To the untrained eye all backstops may look alike. But, there’s a lot more to it than just steel and hardware. Investing in higher quality equipment can really pay dividends in years to come. Discover the pitfalls of buying the ‘cheap’ option.
Reliability – On game day you should always have confidence that you’ll be able to lower the competition hoops, raise the practice hoops, without issue or exception. Creating a reliable, trustworthy product is done by providing high quality components including spring assisted knee hinges, durable mast hangers, and a reliable winch. Cheap components wear out and leave you figuring out how to get your unit ‘unstuck’. When purchasing examine the specification for the knee hinge and ensure that it is spring assisted. A double pivot hinge allows a more reliable fold by allowing the brace to hinge more naturally. Look for lengthy, industry leading warranties and a company that has a history of standing behind those warranties.
Performance/Stability – A moving backboard is the last thing you want during play. A good quality backstop will be properly engineered to have strong pipes and braces. This ensures forces transferred from the backboard (like a dunk from your 6’6″ 212 lb basketball star) are attached to something rigid that won’t move. A 100lb force at the rim can result in a 500 lb reaction at the ceiling. That large reaction can cause a small movement at the ceiling which can then result in a large movement at the rim! Make sure your manufacturer is engineering each backstop to account for the forces created and how they will transfer through the system. Reducing price by cutting corners with smaller diameter masts or undersized structure creates more instability (and therefore movement) in the backboard.
Safety – Did you know the average glass backboard weighs 200 lb? When suspending such a heavy object over expensive wood gym floors and precious children, there is no investment too high for the sake of safety. High quality backstops have stronger components via expert welds and premium material. This ensures that a backstop stays safely in the ceiling and the stored position when desired. Manufacturers selling inexpensive equipment may not have used the best material, hired the most qualified welders, or invested the time and engineering involved in material testing. Look for independent testing information on backstop components to ensure they have an adequate safety factor to be used in this fashion. There are no ASTM or other standards in the industry so ensure that the manufacturer is taking the necessary steps to keep you and your patrons safe.