Many Volleyball players prefer to use elbow pads as they absorb the shock of falling on a hard floor and reduce the possibility of being injured during the game. Elbow pads do not restrict the player’s mobility, so players are not averse to wearing them. Choosing the right elbow pad will save the players from a lot of pain and help them concentrate on the game.
Types of Elbow Pads
- Traditional Elbow Pads: The traditional elbow pads are heavily padded and thus are slightly bulky. Their main purpose is to prevent floor burns and absorb shock felt upon hitting the hard floor. Their bulky nature means that they are not made of breathable material, which may cause a player’s elbow to heat up.
- Elbow Sleeves: Elbow Sleeves can be either padded or non-padded. Padded elbow sleeves protect the elbow but are not as effective as heavily padded ones. They offer the additional benefit of acting as a compressor. Non-padded Elbow sleeves are similar to arm sleeves but do not cover the entire arm.
Are Volleyball Elbow Pads necessary?
It is not compulsory to wear Volleyball Elbow pads, but they are invaluable in protecting players from injuries. Elbow pads have absolutely no effect on the skill of the player and do not aid the player in pulling off any technique. They do what they are required to do: offer protection to the elbows of the player. Cautious players, whether they are professionals or amateurs, elect to use Elbow pads to save themselves from suffering from unnecessary pain that could have been easily avoided by wearing them. Also, wearing Elbow pads enables players to showcase their skills without worrying about possible injuries.
Elbow pads are not sought after as much as Knee pads or Ankle braces, but they are useful protective gear. Where is the harm in using an elbow pad when it does nothing but protect one’s elbow? It is better to use protective gear than lament the fact that it would have been better to use it after suffering an injury. Therefore, Elbow pads are highly recommended, at least for beginners, to prevent any mishaps.
Criteria for choosing an Elbow pad
Like all other Volleyball gear, elbow pads, too, need to be durable. The consequences could be catastrophic if the pad tears in the middle of a game. Even though the player would probably have a spare, the incident may cause a momentary lapse in the player’s level-headedness. Besides, an elbow pad that is not durable rather defeats the purpose of using one.
Elbow pads are not meant only for Volleyball; they are essential for any sport. So, choosing an elbow pad that suits several sports like baseball, basketball, and football will save the player a lot of trouble. Waterproof Elbow pads are even more useful as they can be used for different purposes and are not exclusive to Volleyball practice.
- Comfortable Fit
Searching for the right pair of elbow pads that are stretchy and comfortable may take a long time, but it is well worth the effort. The player requires elbow pads made of breathable material so that his elbow does not heat up and the normal body temperature is maintained. Also, the elbow pads should not slide off while playing. An elbow pad that fits snugly will feel like a part of the player’s skin and will not limit the movement of the player’s hands and elbows.
Benefits of using Elbow Pads
Wearing elbow pads will cushion the floor’s impact on the player’s body while diving to save the ball. They also help reduce some of the common injuries in Volleyball, like bruises, sprains, and minor fractures. The traditional elbow pads, which are heavily padded, are preferred by those players whose main priority is impact protection. A few players prefer elbow sleeves which are similar to arm sleeves but only protect the elbows. Besides providing protection from floor burns, cuts, and scrapes, padded Elbow sleeves aid blood regulation and recovery from injuries. A few other advantages of using elbow pads are:
- Elbow pads help prevent Bursitis (inflammation of fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, that cushion the bones).
- Padded Elbow sleeves help to recover from Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow (inflammation or irritation of tendons) as they relieve pressure on the joints. Both Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s elbow are usually caused by the overuse of tendons in one’s elbow.
- Elbow pads are extremely useful when there is a high possibility of falling backward, as the person is most likely to land on their elbows. Elbow pads prevent the player from feeling the full impact of landing at an awkward angle.
- The players who use Elbow pads are less prone to suffer from Olecranon Stress Fracture (inability to absorb shock leads to fracture in the olecranon bone).
- Waterproof Elbow pads made of breathable material are handy to prevent a wound from getting wet while allowing air to flow through without restriction.
Drawbacks of using Elbow Pads
Selection of the wrong size of elbow pads will cause high discomfort and hinder the player’s performance by sliding off or rolling down the Elbow, which may restrict the mobility of the players during crucial moments of the match and may even result in injuries or fractures. Mostly, heavily padded elbow pads are not made of breathable material, which causes the player to sweat a lot. Other than these, the use of elbow pads has no drawbacks.
So, if the player decides to use one, he will be able to enjoy its benefits as long as he chooses the right one. Of course, Volleyball Elbow pads only minimize injuries; they do not miraculously prevent the player from being injured.
Volleyball Arm Sleeves Vs. Volleyball Elbow Pads
Volleyball Arm sleeves offer protection to the whole arm, while Elbow pads only protect the elbows. The purpose of wearing an arm sleeve is to reduce bumps and bruises caused by the ball’s impact on the arm, but some arm sleeves also come with additional features to protect the elbows rendering elbow pads redundant. That does not mean that arm sleeves can replace elbow pads entirely, as not all arm sleeves come with elbow padding.
There is a reason Elbow pads still exist. Most arm sleeves are considered unnecessary by players as they do not offer much protection to the Elbow, and the players are used to the ball’s impact on their hands while passing or saving the ball. As the primary purpose of arm sleeves is not relevant to these players, elbow pads are still in vogue.
Arm sleeves help regulate blood circulation and thus reduce fatigue. Elbow pads do not serve this function. Arm sleeves also act as compressors, aid in rapid recovery from injuries, and prevent floor burns. The player must decide between an Arm sleeve and an Elbow pad based on his needs and what function the protective gear is supposed to serve.
The benefits of wearing/using Elbow pads eclipse the almost non-existent drawbacks of using them. Therefore, it is worth giving a try. Of course, the final decision must be made by the player as to whether Elbow pads will prove to be helpful or not.