You just need a basketball hoop and the ball itself and you’re in business.
I feel basketball has a huge advantage over most other sports in that you can improve as a player whether you have a partner to work with or not.
However, without a quality hoop, it can be a challenge to see real, measured improvement during your practice time.
In fact, I’ve seen many kids trying to get better while shooting the ball at a basketball hoop without a net and bent at a 45° angle.
If you’re a coach or parent looking to help your kids improve, providing them with a basketball hoop that’s in “tip-top” shape is an important first step. Let’s take a look at what you need to know in buying that hoop.
First of all, this is meant as an introduction to helping you buy a quality hoop.
While I can give you my own personal advice on what to focus on, I recommend you listen to my take on this and then merge it with other sources. Ask around.
Talk to people you know who have already bought their hoop and see what their experience has been and what they found to be important.
You’ll be surprised at how many mistakes you can avoid just by listening to someone else’s mistake.
Where Will You Install Your Hoop?
Most people install their basketball hoop in the driveway. Just make sure that you have enough space for the hoop and for playing the game. At least give yourself enough space to fit the free throw line. Space for a three-point line would be a great bonus.
Be careful if you rent or have a condo with a Homeowner’s Association. How would you like to pay to get this all done and then be forced to take it all out because it’s not allowed where you live?
What Type of Basketball Hoop Will You Install?
Portable or in-ground? I personally feel in-ground is better because it’ll be permanent and safer. However, depending on your situation (location, space, etc) a portable hoop may work better for you.
Buy a Quality Backboard
When a basketball hits the backboard, it shouldn’t fall straight down and it shouldn’t bounce out over the shooter’s head. The bounce should be somewhere in between. You need a backboard with good, thick acrylic. This gives the backboard the proper “give“. If you get cheap here, your thin, cheap board will need re-enforcement and could still end up breaking on you.
What Kind of Rim Will You Buy?
Unless you’re buying for extremely young kids, a park or school, a “Heavy Duty Reflex” rim will work great for a home installation. It has the break-away style that you probably want. Just be sure your rim mounts onto a steel plate rather than straight off the backboard.
Don’t go all out on your basketball hoop and then throw a cheap net up there. Buy a quality net or else you run the risk of it ripping, shredding or hanging half-way off your rim.
Once again, go high quality here. Get a good steel pole that won’t crumble and begin to sway. Make sure the base is smooth without any bulky bolts sticking up that could cause injury. Also, be sure to get the pads to put on your pole. It makes for better cushioning when the game gets rough rather than a nice head-to-steel impact!
Expect to pay anywhere from $100-$300 (depending on your hoop and your situation) to get a professional installation done.
Bottom line? There’s no way I can tell you exactly which hoop to buy as everyone’s needs are a bit different. The main thing is you’ll get what you pay for in this area. This is not the time to get cheap and buy low-grade basketball equipment. Do your due diligence, comparison shop and buy a quality basketball hoop.