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Shoulder pads are a simple, effective piece of football equipment that provide maximum protection for the shoulder area while on the gridiron. However, equipping young players with shoulder pads that deliver the proper combination of coverage, performance and safety can be a tricky task.
WHY DO I HAVE TO DETERMINE THE FIT?
A properly fitted shoulder pad guards against injury while allowing freedom of movement.
- The Arch: Covers and protects the shoulder, chest and player’s back. Also provides support for the flaps and the cap.
- The Cap: Covers and protects shoulder joint. Hangs down over the shoulder for extra protection. Make sure the cap covers the joint at all times to reduce the chance of shoulder separation.
- The Flap or Epaulet: Located at the top of the cap, flaps are designed to absorb or disperse part of the energy created upon impact.
- The Belt and Buckles: Come in a wide variety of styles from T-hooks to belt straps. Wraps around the body to secure the pads and provide a customized fit.
- The Main Body Cushion: The central internal padding under the shell that covers the chest to provide protection.
- The Neck: An opening in the pads that fit over the head and is usually lined with comfortable padding or fabric.
- The Rivets: Attaches the plastic shell to the cushions and inner padding. Keeps all of the shoulder pad’s pieces and parts in their proper position.
HOW DO I MEASURE AND FIND THE PERFECT FIT?
- Measure the chest size. Using a cloth tape measure, wrap around the thickest part of the chest.
- Measure shoulder width. Measure from outside shoulder tip to outside shoulder tip.
- Determine weight. Youth shoulder pads are often sized by weight, but keep in mind that everyone carries their weight differently and a snug fit is more important than just going by the weight.
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|Size||Player Weight||Shoulder Width||Chest Size|
|XX Small||60-75 pounds||10″ – 11″||24″ – 26″|
|X Small||75-90 pounds||11″ – 12″||26″ – 28″|
|Small||90-105 pounds||12 “- 13”||28″ – 30″|
|Medium||105-120 pounds||13″ – 14″||30″ – 32″|
|Large||120-135 pounds||14″ – 15″||32″ – 34″|
|X Large||135-150 pounds||15″ – 16″||34″ – 36″|
|XX Large||150-and up||16″ – 17″||36 – 38″|
- Quarterback and Wide Receiver: Lightweight, flexible and designed for mobility, agility and range of motion.
- Running Back and Defensive Back: Similar to QB and WR, but provides stronger padding and cushioning for more protection needed to absorb big impacts.
- Fullback and Linebacker: Delivers serious protection without hindering movement or speed. Much more secure fit with plated front connections and vinyl buckles.
- Linemen: Heaviest and most durable. Ideal for the trenches and provides ample mobility and protection from devastating hits.
HOW DO I TRY ON PADS?
- Loosen lacing along the front of the shoulder pads. Disconnect the straps that go under the arms.
- Pull pads apart so they slide easily over the head, and put them on.
- Tighten lacing along the front of shoulder pads and attach all straps. Check for a tight yet comfortable fit.
- Check caps of the shoulder pads to ensure they cover shoulder joint area. Caps should hang down at least a few inches over the upper arm.
- Check neck opening for comfort. It should be secure, but not tight enough to pinch or loose enough to expose the collarbone.
HOW CAN I ENHANCE MY SHOULDER PADS?
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- Back plates provide extra protection to the lower back, kidneys and spine. They most easily attach to the lower part on the back of shoulder pads.
- Neck rolls help prevent whiplash, stingers and other spine-related injuries. They connect to the neck areas of the shoulder pads and can be tied down or screwed directly into the shell.
- Rib guards protect the rib cage from breaks and bruises. Also known as a flak jacket.