A light rain is drizzling over the grass. The yelling and shouting emanating from the crowd of friends and family seem to echo from far away. You can’t tell if it’s sweat running down your face or if it’s rain. You maneuver the ball around a defender and the goal is directly ahead of you. Adrenaline pumps as you strive forward in your stride, recklessly letting the ball get ahead of you. This could be the goal that wins this match.
But you don’t see what’s coming. Your eyes are locked on the goalkeeper, your mind already busy calculating how to get this shot around them, when it hits you. Or rather, you hit it. The biggest puddle of mud on the entire field seems to open up beneath you in seconds. Your left foot slides out from beneath you and you fall on your right leg. A resounding crack accompanies your landing and pain shoots through your leg.
You just got blocked by the ground you were playing on. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. It may seem counterintuitive, but playing soccer on soft turf is much more dangerous than playing on hard turf. The opportunities for slipping, sliding, and falling are much higher, and the odds that your foot can get stuck seem to always be in favor of the other team.
Soft Turf Tips
Quit stressing about how you’ll stay on top of your game every time a bit of rain falls. If you play on a classic grass field, you already know there’s going to be mud and puddles and grass that’s as slippery as a banana peel in a cartoon. So prepare for it!
The best way to prevent unnecessary sliding and falling is to have the right equipment. You’ll want cleats that have strong grip so that your feet will be able to find solid ground quicker than your opponents. Look for cleats with round studs, as these are typically the best for dealing with soft ground. Also look for cleats marked with SG, which means they’re specifically designed for soft ground. There are plenty of companies that make cleats for softer surfaces, so you’ll want to browse through a few reviews to find the best soft ground soccer cleats.
When the ground is wet or sloshy, it’s not uncommon for the ball to get stuck halfway through a pass. To avoid this, you’ll want to put a bit more muscle into your kicks on wet or rainy days. It’s better to overshoot than to undershoot when things get wet, so that your passes don’t get intercepted by a nefarious puddle. You’ll also want to keep the ball moving as much as possible, especially when you’re not he opponent’s side of the field. If you get bogged down in one spot, all the maneuvering and small kicks can quickly create a swamp that it can be difficult to get the ball out of.
Alright defenders, this is your moment to shine. Normally a slide tackle can leave you with some glorious scrapes and bruises, which can sometimes discourage a liberal usage of the technique. As long as you have some clothing that won’t get too bogged down with water or mud, slide tackle to your hearts content! the wet grass helps propel you, so no scrapes and faster tackles become the norm in rainy weather.
Overall, the best way to handle the extra soft ground present on rainy days is to be prepared. The tips above will help, but fi you never practice in the rain, or if you only get soft ground cleats on a rainy day just hours before a game, you won’t be as effective as you usually are. Don’t let some nasty weather ruin your game, be prepared so that when rain strikes, you’re a player the team can rely on to still be at your best.