The acquisition and eventual setup of your basketball hoop and backboard are often cause for excitement. Well, it will eventually help to raise your game so you can showcase your neat moves. Plus, you can finally get to show uncle Joe “who’s boss when it comes to playtime.” Good luck with that!
But, amidst the anticipation, it’s easy to overlook the overhang, including how it affects the installation location of your equipment. Simply put, the overhang is the distance, usually measured in feet or inches, between the front of your backboard and the post.
The overhang can affect the quality of play. For instance, if it’s too short, you or other players will likely bump into the post, leading to discomfort or even injury.
The ideal overhang is around 2 to 4 feet. This gives players enough room to maneuver under the basket without worrying about running into the post. And if that is a concern, especially for younger players, it doesn’t hurt to invest in thick pole pads to keep your little ones or other upcoming stars safe.
So, how does overhang impact the choice of your installation location? Here are possible considerations that might give you pause for thought when planning to install your hoop.
- Available Space
By and large, overhang impacts the available space you have to work with or who is likely to use the hoop. While the standard distance is about 4 feet, you may prefer a longer overhang, say 5 feet, to provide you with more room. However, a shorter overhang may be ideal if you don’t have much space in your backyard or driveway.
Regarding who will use the hoop, a longer overhang is often better suited for dunking, while a shorter one allows for easier layups. Assuming you have enough space, more overhang would suffice, provided the hoop system you settle for can handle it. Besides, a longer overhang can lead to stability issues (we’ll tackle this in a bit), which you want to avoid.
- Type of Hoop System
The system you select will ultimately determine where you ultimately set it up. For instance, if you plan to set up an in-ground hoop, you’ll have a zero margin for error. That implies the spot you pick out should be ideal, which means factoring in the system’s overhang. Otherwise, once the installation is complete, rectifying errors will be a pain- in terms of time and money.
If you go for an adjustable hoop, note that the overhang usually changes as you adjust the goal. Generally, as the rim’s height increases, so does the overhang, although this depends on the make and model of the hoop system you select. Still, it’s not uncommon to come across adjustable setups that reduce the overhang as the height increases.
Also, if you select an adjustable system with a short post for your driveway, you might have difficulty trying to drive past your hoop. Why? Such designs sport movable yoke arms, allowing you to set up your rim to the 10’ regulation height.
Now, if you have kids and lower the goal to 6′, you’ll end up with an overhang that blocks your driveway! This explains why such a setup may be less than ideal for the selected space.
- Site Selection
Whether you plan to install a hoop in your driveway or backyard, the overhang is likely to factor into the equation. To be on the safe side, select a space that isn’t confined so you can make the most of your playtime.
Nobody wants to be limited to short layups (thanks to a short overhang), as this can take the fun out of your time outdoors. Also, the last thing you want is to remove your hoop or keep adjusting it when the company comes over or the lawn needs mowing.
Also, remember to factor in the dimensions of your hoop when selecting a site. You don’t want the backboard and hoop to protrude too far into the playing area and reduce the available space.
- Support Structure
As noted, overhang often determines the stability of your hoop. If it’s too long, the system will likely wobble, especially when players are making shots or engaging in aggressive play.
A 5-foot overhang, for instance, can cause shaking since the pole would be too far from a heavy backboard. A longer overhang also puts more stress on the support structure, which can, in turn, lead to more wear and tear.
The overhang also determines how easy or difficult it is to install your hoop. A longer overhang means more weight on the backboard, making it harder to level during installation.
Similarly, a longer overhang can make it more challenging to find the right bolts or screws for the project. But fortunately, most reputable sellers provide matching accessories for their products, which means installation won’t be a pain.
A shorter overhang will do for a limited space, as it leaves enough playing space in front of your backboard. A 4-foot overhang, for instance, lets you install the main post of the playing area, yet allows the standard 4 feet between it and the baseline.
Excessive overhang, on the other hand, reduces the available playing space, which isn’t ideal if you have limited space to work with. Besides, it can make playtime less fun, as players would be wary of the backboard protruding too far into the playing area and the potential risk of injury while attempting to play under it.
Case in point, if your hoop has a 5-foot overhang, it’s likely to encroach on the playing area by over 7 feet if we factor in the dimensions of the hoop. This would leave less space to move around.
It’s advisable to follow a manufacturer’s recommendation when installing your hardware. Depending on your hoop system, the overhang should fall within the 2’ to 4’ range.
The overhang also tends to vary based on the size of the hoop or pole and hoop. Stick to the suggested distance to ensure stability and safety. Alternatively, when selecting a basketball hoop, request to use an overhang chart or similar comparison tool- most reputable shops have these- to identify the best position to install your system.
The bottom line is that overhang impacts your basketball hoop’s system and site. So select a setup with the right overhang for you and your family’s needs.