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How to Buy a Volleyball System
Volleyball is now the second most popular sport on the planet and is played by an estimated 800 million people worldwide. At Unique-Sports we are dedicated to offering volleyball systems that fit the individual needs of all 800 million of those players. Manufacturers (like Park & Sun, First Team, and more), have made it easier than ever to find the perfect setup for your space and playing style.
When shopping online, you will be presented with every type of volleyball system imaginable...from recreational volleyball sets to institutional volleyball systems, and there is an overwhelming amount of information to sift through in making your choice. In the end you need to assess your situation and find the volleyball system that is the best fit for you. Let us help.....
Two Types of Volleyball Systems
This may seem fairly obvious, but there are two categories of volleyball systems for you to choose from: the recreational systems used for backyards, beaches, & the park, and the institutional systems used by schools, businesses, and leagues. Both types offer different benefits and come at different price points, so it is important to assess your needs in making your choice. Before you dish out some of your hard earned cash to buy a volleyball system, you must decide how you want to install it... or if you want to install it at all. This will determine whether you want an in-ground system or a portable system. Keep in mind, a portable volleyball system can go where you go, and can be set up anywhere you might want to play.
Recreational: A "recreational volleyball system" refers to either a portable or permanent volleyball set that generally would be used on the lawn, backyard or the beach. A portable system is just that....set it up, take it down. Any time, anywhere. Of course semi permanent and permanent installations are available, but are not intended to be removed often.
An in-ground recreational volleyball system is designed to be a long-lasting addition to your yard, beach or park. Installation can be permanent by cementing posts in place or posts can be made removable when used with ground sleeves and/or sockets. Often times additional height settings are available for badminton, beach or grass tennis.
Or get an ultra portable system and keep it in your trunk....you never know when the urge might strike you and your friends to get a game together.
Institutional: Institutional volleyball systems are designed to meet all NCAA, National High School Federation and USVBA rules and regulations, and these systems offer exceptional net and post rigidity. Made for gyms, sand courts, arenas, leagues and more... these are the best of the best and the installation is typically permanent.
Institutional volleyball systems are not inexpensive, with competition-grade systems sometimes as much as several thousand dollars. It is an investment that will require much research into the materials (steel, titanium, aluminum, graphite, etc.). Often times a specific model will have several options that vary to meet varying budgets. The same system may be one price if offered in steel, and much more for upgraded materials.
There is a lot more to a volleyball system than a pole and a net, but let's keep things simple. There are many variations of all the essential components... but we want to focus on the poles, which in fancy "volleyball speak" are called standards, and the net... which is called (again, in fancy "volleyball speak")... well... the net.
Nets: There is a lot to consider when you are looking at the net...arguably the most important feature of any volleyball system. You will want to take the following under consideration:
- What size volleyball net do I want to buy?: There are different size volleyball nets available, but we recommend you stick with a regulation size net. The product information on the volleyball net box or website will tell you that it’s regulation size. We would advise against buying a net that is less than 32 feet by 39 inches (32' X 39").
- How high off of the ground should my volleyball net be set?: The net on your volleyball set must be at 7 feet 11 5/8 inches high for regulation men’s volleyball competition, and the volleyball net must be 7 feet 4 1/8 inches high for regulation women’s volleyball competition
- What type of material should my volleyball net be made from?: Material differs according to indoor or outdoor use (Nylon, for example). The materials and design of your volleyball net can cause it to vary in weight from other volleyball nets. You will want a lightweight volleyball net that is easy to transport if you are looking at a portable recreational system.
Standards: Standards (poles) hold up the net - with out them, the net would be on the ground. That make them fairly important, don't you agree? When evaluating a volleyball system, make sure you have a clear picture of how you plan on using the net system, and how much, or how little abuse the volleyball set may take. If the poles are too thin or light weight, the system will be unstable and aggressive play will result in the standards bending or breaking (and you swearing a lot). Buy a system that is overkill for your intended use, and you will just be wasting your money... there really is a volleyball system for every budget, and the thickness and construction of the standards play a big part in how much (or how little) you will pay. Your "standard" checklist for considering which volleyball system to buy should look something like this:
- How easy is it to set up and take down?: You want to play volleyball, not spend all day putting the system together. If you are going to be taking your net system from one place to another, pick one that is designed to be simple; unpack, set up and go. If you are looking at a solution that is a bit more permanent, then you are going to find the system will be a bit more complex. In our opinion, one concept is not mutually exclussive from the other. The Park & Sun Spectrum Classic for instance is an incredibly solid (and highly portable) volleyball system, with thick aircraft aluminum telescoping standards that is built to last but goes up easily.. No fuss, no mess. It is reasonably priced between $240-$260 dollars, and we think it is worth it to invest in a volleyball net that is super easy to set up and take apart. You’ll be glad for the time and hassle this saves you when you’re ready to play.
- What should the standards be made of?: Poles supporting the net come in several materials that withstand tension ( Ex: galvanized metal, treated wood.) For most portable recreational volleyball systems, we recommend aircraft aluminum telescoping poles of at least 1-3/4" in diameter (like the ones found on the Park& Sun Spectrum 2000 or Park & Sun Spectrum Classic volleyball sets). Ensuring that the system you are considering has sturdy and long lasting standards (poles) on your park or beach volleyball system really makes the all of the difference in the world. Sure, these systems are a little more expensive, but they are built to last several years, and will not need to be replaced due to wear (unlike some of the more "disposable" net systems found at retail stores.
