Benchwarmers: Providing a sportswear solution to improve player performance and safety

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.”

The design of the Benchwarmers product.

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?”

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Football Queensland confirm radio collaboration with Sea FM and Mix FM

Football Queensland (FQ) recently confirmed a duel radio partnership with Airwaves Sea FM and Mix FM, with both stations to provide support for events and tournaments in the state.

The collaboration was made official via the FQ website, both stations will simultaneously provide a media platform for important FQ tournaments and events.

Both media companies are situated across the Sunshine Coast, with the agreement between the pair and FQ to operate throughout the remainder of the calendar year.

90.9 Sea FM have remained a prominent commercial radio outlet throughout the Sunshine Coast since their first live air date, stemming all the way back in 1989.

Comprehensive throughout their distribution, the outlet are predominantly a music based radio station, targeting a broader audience demographic.

To showcase further involvement within the broader community, the original partnership between the radio station and FQ has proved the fruitful acquisition for both parties, this is the second year running the two entities have collaborated.

Falling under the same ownership umbrella with Sea FM, Mix FM have made head-waves throughout the airwaves across the sunshine coast as a commercial radio targeted towards an older age demographic.

As publicised upon the FQ website, CEO Robert Cavallucci discussed his appraisal for the continued partnership between Mix FM and Sea FM.

“Football Queensland is excited to again partner with Sea FM and Mix FM for our 2024 Sunshine Coast events and tournaments following a successful partnership in 2023. We look forward to bringing these events to the Sunshine Coast community with the support of the two local stations as we work together to provide high quality and exciting events for all participants.”

A magnitude of events are scheduled to be showcased upon both platforms throughout the duration of the 2024 football calendar year.

The FQ Academy Junior Cup, WinterFest24, FQ Premier League 3 Grand Finals and Pacific Championships are all upon the broadcasting wish list.

Both Radio outlets are to continue in within the rich vein of form they showcased throughout the 2023 football season.

Continuing on with their respective on-site activities while ensuring that engagement with the community remains at its optimal level.

There is a uniqueness surrounding what this partnership means to a broader community of people within the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

The participants involved within the events will have a profound feeling of importance, noticing that the events they are participating are being featured on a live broadcast.

It also allows for aspiring broadcasters to have a genuine platform to kick-start their journalism careers upon.

$500,000 dedicated to the improvement of safety across NSW

A list of successful applicants across Football New South Wales are now entitled to a grant courtesy of $500,000 to Local Sport Defibrillator Grant (LSDG).

The sole purpose of LSDG is to provide Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to sports clubs across the state in order to combat the growing correlation between sport participation and cardiac arrests incurred by participants.

These devices have the potential to save participants lives within these crucial emergency situations.

Situations in where time is of the essence, the use of a defibrillator can be the difference in saving someone’s life.

Although the situation of a cardiac arrest occurring to be highly unlikely, due to the increased frequency of the medical episode taking place primarily within sport.

The safety of a broader community requires an approach in which it can allow for an equalizer within these tremulous situations.

Impact on Football Across NSW

14 clubs across the state of NSW where listed upon the successful applications, entitling those clubs to receive 3 defibrillators each.

Southern District Soccer Football Association have had quite the substantial contribution targeted towards their region.

4 out of the possible 14 AEDs were provided to a region where football has experienced expansion in growth and participation.

Heartbeat of Football

Heartbeat of Football (HOF) have worked in conjunction with Football NSW, acting as their primary community heart partner since 2022.

Boasting the motto “No one should die playing the sport they love,” HOF are dedicated within the company’s objective of having zero related hearth deaths on a sporting ground.

The efforts of HOF are in unison with the LSDG.

Football NSW Manager Government Relations, Funding, and Infrastructure, Daniel Ristic, said via press release.

“The Local Sport Defibrillator Grant has been a fantastic grant initiate allowing football clubs across NSW to equip themselves with life saving devices that are making a difference at the community level.”

The LSDG grant will continue to provide the required needs necessary in which can ultimately be lifesaving to a new branch of football entities across NSW.

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