Backboards serve two essential services to all basketball players whether they are young or old, novice or expert. The whole point of the game is to:
-Score points by shooting the ball into the goal, and
-Prevent the other team from scoring points.
The backboard serves as an anchor for the hoop or goal, and provides rebounding surface for the ball. When you think about it this way it’s easy to see how important the backboard is to the game of basketball.
Since the backboard is the anchor for the goal it needs to be very sturdy as well as made to exact specifications if being used to play or train competitively. Both of these qualities are more important for competitive players because they will tend to be more aggressive and need consistency in order to practice and develop their skills.
Types of Backboards
Backboards made out of glass are the top choice for competitive leagues and players because glass is strong, consistent (will not chip or dent) and has the best rebound. These backboards may shatter under duress unlike acrylic or metal backboards, although this is rare and there are some shatterproof glass backboards available on the market. Some manufacturers also carry limited warranties.
Cast acrylic backboards are extremely sturdy and may be all you need if you are looking for an economical and sturdy backboard. They are not the top choice for the NBA because they are not the best at rebounding.
Other backboard materials such as steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, and eco composite provide less crisp rebounds although they have other advantages such as being less pricey, more portable, vandal-resistant, or rust-resistant.
Although acrylic backboards are sturdier than glass, this is not the only standard you need to know when choosing a backboard. Almost more important is how well the material can rebound the ball.
Variations on Regulation Backboards
Aside from the material used to make the backboard, other characteristics that will matter to the game include the backboard’s dimensions, shape, and thickness. Although regulation backboards need to be 72″ x 42″, backboards come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, such as smaller rectangles of different widths (such as 36″ x 48″ to 36″ x 60″) as well as the popular fan-shaped backboard.
Keep in mind that no matter what material the backboard is made of, the thicker it is, the better it will tend to rebound because the more rigid (and durable) it will be. For most casual players this may not matter, but for competitive players, the more rebound the ball has against the backboard the better. One final variation between backboards is the shooters’ square. Some backboards have the shooters’ square cast into them as part of the material. This eliminates the possibility of it getting faded or worn. Other backboards have a white or orange stripe on the surface. The shooters’ square is more important for newer players, but it helps any player perfect and practice their shot.
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