Monday, August 26, 2013

Is Your Playground Padded?

The end of summer means cooler temperatures, shorter days, and of course back to school! While back to school conjures up images of backpacks and school supplies to our kids, it means fun with friends on the school playground! As responsible parents and supervisors it’s our job to make sure the area of play is safe and appropriate for the kids as they return.

One often-neglected aspect of protection is appropriate padding for the play structures. As we know all too well, when our little ones are playing hard with their friends they do not always pay the closest attention to the direction they are headed. Unfortunately this can lead to a collision with the very equipment designed for their fun!

That is why it is important to provide adequate padding for all items that pose as a potential collision threat to our children. At Gared®, we offer an extensive line of post padding to utilize in “collision proofing” your playground! Check out how one of our distributors Serendipty Playsystems helped to protect the area around this shade system at The Montessori Academy of Evansville in Indiana by installing some custom 4’ high, 2 inch thick, Velcro attached padding by Gared®!

Padding is utilized in many levels of play, from basketball to Playgrounds - Gared® has you covered! We know that play is essential and safe play is the only play we do it!

Below are some helpful links to other helpful playground safety checks!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Keeping Up With Your Site Amenities

Who doesn’t enjoy attending sporting events in the summer? Whether you are watching your local professional team or on the edge of your seat rooting on your future all-star, there is just something about sports in the summer that creates a special atmosphere like no other!

While you are taking in the excitement, one thing you probably do not think about is the condition of the seating you are provided to enjoy the game or event you are attending, but you should. Bleachers are a popular seating choice for spectators, fans, and players to gather in large numbers and view local sporting events, ceremonies, and other community activities. But unfortunately, old and outdated bleachers that haven’t been properly maintained can cause injury and even death.

In 1999, there were approximately 22,000 bleacher-related injuries in emergency rooms across the United States. Almost a third of these injuries were a result of the person falling from or through the bleachers and onto the ground below. A large majority of these falls involved children under the age of 15.  

That is why the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) created guidelines to help identify and eliminate those features that present falling hazards. These guidelines can be used by facility owners and operators, including school officials and parks and recreation personnel to ensure that your bleachers are the safest possible. Not exactly sure what to look for? Below, find the key things to help keep your bleachers the safest:

·       Guardrails-
  •   Do your bleachers have them?

                                               i.     Guardrails should be present on the backs and portions of the open ends of bleachers where the footboard, seat board, or aisle is 30 inches or more above the floor or ground below.
  • If they are present, are they adequate?

                                               i.     The top surface of the guardrail should be at least 42 inches above the leading edge of the footboard, seat board, or aisle, whichever is adjacent.  When bleachers are used adjacent to a wall that is least as high as the recommended guardrail height, the guardrail is not necessary if a 4-inch diameter sphere fails to pass between the bleachers and the wall.
                                             ii.     Any opening between components of the guardrail or under the guardrail should prevent passage of a 4-inch sphere.
  • If present, are they designed to discourage climbing?

                                               i.     Guardrails should be designed with only vertical members as in fill between the top and bottom rails.
                                             ii.     If there are openings in the in-fill that could provide a foothold for climbing, the widest measurement of the opening where the foot could rest should be limited to a maximum of 1.75 inches. Opening patterns that provide a ladder effect should be avoided.

·       Foot Planks, Seating, & Risers-
  • Are there large gaps between bleacher structure and foot plank?

                                               i.     It is recommended that any opening between the components in the seating, such as the footboard, seat board, and riser, should prevent passage of a 4-inch sphere where the footboard is 30 inches or more above the ground and where the opening would permit a fall of 30 inches or more. (See below)

                             Click here for diagram

  • Do your foot boards or seat planks show signs of wear and weather?

                                               i.     Old seat planks or footboards should be checked for secure connections as well as current condition. If the connections are loose and cannot be rectified replacement is recommended. If the condition of the plank is warped, rusted, or corroded, replacement is also recommended.

