what to wear. When Jack Grealish was asked why he wore such small pads he replied.
“one year when I was here, the socks once shrunk in the wash. So they wouldn’t go higher. “That season, I ended up playing really well. So it became a superstitious thing for me. I thought ‘I’m going to keep doing this because I’ve done well’.”
I bet a few of us have played with card board shin pads, rustled up when the ref asked us where our pads were 🤣. Good job we didn’t play really well in those games. See you at your match nights this week 👍⚽. It’s up to you if you wear your pads or not, but either way let’s play in a way that considers those who we play against as well as ourselves.