Buying Volleyball Equipment in 2021: Checklist and Helpful Tips
High-quality sports equipment is the key to excellent training and the absence of injuries. Of course, choosing the right athletic shoes and uniforms is a very individual process. There are so many brands now that every person can pick the perfect equipment for themselves. In this article, you will find a detailed checklist for everything you need to buy, whether you play as an amateur once a week or as a professional in a team.
Footwear is the first thing you should get while preparing for your volleyball game. For beginners and amateurs, any indoor sneakers or runners (with non-marking soles) will be enough. The main thing is that they should have a thick heel and be well cushioned. Professionals and those who play sports on a regular basis should choose special shoes depending on their position on a team. So, for example, there are volleyball shoes for hitters. As these athletes often make high jumps, they need footwear that is excellent at absorbing hits and impacts, reducing stress on legs and spine. Each player has their own patterns and movements; you need to keep yours in mind when choosing the right athletic shoes.
In general, there are a few basic characteristics that you should pay attention to first. Considering the specifics of volleyball movements, you need to choose trainers with non-slip rubber soles that provide perfect grip and traction. Besides, the insoles should be thick and resilient enough to cushion well as your feet land on the court. The shoes should be breathable and lightweight, so they don’t weigh you down or interfere with your vertical jumps. Do not also forget about the need for ankle and lateral support, so the runners should be as stable as possible, have good lacing, and a tight collar.
It is a mistake to think that you can play volleyball in almost any clothes. Neglecting the right choice of sportswear, you risk getting micro-injuries, not using your full potential, and also worsen your overall well-being during a match. Traditionally, athletes (both men and women) play in shorts and T-shirts or tanks. Try not to buy items made of natural fabrics, as they absorb sweat quickly, take a long time to dry, and are poorly ventilated.
Modern manufacturers prefer synthetic materials that have excellent air permeability, moisture-wicking, and dry very quickly. Besides, they hold their shape well and are flexible enough not to interfere with the athlete’s movements. Despite these remarkable characteristics, it is recommended that you bring extra clothing if you sweat a lot and experience discomfort. You can change during a break.
Kneepads and Ankle Braces
A particular place in your equipment list, of course, should be occupied by knee pads. Volleyball is a sport that seldom happens without falling. Take care of your joints by providing support and protection with quality knee pads. If you have little gaming experience, go for thicker models; they will prevent possible injury. More experienced athletes may opt for thinner products. In any case, a knee pad should not be too tight so that it wouldn’t squeeze your leg and block correct blood circulation. However, it should not dangle; otherwise, it will interfere with your movements.
Ankle braces are required for those who already have an injury to the leg joints, but you should also wear them for sprain prevention. They reduce the risk of damages by up to 40% while providing additional support and stability around the ankle. Since kneepads and braces are made of stretch fabrics, they wear out pretty quickly and become ineffective. Try to change them regularly when they stretch too much.
Socks are a small accessory that some amateur athletes underestimate. They can significantly affect your game in both good and bad ways. Even the right footwear will not protect you from blisters if you are wearing low-quality socks. Typically, blisters occur due to moisture inside your shoes and repeated friction. Good socks should be made of breathable fabric, wick moisture away, and fit snugly. Also, if they have stitches, they should be as thin and invisible as possible to minimize the chance of blistering. Most professional athletes play in two pairs of socks; thus, if there is friction, it occurs between fabric layers. Take a spare pair with you to change during a break.
Water and Snacks
When doing active sports, keep hydration in mind. Water helps the body repair itself, reduces the likelihood of seizures, and evens out the heartbeat. To determine the amount of water you need, you should be guided by your own feelings. But on average, experts recommend drinking a glass of water every 20-30 minutes. Some of the takings can be replaced with isotonic drinks containing beneficial trace elements and amino acids to maintain the water-acid balance in your body.
Volleyball is also a very energy-consuming sport. It is estimated that an average athlete burns over 350 calories per hour of an indoor match and about 450 calories playing on the beach. Therefore, you should take healthy and nutritious snacks with you to make sure you have enough strength for an active and effective game. It can be a couple of bananas, a few protein bars, dried fruits, or any other fast-digesting food.
This item applies to beach volleyball. Since the game takes place outdoors, you shouldn’t forget about sun protection, even in cloudy weather. Be sure to use a high-SPF waterproof sunscreen and reapply it regularly to avoid sunburn and possible UV-related skin problems. Some athletes prefer to play in closed, long-sleeved swimwear. Especially for professional players, modern brands produce special glasses and hats made of wear-resistant materials and do not fall off during a match. They protect your eyes from bright sunlight and glare from the water.
Now you know what personal training equipment you need. But if we talk about training arrangements, then it will not be enough. Here is another small list of what to buy for a volleyball court.
Ball and pump
It’s hard to imagine a volleyball match without a ball. For indoor courts, choose synthetic models with the addition of reinforced yarn. They are durable but do not tolerate temperature extremes, so it is better not to play with them outside. For beach volleyball, you should purchase a ball with moisture-repellent impregnation and covered with microfiber. As a rule, outdoor gear weighs more than indoor ones so that they are not blown away by the wind. Balls need to be pumped up periodically, so it’s good to have a compact pump with you.
Volleyball nets also come in various types, and whether you host amateur or professional tournaments will determine their characteristics. Now you can find many models in different sizes, materials, and qualities. Remember that a net should be strong enough to withstand powerful hits with balls and hands.
If you play on an unsettled court, you will also need poles. Depending on your needs, you can choose stationary or portable models, wall-mounted or floor-mounted ones. Sometimes it is more profitable to get a volleyball system, including a net, poles, and antennas.
This point, like the previous one, applies to equipped sites. Thanks to removable markings, you can organize your volleyball court wherever you want. Lines should be bright in color to stand out from the main surface and made of durable weather-resistant materials. Instead of lines, you can use special plastic markers. They are small in size and represent key points of a court (corners, attack zones, etc.).
First aid kit
Volleyball, like any sport, is associated with injuries. They do not happen every match, but it is better to prepare for different surprises. First-aid kits’ content may differ, but usually they include antiseptics, cooling sprays, cold packs, elastic bandages, gauze pads, and adhesive tapes, which essentially is what is needed for the quick treatment of possible injuries. As you can see, there are no medications on the list, so if you need pain relievers, you should bring your own. Experts recommend Ibuprofen (Advil) and Naproxen (Aleve).
Always remember that it is better to prevent an injury than to treat it. If ankle braces or kneepads do not protect you from bruises and sprains, follow the RICE principle for treating sports traumas. It includes four main points: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. They will help reduce pain and inflammation. If your health does not improve, immediately contact your doctor for an examination and a treatment recommendation.
Aim for Victory!
As you can see, the list of required gear is quite extensive, and you can add a few more auxiliary devices and accessories to it. Of course, if you play in an equipped gym, you will hardly need a net and poles. But everything else will definitely come in handy. Try not to skimp on clothing, shoes, and kneepads, as low-quality items can ruin your training experience and, in the worst case, even harm your health. Follow these simple guidelines and have fun playing volleyball!
By Theresa Makowski