      The CPSC also recommends that facilities perform regular inspections by trained personnel, preferably by a licensed professional engineer, registered architect, or company that is qualified to provide bleacher products and services. Inspections and repairs should be thoroughly documented and reviewed regularly.

      If your facility is considering purchasing new bleachers, check with your local building inspector to learn which building and safety codes that your municipality requires with regard to bleacher design, materials, placement, anchoring, inspections, and maintenance.

      When you’ve decided to replace your outdated bleachers and benches, and safety is your facility’s number one priority, choose GARED for premium spectator seating, always in stock and competitively priced for any budget!

      GARED can satisfy all of your seating needs with our full line of Spectator™ bleachers[1] and benches[2].  Our bleachers are constructed entirely of aluminum, with 10” wide anodized aluminum planks and welded aluminum angle framework for superior support and durability. We offer fixed bleachers, as well as tip ‘n roll models with swivel castors for easy transport and storage. Choose from 2, 3, 4, or 5-row models, from 7’ 6” up to 21’ in length, to fit your facility space and application. Chain link guardrail systems are included on our 5-row models, to prevent spectators from falling from the top and sides of the bleachers. GARED recommends anchoring fixed bleachers at all times and you can contact a GARED Engineer for anchoring recommendations based on your specific facility conditions.

Visit us at for complete bleacher product information, specifications, and more!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Game Changers: Basketball Equipment

We at GARED are excited to introduce our brand new recurring blog called Game Changers™! We will dispel some of today’s popular misconceptions about sports equipment, so that you can be more informed when purchasing equipment for your favorite games! This month’s focus will be basketball equipment, but check back for more Game Changers™ blogs on other popular sports, coming soon!
1.       MYTHAll breakaway basketball rims are created equal.

FACT – There are many different types of breakaway rims on the market, and customers should choose based on a number of factors, including: budgetary considerations, whether it is to be used for competition or recreational play, play environment, and amount of usage. The most important features of a breakaway rim are the breakaway mechanism, net attachment method, and number of rings. Breakaway mechanisms can vary greatly due to the number of springs, the degree of pressure at which the mechanism “breaks”, and whether a rim has a positive lock mechanism or is an “accordion-style” breakaway. The net attachment is also an important factor to consider. Popular net attachment methods include the standard no-tie net attachment (most common), tube-tie attachment (prevents hand injury), and tie cord attachment (mainly used in professional arenas). Finally, consider the number of rings when choosing a breakaway rim. Single rims are the standard for indoor use and competitive play settings; however, double rims are more rugged and will be better at standing up to unsupervised and heavy-play environments. Browse GARED’s full line of breakaway and fixed basketball rims for every play setting at, or call GARED today and get helpful information from one of our highly trained Rim Specialists!

2.       MYTH Basketball systems that are used in outdoor settings must have steel backboards on them.

FACT – Although steel backboards have historically been a popular choice for outdoor basketball systems due to steel’s strength and rugged composition, customers nowadays have a wide variety of other great options to choose from.  Aluminum backboards have also become increasingly common in parks, playgrounds, and school yards. Aluminum is known for its all-around durability and rust-resistance, and it is extremely lightweight, making it easier to install and transport. Another popular option is fiberglass, which is also lightweight, has great rebound, and is a smart choice when it is to be used in coastal areas that are affected by moisture and salt water year round. If you are looking for a more professional-looking backboard for your outdoor court, consider a clear board made of glass, acrylic or polycarbonate. Glass boards provide the best rebound and playability; however, they can be damaged by vandalism in unsupervised settings, so many people tend to go with glass for residential use, such as in their backyard or driveway. Acrylic backboards provide great durability and are less prone to breakage, but can be more costly and will get cloudy over time. Polycarbonate boards have recently become very popular for urban areas and heavy-play settings because of their unparalleled strength and dependability. Polycarbonate boards are often touted as “bullet-proof,” and as a result can be more expensive than other backboard types. Check out GARED’s complete line of outdoor basketball backboards at

3.       MYTH The best portable basketball systems on the market are the ones you frequently see in televised games at the collegiate and professional level.

