Lacrosse games in cold temperatures can be tough on players, coaches, officials, and fans. Recently, the high school team that I volunteer with had one such game, and after many of us froze our butts off on the sideline, I have some quick recommendations on how to deal with this early spring problem.
The easy answer is drive to a big box retailer, pick up some performance athletic apparel designed to ward off the cold, and then go on your merry way. But what if that is not an option? What if those products are out of your price range? What if the day was supposed to be nice, but has rapidly turned freezing?
- Players should always have a long sleeve t-shirt in their bags. This is a pretty basic element of being prepared. Even if you don’t need it during the game, it can be nice to have an extra layer for after the sun goes down and the wind picks up. A sweatshirt is also a good option!
- Players should also consider keeping a pair of athletic or sweat pants in their bags, and these pants should be the same color as the team’s shorts. Most refs will let players get away with pants (as long as they are the same color), but in a worst case scenario, you can have the players put their shorts over the pants. It’s not a look we’re accustomed to, but I personally think it is more important to be warm and play well than wear shorts. Maybe that’s just me.
- A great option for your legs aside from pants are full length, or cropped, leggings. American Apparel has cheap black leggings, which stretch and keep you warm. They are great because they can be cut to any desired length. Even a pair of leggings that goes down to your knees (like traditional spandex) will provide warmth, and helps me avoid hamstring tweaks on cold days.
- Thin, fingerless gloves are also awesome on REALLY cold days. I’ve never found the thin rubber medical gloves trick to do much, but a pair of fingerless (and thumbless) thin cotton gloves can really help. The stick should be in your finger tips usually, so the gloves don’t get in the way. While they don’t keep your digits warm, your palm will thank you, and keep your entire hand just a bit warmer.
- I also like to wear thick, higher socks when it’s cold. I don’t pull the socks up, but instead push them down around my ankles. This keeps that joint a bit warmer, but also guards against the dreaded ankle slash, which always hurts worse in the cold.
- Bring a big jacket to the sideline. Hopefully, your coach is cool with you wearing a jacket on the sideline, but as with anything, there is a right and wrong way to do this. Wrong way: Helmet off, hands in pockets, jacket fully zipped. Right way: helmet on, gloves on, jacket is draped over your shoulders like a cape. If your coach tells you to go in, and you have things the right way, you shrug your shoulders, the jacket falls to the ground, and you go in the game. Do it the wrong way and you’re stuck on the bench.
Staying warm, staying healthy, and still finding a way to compete in cold weather can be tough. I hope the above helps you stay warm and elevate your game.
Check out more great stuff from the Hot Pot in the HP Archive.