Sports are a fascinating activity where everybody enjoys every moment of it. It is the best way to keep us healthy, both mentally and physically. We all must engage in at least one sport on a daily basis. It is very beneficial for us, but we should take some preventive measures too because such rigorous activity may lead to an injury. There are so many precautions one should take care of, such as wearing proper safety kits, using quality grade equipment, installation of sports-friendly flooring, and so on.
Mostly in professional sports where coaches, athletics, doctors, and sports manufacturers are involved, they understand why the precautions are essential and how crucial is the flooring beneath an athlete’s feet. There are plenty of types of sports flooring, depending on the type of sports. For instance, if you are designing an indoor gymnasium, you will need a hardwood floor, and for an outdoor court, a synthetic surface will be required.
What is the role of flooring in sports?
All sports experts agree on the fact that sports flooring impacts performance. Indoor wood courts have features such as absorbing shock and providing safety; thus, they are considered as one of the safest courts. On the other hand, outdoor courts might cause more danger because concrete courts are the hardest and can cause more injuries.
There are proper guidelines from higher sports authorities for sports flooring to use specific floor material depending on the type of sport that is being played and to test and maintain the floor thoroughly to reduce injuries and improve performance.
Let’s take a look at the different factors that qualify floor quality
High shock-absorbing quality
A sufficiently shock-absorbing floor is considered as a good sports floor as it helps to minimize the possibility of acute injuries among athletes of all ages. Sports experts and doctors explain that athletes are prone to suffer from severe injuries caused by certain wrong activities such as improper landing, twisting of the foot, or headlong falling. Such injuries are accidental and hard to prevent. A floor with a minimum of 10 percent shock absorption is considered good for an athlete’s joint and preserves the body. Although shock absorption greater than 22 percent should be considered for competitive sports.
If we take the example of basketball where players are continually running, jumping, and turning around, the installation of good quality sports flooring helps to keep joints and ligaments in feet, ankles, and knees safe while playing. It is so important for younger athletes who are still growing and developing.
The right amount of deformation
The ASTM (American Standards for Testing Materials) standards tend to use the word “vertical deformation” to explain the quality of surface that sports provide. It evaluates the strength of a floor to accommodate its shock when an athlete jumps or falls on the court. Improper amount of vertical deformation could lead to an increase in acute injuries, but also too much deformation may impede performance and decrease stability.
The ASTM dictating a maximum vertical deformation of 3.5 mm is considered good for synthetic floors, while a wood sports floor may have a maximum vertical deformation of 5.0 mm. It plays a vital role in building a strong foundation for sports flooring.
A higher level of traction
Sports surfaces that provide proper traction and sufficient friction lowers the risk of falls and slips, which is another way to prevent injuries. Flooring system’s sliding effects or the coefficient of friction should be sufficiently balanced in all the directions. A quality sports surface allows for safe and easy movement in all directions.
Different quality floors are designed for different types of sports. For example, rubber flooring is considered a good choice for a weight room, however, for sports such as basketball or volleyball, a rubber flooring provides too much coefficient of friction, and that is not an ideal condition.
Effective playability and noise reduction
The acts of sports instruments, such as bouncing and rebounding, is another measure that defines the quality of sports surfaces. A responsive floor that provides a good bounce and less noise is ideal for playability, performance, and reduces the chances of injuries. Your floor should provide consistent bounce throughout the court so that athletes won’t be facing an uneven response. Standard bouncing criteria require a minimum of 90 percent rebound height.
If the floor is very noisy, then it leads to accidental injuries because of the distraction during the game. Reduction of noise can be achieved through the installation of the right kind of underlayment in the subflooring and, of course, the architect and overall acoustics of the building in which the flooring will be installed.
Here, we have seen how the quality of sports flooring is an important determinant to avoid injuries and also to provide better gameplay performance. Shock absorptions, amount of deformation, friction, better traction, and less noisy surfaces are some of the factors that we have discussed here that are found in a floor that helps reduce injuries and improve gameplay.