FACT – Portable arena-style basketball systems can be an intimidating purchase for any school or sports facility due to their high cost and the number of different styles and features offered by equipment manufacturers. In addition, some schools might be persuaded to purchase certain brands or models based on sponsorship funds or other monetary donations, rather than the system’s quality or features. As a result, many coaches, Athletic Directors, and other school personnel may not be properly informed on which portable system is best for their facility and program needs. It is extremely important to first assess what your program needs are before exploring the different portable systems that are available. Below are some questions that you will want to answer before beginning your search:

1.        What play level (recreational, collegiate, professional, etc) will the unit be exposed to?
2.        What type of play environment (indoor arena, recreational facility, outdoor court, etc) will the unit be used in?
3.        How much money have you budgeted to spend on the equipment?
4.        Do you have any space limitations at your facility (both on court and in storage areas)?
5.        What type of features are you looking for? Some of these may include the unit size (both in play and storage position), the type and style of the backboards and rims, color options, and extras such as camera mounts or pad graphics.
6.        What basic functions do you need in a portable system? How you want to raise and lower the system, ease of transporting the unit, and the method of changing out the backboards are some basic functionalities that you will want to address.
7.        What qualities are you looking for in a basketball equipment manufacturer? Reputation and longevity in the industry, history of successful product innovation, and the level of ease of assembly and use of their equipment are all important things to consider when choosing an equipment supplier.
GARED has been manufacturing premium portable basketball systems for recreation centers, high schools, universities, and professional arenas for over 30 years. We carry a full line of portable systems for every budget and play environment! Check out our full selection at

4.       MYTH Padding is not necessary for outdoor basketball systems.

FACT – Outdoor basketball systems at parks, schools, playgrounds, recreation facilities, and other public venues are often exposed to unsupervised games full of unrelenting play. Padding on these systems is relatively inexpensive to purchase and is an absolute must to avoid injury and keep players safe. The most common types of padding are pole pads, backboard pads, and base pads. Pole pads cover any round, square, or rectangular shaped post and protect players that might run into the pole during a game. Pole pads are typically made of vinyl-covered foam and can range from 4 to 6 feet tall and between 1” and 4” thick. Backboard pads are constructed of polyurethane foam and cover the bottom and part of the sides of the backboard frame to keep players from injuring their head, arms, or hands when jumping up to make or block a shot. Base pads are usually made from the same material as pole pads, and are used to cover the base and exposed hardware of a surface-mounted basketball system. Base pads help prevent players from tripping or injuring their feet on exposed hardware. Contact GARED today to learn about our full selection of outdoor sports equipment padding!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winterizing Your Outdoor Sports Equipment

Proper maintenance of your outdoor sports equipment shouldn’t happen only in the spring and summer months. Ensuring that your facility’s outdoor equipment is prepared for winter’s extreme temperatures and excessive precipitation is sure to save time, money and hassle for your facility! Check out these helpful tips from GARED to keep your sports equipment lasting longer and looking new for years to come!

Prior to the start of winter, it is important to inspect all of your sports equipment to assess its condition. Look for cracks or rusting in steel or aluminum equipment, splinters in wood products, chips or breaks in glass, and tears or rips in padding or other foam products. Also check all hardware for proper tightness and evidence of rust. Promptly repair any problems or replace the equipment to prevent the damage from getting worse during the harsh weather elements of winter. In addition, we suggest lubricating all moving parts such as pulleys, actuators, crank handles, and wheels with grease or oil to prevent rust caused by excessive snow, sleet, or ice. For additional things to look for, visit GARED’s website at to download our PlayRx™ Equipment Evaluation Form – an easy checklist to evaluate the condition of all of your sports equipment in the winter and all year round!

