In the past 30 years adjustable basketball goals have become a main stream fixture in the driveways and backyards of millions of American homes. For most interested in purchasing and installing a basketball goal at home, the benefits of choosing an adjustable goal for their young child are clear. For others, the decision to choose adjustable or fixed height goal is a matter of debate. Below I have outlined several points to consider when making this decision for your home, park or school playground.
An important fact to consider when making this decision is the ages of the children who will be playing on the goal. If any of the children using the goal will be under the age of 10, any organized basketball games he or she may be involved in will most certainly be played at a goal height lower than 10′. Usually in a case like this it is clear that an adjustable goal is a must. However, it is important to point out that in certain cases where only one age group will be using the basketball goal, a fixed height goal may be purchased resulting in considerable cost savings. Most fixed height goals are manufactured in such a way that the extension arm is bolted or “fixed” onto the post using bolts. At first, the arm and backboard can be bolted at a lower height for the child. When the child gets old enough to play games at regulation 10′ height, the bolts can be loosened and the goal permanently raised to 10′. When multiple age groups are involved, it is certainly most convenient to go with an adjustable goal because rim height adjustments can be made quickly and easily.
Young children will learn proper shooting technique more effectively at a lowered goal height. One of the most compelling arguments for choosing an adjustable goal for young hoopsters is improved fundamental skill development. It is impossible for most 5-6 year olds to shoot a basketball (even using a jr. ball) with proper form up to a 10′ high goal. Asking a kid to do so usually produces two results. First, the child often develops poor shooting habits, such as shooting the ball with both hands like a two hand push shot, between the legs granny shot or other. Second, typically after some time, the lack of success the child experiences working at an basketball legends unreachable goal results in discouragement and ultimately loss of interest. With a lowered rim height children will remain engaged and can be taught the fundamentals that will provide a solid base for a lifetime of good shooting technique.
An adjustable basketball goal will increase time spent on the court. I often hear parents say “I don’t want my kids just out there playing dunkball” While I can certainly understand this concern, it should be pointed out that for every moment spent on the court, some type of skill set is being used. Even if older children choose at times to lower the goal for “dunk time”, they are still dribbling, passing, catching and ultimately, improving those skills at the same time. I have seen first hand the quality of basketball improve in the local communities who have embraced the idea of quality adjustable basketball goals both in public facilities and at private homes. In these communities you will regularly find groups of kids in driveways and parks playing basketball and yes, often dunkball. I have seen this pay dividends for most of these communities in the form of improved high school basketball teams with positive post season results.