Australian company Benchwarmers have developed an innovative solution, through their functional sporting attire, to keep players warm when they are not on the field.
Their product, a body-length garment, is specifically designed to keep the most vulnerable parts of the body warm such as the upper legs, whilst keeping the arms free to allow players to regulate their own body temperature.
The item is ultra-lightweight and includes other features such as insulated inside pockets, a hood, a resistance to water and wind, as well as fully fleeced lining for extra warmth.
Creator of the product, Andrew Lauder, recently developed the Benchwarmer after his previous experiences as a coach on the sidelines.
“I identified that there was a problem years ago, he told Soccerscene.
“I was coaching young kids and was having to take down blankets and stuff to keep them warm on the benches.
“Some kids in football once they get a head knock or something, they go into a little bit of a shock and there was nothing to keep them warm on the bench apart from club hoodies or something along those lines, which was ridiculous.”
“Over the 2020 period I sort of started designing Benchwarmers, working out the features of how best to do it and have continued to go on from there.”
Lauder explained it was extremely necessary for grassroots players to keep their muscles warm on the bench before they came on, to avoid hamstring strains and other common soft tissue injuries.
“The main point is, especially with juniors and amateurs, they are sitting on the bench waiting for their time to come on and they don’t warm up like the professionals do,” he said.
“Professionals may say ‘let’s jump on the bike and get your legs moving’, but the kids and the amateurs they run on without properly warming up their body.”
Lauder has built up the product to a local and international audience and has found some success in doing so, despite it being a relatively new product.
“I put it out there to the kids, because that’s where I started it all,” he said.
“But at the moment it’s the amateurs in England who have started grabbing it and some clubs here.
“One thing that I get sometimes with the smaller clubs is they love it but they don’t want to pay for it. With junior clubs they are obviously volunteers and they are more hesitant to make the decision to spend the money. It’s crazy because you ask them every time, what do you have in the kitbag to keep the kids warm? They usually have nothing, just club jackets, which I don’t believe is sufficient.”
Lauder continues to invest his time into avenues which will grow the presence of his item, such as social media work, further marketing of Benchwarmers and listening to customer’s feedback.
“My main thing at this point of time is that I’ve been doing a lot of direct email marketing which I’ve put out,” he said.
“I am also building the Instagram and Facebook pages to target clubs and people to sort of get them onto it and that has started to work in some cases.
“Some feedback I’ve received by one of the clubs, for example, showed me the benefits of how important it is to be a lightweight product. One club wanted ten of them and wanted his manager to be able to put them into the kit bag and carry them from job to job. They don’t take up too much space, their waterproof, their fully lined inside, they’ve been developed with 40cm pockets on the inside which are insulated – all these things help.”
The creator of Benchwarmers hopes the product will continue to have steady growth here in Australia and overseas in the long term.
“In the future I wish that the Benchwarmers brand is in a hell of a lot of clubs and people are wrapped they have them for their kids,” Lauder said.
“Basically, I want them to think to themselves, why didn’t we do this or buy this years ago?”