If your outdoor equipment is portable or on wheels, one of the easiest ways to keep it from getting damaged during the winter months is to move it into an indoor storage area. If your equipment is installed in concrete or not easily transportable, consider covering it with a large tarp or heavy-duty plastic and secure with zip ties, straps, ropes, or bungee cords to protect it from cold temperatures and precipitation.

Temporarily removing padding and accessories from your outdoor sports systems is a simple way to keep it from getting damaged during winter. Some of the most common removable types of accessories include nylon or poly netting (found on basketball rims, soccer or lacrosse goals, tennis and volleyball systems, and outdoor batting cages), net clips and hooks, removable basketball rims, pole pads, backboard padding, crank handles, flags, cones, tetherballs and ropes, and volleyball boundary markers. These accessories are typically easy to remove and can be re-installed quickly when spring arrives. If your accessories do get damaged, rotted, or ripped during the winter months, call GARED for inexpensive replacement accessories, most of which can be shipped in 24 hours! We offer a comprehensive selection of outdoor accessories for just about any outdoor sport!

Finally, be mindful of changing weather patterns when getting ready to purchase new outdoor equipment. Whenever possible, purchase steel products that have been galvanized at the factory. Steel that has been through the galvanization process has increased durability and protection to withstand cold temperatures and moisture. In addition, make sure the manufacturer uses zinc-plated hardware on its outdoor sports products. GARED uses only hardware that is zinc-plated because it is stronger and more protected against rust and corrosion. Finally, consider adding a powder-coat finish to your outdoor system for even further protection again weather elements and extreme temperatures. GARED offers optional powder-coating in a wide variety of attractive colors to match your park, playground, or school colors.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

GARED® offers many volleyball systems that provide safer alternatives to lightweight portable systems. One of the top of the line volleyball systems that GARED® carries is The Skymaster®, which is a ceiling-suspended volleyball system. The net is always set, and the innovative design allows you to raise and lower the entire system electronically, including the uprights, net, and optional referee stand. Each system is custom manufactured for specific gymnasiums. The GARED® 8500 GoCourt portable volleyball system adds convenience for its easy mobility.  The next line of indoor volleyball systems that GARED® offers is the 7300 Libero™ Master Telescopic System, the 7200 Libero™ Collegiate System, the 6100 Rallyline™ Scholastic Telescopic System, the 6000 Rallyline™ Scholastic System, and the 5100 Omnisteel™ Scholastic Telescopic System. The advantage to choosing the telescopic design that some GARED® volleyball systems have is that the net will be kept at the top of the post, no matter what the height of the net is, which is mandatory for competition play. The 7200 Libero™ Collegiate System and the 6000 Rallyline™ Scholastic System are both capable of being used as tennis or badminton systems. This could be beneficial for customers with a low budget because of its multi-purpose uses. The 5100 Omnisteel™ Scholastic Telescopic System is a new product that features a stop pin with a connecting cable for fast adjustment of net height. The great thing about these products is that they are all in-ground systems. In-ground systems have a lot of safety benefits when compared to a weighted volleyball system. The GARED® volleyball uprights will not lift up out of the ground or tip over, and the poles have a heavy duty ratchet winch for smooth and easy net tension adjustment. All of the volleyball systems come with 2 upright safety pads to ensure the safety of the players if they were to come in contact with the poles.

Players of all age groups and skill levels play volleyball, which makes it very important for volleyball systems to be safe for various users. GARED® assures any player complete safety when playing on our volleyball systems. Step up the quality and safety of your volleyball equipment, and choose a new volleyball system from GARED®!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Indoor Gymnasium Maintenance

Now with summer over and the school year in full swing, the last thing some people think about should be the first thing on their minds and that is gym safety. The safety of the students, staff members, and customers that use your gymnasium must be ensured at all costs. Especially now that school is back in session, it is absolutely essential that the people inside your gymnasium are protected from all potential threats of injury.

