Finger spines could possibly be the biggest dividing factor through people choice in goalkeeper gloves. We are going to go through the pros and cons and share our personal opinion as well as feedback from other keepers.
Let's start by saying that finger spines can help you reduce the risk of injury when playing, they won't always stop you getting injured however they may decrease the chance of injury. The plastic spines are embedded into the backhand of goalkeeper gloves to prevent hyperextension injuries in the fingers by restricting movement. you're probably taking a liking to finger spines and wondering why don't all keepers wear finger spines? Well there are many drawbacks...
Finger save gloves are found extremely uncomfortable by many keepers due to the sturdiness and lack of freedom of movement. Simple movements such as clenching a fist are all of a sudden pretty tough due to the lack of flexibility in the plastic spines. Goalkeepers are demanding for the movement of tight fit second skin feel goalkeeper gloves due to the increased flexibility and comfort, finger spines don't allow for this and therefore keepers tend to stay away.
Goalkeepers become dependant on wearing gloves with finger spines. When playing any sport your body encounters micro fractures and injuries that you don't notice but over time increase the strength of your bones and joints. It's important that your body experiences these micro-fractures and injuries to maintain and develop bone density and joint strength. When wearing the spines it doesn't allow for these minor injuries and therefor doesn't allow the fingers to strengthen in the same way.
A lot of keepers make the switch to finger spines when coming back from an injury. After breaking my arm and many fingers I found the best rehabilitation is to do the strength and conditioning in the gym or at home as you have more control of your limits. When I do my technique training i train lighter whilst either using finger spines as a temporary option or I use tape to add stability. The importance of making the right decision about returning from an injury is very subjective, we advise that you consult a medical professional for more clarity.
The majority of professional keepers choose not to wear finger spines in their gloves, this is mainly due to the lack of flexibility and the other negatives mentioned. Professional keepers are also observed under the highest level healthcare and strength and conditioning development, if they happen to be carrying an injury they will without doubt be treated with extreme caution.
Would we recommend finger spines to kids? It's completely personal preference, we would advise that kids don't rely on finger saves as it's a bad habit to get into and will restrict the strength development of their fingers. We'd say it is essential for every keeper to have a pair with finger save gloves or a roll of finger and wrist tape in their kit bag for sessions that are predominantly shot stopping based sessions or if they were to pick up a small injury or felt some discomfort they can make the adjustments needed to continue playing.
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