Practicing Safety and Skill During Summer Storms

During the summertime, you may catch a rainstorm or two while out on the field… but that doesn’t have to put a stop to your game play! As long as you follow some basic safety tips, playing in the rain can be just as action-packed as you’re used to (and, of course, it may give you a chance to refresh on extra hot days).

Is it safe to play in the rain?

A big question for many players (or parents of players) is whether or not it’s actually safe to play in the rain. And in most cases, the answer is yes! Rain on its own doesn’t threaten player safety… in fact, it can often make the game more exciting and easier on the body. The air is drastically cooled by the rain and cloud cover, making players less susceptible to overheating and thus much more comfortable. So you’ll probably find that many soccer players, when asked, really do love those chance rain showers!

When it comes to safe play in the rain, there are two main exceptions where you will not want to stay on the field. The first is, of course, the presence of lightning and thunder. Whenever you see (or hear) either one, it’s important to head for shelter to stay safe and resume gameplay later on when the weather is calmer… don’t wait until the last possible second!

A game may also be delayed if it’s raining especially hard—that is, if the presence of rain makes the field unplayable and players’ cleats can’t stick.

Tips for better gameplay

If you do end up playing in the rain, you may have to adjust your technique and playing style to fit the needs of the game. With a slicked down field, and a wet ball and cleats, this might include:

  • Tightening up your movements. While swift, direct movements are important in any game of soccer, they are especially essential in rainy games. This is because the wetness of the ball, field and your cleats can make getting powerful, aimed kicks harder to do. Put extra force into every movement to prevent the ball from skipping or stopping short of its intended recipient (or the goal!).
  • Knowing that the air is on your side. Get some more air into your kicks to cut down on the risk of your ball getting caught in wet grass.
  • Getting creative and trying new moves. If you’ve been meaning to try a new move—whether that’s a slide tackle or new foot trick you came up with on your own—a rainy day game may be the perfect time to try it out. The wet surface may make sliding, sweeping movements easier and more effective, so don’t rule them out.
  • Navigating your way around puddles. If the rain is especially heavy, you will definitely notice several puddles on the field. You may want to alter your gameplay by avoiding too much dribbling (since you don’t want to get caught in a puddle!). If you do, however, you can still recover. Just scoop your ball out to catch air, and either continue dribbling or pass it to a teammate.

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