How to Wear Volleyball Knee Pads? The game of volleyball is a very active and physical sport. As such, injuries are commonplace. To avoid these injuries, players wear protective gear. The knees and ankles are the most common parts of the body to get injured while playing volleyball. Of course, other areas can get hurt too, but the knees are the most exposed area for a volleyball player.
Volleyball players wear volleyball knee pads for protection against knee injuries. Knee injury prevention is essential for the volleyball player because 12% of volleyball injuries are knee injuries. Wearing knee pads reduces the risk of injury while playing this intense game, so getting the right pair of volleyball knee pads is vital.
After getting suitable volleyball knee pads, you need to wear them correctly to ensure you get the maximum protection they can offer. In addition, you can effortlessly reduce shocks to each kneecap when diving for the ball by wearing your knee pads correctly.
Bumps and bruises occur when you continuously knock your knees against the volleyball court floor. Like anything mechanical, your knees can give in to stress and strains that build up with each crash against the ground. Sometimes, these blows accumulate and lead to serious injury. This challenge makes padding for knees essential for volleyball equipment.
How silly will you feel when you recognize that wearing a simple knee pad could have prevented your severe knee injury? So, rather than having to bear unnecessary pain and regret, get yourself the right pair of volleyball knee pads and learn to wear them right every time.
Choose a Pair of Volleyball Knee Pads Best for You
Knee pads aren’t only used for protection in the game of volleyball. As such, most knee pads used as volleyball knee pads are also used by athletes and professionals for other activities. So, when you go to your local sports store to get a knee pad or two, you will be met with several different options from different brands.
Furthermore, most volleyball knee pads are designed as unisex volleyball knee pads. Therefore, it isn’t easy to tell the difference between a volleyball knee pad made for males and that made for females. The only difference that may sometimes be spotted is that males use larger volleyball knee pads than females.
Another difference may be spotted in the color of the knee pad. Females tend to go for brighter colors, and males choose darker colors. However, the best volleyball knee pads are usually not targeted at any gender but are made to be helpful for all volleyball players.
Types of Knee Pads
There are 3 main kinds of knee protection gear to prevent injury in your volleyball game: knee pads, knee braces, and knee pad-brace hybrid.
Knee pads and braces are always made with non-abrasive material to protect the skin on the knees from chafing and scratching.
Knee pads protect the kneecap from shocks during bumps against the volleyball court. They also serve as friction protection against slides that could potentially skin your knees. The padding on knee pads is made from foam/memory foam, gel, rubber, or silicone.
Knee pads may also have different capping types – soft caps or hard caps. However, volleyball players wear soft cap knee pads just like other athletes in ball sports. Knee pads stay in position over the knees with velcro straps, nylon straps, and plastic buckles.
Knee braces are not designed to protect the knee cap. Instead, they are compression materials worn on the knees to put external pressure on the knee joint to prevent injury from jumping and running that cause internal pressure to build up. Internal stress can cause the knee joint to hyperextend, which causes grave injuries.
Knee braces support the knee joint during strenuous physical activity and keep it from blowing out. Injured athletes also use braces to help recover and rehabilitate from injuries while preventing further damage.
Knee braces are made from tough elastic fabric like nylon and spandex. These materials ensure support for the knee and can also absorb moisture. They are also known as knee sleeves.
Knee Pad-Brace Hybrid
The knee pad-brace hybrid is a design that combines the unique characteristics of knee pads and knee braces. Volleyball players more commonly use this kind of protective gear. It provides the support and pressure of knee braces and the kneecap protection of knee pads.
Because volleyball players jump, run, and fall frequently, they usually prefer this kind of knee protection as volleyball knee pads. So, of course, they may be called volleyball knee pads or knee braces, depending on which design cue seems to prevail more.
Sizes of Volleyball Knee Pads
One characteristic of good knee pads is that they are the right size for the player. For example, you want volleyball knee pads that are snug but not too tight on the legs.
Some players opt for adjustable velcro-braced knee pads that allow them to manipulate the tightness of the knee area, affording them greater freedom. Others settle for the more common non-adjustable knee pads and knee braces.
Most sports stores have a size chart for knee pads and braces. The dimensions of the pads are measured in inches or centimeters. They are classified from XS (extra-small) to XL (extra-large).
