Apparel & Equipment
Goalball is a unique sport that can have a steep learning curve for those just beginning. To help with that learning curve, we worked with USA Goalball athlete, Josh Welborn to discuss the equipment and apparel he plays with and have provided links to similar equipment. This list includes equipment and apparel that is essential to the sport as well as non-essential equipment and apparel that Josh prefers to play with. Note that in most cases, similar equipment can be found at various stores for different prices.
|Josh Welborn throws the goalball at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games. Photo by Mark Reis.|
Eye Shades (essential): There are a few different versions of eyeshades available to the athlete. Below are the most popular eyeshades. Josh prefers to play with Goalfix eyeshades because they hold up well and the foam is replaceable.
- Goalfix: https://bit.ly/3bGdz2l
- Targe: https://bit.ly/3qZplvh
- USABA: https://bit.ly/3uIvXR8
- Make Your Own: Most goalball tournaments allow athletes to play with homemade eyeshades. This can be an inexpensive option. You can make eyeshades by “blacking out” the lenses of ski goggles with duct tape. The goggles must be taped in a way that lets absolutely no light in.
Mouth guard: Josh prefers not to use a mouth guard when he plays, but many goalball athletes use one. His advice if you want to play with one is to get one you can clearly communicate with. Clear vocal communication among teammates is vital in helping the team work together as one unit.
Jerseys (essential): https://amzn.to/3aUmvSN. Jerseys may be hockey, football, soccer, or any other jersey so long as all team members’ jerseys match and have numbers that are a minimum of 8 inches high permanently affixed to both the front and back. The type of jersey preferred changes depending on the playing area’s surface, but in general Josh likes wearing a long-sleeved soccer goalie jersey with extra padding around the elbows.
Elbow Pads (essential): https://amzn.to/3uy4aTi. Josh plays with Trace pads and claims that they are the best. They have seemingly been discontinued so we linked a similar product. It’s important that the pads are soft and made for indoor court surfaces. The wrap around pads also provide more protection from when the goalball strikes the forearms on defense.
Long Sleeved Compression Shirt: https://amzn.to/3pPsgFu. Josh wears a long-sleeved compression shirt under his jersey and pads to help his upper body stay dry and cool. The long sleeves make it easier to adjust elbow pads mid-game.
Shorts vs Pants (essential): https://amzn.to/37M7vUW. Players can choose to wear shorts or pants when they play. Currently, Josh plays wearing pants that provide a little extra support with the pads he wears on his legs; however, an athlete may prefer to wear shorts and experience little to no consequences.
Knee Pads (essential): https://amzn.to/3bD4lE8. Josh recommends any type of indoor volleyball kneepad. He plays with the type linked above.
Leg Guards: https://amzn.to/3stVICM. While not essential, Josh highly recommends playing goalball with padding for your lower legs. The pads not only absorb some of the impact from the goalball, but they also can help a player control the ricochet. Soft shin guards or baseball/softball sliding pads are ideal to use. Josh plays with the Trace pads linked above. Note that he wears these pads on both legs.
Compression Pants: https://amzn.to/3spc9Af. Josh wears compression pants under all of his layers of equipment and clothing. Compression pants help take some of the sting out of the goalball, help his body stay cool, and makes it easier to adjust pads mid-game.
Cup (essential for males): This is an essential piece of equipment for male players. Any properly fitting cup will work.
Socks: https://amzn.to/3aT2OdW. There are many different socks options that will work for goalball. Josh prefers to play with crew cut athletic socks for the slight compression that they provide while also keeping his foot dry.
Shoes (essential): https://amzn.to/3qWg3QK. There is not a particular shoe that works best for goalball. Josh recommends newer players play with a shoe that has a thin sole to which allows the athlete to feel the court better. He recommends playing with wrestling, indoor soccer, or training shoes. Josh plays with training shoes and likes the grip and feel he gets out of Nobull shoes.
This section will go over the other essential equipment needed to play the sport. Josh’s recommendations and preferences are included when applicable.
Goalballs: There are not many goalball options available. Josh prefers to play with the ASG German made ball and like the feel and sound he gets out of it. There are a few other kinds of goalballs available, but these three are the most popular, and what you will most likely find at a tournament.
- ASG German Ball: https://bit.ly/2NxbbDn
- Targe: https://bit.ly/2ZO7Cet
- Goalfix: https://bit.ly/2O2bhTi
Goals: Goals for goalball are expensive and bulky. Many programs starting build their own goals out of pvc pipe, and it is acceptable to use these goals in tournaments if the dimensions are accurate. The dimensions can be found in the International Blind Sport Federation rule book (https://www.ibsasport.org/sports/goalball/rules/).
Court: The goalball court lines most commonly are constructed using string and tape. Programs will need to purchase string that is 0.003m (+/-0.0005m) in thickness and cut the string to the appropriate length. See the rulebook for line lengths (https://www.ibsasport.org/sports/goalball/rules/).
Tape: https://amzn.to/3svkEKe. It is essential that the tape used has a high color contrast with the court surface. The tape also needs to be durable and withstand athletes sliding across it. A vinyl floor tape like the kind linked is used by many different programs.