Designing an indoor basketball court can be a daunting challenge for any facility, regardless if it an existing facility or newly built. Your goal is to determine the most functional layout for your particular space, while at the same time providing equipment that fits needs of your participants, personnel, and your overall budget. Luckily there are many options available in the marketplace to customize your equipment so that it is a perfect fit for you facility.
Participant Play Level
Evaluating the play level of your facility’s participants is the first step when deciding on a court layout and equipment. Is your facility going to be hosting competitive basketball games at the high school or collegiate level? Check Gared Sports’ high school and NCAA basketball court diagrams to see exact dimensions needed for regulation play. Recreational facilities and schools with younger players (elementary or junior high) aren’t required to use a regulation court size, but many opt to anyway. The level of play may also determine how many courts you have (space permitting), and also what type of equipment you will need, such as backboard height adjusters that lower the boards to heights under 10’ for younger players.
Configuring Your Space
Now that you have assessed your facility’s play level, you are ready to configure your space. Do you have the room for just one court, or do your space and budget allow for multiple courts? Are there bleachers or other sports equipment in the way of where the courts will be located? It is important to configure your courts wisely in order to maximize space and minimize interference between basketball games and practices and other activities in your gym. Many facilities choose the popular 6-unit configuration, which involves two main court basketball units at the ends of the main court, and then 4 side-court units running perpendicular to the main court. Typically the main court units will require regulation glass backboards and competition breakaway rims, while the side court units are sufficient with a less expensive option, such as steel or aluminum backboards. Some facilities choose to place a divider curtain in between the side court units to provide more separation during practices or drills. Larger schools and universities may require as many as 12 courts (or more), but they generally do not have the same space and budget constraints as smaller facilities do.
If you have an older existing facility, or a building that was not originally configured for basketball or other sports activities, you will need to take that into account when designing your court. Some older buildings may have oddly placed heating and air conditioning ductwork that may obstruct the installation of ceiling-suspended basketball systems. In addition, older buildings may have roof structures and beam placements that are not ideal for hanging equipment from. Regardless of your particular building type, safety should always be your top priority. Typically, basketball equipment manufacturers have a team of experienced engineers that are trained to find equipment solutions for practically any building. Sometimes wall-mounted basketball systems may be a more suitable option than ceiling-suspended systems, and they tend to be more budget friendly as well. Portable basketball systems, although generally more costly than other options, are another great choice for buildings with structural limitations, as they do not need to be hung from the ceiling and can be moved on and off the court as needed. No matter which you choose, always first have a certified General Contractor or structural Engineer evaluate your building so that he or she can make recommendations regarding design and safety.
What other sports are currently being played in your facility? Are you planning on adding any in the near future? Will the equipment for those sports interfere with your basketball systems? These are questions you will want to ask when deciding on court configuration and equipment. Today’s facilities are facing the challenges of fitting increasingly more sports activities into the same facility, as schools continue to gain programs and players. Even recreation centers are adding various sports activities to appeal to a wider customer base. Sports equipment manufacturers are paying attention to these challenges by offering numerous options for versatile equipment in order to maximize use and minimize set up time for facility personnel. Motorized ceiling-suspended and wall-mounted basketball systems can provide both recreational and competitive play options, and they can easily be moved up and out of the way of other court activities with the flip of a switch. These systems can be customized to fit your exact facility conditions. Portable basketball systems provide even more versatility. Not only can they can be easily transported onto the court with minimal set up, and then rolled back into storage when not in use, but they can be moved as needed to different locations on the court. To appeal to both youth and adult players, backboard height adjusters allow the backboard to be lowered all the way down to 8’ so that all ages can play on the same systems. In addition, divider curtains are a great way to make your space more functional by separating basketball courts from one another, or separating your courts from other activities in the gym. For example, a radius divider curtain can separate your basketball court from a perimeter running track.
Ease of Operation
Advances in technology have affected every aspect of our daily lives, and sports facility operations are no different. When designing your basketball court, you will want to think about how equipment technology can increase employee efficiency, while at the same time staying within your allotted budget. There are countless products on the market that are designed to make it easier than ever to operate your sports equipment at the touch of a button. Most ceiling-suspended and wall-mounted basketball systems can be operated with an electric motor, so that moving them up and out of the way of other court activities can be done with a simple flip of a switch. Even backboard height adjusters can be electrically operated so that your court can quickly accommodate both youth and adult players. In addition, the majority of divider curtains can also be motorized, which can create separate court spaces in as little as a couple of minutes. One of the most useful and efficient products to be introduced into the sports equipment market is a multi-equipment control system that allows one touch operation of all the sports equipment in your facility, including basketball systems, divider curtains, scoreboards, and much more. These systems have several options, depending on your budget and facility requirements. The basic keypad system is a great low cost alternative and allows facilities to control multiple devices with just one keypad operation. More advanced touch screen systems are available with a color LCD display and can be customized for multiple equipment configurations, such as presets for operating on game or practice days.
For more information on designing a basketball court and basketball facility products, visit the Gared website.