The best advice that we can give a player is to be conscious about their choice of footwear on a daily basis. As an athlete, your contact point with the ground is everything. A race car driver needs to choose the right tires to win the race, a skier chooses the correct skis for the event, just as we need to find the right shoe for our conditions.
This is all too simple of a concept but it is very difficult for youth and high school players to process. I agree with "look good, feel good, play good," but not at the expense of performance and safety. You know what's cool? Playing your best and staying healthy. Choose function and performance first, then pick the shoe that looks the best.
As an athlete, you will be on a wide variety of surfaces over the course of your training and your season. High school lacrosse players will find themselves on the track, in the gym, maybe on the pavement (old school), turf, astroturf, grass with various ground conditions, and maybe rubber mats in the weight room where you could be lifting or jumping. One pair of shoes and one pair of cleats are not going to cut it.
*Check the weather on a daily basis
Turf or Grass?
What's the Grass Like?
Will you be inside? If so where?
Be ready for all of these possibilities and know which shoe you want to wear in each case. Even pack multiple pairs of cleats if you are travelling. Once you get to the field you can then make the best decision.
Choose the correct type of shoe for the type of activity and surface you will be on. If you have nub cleats, are they going to be good on hardpacked grass/dirt fields or will your molded cleats be better?
Sometimes you have to go out early and test your footwear. Don't let it worry you and don't make a big deal over it. Go out and run a little, make some cuts, see how the shoes feel & perform that day.
A player will need running shoes, shoes to cross train in, shoes that work in the gym (cross trainers or basketball shoes), turf shoes, cleats (molded and/or nubs). There might be a shoe that can cover a couple of these criteria but make sure to make a good decision.
Running shoes should not be worn to play in or to cross train in. They are great for straight line runs but do not provide lateral support for cutting and playing.
The right footwear helps to prevent injury. When you make contact with the ground there is a great deal of force applied to both the ground and your body. How the force of that impact is received makes a world of difference on our bodies. Trying to find the perfect mixture of cushioning, stability and traction for your playing surface is key. Not all cleats or sneakers are good for all surfaces.
There are some dichotomies to be considered so there is not a perfect recommendation for everyone. Being aware of what to look for that is important. Some things to think about are:
An athletes contact point with the ground dictates that amount of force they can apply to each step or each cut. With your choice of footwear, you should be conscious of this. With each slip and slide, there is a loss of power and efficiency that will play out for the duration of the practice or game. This goes for sizing as well. When your foot slides within the shoe, you are losing force that can be applied to runs and cuts. Keeping your foot locked in place within the shoe or cleat will allow you to apply maximum force to the movement. Another downside to sliding around within a shoe is the friction that it creates. With friction comes blisters.
Traction characteristics between a shoe and a surface can be quantified for either linear or rotational motions. Although linear traction is necessary for high-level performance during any athletic contest, it is generally accepted that excessive rotational traction may precipitate ankle and knee injuries.... It has been observed the number and size of cleats on a shoe are correlated with the occurrence of ankle and knee injuries in American football, with less aggressive cleats producing fewer injuries. - read more
Brand new cleats or sneakers look awesome but they are not ready to rock yet! Take some time to break a new pair in. Wear them in the backyard, take them to warm-up before practice but don't give them the full go until you are confident that fit right and are comfortable. Even after giving them the green light, wear two pairs of socks at first until the shoes are broken in and you do not have to worry about blisters.
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