Cricket protective equipment is constantly evolving in both comfort and level of safety offered. This is certainly true of cricket helmets, but people still don’t know how to wear one correctly. A cricket helmet is a lifesaver (literally), for example when preventing a brain injury, so must be worn correctly to maximise the safety of the user whether this is a batter, wicketkeeper, or close fielder.
Once you have a helmet that you are happy with it needs to be adjusted to fit your head shape. Chin straps and the grill all need to be set up for you. A helmet is one of the pieces of equipment you do not want to share with others so take the time to set it up properly. There should be a firm, yet comfortable fit with a strap that doesn’t hang loose underneath the chin.
Most cricket helmets can now be tightened at the back with either veloce or a plastic knob which is turned to make the helmet more secure. The grill should be adjusted so that visibility is maintained when playing cricket. More specific details on each of these to follow.
Choose a Comfortable Helmet with the Right Size
Your helmet must fit your head comfortably, so do not settle for a slightly larger or smaller fit. Measure your head circumference carefully and choose a helmet of that size. The more you wear the helmet the more it moulds itself to your exact head shape.
There are dozens of brands who produce cricket helmets so try lots of options until you find the most comfortable fit for you. Your head shape is what makes helmet buying a surprising issue.
Knowing your circumference measurement means you know the kind of size options available to you. The language beyond this varies from brand to brand.
Check Your Helmet for Any Faults
This is especially true if your helmet’s skull cap is hit by a cricket ball. A hit on the head, a severe blow to the shell of the helmet or the grill will weaken them which puts the user at risk of future impacts. A glancing blow on the shell from a medium pacer or a ball rebounding into your grill from a spinner will not cause much damage but your helmet is still worth checking over.
Checking your helmet regularly means it will perform at its best and keep you safe. The International Cricket Council has important helmet standards and a facial contact projectile test is performed during the manufacturing of a new helmet. Cricket equipment regulations may see new regulations and innovations introduced now and then, as the regulatory bodies see it fit.
Hopefully, you are never hit, so damage from impact is unlikely. It is also good to check the condition of the foam inside the helmet as this can become worn away or hard if it has absorbed a lot of sweat. Although this isn’t a major fault, it will start to make your helmet uncomfortable to wear.
Adjust Chin Straps
A cricket helmet shouldn’t move around from side to side during use. Cricket is a movement-based game, so it is important that the helmet doesn’t hinder this in any way. There are adjustable features on most cricket helmets including the chin strap. This should fit on the chin and not under it. Most have a piece of plastic on the strap which adds to the comfort levels.
The strap needs adjusting to make the helmet fit snuggly. The easiest way to do this is to slacken the chin strap and put on the helmet. Then, pull the strap to tighten it up. Once you have found the optimum fit, you don’t need to repeat this process very much at all. It is worth checking this fit every now and again, especially if you have had a major hair cut!
Setting the Grill
The grill is the piece of metal that sits below the peak of the helmet. This protects your face from being struck with the ball. Different brands have a slightly different shape or size, so it is worth trying different brands until you find one you like.
They need to be adjusted so that the gap between the peak and the top of the grill is smaller than a cricket ball. Making this gap as small as possible increases the safety but reduces access to the ball.
Maintain Visibility and Safety
You must find the best option between visibility and safety. There have been cases where the gap has been too large, and the ball has gone straight through and caused serious harm due to a hit on the head. There are bolts on the sides of the helmet which allow you to adjust the setting.
Keeping the grill as far away from your face as possible is also worth doing. The grill may be struck and bent backwards on impact. This can still cause serious injury despite the grill doing its job.
Have Sufficient Vision in the Helmet
This follows on from the previous paragraph in terms of access to the ball. If the batter cannot see the ball easily, their batting will struggle.
Set the grill and then use the helmet in a training session. You might adjust for the following session or find that the way you set it initially was fine. Try adjusting the grill to find the best option for you.
Check the Gap on the Grill
Don’t forget to check the size of the gap against a cricket ball when wearing a helmet. Having enough visual access to the ball is vital so a poorly set up grill could be costly. Some players opt to remove their head protectors for spin bowling but there is still the danger of being hit, even at a low pace.
A Tightening Knob
A great feature of a helmet and one that is quiet common on entry level models. Once a helmet with the correct size is found you can then tighten or slacken the back of the helmet.
This is a great option for parents who want head protectors to last as long as possible. Adjusting the back of the protective gear each season will do this easily.
This tightening knob is like the ones used on cycling helmets which click left or right to adjust as needed. Kookaburra call this ‘the control system’ and it is easy to see why.
The knob can be tightened by yourself as it is easy to locate. To make things quicker and easier, having someone with you to help adjust it will massively help.
Final Thoughts About How to Wear Helmets in Cricket
A lot to consider when putting on a helmet.
On the positive side, this full process doesn’t need to be completed every year when wearing a helmet. It is worth a check each season so that your equipment (cricket helmets) fits securely and is in good condition. Your helmet could be word for the longest period of time so making sure it fits correctly is crucial.
Remember to wear a helmet at all times for your own safety!