Most sports equipment is made of tough materials and is designed to withstand getting dirty and sustaining heavy use. But if you want to guarantee years of solid, reliable use, you need to get into the habit of cleaning and maintaining your sports equipment. The trick is knowing not just how to clean your sports gear, but how often to do it.
It’s important to use the best equipment, and buying the cheapest might be false economy. A better quality product will last much longer than a cheaper alternative. A cheap machine stitched football (with stitching on show) isn’t going to last as long as a hand stitched football (part hidden stitching) on a 3G pitch surrounded by fencing.
The two most important factors are to reduce risk and prolong life.
This is by far the most important consideration when looking after sports equipment. New equipment should always be purchased from a reputable supplier to ensure product standards are met, for example, you should only buy football goals that confirm with BS 748 or 8462 regulations.
A risk assessment should be carried out on all equipment within its playing environment (e.g. the pitch or playground).
Do not forget to regularly visibly check all equipment on every occasion before the equipment. Whether that’s a dedicated pitch or on the playground.
Products can be particularly dangerous when in storage or in transit. Goalposts, for example, pose a risk of tipping when not anchored to a fixed point, particularly when being transported.
Finally, it’s never a good idea to modify your equipment, as this will invalidate any safety tests carried out by the manufacturer.
Products must be cleaned as recommended by the manufacturer on a regular basis. All equipment should be maintained as necessary, whether it’s a case of lubricating moving parts, repainting, or addressing the general wear and tear. Ensure products have been assembled correctly following manufacturer’s instructions.
When moving equipment, it should be done only by capable users who will not take short cuts. Only use the product for which it has been designed for. Football goals for example, should not become climbing frames.
If a part is broken or needs replacing, try to obtain spare parts from the original manufacture to ensure reliable compatibility.
When storing your equipment, keep it in a suitable area, a dry space at room temperature. Any netting should be kept out of direct sunlight and out of reach of rodents.
Daniel Goddard is Manager of Stadia Sports.