The first thing that comes to mind when the phrase ‘Volleyball Protective Gear’ is spoken is Knee Pads, but there are several other protective gears that one can opt for. Depending on the needs of the player, each gear is essential. Before buying volleyball protective gear, one must be aware of all the options available and which ones they will require. A volleyball player will need protective gears that do not restrict their mobility to a great extent. Different players require different protective gear depending on their styles and techniques.
Protective Gears required for Volleyball
A healthy amount of caution is necessary while playing any sport. The following are the protective gears that are required to play volleyball safely:
- Knee Pads: Volleyball players use Knee Pads to prevent injuries to their kneecaps. Most players opt for knee caps even though it is not crucial because there is no foreseeing the injuries that can happen while playing. The young players may fare well without kneecaps as they heal faster and are much more resilient, but after years pass by, it is common to see players wearing knee caps. Besides, kneecaps help to avoid jumper’s knee (caused by overuse of knee joint). When choosing a knee pad, check whether it fits snugly and comfortably. Also, ensure that it is not too bulky.
- Elbow Pads: Elbow pads do not restrict the mobility of the players and, as such, are preferred by many. It absorbs the impact of falling on hard floors and prevents bruising. Thus, it helps the player in case he lands at a wrong angle on the floor.
- Ankle Braces and Wrist Braces: Though using ankle braces at first may feel uncomfortable, it helps a lot while playing Volleyball. Ankle braces offer complete protection to the ankles. The players can play without fearing injuries and may even feel secure enough to take risks worth taking due to the confidence it provides. Check whether the ankle brace is kind of stiff but comfortable and whether it fits your shoe. Wrist braces protect players from minor injuries but may affect their playing style. Therefore, wrist braces are ideal for players with sprains, weak wrists, or mild pain.
- Mouth guards: Mouth guards are popular in many sports, including Volleyball. It generally helps to prevent dental injuries. Some even believe that the chewing of mouth guards helps relieve tension and plays an indirect role in enhancing the performance of the player.
- Shatterproof glasses: Though no rule prevents volleyball players from wearing glasses while playing, they are advised to be cautious. Most sports glasses are made with shatterproof lenses but can become dislodged easily. Unless strictly essential, it is advisable not to use glasses while playing. When playing beach volleyball, shatterproof sunglasses are recommended.
- Padded Shorts: The padding in the volleyball shorts helps prevent hip injuries. The shorts also do not hamper the free movement of the player and so are not a hindrance to the player using it. They stretch and fit the player as required.
- Finger Tape: Several volleyball players use finger tapes to protect their hands and fingertips. ‘Buddy Taping’ is used to provide additional strength to fingers, as hitting the ball with a finger can be pretty painful. Taping the fingers using the criss-cross technique helps prevent the bending of fingers.
- Volleyball Shoes: Though volleyball shoes are not protective gear like the others, they do play a role in playing. The best volleyball shoes provide excellent traction while playing, and this makes them invaluable to a player. Volleyball shoes ensure that a player does not lose his footing, preventing the player from injuring himself. The right pair of socks combined with the right pair of shoes helps to avoid blisters.
- Palm Guards: Palm guards are used when playing Volleyball so that the hand or wrist is protected from the ball’s impact. It also helps prevent floor burns (similar to first-degree burns) and bruises.
- Arm Sleeves: Arm sleeves are worn to keep the body warm, protect arm muscles, and prevent elbow injuries. The extra cushioning they provide helps relieve the discomfort caused due to repeated arm contact with the ball.
Importance of using Protective Gear
How vital can protective gear be? It turns out that it is of high importance indeed. Even one protective gear works wonders as it prevents various accidents and injuries that are part and parcel of sports. All sports have a high potential for causing injuries; Volleyball is no exception. Every sport has its own set of guidelines regarding safety and protection, and it is best to follow them.
The protective gears help the volleyball players perform without compromising their safety. How much ever one may love a sport, they won’t cherish the injuries sustained while playing if it could have been avoided by wearing protective gear.
Deciding whether a Protective Gear is necessary or not
One may wonder if they need all the protective gear listed above. Well, it depends on several factors. After all, there are players who do not use certain protective gear. The first and foremost reason one needs protective gear is safety. If the player is able to feel secure due to the protection the various gears provide, then he can play without fear or worry. A higher level of confidence will improve performance.
A mouth guard is necessary to prevent dental injuries and biting of the tongue. If that is not a concern to the player, the player can opt out of using a mouthguard. Wrist braces are unnecessary unless the player suffers from minor injuries or pain. Knee pads are relatively more necessary than the other gears as the most common injuries in Volleyball can be prevented by their use.
Pros of using Protective Gear
At times, volleyball players kneel to defend the ball rather than dive, which increases the chances of knee injuries. Knee Pads help prevent injuries, bruises, and scars. Arm Sleeves increase blood circulation (increased blood circulation reduces fatigue), which is crucial when playing a game that lasts for about one to three hours. They also protect the forearms of the player. The player may suffer forearm pain if he plays without an arm sleeve.
Elbow Pads provide an advantage while playing a volleyball match on hard floors. Volleyball shoes help prevent ankle sprains. Ankle Braces prevent abnormal ankle motion and reduce the chances of ankle injuries that are highly common in Volleyball.
Cons of using Protective Gear
- Thick and bulky Knee Pads may restrict mobility.
- A wrist brace may hamper the player’s style of playing.
- Increased dependence on ankle braces might weaken lower leg muscles.
- Players feel a slight discomfort while wearing protective gear.
- Improper finger taping may cut off blood circulation or cause discomfort due to friction.
- The Wrong choice of volleyball shoes hinders lateral movement.
It is pretty clear that the pros of wearing protective gear outweigh the ones on a large scale. If a player is still unsure about what to purchase and what not to, they have to evaluate whether their skills and techniques can compensate for the lack of protective gear. That doesn’t mean that volleyball players who play using protective gear have inferior skills. It means that a player opting out of wearing protective gear must realize that he is taking a risk, however low it may be. Protective gears minimize the risk of injuries while playing and are not guaranteed to eliminate the risk