I am an advanced player, is there anything I should take into consideration?: If you are a highly competitive or professional level player, buying a net from the local retail store doesn't make a lot of sense. Neither does spending to little on a volleyball system that has substandard poles made of plastic or thin metal. You will be much more aggressive than your typical backyard warrior, and you want volleyball standards that can stand up to a little abuse. If you are a recreational player - which will be the majority of you reading this - it doesn't make sense to spend too much on a system (unless you are that neighbor who just HAS to have the coolest toys on the block). Before you buy your volleyball set, do a little "comparison shopping" to see who is recommending what types of nets for what level of player (and while you are doing that, check the prices...it will just confirm that Unique-Sports has the best deals on volleyball systems anywhere online!). Most reputable stores will clearly indicate the level of play.
Additional Things To Consider:
Portability : If the ability to move the volleyball system to different places is important, look for a system designed specifically for portability. Just having the ability to take a system down does not make a system portable. Look for a system that folds up (we prefer telescoping poles for recreational volleyball systems, and roll away/fold away systems for gyms), is light weight, durable, and most importantly, a volleyball system that is easily taken down and set-up. Keep in mind, portable systems are generally a little less stable than fixed systems, but (as the name "fixed would imply) can't be taken to the beach, or put in the trunk of your car.
Indoor or Outdoor Use: This is more important than it may first appear. The material and the price of the volleyball system fluctuates widely according to indoor or outdoor use. We prefer either zinc-plated hardware or aluminum aircraft standards for any outdoor volleyball system to resist the elements. A nylon volleyball net is also an important consideration for outdoor use. If you are going to be taking your recreational volleyball net system to the beach, make sure you have easy to use ground stakes, augers, or sand discs for setting up your portable outdoor system.
Misc. Features: There are a lot of additional bells and whistles to consider when trying to determine the difference between two systems. For example, one might allow you to adjust the tension of the net. Another might come with poles that allow for height adjustments of the net. Another, the color of the net. For example, the Park and Sun Spectrum 2000, and the Park and Sun Classic have several colors of net and tape to choose from....even a Pink net.
Brand: Does the brand name really make that big of a difference? We could lie to you and say "no," but in reality it does. If you buy a "Bargain Bob's Basement" special, you will probably only own your system for 6 months to a year (with moderate use) before the net sags so bad it resembles a wind sock more than it does a volleyball net. Inexpensive systems at retail chains (often "private labels" or "store brand") are not much (if any) better. The old saying is "you get what you pay for," and that holds true when evaluating volleyball systems. Buy a brand with history, good reviews, and a solid warranty. When considering the price, consider the replacement costs every couple of years for a less expensive system vs. a longer term investment on a quality brand like Park & Sun or First Team.
Accessories: What else do you need? Well, I would recommend a ball... the game is not much fun without one of those. Aside from that, consider purchasing a boundary line (either string or webbed) for grass or sand play. If you are going to the beach, we recommend using a sand auger system or sand disc system, as often times the stakes (intended for grass) are not long enough to secure the guy lines in sand.
Our Favorite Volleyball Systems:
Our favorite maker of quality recreational volleyball systems is Park & Sun Sports. Made of high quality materials, and backed by a strong warranty, their net systems are made for serious play, and can handle some serious abuse.
Spectrum Classic Volleyball Set: Our best selling net system! The Spectrum Classic volleyball net system from Park and Sun offers 2-piece, 2 inch telescopic aircraft aluminum poles with a 15-year manufacturer warranty for lasting use and durability.
Spectrum 2000 Volleyball System: The Park & Sun Spectrum 2000™ Professional Level Volleyball Net System gives superior performance and is unsurpassed for quick set-up and portability. 10-year manufacturer pole warranty under normal wear and tear.
Tournament 4000 Volleyball Set: The Tournament 4000 Volleyball Net System from Park and Sun Sports was designed for professional outdoor use. This comprehensive kit includes all you need to set up a permanent grass or sand court.
Tournament Flex 1000 Volleyball Set: For hours of fun and competition, this Park & Sun® Tournament Flex™ 1000 volleyball set comes ready to set up and play. It includes aluminum poles, a 3-ft x 32-ft sleeve net. Bump, set, and spike all day with this system
Spectrum 179 Volleyball Set: The Park & Sun TP-179 volleyball net system allows your backyard or local park to host tournament-level games. The set includes a heavy-duty net, poles, ground stakes, pull-down guyline system, & pre-measured boundaries.
Tournament TP Flex Volleyball Set: The Park & Sun Tournament Flex™ Tournament Level Volleyball Net System gives superior performance and is unsurpassed for quick set-up and portability. For tournament play and high levels of recreational play.
Tri-Ball Recreational Volleyball Set: The Tri-Ball Rec offers volleyball with a twist. The set includes everything you need to get a 3-way volleyball game going. All of the equipment fits neatly into the carrying bag - convenient when you're on the go!
A little more serious about your game? Need an institutional volleyball system for your gym, school, or church? Would you like to have a semi-permanent or permanent installation? Look no further than the quality volleyball systems from First Team! First Team Sports Inc. manufactures a complete line of indoor and outdoor sports equipment including amazing volleyball systems! For over fifteen years our dedication to quality design and U.S. manufacturing has made First Team the preferred choice for institutional and residential sports equipment.
QuickSet Backyard Volleyball Set: First Team's QuickSet™ provides quality net play and quick set-up without use of hazardous guy-wires! The QuickSet™ is the finest backyard volleyball set in its price range.
RollaBlast Volleyball System: First Team’s Rolla Blast volleyball systems are designed to offer high quality performance, durablility, versatility and safety all in one affordable package. The RollaBlast makes a great recreational indoor system!
Blast Express Volleyball System: First Team introduces the Blast indoor/outdoor volleyball system. First Team’s Blast volleyball systems are designed to offer high quality performance, durablility, versatility and safety all in one affordable package!