How to Dress in a Football Uniform

Written by keith dooley
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How to Dress in a Football Uniform
Properly put on and wear a football uniform for safety. (Football official standing next to football image by Pezography from

Football uniforms consist of several separate pieces of equipment that clothe a player. The purpose of a football uniform is to associate a player with a specific team, provide identification through a number on the jersey and, most importantly, provide safety equipment designed to minimise and reduce injuries. Ensuring that the pads are correctly positioned in the uniform increases the protection for the player.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Girdle
  • Knee, thigh, hip and butt pads
  • Game trousers with belt
  • Moisture wicking compression shirt
  • Shoulder pads
  • Game jersey
  • Moisture wicking socks
  • Cleats
  • Helmet

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  1. 1

    Place a set of knee, thigh and hip pads in the inner pockets of the football girdle in the appropriate place. The knee pads go at the knees, the thigh pads at the thigh and the hip pads on either side. A butt pad will be placed in a pocket just below the waist band in the back.

  2. 2

    Put the girdle and pads on, making sure that the pads line up with the knees, thighs and hips. Wearing a jock strap or other garment such as underwear under the girdle is optional. Slide on a pair of game trousers over the girdle and lace them up in the front if necessary. Feed a belt through the loops around the top of the game trousers and secure the belt with the D ring buckle at the front. A correctly fitting girdle will be tight and form fitting. The game trousers will also be tight fitting around the hips, seat and thighs. It is necessary for the girdle especially to be tight to hold the pads in the proper position.

  3. 3

    Put on a moisture wicking T-shirt. These are close fitting shirts that are designed to pull moisture away from the body and help with evaporation. Moisture wicking shirts help to reduce chaffing and irritation from sweat.

  4. 4

    Inspect the shoulder pads, making sure that any lacing in the front is secure and all adjustment straps are in place with no parts missing, such as strap keepers or buckles used to attach the straps to the pads. Place the shoulder pads over your head and down onto your shoulders. The pads should sit on the shoulders and allow neck movement without rubbing and should extend out to protect the shoulder joint but not restrict arm movement. Pull the connecting straps around from the back of the pad to the front going underneath the arms. Secure the straps to the front of the pads and cinch the straps up tightly making sure the pads fit well, provide freedom of arm movement and will not move around from side to side.

  5. 5

    Pull a game jersey over your head and down around your neck. Push your arms through the arm holes and begin working the jersey down over the shoulder pads. Typically, the jersey will fit snugly around the shoulder pads, and it should take effort to pull the jersey down.

  6. 6

    Put on a pair of moisture wicking socks that are not 100 per cent cotton. Cotton socks can become saturated and will allow the moisture to stay next to your feet while moisture wicking socks pull it away. Pull the socks up securely around the calf of your leg. Slide your feet into cleat football shoes and securely lace the shoes tightly around your feet.

  7. 7

    Inspect your helmet for any cracks or chips that could indicate the helmet has been weakened. Inspect the face mask and hardware connecting it to the helmet. Make sure the chin strap is securely in place and no snaps are missing. Place the helmet on your head by spreading the helmet slightly at the ear holes. Pull the helmet down so it is securely seated on your head and adjust it from side to side if necessary. Pull the chin strap across and under your chin and snap it in place on the opposite side of the helmet.

  8. 8

    Grasp the face mask once the helmet is on your head and the chin straps are snapped into place. Attempt to move the helmet side to side as well as up and down. The pads or air bladders, depending on the make and model, are designed to prevent the helmet from moving around excessively if the helmet fits properly. A coach or trainer should address excess movement so that internal helmet padding can be changed or more air added to the adjustable air bladder if necessary. The helmet should not slide lower than the eyebrows nor move laterally past the cheek.

Tips and warnings

  • Other equipment, such as lineman or wide receiver gloves, is available. Neck rolls help minimise the backward motion of the head during a tackle.

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