Why do soccer players tape their wrists?

It is often seen by many players in today’s world. Soccer players taping their wrists and other body parts like knees, hands, and shoulders.

But when we see this, it makes us think why do they do it? If you can’t use your hands, why do soccer players tape their wrists?

Getting your wrist taped as a soccer player is done so that the tape protects the wrist from injury.

In this article, we will dive into great detail about:

  • Why players tape their wrists
  • How they tape their wrists

Because of the physical nature of soccer, there is a lot of grabbing, pushing and jockeying for position. Your wrists are front and center when doing this so it makes sense to have them protected.

Read on as these questions will leave you with the answers for what the pros do and why.

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Soccer player taping wrists

Why do soccer players tape their wrists?

Players can tape their wrists for a host of reasons. For injury prevention and to bring stability to the wrist so when falling to the ground, the wrist is structurally sound.

Tape is often used on other body parts as we mentioned above but, in that case, it is to hold the body part in place, whereas for the wrists, there is still enough flexibility so that players are able to move their wrists during a game.

There are several reasons soccer players tape their wrists and these include:

  • To protect their wrists
  • Hiding jewellery
  • To cover some tattoos
  • For cosmetic reasons
  • Injury prevention

We will now dive deeper into each reason for players taping their wrists

Wrist protection

Above all else, this is the main reason players get their wrists taped, to prevent injury.

During a match, players will engage in physical altercations and this can cause the wrist or fingers to be bent back and this can cause injury.

By having tape to secure the wrist in place, it can prevent this. It will also help players that fall down after being tackled.

When a player is falling, the first reaction is to put their hands out to brace for impact and can put huge pressure on the wrist.

Keepers also have their wrists taped as well. Because strikers shoot the ball hard at keepers, the hands are what is used to save a goal.

Because of the force used by strikers when kicking the ball, when a keeper goes to save the ball, a serious amount of pressure is put on the wrists, and having them taped can reduce the risk of injury.

While taping your wrists is not going to 100% guarantee you will not get injured, it certainly reduces the chances.

Hiding jewellery

Sometimes, players will tape their wrists to hid bracelets or jewelry from the referee.

This is because, in most leagues around the planet, they do not allow players to have what is called loose jewelry.

This is because opposition players’ fingers could get stuck and cause serious injury. But having tape over them stops this.

If a referee does find that a player has loose jewelry on, they will ask the player to remove it before continuing in the game.

Sometimes though, the jewelry is for religious or superstitious reasons and so to avoid having to remove it, a player will simply put tape over it so it simply looks like they are taping their wrist for injury prevention.

Several high-profile players in world football like Leo Messi and Gareth Bale will sometimes wear bracelets from sponsors to help in promoting their brands.

The Welshman did at one point wear Livestrong accessories but taped it to hide it from the officials.

To protect players on the pitch, refs will ask players to remove jewelry if it is seen and this is because small jewelry can get caught on an opposition player’s shorts or top and can do some serious damage to a player’s hand or wrist.

To avoid this happening, a player will either take off the piece of jewelry or simply put tape over it so there is not a chance that it could cause an injury.

Covering tattoos

Sometimes a player will have just gotten a new tattoo on their wrist. but do not want the public to see it yet or to protect the tattoo against any bacteria that could get in it during a match.

It can either be a small piece of tape to cover a wrist tattoo but if the tattoo goes up the arm to the forearm, then a considerable amount of tape is used to cover it.

This could be because the tattoo could prove to be offensive to some players and also because some leagues do not allow such tattoos.

Cosmetic Reasons

With injury prevention being the number one reason players tape their wrists, the next more popular reason is simply because of how it looks when your wrists are taped.

Often you might see that some players have a team motto or saying, or word written on them to remind them of what to do in a certain situation.

Also, sometimes a set play routine can be written out on the tape to remind the player what do to if they are in that position during a match.

This will usually be in blue or black marker, and you can see it from the amateur levels of soccer, all the way up to the professionals.

Others simply have family member’s names or initials to remind them who they are playing for.

An injury is still healing

When a soccer player has an injury to his/her wrist or hand, then having some tape to cover it can actually help it in the healing process.

It does this by one not bending the injury to further exacerbate it or if there is a deep cut, then dirt and other bacteria cant get in and possibly infect it.

Often team physio’s or doctors will tape a player’s injury in the best way as to make sure it is perfectly fine to play with by making it stable or thick enough so dirt and sweat do not get into the cut.

What type of tape do soccer players use on their wrists?

Perhaps the most popular tape used is one from a company called Hampton Adams. It is super strong and can bits can be torn off with ease.

You will not need scissors, simply wrap your wrist with the tape and then tear it off.

It is also super sticky which is handy during a game as it will not fall off if it gets hit or if dirt gets onto it. Ideally, you want the tape to stay on for as long as possible and this tape does it perfectly.

How do you tape your wrist for soccer?

There are several ways to tape your wrist. One way is to grab a roll of medical or athletic tape that is about two inches wide give or take.

Start by putting the edge of the tape on the wrist and the end of the tape ideally will be just where your wrist bends. This is to ensure proper stability.

For best results;

  • You should wrap your wrist with tape at least two to three times. Make sure the tape is not too tight that it stops blood flowing.
  • Then once done, simply tear/cut the tape off and you are good to go!
  • Move your wrist around in a circle to give slight movement.
  • If you feel you need more support, then wrap the tape around the wrist once more.

Alternatively, you can go around your wrist but this time go between your index finger and your thumb. This ensures that your whole wrist and thumb are fully protected.

This is mostly seen with goalkeepers as their thumbs and wrists are in most danger when playing a match.

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