Monday, February 19, 2018

Residential Basketball System Buying & Maintenance Guide


Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about a basketball system for your home! But with so many options available in the marketplace, just how do you choose? Let’s talk about the different features of these systems offered by manufacturers and what they mean to you, and how you can keep your system looking and performing like new for years to come.

Post

Most inground residential basketball systems are comprised of square steel posts which are powder-coated for a sleeker look and to prevent rust in outdoor settings. Play level and budget are things to consider when choosing your system’s post size, as many manufacturers offer several sizes from which to choose, from 4” post width all the way up to 8”. Smaller posts are generally offered with smaller boards sizes for light play settings or those looking for an economical system, while the beefier posts are usually paired with regulation size boards and may include more options for customers wanting units with a more professional feel.

PlayRx TIP: Surface mount or “bolt to ground” posts are a versatile option because this type of post is easier to install and allows you to relocate your system or take it with you if you move.

Adjustment Mechanism

Will young children be playing on your home system, or do you have a beginner player that is just learning the game? Then you may want to consider purchasing an adjustable system that allows the backboard to be raised and lowered to different heights. Most premium residential systems will include an actuator mechanism with a crank handle to easily adjust the board height from 6’ to regulation 10’. A fixed system is more economical and may be a better fit if you don’t need the board to be lowered for younger players.

PlayRx TIP: Consider putting a padlock or other locking device on your adjustment mechanism to prevent unauthorized use or tampering with the system when you are not at home.

Backboard

Backboard size and material are important factors in choosing a system because they both greatly affect playability. Many manufacturers offer their systems with a variety of backboard materials, with the most popular being acrylic, polycarbonate, and glass. Acrylic boards are a popular option because they are typically offered in several sizes to fit your play style, from the smaller 36” x 48” size all the way up to competition 42” x 72” size. Acrylic is lightweight, economical, and stronger than glass, but it can get cloudy or develop a yellowish color over time. Polycarbonate boards are extremely heavy-duty and can stand up to even the roughest play. These boards are often touted as “bulletproof”, thus making them a smart choice in urban areas where the system may be susceptible to vandalism. Glass is perhaps the most popular backboard material for home systems because it will deliver the best rebound, sound, and overall playability that mimics the professional systems found in NBA arenas and top universities. Unfortunately, despite its strength, glass is susceptible to shattering if a rock or other sharp object is thrown at it, so you will want to take that into consideration if you are in a location where frequent vandalism occurs. In addition to the backboard material, you will also want to consider the size of the board. A smaller board size, such as 36” x 48” or 34” x 54”, will be less expensive and sufficient for younger players and light play settings. On the other hand, a regulation size 42” x 72” board will simulate the competition-level play of an NBA board and is a good choice for full size courts and heavy play environments.

PlayRx TIP: When purchasing a glass board system, make sure that the glass is tempered. Tempered glass is stronger and it will break into smaller rounded pieces versus sharp jagged pieces in the event that shattering occurs.

Goal (Rim)

All residential basketball systems will have one of two types of basketball goals (rims) – either fixed or breakaway. A fixed rim is not movable, while a breakaway rim contains springs which allow the rim to move down when a player dunks or hangs on the rim. Most home systems will include breakaway rims, but some of the smaller budget systems may be offered with simple fixed rims, especially if they are geared towards youth players who won’t be hanging on the goal. It is generally advisable to have a breakaway rim with any backboard that could possibly break or shatter, i.e. glass, acrylic, or polycarbonate, because breakaway rims put less stress on the backboard when dunking occurs.

PlayRx TIP: Look for home systems that have a “direct goal” attachment, which means that the extension arm, backboard, and goal are all attached together in one spot. This transfers any weight from dunking directly to the steel extension arm rather than the backboard.

GARED Pro Jam Adjustable System with Glass Board
Accessories

Once you have decided on a basketball system, now it’s time to start thinking about accessories you may need to help you get the most out of your home court set up. Perhaps the most important accessory to think about is padding. Backboard and pole pads are strongly recommended to prevent head and body injury due to contact with the backboard or post, while base pads are encouraged for covering mounting hardware in order to prevent tripping and foot injuries. Many companies offer these pads in a variety of colors and graphic options to fit your court style. In addition, court marking stencils, ball return nets, and actuator locking devices are all popular accessories to help complete your court.

