Hip pain and injuries are very common in athletes associated with volleyball. Depending on the position on the court and personal playing style, the pain location may differ, but it affects every Player to some extent. Muscle constraints, contusions, stress fractures, and bruises due to impact are prevalent. If not given attention, prolonged issues can even extend to a longer period forcing a player to stop intense physical movements or quit the game forever. Now, issues such as muscle contractions occur as a result of the lack of proper warm-ups and forcing the body to go beyond its limits, which are up to the Player to prevent. But the fractures and bruises because of impact force can be prevented by using protective gears.
Here comes the role of protective gears designed especially for hips. Independent of the experience and playing techniques mastered, every Player needs to have a pair of hip pads. The design and structure of such pads differ based on the kind of movements a specific court position demands and the Player’s needs. Whether a master of this game or a newbie, this article will help you choose hip pads suitable for your needs. We have put together the shopping tips and other essential information. So, read till the end and make a wise decision.
What exactly are hip pads?
Hip pads, also known as hip protectors, are unique pants or shorts with padding to protect the hip region during falls. These are commonly used in intense sports like volleyball as the players tend to fall on the floor while moving here and there and collide with member players while hitting the ball. These pads absorb the fall impact and thus protect the bones from fractures. For these to work correctly, it is necessary to ensure that the pads stay in place and fit perfectly.
Why consider wearing hip pads?
Hip pads are not a compulsory part of a volleyball costume. In fact, many volleyball players are seen playing just fine without such protective gear. The only significant and practical reason to wear hip pads is to protect bones from fractures. Thus, considering hip pads would be wise when saving oneself from the impacts of falls on the court. Often the need for additional protection is affected by the players’ age. Young and physically active players can bear the effects of falls better than fragile older players in their 30s. Also, being young does not mean one is immune to injuries, and hip pads are there to protect from such incidents. The proper pads thus absorb the impact of falls and protect the hip and pelvic bones.
Types of hip pads and their benefits
Hip pads are majorly in the form of attachments readily available with shorts. Some are also available as integrated into girdles or snap attachments made of plastic or foam to ensure lightweight material with good protection. Apart from the sewn-in pads or padded shorts, the styles available separately are discussed here.
Padded shorts are volleyball shorts with pads readily attached to them for hip protection. Considering all the sliding and rolling involved in this game, investing in padded shorts will ensure safety from bruises, bumps, and injuries and facilitate performance. These save from the hassle of adjusting, unlike other padding styles, and thus are very convenient.
Snap-on pads have attachment spaces to get attached to the girdle (the belt worn by players around the waist). Such pads are thus not attached to the shorts and cover a wider area, including the upper thighs and hip bones. The snap-on pads can be either heavy or light in weight, depending on the material used. These are advantageous as they are easy to snap in, have a more rigid upper layer for better protection, and can be adjusted, unlike sewn-in pads.
Slip-in pads, as the name suggests, are inserted into the pockets of the girdle rather than snapped on it. These are similar in functionality to snap-in pads, but pockets provide a secure fit and can be customized to suit the protection needs. These are also found in lightweight foam and plastic-coated forms allowing the players to choose based on weight suitability. The only cone is that these pads need to be replaced frequently.
Choosing the perfect hip pads
There are a lot of hip protectors available in the market for sports usage but choosing the right pair is still a daunting task that should be done cautiously. It might be tough to pick a good one that is too under budget, but there are a few things to look for to ensure a good purchase. Here are some factors that are part of a good hip pad.
The right fit
The hip pads are expected to design hips from fall impacts which can be ensured when the pad or cushioning stays in place even when the Player moves around a lot. Before buying one, ensure the pad fit snugly and does not move around too much. It should also be comfortable to wear to prevent disturbance during the game.
Good protection with a flat appearance
The hip pads should not feel bulky and give the best protection possible. They should be lightweight, allow free and easy movement, and be made of high-density foam to provide protection. The fabric should be breathable and sweatproof for a comfortable feel.
The style preference
The various options available for hip pads include sewn-in pads, snap-on pads, and slip-in pads. Th choice among these depends on the style and comfort preference of the Player. For some, the sewn-in options would provide ease from the attachment efforts, while some would prefer the adjustment advantage of separately available pads. The best choice would be the one that fits right, feels comfortable, and serves the fundamental purpose of protection.
The padded shorts are further available in two styles: undershorts and over shorts. As suggested by names, undershorts are worn under shorts or clothes, and over shorts are worn as outerwear. Though both styles fulfill the desired need for good protection, the choice depends on the Player’s personal preference. Thus, before ordering a set, consider checking the type.
The padding in hip pads plays the most vital role. The hip region, being a large area, basically demands padding that covers the entire area with deep, dense foam. But such an arrangement would restrict the Player’s movement and might not protect the main parts. To deal with this issue, consider the parts of the body that need more protection, including the hips, tailbone, and thighs. The shorts chosen should be based on one’s unique safety needs and allow free movement.
Position in the court
The two positions for volleyball team players involve defense and attack. The body movements and impacts of these differ, and so does the need for protection. The players responsible for attacking need more protection on the lower back and sides as they tend to fall frequently on the court. In comparison, the defending players need more protection in the pelvic region to prevent the impact of direct hits. The hip pads can be customized based on these needs.
It is one of the primary concerns regarding the costumes and protective gear in rough sports like volleyball, where the frictional force with the court floor affects the clothing and protective layers of players. Padded garments such as hip pads endure more friction than jersey fabric and thus should be highly durable to stand the beating.
How to clean the hip pads?
Cleaning the hip pads after every use is necessary to prevent skin irritation and smelly pads. Dirty pads will invite bacterial growth and damage the protector earlier than its expected life span. As they absorb a lot of sweat during intense games, ensure not to stuff the pads at the bottom of the bag. Doing such a thing would make it difficult to eliminate the sweaty smell. Instead, turn them inside out and allow airflow to dry the moisture. After completely drying them, check the care label instructions to ensure they can be machine-washed. If yes, washing them frequently throughout the season is a good idea. In the end, ensure to sun dry them to eliminate the moisture before subsequent use.
Volleyball is a physically intense sport in which players often face collisions and tripping, resulting in bruises and bone injuries, among which hip issues are prevalent. To avoid severe hip injuries, it is a proper warm-up and using protective gear is essential. Wearing the best hip pads will reduce the risk and ensure a comfortable performance by providing peace of mind. As mentioned above, a good hip pad is chosen considering some factors, including padding, proper fit, style, and comfortability. The parts of the body that an individual player gives preference to for protection are also a choice factor. Apart from these things, focus on the construction of the pad to ensure good durability and functionality.
However, it is understandable that it might be challenging to pick the perfect pad with all the features and within the budget. But the above-shared information and factors will help you decide on a good hip pad. When buying online, just check the return policies and style to prevent inconvenience at the later stages. Also, be cautious about the care instructions provided with the product for its maintenance.