Why And How To Tape Fingers For Football?

Ever wondered why footballers tape up their fingers for a football match? 

It’s very common amongst professional athletes, particularly among those positions who have to catch and pass the football. 

These guys are often looking to prevent injuries, while they may have also already had an injury in the past that they’re looking to support. 

Others like to use tape to give them extra grip on the football

In this guide, we’re going to assess the benefits of how taping your fingers can help you play better while delving into the best and most effective ways to tape your fingers for a football match. 

Taping Fingers For Football: Why do it?

Injuries

Players operating at the professional level have to look after their bodies. When it comes to injuries, even something as small as a broken pinky can put a quarterback’s throw that inch out of place, and that can be costly in the match

For that reason, taping your fingers ahead of a match can prevent injuries and support your hand and fingers when you’re throwing, catching, and passing the football. 

Mainly if you’re playing as a wide receiver or running back, players can get their fingers caught or damaged in a charge or run quite often. That’s why it’s important to tape your fingers together to add a little extra support to stop them from getting caught. 

Other players sometimes use football finger tape to give them mental confidence when they run with the football. 

Tape is never going to 100% fully fix an injury, or prevent one. But the placebo effect tape can sometimes give a player confidence to perform at their best. 

I personally know players who have broken their wrists five or six years ago who won’t think about playing unless their whole hand is adequately secured with some football finger tape.

Catching Support

As I’ve already said, the main reason you see receivers taping their fingers for football matches is most commonly for injury prevention purposes. 

A wide receivers’ hands will typically go through a battering in their careers, constantly catching bullet passes from their quarterbacks. Therefore, tapping up their fingers is a necessity to support their fingers under the speed of the pass coming at them. 

Many receivers wear supported catching gloves that soften the blow of the football coming down on their fingers, but it’s better to tape your fingers together to stop them from bending backward when you pluck the ball out of the air. 

Most wide receivers always make sure that either their middle fingers or pinky fingers are tied down, as those are the digits that are most likely to bend the wrong way if a football comes at you at pace.

Top tip for wide receivers: Always tape your fingers up in training. Even if you don’t like playing with them tied together, taping them up in training can help keep them protected so that you can perform with no injuries in your match at the weekend.

Grip

Now, this is something that I’ve recently only discovered from watching professional rugby union players in training. 

Japan’s national rugby team have started putting extra sticky tape around the tips of their fingers, making it easier for their scrum-halves to catch and pass the ball. 

The additional tack on the tape means their hands are so secure on the ball, much safer than those wearing gloves, that they can easily grip the football with one hand. 

I noticed last year several NFL players using the technique, particularly a few quarterbacks, during their catch and pass training sessions before the match. 

And it’s an excellent idea for any quarterback looking to add extra fizz on the pass. 

The traction that the double-sided tape gives you on the end of your fingers makes it easier to hit those fast 15-meter downs. 

The finger tape allows you to run greater torque on the football through your additional grip, allowing for faster, more accurate passing. 

Plus, as the leather of an American Football is very smooth and can be pretty hard to catch with bare hands, having this additional tack on the end of your fingers can be extremely beneficial for wide receivers, particularly when you can only get your fingertips to a catch!

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So how should you tape your fingers for football?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when securing your fingers to play in the NFL. 

Different players use their hands for various actions on the field while also sustaining varying injuries throughout their careers. 

Obviously, though, a few commonalities exist between how physios like to tape a player’s fingers for football.

If you’re looking for support, generally, you should secure your weaker finger to the digit next to it. For example, many quarterbacks secure their pinky to their fourth finger with two loops of tape, one high up the finger and one towards the base. 

You can do the same with your two middle fingers, too, common amongst running backs who regularly go into contact, or you can tape your index finger to your second finger. 

Note that I wouldn’t advise going too crazy with the tape. After you’ve secured one finger to another, you’ll note you have significantly less mobility to move your hand and clutch onto things, so it’s unwise to tape up more than two fingers at a time. 

Let’s also not forget about thumbs! 

Thumbs can be twisted and pulled in all sorts of directions in football, so it’s important also to secure them properly, too, if you have a recurring injury.

Taping your thumb requires a little more tape which you’ll need to loop around the base of your thumb and fasten that to your wrist. That will keep the thumb in place and tight to the rest of your hand. 

Taping for grip

If you’re looking to add extra grip to your game, then you’ll want to start strapping up the tips of your fingers.

For this, you’ll need to use some double-sided tacky finger tape. You’ll want to wrap this around each finger and thumb on your hand, just at the tip. Don’t wrap it around your whole finger because it will restrict the movement of your hand. 

I’d advise you to wrap maybe two to three loops around each finger and not go overkill on the tape because that will worsen the grip on your hand. 

That’s A Wrap!

Taping up your fingers for football can be a great way to help you prevent injuries, catch the ball better, and perform better on the field. 

It’s also a great way to boost your confidence when passing and catching the football. 

I know when my hands are fully supported, I’m way more likely to commit harder for a big catch. 

With that in mind, make sure you try taping up your fingers at your next football training session. 

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Ed Carruthers
Ed Carruthers
Ed is a writer from London. He loves traveling and is a bit of a sports fanatic. When he’s not at his desk, he’s either kicking a footy around with his mates, watching his beloved football team Everton or is hacking around the golf course.