OK, so most High School programs across the land are now in the 'One-and-Done' phase of their season(s). In other words.....Lose and you're out. Win or go home. Survive and move on. Pick your cliche'.
If you're a GK, you need to be as focused as possible for these matches. Part of being focused, is being prepared. Part of being a GK is 'expect the best, but prepare for the worst'.
You've been training all Fall to prepare yourself for just this moment. The Play-Offs. Your mind and body are ready. But do you have everything in your bag that you might possibly need? Are you equipped?
Let me make a few suggestions that will help you. In your 'kit bag', you should have:
3 GK uniforms. They need to be 3 different colors and not your school colors. You never know what the other team might show up wearing, and most referees won't want you wearing the same color as the refs. (I never understood this one. If anyone can't tell the difference between a Referee and a GK....they need to switch sports. Just sayin')
Base layer apparel. For keeping your muscles and your body warm. Compression shirt and tights.
A rain top. What if it's raining--COLD raining--during warm-ups? A rain top can be used to warm-up in, and of course it helps keep you dry.
Long GK pants. Again, what if you're playing at night and it's COLD? What if you're playing on turf, or worse yet, a "no grass goalmouth"? Long pants keep you from getting bruises, scrapes or burns, and they might help keep you warm.
An extra jersey, shorts, and pants for pre-game warm-up. What if it's wet, cold, and nasty out? You warm-up in goal, hit the ground over and over and get soaked. It would be great to be able to change into a dry game uniform after warm-ups so that you're not standing back there freezing and fighting hypothermia.
A towel. For drying off after warm-ups. (And after the victorious post-game shower!)
A glove towel. To take out to the goal with you in the event that you're playing in the rain. You can keep your gloves cleaner and dryer with a glove towel.
Footwear. A pair of molded (firm ground) boots. A pair of studs (soft ground) boots, and a pair of turf shoes (in case you're playing on turf.) Don't forget....the playing conditions might change mid-game...and you want the proper footwear. (One slip could cost you your season.)
Shin guards. They are required.
Gloves. A match pair of gloves for all conditions: dry weather, wet weather, turf field. Always have an extra pair of gloves in the goal with you along with your GK towel in case you "blow out" a pair of gloves during the game. Also, you might want a pair of "liner" gloves to go under your game gloves--again, in case of cold weather.
A ball cap. You might be playing a late-afternoon match and the sun could be in your eyes. (Maybe some eye-black. Makes you look badass!)
A cold weather beanie. Again,if it's cold and wet, or just cold....having a "woolie" will help keep you warm.
A neck gaiter. Again, if it's cold, a neck gaiter will help keep you warm.
Water bottle. You should always carry a water bottle out to the goal. For hydration, AND for keeping your gloves wet for better grip. (Your defenders might want a "sip" as well. Always take care of your defenders. Take care of your defenders and they'll block shots for you!)
Extra shoe laces. It's a well-known fact that laces have a tendency to break right before important games. No one ever breaks a shoe-lace before practice...it's Murphy's Law.
Now, I know this sounds like a lot of gear to pack in your bag. And--apologies to 'Jaws'--you might need a bigger bag. But if you're really going to play in a game that is 'Win or Go Home', don't you want to have everything you might need in order to make that game/season winning save?
Yep. I thought so.
May the ground beneath your dive be soft. May your goalposts be 3 feet wide. May the opponent hit everything right at you.
All the Best--EV