 PlayRx TIP: Check to see if the system includes board and pole padding before buying. Some manufacturers will offer complete systems which include these pads, while others may have these as add-on items.

Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your home basketball system is extremely important for the safety of your players and the longevity of the unit. At the beginning of the playing season, check to make sure all moving parts are functioning properly and lubricate if necessary. Ensure that all bolts are tightened and replace any rusted hardware. Above all, always follow the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations regarding maintenance of your particular unit, and purchase replacement parts through them whenever possible. If you have the space, consider moving your bolt-to-ground system to an indoor storage area during particularly cold or wet winter months, as limiting exposure to harsh weather conditions will also help prolong the life of your system.

 PlayRx TIP: Clean acrylic boards with soap and water instead of glass cleaner. Glass cleaners will leave a residue on the acrylic, causing it to look cloudy.

 PlayRx TIP: If purchasing replacement hardware from a local store, make sure to purchase zinc-plated hardware, which will resist rusting in outdoor conditions.





Monday, December 18, 2017

Winterizing Outdoor Sports Equipment


As the weather starts to get colder for most of the country, many people are moving their sports activities to indoor locations. As a result, schools, parks, and outdoor recreational facilities may sometimes neglect their outdoor sports equipment during the winter season. This neglect can cause premature damage to your equipment, which may require replacement parts, additional time-consuming maintenance, or even brand-new equipment. You can prevent these costly replacements and alleviate the extra stress on facility personnel by ensuring that your facility’s outdoor equipment is prepared for winter’s extreme temperatures and excessive precipitation. Check out these tips to help keep your equipment lasting longer and looking new for years to come.

Prior to the start of winter, it’s 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 www.garedsports.com to download our PlayRx™ Equipment Evaluation Form – an easy checklist to evaluate the condition of your sports equipment in the winter and all year round.

If your outdoor equipment is portable, on wheels, or installed in ground sleeves, 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 pads and accessories from your outdoor sports systems is a simple way to keep them from getting damaged during the cold season. 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 reinstalled quickly when spring arrives.

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. Hardware that is zinc-plated is stronger and offers more protection against rust and corrosion. Finally, you may want to consider having a powdercoat finish added at the factory when you order your equipment. Powdercoating can be added to steel basketball posts, football goalposts, soccer goals, bleachers, bike racks, and even playground equipment. Powdercoat finishes provide even further protection again weather elements and extreme temperatures and are typically available in a variety of colors to match your park, playground, or school colors.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Giving the Gift of Health

The importance of being active and healthy in today’s world is more important than ever. Research has shown that inactivity and obesity, especially among children, have become a global pandemic over the last 20 years, and many are calling it the greatest threat to our nation’s future. And the effects are troubling. This inactivity crisis has been conclusively linked to increased risk of a number of diseases and mental illnesses, poor academic performance in children, and higher overall health care costs for all Americans.

How Did We Get Here?

Several major factors in our society have caused the inactivity and obesity crisis to continue to worsen. As our society has advanced, increases in modern conveniences and the way we travel have greatly diminished our overall activity levels over the years.  Along with that, technology, entertainment, and social media have begun to dominate our daily lives, and more and more parents are allowing their kids to play on electronic devices rather than going outside and being active in sports or free play. In addition, we are seeing decreased physical activity in schools, with recess times being shortened or eliminated and fewer P.E. classes being offered to students. Outside of school, recreational sports have become too serious and competitive, and many are just too expensive for the average family to afford. Lastly, as metropolitan areas grow in size and become more crowded, many don’t have enough outdoor spaces, such as parks or sports fields, where kids can play safely.

What Can Be Done?

Ultimately, breaking the cycle of inactivity begins at home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that children and adolescents should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, with most of this being aerobic activity such as brisk walking or running. Parents should set a good example for their children by making sensible choices with regard to diet and lifestyle. Monitoring use of electronic devices and setting limits for screen time are good ways for parents to ensure that kids are not becoming too sedentary. In addition, playing sports or doing fitness activities together as a family are great ways to have fun and bond with your children while at the same time staying active and fit. If each of us make a concerted effort to increase activity in our daily lives, we will begin to see a huge improvement in the overall quality of life and health for our entire household, especially our children.

