Best Basketball Systems For The Back Yard

Spalding Portable Basketball System
Spalding Portable Basketball System

Looking for a Basketball Hoop for the Back Yard?

If you have a child who loves basketball and shooting hoops, then purchasing a basketball system for the back yard is an excellent idea. Basketball mad kids can practice to their heart's content - and it is a great way to get them outside and doing something active rather than sitting slouched in front of the TV or a video game. You can find a basketball hoop for a child of any age, from the smallest toddler to a teenager with expert skills. It hardly needs mentioning that basketball hoops of the very best quality cost the most, but there is a varying range of systems available to suit most budgets.

When choosing a basketball hoop you should consider the age, size and ability of the user. There are several good junior hoops on the market, but an older child may outgrow these fairly quickly as the maximum height is only about 6 feet. The best systems are height adjustable, ensuring that your child will gain as much use as possible from the product. Durability is another factor. A serious basketball player will need a strong hoop with a good backboard - the very best backboards are glass as this offers the most rigidity and the best rebound. However, they are also extremely costly when compared to other models. Less expensive backboards are commonly constructed from acrylic, polycarbonate and other composite materials. Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic and is virtually unbreakable. Occasionally, aluminium or steel may be used, but neither offers a good rebound. A rectangle, glass backboard is the official type used by NBA and other organizations. The size of home basketball backboards vary considerably, but the official size is 72" by 42" and is 10 feet from the ground.

Besides the types of backboard available, there are three main styles of basketball system to choose from:

Portable Basketball Systems

Portable basketball systems are a very popular choice for back yards. Whilst it is true that they are not as stable as in-ground systems, their main benefit is that they are easily movable and can be transported, placed and stored wherever required.  Usually, they are mounted on wheels for convenience. The base is filled and weighed down with water or sand - some systems hold up to 50 gallons of water, providing a strong basketball hoop which can take hard knocks. Portable basketball systems are usually height adjustable - the usual height for an adjustable full-size hoop is 7 - 10.5 feet. This means that younger players can also use the system comfortably, adjusting the height as required.

Portable Basketball Systems With Glass Backboards

Pictured right are two portable basketball systems by Spalding, featuring high quality glass backboards as used by professionals. Tempered glass offers a superior rebound when compared to any other material. Spalding is a reputable company with excellent credentials. In fact, it is one of the leading sports manufacturers in the world and is the basketball provider for the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). It is also recognized as the official backboard for the NBA.

In-Ground Basketball Systems

An in-ground basketball system simply means that the pole is cemented into the ground. This makes it more stable than the portable hoop systems - an in-ground basketball hoop can take the toughest of knocks and will remain rigid throughout. However, these are often not desired for home use due to their permanent fixture.

If you want to install an in-ground basketball system, yet wish to store it inside during the winter months, you can purchase a ground sleeve. Basically, a ground sleeve is cemented into the ground instead of the actual pole: the pole then slips easily inside. Care should be taken to choose the correct ground sleeve for this purpose - it has to be the correct width for the pole and it is best to purchase the ground sleeve from the same manufacturer as the hoop.

Pictured right are some excellent choices for in-ground basketball systems. The Lifetime Systems are good quality with virtually unbreakable polycarbonate backboards at an affordable price. The Spalding In-Ground System (bottom right) is a top of the range product with a professional glass backboard.

Wall-Mounted Basketball Systems

Wall mounted basketball systems fit conveniently onto the side of a house or garage. This means that nothing else is needed, aside from a mounting kit to attach the system to the wall. This type of basketball system is sturdier than the portable alternatives, but obviously is not easily movable or transportable. It will not take up excess space in the yard, but precautions must be taken to ensure that no windows are within shot.

Youth Basketball Systems

Youth basketball systems are not as big as full-size, adult versions, meaning that younger players can use a realistic, professional-looking hoop without having to shoot the full height. A youth basketball system like this excellent model from Spalding (top right) is ideal for children from the age of 3 up to around 7 or 8. The system has a height adjustable range between 4.5 - 6 feet. Older children will probably prefer a full size system - this system will not be adequate for teenagers.

This basketball system has an environmentally friendly backboard made from composite materials with good rebound. To fit the hoop, a junior size 3 basketball is required.

The Little Tikes Just Like the Pros Basketball Set has adjustable height ranging between 4 - 6 feet and comes with a junior basketball included.

Basketball Hoops for Small Children

Ball games can be popular with even very young children, particularly if they have an older sibling or an enthusiastic parent to inspire and encourage them. You can purchase cheap, plastic basketball hoops for small children which can be used either indoors or outdoors. These are low-height nets which toddlers can easily reach -  the range for this example is between 2.5 - 4 feet.  A basketball hoop can help young children to develop motor skills and coordination.

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