How to Lace Up Shoulder Pads

By Ryan Hotchkiss

Organized contact football and hockey programs require shoulder pads. They prevent injury by protecting your shoulders, back and chest with a hard plastic or kevlar shell layered over soft padding. Shoulder pads go between your undershirt and your jersey. In order to pull the shoulder pads over your head to put them on, you must unlace them. Once they are on, lacing shoulder pads and pulling the elastic bands from the back plate to the chest plate is a cinch.

Thread the lace through the two opposing eyelets on the bottom of each of the two breast plates. Like lacing a shoe, crisscross the laces back and forth from one breast plate to the other, working your way to the top. There will be between four and eight eyelets on each breast plate. Once all of the eyelets on each breast plate are laced, tie knots in each end of the lace. This will prevent the lace from backing out of the eyelets as you put on and take off the pads. Re-lacing the pads every time you pull them off your shoulders or pull them over your head to take them off becomes tedious.

Pull the shoulder pads over your head once you have laced them and tied knots in the ends of the laces. The deltoid pads should rest centered on your shoulders. The breast pads should fall below your pectorals and your back plate should fall several inches below your shoulder blades. Put your hands inside the collar of the shoulder pads to adjust them forward or back. Once they are in place, begin tightening the laces.

Tighten the laces like you would a shoelace. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top pulling the laces snug at each eyelet. Tighten the pads by pulling the laces at the top once your have snugged each eyelet. Once the pads are sufficiently tight, tie a loop with the laces and then tie a second knot to make a double knot. You want the pads tight, but you do not want to make it difficult to breathe.

Pull the elastic bands with the T-hooks from the back plates under your armpits to the breastplates. These bands help the breast and back plates fit tightly against your body. Slide the T-hooks into the horizontal slots and twist them so that they are vertical. This locks them into position. You are ready to pull your jersey over the shoulder pads.

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