Goalball can be fun to play, but like other sports it is recommended that athletes wear proper gear when on the court.
The rules of the sport only require athletes to wear eyeshades. Eyeshades are worn by players to create a level playing field which also eliminates any visual advantages. Athletes are not allowed to touch their eyeshades during play and doing so can result in an eyeshade penalty.
There are different types of eyeshades including makeshift options and ones specifically designed for use when playing blind sports. Makeshift options can include placing tape over ski goggles and doing your best to eliminate any areas where you can see any type of light.
The United States Association of Blind Athletes also sells eyeshades. The USABA eyeshades come with the USABA logo visible on the front while the back includes padding and a band to adjust the fit around your head.
Some goalball competitions may not allow makeshift or USABA eyeshades to be used during play as both of these options may allow some light to be seen by some individuals with sight. Some competitions require specifically designed eyeshades where almost no light can be seen by the individual wearing them.
Some high level goalball competitions may require the eyeshades to be taped over further emphasizing the point of equal play. The higher levels of play may also strongly encourage athletes to use the specifically designed eyeshades rather than the makeshift or USABA options.
Recommended padding includes elbow, knee and hip pads. Remember that these types of pads are not required, but are strongly encouraged to be worn by players to keep their bodies protected.
Elbow and knee pads of various types can be used to play Goalball. Common types of elbow and knee pads used to play goalball include volleyball pads. Padded arm and leg sleeves can also be worn separately or combined with elbow and knee pads.
Hip pads are recommended to prevent or limit pain to your sides caused by continuous sliding and diving. A good option for hip pads can include hockey pants.
Additional padding may include a helmet for those who need extra protection to their head. A helmet usually is not very commonly worn by goalball athletes. Chest pads are sometimes worn by men and women, but are sometimes discouraged as they can limit a player’s movement. A cup is strongly recommended for men and some hockey pants may come with this addition.
Anyone playing goalball should definitely purchase their own eyeshades and then should find equipment that feels most comfortable to them. A key when selecting equipment is to purchase products that you feel most comfortable wearing. Not all athletes wear every type of padding mentioned above. You’ll have to decide what type of additional padding is best for you and you will be able to play goalball as long as you wear eyeshades.