Your hair is in your face, you’re afraid to fall because your knee pads don’t fit right, and your clothes are more appropriate for a lazy Saturday on your coach than a volleyball game. If you’ve got all the wrong gear (or no gear at all) it’s no wonder you can get into the game or improve your skills.
But never fear! Here are some basic guidelines on appropriate attire that will help you be taken a little more seriously at your next game or practice. Let’s start with the feet:
1. Court-friendly shoes and super comfy socks.
You can find volleyball shoes made by Mizuno, Asics, New Balance, Nike and many others, so poke around the Internet or your favorite sports store and find some that strike your fancy. If at all possible read reviews of the type you’re considering before buying, because it’s hard to tell exactly how a shoe will feel during a game when trying it on in a store.
If you’re not going to be wearing volleyball shoes, at least go with a shoe that will support you during the rapid movements and jumps that you’ll inevitably be doing during a volleyball game. Running shoes can be okay, but they’re not designed for the same kinds of movement. Socks need to be athletic style so you don’t get blisters. Ow!
To extend the life of your court shoes consider wearing old tennis shoes or sandals to the gym and changing once you’re indoors. This will preserve your soles for longer use.
2. Ankle braces if you have problems with your ankles.
I’m not giving you medical advice here, so use your best judgment on whether or not ankle braces are right for you. Generally speaking if you’ve had sprained ankles in the past you’ll be prone to them in the future, so consider taking precautions with braces.
3. Knee pads.
These are not here so that you can slide across the floor on your knees every other point. Knee pads are to protect your knobbly knees from bruising when you occasionally have to dive for a ball. Especially important for beginners, knee pads help keep you safe and injury free. I recommend thinner varieties so you don’t feel like you have pillows wrapped around your legs, but it’s mostly up to your personal preference.
4. Spandex or other athletic shorts.
Tight shorts are the default choice for indoor volleyball, but if you’re not comfortable with such a form-fitting style, any type of shorts that allow you to move and are designed for working out will do the trick. Steer clear of long yoga-type pants, as these are prone to tear at the knee when you fall (and trust me, you look silly wearing your knee pads outside your pants).
5. Loose-fitting t-shirt.
You don’t want anything too tight that will restrict your movement, so comfort is the keyword here. Whatever type of shirt you’re comfortable in should be fine, but ladies, if you’re serious about your indoor game please save your revealing tank tops for the beach.
If you have long hair, pull it back in a ponytail, use a headband, just do something to keep it out of your face! You look sloppy and you can’t see the ball or your teammates if you’ve got hair in your eyes.
No jewelry, period. Do you like your earlobes, fingers and neck where they are? Then leave the jewelry in your bag. Pointy things are dangerous to both you and your teammates.
Water, and lots of it. You need to stay hydrated, and water is your best bet. After the game is over you can start in on the sports drinks, but stick with water during the game.
Warmups/sweats, as needed. Cold muscles get hurt more easily — keep yourself warm going to and from the gym.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments section what you consider must-have gear for your indoor games.