Training pads are a useful tool to have available if you are a basketball player, no matter your skill level. They can provide more protection while training, offer more ways to learn about managing falls and slips in real games, and are generally just a practical tool to have around.
However, not all pads are created equally. Whatever you think you will use them for, you need these training mats to be suitable for a range of different purposes – and there are a lot of options to choose from. But how do you find the best for your needs?
A larger pad obviously covers a wider area, and that means that you can have more room to practice falls or bumps without hurting yourself. However, this also means that it will take up more room, be exponentially heavier, and become a lot harder to move around all on your own.
This means that it is important to choose a pad size that matches your needs and the size of the area you are working with. You also do not want to cover the entire area with a pad, so a smaller space like a cramped backyard might only need one mid-sized pad.
Naturally, more protection always helps. This can be important if you are using it to train for injury avoidance or make sure that you can recover after a fall, but it tends to also make the mat softer, which can limit it in other ways.
For example, a softer mat becomes harder to run across, which means that it works best as a fall protector rather than a surface. Solid ones might not be as protective, but you can run on them a little easier, making them great for more advanced fall training that requires specific positioning.
Different materials can offer more than just differing amounts of padding. Certain materials tend to be more durable than others or can resist things like water and tearing better than alternate material choices. This means that you need to choose your materials carefully, especially if you are going to be on the mat outside most of the time.
Choosing the right materials will mean that the pad can last a lot longer before needing to be repaired or replaced. Choosing the wrong ones can open it up to more damage, which might lead to it becoming unsafe to use for training very quickly.
The best basketball training pads are the ones that you can afford. If you are buying something more than you can actually reasonably afford in the first place, you might be putting yourself in a financial hole for no real reason. This is especially true if the added cost is not really giving you anything that a cheaper option can’t.
While personal preference comes into every purchase you make, you want to find a balance between practical value and cost. Higher costs do not always mean better quality, and lower costs do not always mean worse quality, so you need to look at each individual pad yourself to get an idea of what they offer and how useful they would be.