It is actually wise to carefully choose your volleyball knee pads. This will allow you to ensure a maximum of customized protection for your knees …
Otherwise, your knees will definitely be more vulnerable to all sorts of unnecessary injuries!
In this article, I breakdown my simple approach to properly pick the right volleyball knee pads …
What are the 2 types of volleyball knee pads?
In general, there are two main types of volley knee pads you should be aware of … Hard and soft.
Hard pads are typically made of plastic or metal, while their soft pads can be made of materials like nylon, rubber, leather, or synthetic materials like polyester, foam, or neoprene.
Apart from the differing materials, the main difference between the 2 is the type of court on which they can be used in…
Indeed, Hard kneepads are better for courts with wood floors because they have less give when colliding with the surface or sliding across the floor.
On the other hand, Softer knee pads provide more grip and traction on surfaces like asphalt and cement.
Quick Tip: For volleyball, always try to pick knee pads that are adapted for wooden floor, these will help you avoid the grip with the floor so you can slide without hurting yourself. For example, these quality volleyball knee pads provide those capabilities and are adapted for indoor volleyball
Which is better? Gel or foam volleyball knee pads?
Both foam and gel knee pads have their proponents.
Foam pads tend to offer these capabilities:
- Cushion padding and a soft lining, which helps to protect knees from hard floors, and also absorbs shocks and reduces the strain on the joints.
- Good comfort and can easily be removed after use.
- Durable and relatively easy to clean, either using just a brush or washing the fabric surface with a damp cloth.
Gel kneepads, on the other hand:
- Help to reduce pain and speeding up the healing process for anybody who has suffered a sprain in that area.
- Help spread out the force going through the knee when making contact with the floor or any other hard surface. This means, in fact, that the gel actually moves away from the knee and flows to the side, leaving a thinner layer of protection at the front than before.
- Many of them also come with wicking properties helping keeping the leg cool and dry.
Gel knee pads are more expensive than the foam variety and they are also heavier and denser to wear than the foam variety.
Tip: They are also more difficult to wash, and should never be put in a washing machine, because detergents will react adversely with the gel and could undermine its protective qualities.
Should you get black or white volleyball knee pads?
Generally, black volleyball pads have a number of innate advantages over other colors, including white. In the first place, they hide dirt much better, meaning that there is no need to wash or bleach then after every game. In this respect, white is the worst color to choose, because every mark or scuff shows up.
There is a direct correlation between the frequency that pads have to be cleaned and their durability, meaning that black pads last longer than those of any other color.
The more often pads are washed, the worse it is for them because of the harmful effects of the bleaches or detergents on the fabric and material. (Check those cleaning tips for knee pads)
Black pads also have better thermal qualities. In cold weather they can help keep players warm, whilst in warmer conditions, they can assist in preserving coolness and dryness with their ability to absorb or draw off liquid like sweat (known as wicking) and distribute it evenly around the knee area..
Black volleyball pads are versatile, and usually match most combinations of jersey colors.
And last, by no means least, black volleyball pads are the most popular color of all. That means that usually there will be many outlets that stock them – physical or online – and they tend to be cheaper as well.
If this sounds good for you, and if you are interested in black pads, then you can have a look at this quality model.
How big should volleyball pads be?
The general advice is that volleyball pads should fit the size of the individual leg, and, that whilst they should be snug and comfortable, they should not be too tight either to the point where they affect the circulation.
They should also fit to the shape of the knee, offering protection on all sides of the patella. Volleyball players recommend that those between sizes, should opt for the larger size every time.
It is also important that they are worn properly, with the larger padding at the front and the adjustable part at the back of the knee.
They should also be worn just below the kneecap, as this offers the maximum protection.
Where possible, knee caps should be worn first to ensure that they fit properly before somebody decides to buy.
What size volleyball knee pads should you get?
Most manufacturers offer four standard sizes – small, medium, large, or extra-large – although it is possible also to find extra small for junior layers …
- Small are typically 12 – 14inches across the knee area
- Medium are 14 – 15 inches
- Large are from 15 to 17 inches
- And extra-large from 17 to 20 inches.
Knee pads are designed to cushion the front of the knee in order to absorb or distress the stress that is placed on it by the constant jumping and landing in court, as well as the associated diving and sliding around. It means that padding needs to be reactive and shock absorbent.
Knee pads, therefore, need to be big enough to cover the knee and surrounding area, so it is important to choose the right size, making sure that they are comfortable at the same time.
It is also important to remember that they tend to stretch with use, so when buying knee pads, it may be worth choosing a pair one size smaller than measurement suggests are needed, provided that adequate coverage of the knee area is offered.
It is, however, important to remember that children can grow quickly during adolescence, so their knee pads may need to be replaced with a larger size more often.
How to measure size for volleyball knee pads?
The best way to measure for knee pads, is to use a flexible tape, and measure the circumference of the knee around the leg from the point that the top elastic would fit, downwards (for those that do not have such a tape, they can use a piece of string instead, measuring off the intersection with a ruler),
Most manufacturers provide their own sizing charts, so it should then be easy enough to find pads that are right for the individual.
Generally, as a rule of thumb, provided that the knee pads fit snugly, do not slip, are comfortable to wear and do not chafe against the skin, they should do the job.
How tight should volleyball knee pads be?
Medical experts agree that volleyball players are more prone to knee injuries than on any other part of their body, and, whereas there will always a substantial minority who believe that they inhibit mobility, the general consensus is that they are a good idea.
In terms of fit, the general guidance is that they should fit to the shape of the leg, completely cover the knee and surrounding area, and they should be snug, and comfortable.
They should be so tight that they fit securely without slipping, but at the same time, should not constrict movement or cut off the blood circulation. Nor should they be so bulky that they prevent a player throwing themselves around a court.
It should also be remembered that knee pads will not maintain their tightness forever, and they will gradually deteriorate in quality each time they are washed because of the harmful impact of detergents and bleach on the fabric of the pads themselves.
That is why they may need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis.
Equally, children may find that what were comfortable knee pads a few months ago soon become too tight as their body grows.
Finally, I strongly invite you to check these tips to properly wear your volleyball knee pads!
For a 12 years old, what is the right volleyball knee pads size they should get?
It should be remembered that not every 12 year old is the same in terms of height and physical development, and, therefore there is no standard size for children of their age.
Generally, knee pads come in five specific sizes – extra small, small, medium, large and extra-large, and, whilst it is unlikely that any 12 year old would fit into either of the latter two categories, it is important to measure first, just in case.
A measurement of 10 to 12 inches is an extra small pad, 12 to 14 inches is small, and 14 to 16 inches medium. And it should be remembered that many 12 year olds will experience some time in the near future a growth spurt, so parents may want to consider buying one size up from what they currently need.
Do volleyball knee pads that stretch mean they are low quality?
Volleyball pads are designed to stretch over time, and they should offer some give otherwise not only will they be uncomfortable to wear, but they could impede movement around the court. In fact, there are some people who recommend always buying one size below the recommended one for the very reason that the more somebody plays in them, the more they will stretch.
And the more pads are washed, the more they stretch anyway because of the corrosive nature of bleach or detergents on the material.
However, there is a balance to be achieved. If they become too stretchy and fail to offer adequate protection to the knee area, then it is time to replace them.
Final Thoughts …
Finally, it is worth mentioning and although volleyball knee pads should be a tight fit, there is still the risk that they may slip if they are too big, or a pent has bought a larger size expecting their child to grow into them.
In such cases, knee pads can be kept in place using either Velcro or tying straps, which should fit securely around the knee, shin, and calf.
You can learn why some volleyball players prefer to wear knee pads so low!