The first step in assessing the level of safety in your gym is identifying threats. It is very important to assess these threats as quickly as possible. There are many different signs of an unsafe gymnasium. Here at Gared ® our goal is to help you to identify some of the most common ones. Below is a list of common items to check for in order to gauge the integrity of your gym equipment.

  • Do you hear squeaking when you raise or lower your basketball units?
  • Is the cable that raises and lowers your basketball unit frayed, crushed, or damaged?
  • Is your backboard padding secure?
  • Is your backboard plumb and level?
  • Does your backboard meet the 42” height requirement for NFHS AND NCAA?
  • Does your rim measure 10 feet above your finished gym floor?
  • Are there any broken welds on your rim?
These are just a few items that should be evaluated. In order to ensure that all the items in your gymnasium are safe you must have your gym inspected by a Gared ® PlayRx™ certified installer.

Safety inspections are the only way to accurately determine if the equipment in your gymnasium is safe for daily use. Receiving a safety inspection at least once a year is required in order to maintain a worry-free, safe envirnment for your gymnasium user.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

GARED® sponsors Inaugural Camogie Juniors Tournament!

GARED® sponsors Inaugural Camogie Juniors Tournament!

On Saturday on May 26, 2012 the St. Louis Camogie & Ladies Gaelic Football Club hosted the inaugural Camogie Juniors Tournament. The tournament was located at the Langenberg Field in the famous St. Louis Forest Park. Teams from Atlanta, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and Washington DC traveled from all over the United States to play in this Camogie tournament. In addition, individual players from Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle and San Francisco also joined in participating with the tournament this past weekend.

The outcome of the tournament showed:
·      Baltimore/DC team beating Indianapolis for 1stplace     
·       St. Louis #1 team beating Milwaukee for 2nd place
·       Atlanta beating the St. Louis #2 team for 3rdplace

GARED® wanted to extend a generous welcome to the traveling teams and help the St. Louis Camogie & Ladies Gaelic Football Club boost publicity of their inaugural Camogie Juniors Tournament. By doing so, GARED® donated the use of one of their state of the art All-Star I Pro Touchline™ Soccer goals for use during the game. This particular goal has a square frame and measures 8’ x 24’, which is approved by NCAA, NSHAA, and FIFA specifications. In addition, this goal is portable and comes with an 8 year limited warranty. Check out this product for more details here.

Camogie is an ancient Irish sport, similar to Lacrosse and Field Hockey, which is also considered the National Sport of Ireland. The male sport is referred to as Camogie and the female version is referred to as Hurling. As you can tell from the variety of teams at this tournament, there are select opportunities to play this sport on an official team in the United States, but in Ireland Camogie dominates over all other sports. 

How to play the game:
·         Played on a 140m long by 85m wide field
·         Typically 25-30 min halves with a 10 min half time
·         Comprised of two teams consisting of 15 players on each team
o   Goalkeeper, 3 full-backs, 3 half-backs, 2 centerfields, 3 half-forwards, and 3 full-forwards
·         Players are required to wear a special Camogie playing helmet, shin guards, and arm pads during play
·         The players are permitted to use a wooden stick called a hurley stick
o   Similar to a Field Hockey stick, but instead of curved at the end a hurley is flattened and about the size of an open hand
·         The game ball (sliotar) can be described as an “inside out baseball”
o   Mainly rubber material with a protruded red rubber stitching in the same design as baseball stitching
·         The goal is typically a Combination Soccer and Football Goal with the field goal uprights extending on top of the soccer goal
·         To score you can either:
o   Hit the sliotar it into the soccer goal with the hurley, which is worth 3 points
o   Handpass for a goal, which you can’t do in Hurling
o   Kick it into the goal
·         If you hit the ball into the uprights of the field goal, that is worth 1 point