Nonprofit organizations across the US are making a difference as well. PHIT (Personal Health Investment Today) America, is one such organization dedicated to promoting healthy and active lifestyles for all Americans. Launched in 2013 and supported by hundreds of organizations across the country, PHIT’s mission is to "Dramatically Improve the Health of Americans, Especially Children, By Implementing ‘Pro-Activity’ Programs." PHIT is continually implementing programs to educate all Americans, especially parents, to help kids become more physically active, which has been proven in studies to improve academic performance and overall health. Their flagship program, PHIT GO! Grants, has assisted in funding over 300 programs which have helped over 100,000 children get moving. PHIT-sponsored charity events help raise money at the local level, which contributes to the distribution of even more GO! Grants. With the help of private and corporate funding, PHIT sponsors various other initiatives, including providing free activity programs to schools, and a free 10-week fitness challenge for mayors across the country to jump-start activity in their towns and communities. In addition, PHIT works tirelessly to help pass common-sense government legislation such as the PHIT Act, which is designed to help prevent health care costs by allowing Americans to use pre-tax medical accounts to pay for sports activity expenses.

GARED, the industry’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment for all ages and play levels, is a proud partner and sponsor of PHIT America. GARED has become an advocate for rebuilding communities and rejuvenating play by providing equipment solutions to renovate green spaces and facilities. Its ongoing mission is to reverse the nationwide trend of inactivity by providing high-quality, safe, and fun sports equipment for schools, parks, recreation centers, churches, and homes across the United States and worldwide.

GARED Gift-Giving Guide

This holiday season, why not break the cycle of inactivity in your own household by giving the gift of health to friends, family, and loved ones? GARED makes it easy to with our handy gift-giving guide for practically every sports lover on your list.

GARED has tons of gift ideas for basketball enthusiasts, such as our Varsity Jam inground home basketball system. This affordable inground system is height adjustable for players of all ages and stands up to even the roughest weather conditions. Looking for a more versatile basketball system? The Mini-EZ portable system is on wheels for easy transport and folds compactly for storage purposes. Or are you searching for a gift to help someone sharpen their skills? GARED practice and rebound rings make great gifts for players that want to improve shooting accuracy and rebounding skills, and our Playmaker Toss Back® is the perfect skill development tool for helping to improve a player’s passing speed and accuracy.

For the volleyball lover, GARED carries several recreational systems for all types of play, whether you are looking to play indoors, or outside on concrete, grass, or even on the beach. Our popular Mongoose® volleyball system come in an easy-to-carry bag so you can take your volleyball game with you wherever you go. If you’re looking for a sports gift for younger kids, you may want to consider a tetherball system. Tetherball is a fun and easy game and can provide hours of entertainment for young children. GARED offers durable tetherball systems available with inground mounting, or we carry a portable option so the game can be easily moved for indoor or outdoor play.


GARED also offers affordable gift options for the field sport enthusiasts in your life! Our adjustable soccer rebounders are offered in two convenient sizes and are a great choice for players who want to practice drills and shooting during the off-season. In addition, our sturdy recreational lacrosse goals are perfect for home games, practices, and recreational league play. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Designing an Indoor Basketball Court

Designing an indoor basketball court can be a daunting challenge for any facility, regardless if it an existing facility or newly built. Your goal is to determine the most functional layout for your particular space, while at the same time providing equipment that fits needs of your participants, personnel, and your overall budget.  Luckily there are many options available in the marketplace to customize your equipment so that it is a perfect fit for you facility. 

Participant Play Level

Evaluating the play level of your facility’s participants is the first step when deciding on a court layout and equipment. Is your facility going to be hosting competitive basketball games at the high school or collegiate level? Check our high school and NCAA basketball court diagrams to see exact dimensions needed for regulation play. Recreational facilities and schools with younger players (elementary or junior high) aren’t required to use a regulation court size, but many opt to anyway. The level of play may also determine how many courts you have (space permitting), and also what type of equipment you will need, such as backboard height adjusters that lower the boards to heights under 10’ for younger players.

Configuring Your Space

Now that you have assessed your facility’s play level, you are ready to configure your space.  Do you have the room for just one court, or do your space and budget allow for multiple courts? Are there bleachers or other sports equipment in the way of where the courts will be located? It is important to configure your courts wisely in order to maximize space and minimize interference between basketball games and practices and other activities in your gym. Many facilities choose the popular 6-unit configuration, which involves two main court basketball units at the ends of the main court, and then 4 side-court units running perpendicular to the main court. Typically the main court units will require regulation glass backboards and competition breakaway rims, while the side court units are sufficient with a less expensive option, such as steel or aluminum backboards. Some facilities choose to place a divider curtain in between the side court units to provide more separation during practices or drills. Larger schools and universities may require as many as 12 courts (or more), but they generally do not have the same space and budget constraints as smaller facilities do.

