Do you remember the last time you played sports? If so, you’re probably also aware that sports can be rough. This includes the padding used in most high school and college athletic facilities. Padded flooring is necessary to protect players from injury during practices and games. Still, it can also be a pain when you’re forced to spend extended periods on a surface that’s constantly digging into your skin.
In addition, the discomfort could become unbearable if you play team sports regularly. Fortunately, there are ways to make your workout more comfortable without sacrificing safety.
The Evolution Of Sports Safety Padding
Since the earliest days of organized sports, athletes have had to deal with the sometimes inescapable pain caused by hard-surface flooring. With the growing recognition of the need for padding, the earliest versions were made with rigid materials such as wood, stone, or concrete. As padding technology improved, the materials and construction methods changed as well.
By the early 20th century, synthetic materials and manufacturing innovations allowed athletes to enjoy the benefits of soft, breathable padding. Today, the best sports safety padding combines resilient materials like polyurethane and expandable polyvinyl chloride with soft, resilient materials like cotton or polyester. Some modern padding, such as that used in volleyball, even features a layer of sponge rubber for added comfort.
What To Look For In Sports Safety Padding
You’ll want to consider a few factors when purchasing sports safety padding. Of course, the first one is the type of padding you’re looking for. Polyurethane, sponge rubber, and polyester are the three most common materials used to make modern sports safety padding. Each has advantages, so you’ll want to choose the type that best suits your needs.
Next, you’ll want to determine how much padding you want. The standard practice for decades was to measure out one square foot of padding, but that method was based on the assumption that the entire surface of the floor would be used for each practice or game. In the course, though, most athletes don’t venture more than a few feet from the sidelines. So for these activities, you’ll want to buy a smaller amount of padding and use it in smaller areas.
Types Of Sports Safety Padding You Can Buy
When selecting the right sports safety padding, you’ll want to consider the type of activity you plan to use the floor for. Next, you’ll want to pick the right padding for your needs.
- Running: A running safety surface is a right choice if your goal is to keep athletes safe when practicing and competing in running events. Running safety surfaces are made from durable materials, such as polyurethane, typically 2/3 of an inch.
- Gymnastics: Gymnastics requires a softer, more elastic surface than padding for running. It means that gymnastics floors are typically made from a hybrid of synthetic and natural materials, such as sponge rubber, polyester, and polyurethane.
- Volleyball: If volleyball is your sport, you’ll want a volleyball safety surface with a sponge rubber layer. This layer is designed to absorb the impact of a ball, making it ideal for playing on rubber courts, the most common type used for volleyball.
- Other common types of sports safety padding: While the three types described above are the most common, many others exist. You can find a glossary that lists all the different types of sports safety padding and custom sports netting on the internet.
Construction Tips For Sports Safety Padding
When it comes to sports safety padding, you’ll want to think about the construction of the surface. The level of firmness, or softness, in a running safety surface, can vary greatly, from hard to soft. You’ll want to find a surface on the softer side for the best results.
Next, you’ll want to consider the location of your sports safety padding. Ideally, you’ll want the padding placed on a level, stable surface such as a concrete floor or a rubber court. However, for padding on an uneven surface, you’ll want to place the padding as level as possible and ensure that the surface beneath is as level as possible, too.
When it comes to sports safety, there are few things more important than the surface you use. The type of surface you use is so important that some schools use a different floor for practices and games than other activities, such as dance or music.
Fortunately, there are many different types of sports safety padding to choose from. You can find the right style for your needs by thinking about the type of activity you’re planning to practice or play and the kind of surface you’ll be using it on.