So, before choosing knee pads, measuring the dimensions of your knee area is good practice. To do this, you may need to measure around three points on your leg. The first point is on your thigh, 4 to 6 inches above the center of your kneecap. The second point is on your shin bone, 4 to 6 inches below the center of your kneecap. Finally, the third point, which is not always necessary, is around the center of the kneecap.
You need to get a soft measuring tape and wrap it snugly around these three points on your legs to know the diameters around them. Then compare your dimensions to the volleyball knee pad chart to see what size range will suit you well.
How Tight Should a Volleyball Knee Pad Fit?
A volleyball knee pad needs to fit properly over the knee area so that it is not too tight but won’t slide off during the volleyball game.
Some players like them firmly on their legs for extra protection and support. But volleyball knee pads mustn’t be too tight. If so, they can obstruct blood flow and make your legs tired, weak, and painful.
Wearing loose knee pads is pointless. A loose knee pad can divide your attention while playing a game, leading to frustration.
Wearing Volleyball Knee Pads the Right Way
The best volleyball knee pads are easy to wear over the knees. The top end should fit snugly over the thigh, and the bottom should fit snugly over the shin bone and calf area. The medial areas which contain the padding should fully cover the kneecap.
Knee pads, mainly made up of knee sleeves, are worn by putting the foot through the top and bottom holes in the sleeves and sliding them up your leg and over your knee.
Velcroed knee pads are worn by detaching the velcro flaps, placing the padding over the knee, and reattaching the velcro flaps firmly behind or on the side of the knee. The velcro flaps may also have a stretch bit.
To ensure the padding covers the knees, kneel, squat, or bend your knees after wearing knee pads to check they properly fit and stay in position before you play volleyball. You don’t want knee pads barely covering your knees during a game.
Proper equipment should be straightforward to wear. For example, your volleyball knee pad should not be difficult to use or wear. If not, they would be uncomfortable and could lead to injury.
How to Keep Your Volleyball Knee Pads Clean
Keeping your knee pads clean would be best to avoid bad smells and skin irritation. However, if you aren’t keen on cleaning your knee pads regularly, you could ruin a good pair.
Like most sport-gear, knee pads are easy to clean and care for. So, after every game, don’t just dump and leave them in your gym bag. Instead, take them off and set them out to dry. Drying your knee pads after every game prevents bacteria build-up that causes skin irritation and unpleasant odor.
Also, wash your knee pads at least once every game. It will keep the padding from becoming stiff, and the brace material will remain smooth and elastic.
Why Wear Volleyball Knee Pads?
The knee is a high-impact zone on the body for volleyball players, so wearing knee pads before you play is a good rule to follow for protection. While playing a game, you may need to dive for a low pass or defend a fastball. You could end up jamming your knees against the ground, playing like that.
The padding on each knee pad serves as a shock absorber to protect and reduce the shock to your knees. Moreover, you could twist your knee awkwardly when you jump or dive for the ball. However, the sleeves of your knee pads can provide added protection and firm support, so your knees don’t buckle under intense force.
You may also want to wear padding to prevent the recurring of an old injury.
Why Do Some Players Wear Their Volleyball Knee Pads Below Their Knees?
Sometimes volleyball players wear knee pads below their knees. Players that do this have often had an injury below the knee while playing, so they adjust the knee pad to the position on the leg where they are prone to get injured as prevention. You may see this trend with more experienced players.
So, wearing knee pads under the knees may sometimes be practical, but it is not advisable for newbies. Instead, wear your sport-gear in the correct position for maximum protection.
Why Don’t Some Male Players Wear Volleyball Knee Pads?
Many male volleyball players don’t bother padding their knees because men rarely land on their knees when they dive for the ball. Instead, male players tend to land on their chests when they play – an action that is physiologically more difficult for females.
Male players argue that they don’t need to protect their knees in play because they don’t usually land on them when they dive for the volleyball.
Personal preference is the primary factor in choosing knee pads to play volleyball. Wearing knee pads is more advantageous for female volleyball players than for male players. The padding offers shock absorption, and the tight sleeve supports and strengthens the joint. This gear may be just what you need to give your more confidence in the game.
Tom is an accomplished writer, with years of experience producing buyer’s guides and tutorials for athletes online.
And it goes without saying – he’s sports-mad.