Building Limitations

If you have an older existing facility, or a building that was not originally configured for basketball or other sports activities, you will need to take that into account when designing your court. Some older buildings may have oddly placed heating and air conditioning ductwork that may obstruct the installation of ceiling-suspended basketball systems. In addition, older buildings may have roof structures and beam placements that are not ideal for hanging equipment from.  Regardless of your particular building type, safety should always be your top priority. Typically, basketball equipment manufacturers have a team of experienced engineers that are trained to find equipment solutions for practically any building. Sometimes wall-mounted basketball systems may be a more suitable option than ceiling-suspended systems, and they tend to be more budget friendly as well. Portable basketball systems, although generally more costly than other options, are another great choice for buildings with structural limitations, as they do not need to be hung from the ceiling and can be moved on and off the court as needed. No matter which you choose, always first have a certified General Contractor or structural Engineer evaluate your building so that he or she can make recommendations regarding design and safety.

Multi-Sport Accessibility

What other sports are currently being played in your facility? Are you planning on adding any in the near future? Will the equipment for those sports interfere with your basketball systems?  These are questions you will want to ask when deciding on court configuration and equipment. Today’s facilities are facing the challenges of fitting increasingly more sports activities into the same facility, as schools continue to gain programs and players. Even recreation centers are adding various sports activities to appeal to a wider customer base. Sports equipment manufacturers are paying attention to these challenges by offering numerous options for versatile equipment in order to maximize use and minimize set up time for facility personnel. Motorized ceiling-suspended and wall-mounted basketball systems can provide both recreational and competitive play options, and they can easily be moved up and out of the way of other court activities with the flip of a switch. These systems can be customized to fit your exact facility conditions.  Portable basketball systems provide even more versatility. Not only can they can be easily transported onto the court with minimal set up, and then rolled back into storage when not in use, but they can be moved as needed to different locations on the court. To appeal to both youth and adult players, backboard height adjusters allow the backboard to be lowered all the way down to 8’ so that all ages can play on the same systems. In addition, divider curtains are a great way to make your space more functional by separating basketball courts from one another, or separating your courts from other activities in the gym. For example, a radius divider curtain can separate your basketball court from a perimeter running track.

Ease of Operation

Advances in technology have affected every aspect of our daily lives, and sports facility operations are no different. When designing your basketball court, you will want to think about how equipment technology can increase employee efficiency, while at the same time staying within your allotted budget. There are countless products on the market that are designed to make it easier than ever to operate your sports equipment at the touch of a button. Most ceiling-suspended and wall-mounted basketball systems can be operated with an electric motor, so that moving them up and out of the way of other court activities can be done with a simple flip of a switch. Even backboard height adjusters can be electrically operated so that your court can quickly accommodate both youth and adult players. In addition, the majority of divider curtains can also be motorized, which can create separate court spaces in as little as a couple of minutes.  One of the most useful and efficient products to be introduced into the sports equipment market is a multi-equipment control system  that allows one touch operation of all the sports equipment in your facility, including basketball systems, divider curtains, scoreboards, and much more. These systems have several options, depending on your budget and facility requirements. The basic keypad system is a great low cost alternative and allows facilities to control multiple devices with just one keypad operation. More advanced touch screen systems are available with a color LCD display and can be customized for multiple equipment configurations, such as presets for operating on game or practice days.

About GARED

Incorporated in 1922, GARED has become an advocate for rebuilding communities and rejuvenating play by providing equipment solutions to renovate green spaces and facilities. GARED is known as the sporting goods industry’s leader in innovative product design and precision manufacturing, and our institutional and residential sports equipment can be found in a variety of play environments, including schools, parks, stadiums, churches, recreation centers, and correctional facilities. We are a proud supporting member of prominent organizations within the sports industry, and our products meet the safety guidelines of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPS). GARED sells its products through a network of authorized dealers across the United States and worldwide. For more information, visit us at www.garedsports.com.