Is it tournament time again? On top of planning a road trip playlist that won’t cause backseat infighting, you need to do a gear check. Are your kid’s cleats on their last legs? Do you need more sports socks? Planning for a tournament begins several weeks before the first whistle blows and may include coordination with other parents and coaches.
With so many games taking place over the course of a single tournament, running out of clean sports socks could end up being a code red. If your team makes it to the finals you don’t want your player to take the field with stinky, wet feet. And you definitely don’t want them to be hungry or dehydrated. Thankfully you can avoid these pitfalls with the right packing list. Here is a quick guide to preparing for a tournament weekend.
The Month Before the Tournament
Long-term planning means no last-minute scrambling. You can’t do everything in advance, but some tasks are better done well before the first tournament game approaches. In the month before the tournament:
- Buy gear. About four weeks before a tournament is a good time to figure out which gear needs to be replaced. Inspect your kid’s shoes, shin guards, jersey, socks, etc. You don’t want your field hockey or softball player showing up in a grass-stained jersey. Whether you’re in the market for baseball socks, softball socks, lacrosse socks, or soccer socks, ordering early is smart. If you have a custom sock order, allow at least 6 weeks for them to arrive.
- Break in new shoes. If you buy new shoes or shin guards, now is the time to start breaking them in. Wearing new cleats or tennis shoes the day of a tournament is a one-way ticket to Blister City. Wear new guards in practice and break in (non-cleat) shoes around the house.
- Coordinate with coaches. Will the entire team need to wear the same socks and shoes, or can players wear their own unique foot gear for a game? Have these conversations early and coordinate with the coaches and Team Moms before ordering custom socks or buying bright green shoes.
One Week Before Game Time
By now you have your gear in hand (or en route) and it’s time to get more detailed. Take a few hours and make sure you’ll be ready to play ball on the morning of the tournament. By the week before the tournament you’re ready to:
- Make an itemized packing list. Don’t leave this for the night before the game! A week is plenty of time to run for the store to pick up things like bandages, methyl salicylate and menthol cream, and a new cooler. If you’re a first-time soccer or softball parent, ask the coach if there is a recommended packing list.
- Lay out your sock/uniform combinations. Do you want to save your crazy socks for the final game or start out strong with your boldest sock combos? A week is enough time to count your sports socks and make a plan. As we mentioned earlier, ideally players will have at least one pair of new socks for every game and a spare for warm-ups/in between games.
- Start getting rest. A week before the tournament is when intense practice should begin to wind down. Make sure players are sleeping enough every night and getting hydrated. If you go too hard right before the tournament, you risk injury and extreme fatigue.
The Night Before Tournament Day
The big day is right around the corner! You’ve planned your sock/uniform pairings and packed your supplies. You’re ready to transition from planning to action. Here are some tasks that are perfect for the night before the first day of your tournament:
- Pack up the car. Non-perishable snacks, like crackers and snack packs, can go in the back of your car the night before. On the morning of your first game, you’ll be busy making a hearty breakfast and staying on schedule -- don’t add packing the car to the list. You can also load up stuff like extra socks, water bottles, sports drinks, and blankets.
- Get duffle bags together. The night before is also a good time to get your game bags organized. Pack uniform, sports socks, cleats, bandages, and an extra bag for dirty laundry. You may also want to throw in some hair ties, face wipes, and travel-size deodorant.
- Make and pack shoe spray. The worst part about time between games is putting sweaty clothes and shoes into a duffle bag. Eventually, you have to open it again, and it smells like something died in there! Fortunately, there is an easy solution to mitigate some of this stinky problem. Use a homemade shoe spray to keep athletic shoes and cleats from infecting your entire bag (and car) with a terrible smell. You can easily create a spray using: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 5 drops of tea tree oil. Spray it into the shoes after every game and put the shoes into a separate plastic bag inside your player’s duffle.
- Do laundry. You don’t want to leave late because you’re waiting for a dry cycle. Wash clothes the night before you leave for the tournament, including extra socks and white under-jersey t-shirts. Make sure key items like jerseys and towels are fully washed and folded before you go to bed.
Game Day To-Dos
Alright, it’s time to take the field or court. On the morning of the first tournament game (whether you’re traveling or not), there are some ways to set up your players for success. Before the first game:
- Eat a carb-filled breakfast. A protein and carb fueled start to the day gives players lots of energy to draw upon later. Make sure your player is done eating at least an hour before warm-ups. And always hydrate before the first whistle!
- Put on the first pair of crazy socks. Your players may not want to ride to the tournament in full uniform, but putting on crazy socks sets the mood. A young player who hops into the car already clad in their bold sports socks is going to be more psyched for the first game.
- Pack same-day provisions. Some things you can’t pack early. Hair brushes, orange slices, and cold water are among the items you’ll put in the car shortly before you leave for the tournament.
Choosing the Right Sports Socks for Tournaments
If your player is allowed to show off their fashion on the field, they may opt for a wild animal print on their socks. As you prepare for a tournament, however, you shouldn’t rule out a mix and match strategy for the team. It’s fun to rock a few different, yet coordinate, pairs as a team. It also helps you fall in compliance if the league wants players to remain coordinated.
Remember that you should have a new pair of sports socks for every game in the tournament, plus an extra pair for warm-ups. Here are some suggestions for socks that complement each other:
- Crazy Soccer Ball Logo and Soccer Ball Logo socks are the perfect pair. The crazy set has dozens of balls bouncing around on the calf, while the standard soccer ball design has just one soccer ball logo on the back. When it comes to soccer socks, these designs go hand in hand.
- Hedgehog Love and Wild Horses socks also go together. Buy them in a similar color scheme, and hedgehogs and horses can face off in inter-team scrimmages, then take to the field together to unite against their competitor.
- Softball Socks with Stitches and Baseball Logo socks are the perfect compromise for a softball team where some girls like tall socks and some prefer short socks. The Softball Socks with Stitches design is an over the calf design, while the Baseball logo design is a crew sock. Both are available in navy/white.
- Digital Camo and Wild Paw socks go together like peanut butter and jelly. The bold design of the camo is complemented perfectly by the simplicity of the paw print and stripes of the Wild Paw pattern. Both socks are over the calf and available in a black/red color scheme.
Everyone can’t agree on the same sock pattern? No problem! Mixing and matching from our crazy sock collection makes it easy to find a sock combo that works for everyone on the bench. Even better, buy a few sets of mix and match sports socks to so you can rotate sock schemes over the course of the tournament. Alternatively, you could wear individual socks for most games and save your team sock scheme for the finals.
Ready to dominate your next tournament? Whether you’re heading to a soccer tournament, softball weekend, or need basketball socks, wearing the right gear sets the stage for success. Follow our guide for planning your big weekend, and you just might make it through with a trophy and a reputation for being the most stylish team. Check out the athletic sports socks on MadSportsStuff now so you’re prepared for your next competition!