Available Features on Basketball Hoops:
A basketball hoop can be designed in many different ways. People typically see a basketball hoop as a pole in the ground and a backboard with a rim attached. While this view is generally correct, a lot of basketball hoops today have many features that go beyond this general description. These features are meant to enhance the game and, if understood correctly, can also greatly enhance a player’s personal training. Some of these features include height adjustments, break-away rims, different material backboards, and the size of the backboard.
Basketball Hoops Height Adjustments
While standard height of a basketball system is to have the rim set at 10 ft., most beginning players will find this high of a rim to be very difficult to practice their shot. Many basketball systems have a fixed-height design and so younger players would have no choice but to wait to grow tall and strong enough to have the ball reach the rim. This waiting period wastes many useful years the player could be developing their shot. Because of this problem, many systems today feature height-adjustable rims. Lower-end basketball hoops from Lifetime Products and Spalding feature height adjustments down to a 7.5-ft. high rim.
Other high-end systems like Spalding’s Arena View line, Goalsetter basketball systems, and others can adjust to much lower heights; some systems can even go as low as 5.5 ft. While such a low height is much easier to shoot on, 5.5 ft. is probably not necessary. Most youth recreational leagues start players shooting an a rim height of 7-8 ft. This range makes the players have to work to develop their shot while not crushing their hopes by having the rim too far out of reach. High-end systems that have this range include Mammoth Basketball Hoops, Goalsetter Basketball Systems, and Arena View Basketball Goals.
As a basketball player develops their game, particularly male athletes, the rim design will begin to be important. Different rims provide better playability as players reach the age of dunking. Performing a slam dunk does not occur often in younger athletes; but, as a player reaches the High School age, they will likely be able to develop their vertical jump sufficiently to dunk the basketball. At this point in the basketball player’s development, static or stationery rims are likely to be broken and their basketball system is likely to be damaged.
In most high schools, the NCAA, and certainly the NBA, break-away rims are used. The break-away design allows the rim to be slightly displaced out of the mounting mechanism attached to backboard and to snap back into place after the rim is released. This features not only provides greater longevity out of the basketball system, but also provides safety for the player. Were a player to dunk sufficiently hard on a static rim, the rim could be completely torn off the backboard and the player would fall in whichever direction his or her momentum was going. These kind of problems are minimized with a break-away rim.
Basketball Backboard Materials
Different backboard materials will vary greatly in how well the basketball bounces or “rebounds” off of the surface. In increasing order of reboundability, backboard materials would rank as follows: plastic, polycarbonate, acrylic, and then glass. While this difference in rebound may seem trivial to many basketball players, backboard material on basketball hoops can help or hinder a player’s shot development. In particular, a shot that is used often as a player advances his or her skills is the “bank shot.” This shot describes the player shooting at the backboard with the hope of bouncing the ball into the rim. With lower-end materials – like plastic, polycarbonate, and acrylic – the bank shot can become greatly altered if the backboard absorbs the impact of the ball.
Glass, for all intents and purposes, has no absorption of the basketball’s impact; so, a player developing their game will be able to more easily fine tune the bank shot on a glass backboard than a backboard made of the other materials. Amongst the other materials for a backboard, their is not has much difference in quality of rebound. For instance, most players will not be able to recognize the difference between an acrylic rebound and a polycarbonate rebound.
Why the materials are ranked in the order they are above is because the material of the backboard tends to coincide with other features that help stabilize the system. For example, no basketball system currently exists in the market that has a plastic backboard and a square pole, but there are such systems in both polycarbonate and acrylic. No, polycarbonate backboard currently exists on a system with larger than a 4×4 inch square post, but there are such systems with an acrylic backboard. The more stable the basketball hoop is overall, the more stable the backboard will be and the better the rebound will be.
Basketball Hoops’ Backboard Size
Finally, the last thing to be considered in this article will be the size of the backboard. On regulation-sized basketball hoops, the official backboard size is 72″ wide x 42″ high. From this size, many smaller backboard occur on many different systems. Lifetime Products produces a backboard as small as 42 inches wide. Spalding produces a backboard as small as 44 inches wide. Much like the material of the backboard, for advanced players, a bigger backboard is a better backboard.
A larger backboard allows the player to develop a full range of shots they could use in their game. A smaller backboard takes away much of the range of bank shots that could be employed in a game. Most high schools have a regulation-sized backboard and so a player will have a better personal practice the closer their basketball backboard comes to 72 inches wide and 42 inches high.
Basketball Accessories for Basketball Hoops
Many basketball accessories exist to help a player practice on their own. Only a couple will be considered here. One of these accessories is a hoop chute (also called a personal rebounder or a back-atcha chute). This accessory attaches to the bottom of the the rim and functions to direct the ball back to the shooter. This mechanism allows a player to shoot more shots on average for a set period of time than if the player had to rebound their own shot.
The other accessory worth mentioning is a ball cart. A ball cart usually functions to store basketballs when they are not in use; but, for a basketball player practicing by themselves, a basketball cart allows a player to fine tune their range from different locations on the cart by having several basketballs at their disposal to shoot continuously from the same location. Both of these accessories make more efficient use of personal practice time.