There are many options on the ball hockey market, but this is a quick guide that will help you to choose the right ball hockey shinguards.
1. Why ball hockey shin guards need more straps compare to ice hockey shin guards?
Strapping is really important when buying for ball / dek hockey player shin pads. Look for high quality elastic bands that are replaceable and adjustable. 3 straps per leg is the bare minimum, what you will need and for bigger sizes you should have 3 straps for shin part and 1 strap for the knee cap. Knee strapping is a must. Ball hockey involves lot of running and quick change of directions, therefore you will need secure strapping that will hold your shin guard in place. 3 on 3 ball hockey requires blocking and sliding, which puts a high demand on the knee cap and knee strap. Double side velcro connection is gives you more security during battles.
2. Why should you avoid using ice hockey player shin pads for ball hockey?
Ball hockey and ice hockey are very different sports from a movement point. While in ice hockey you skate or glide, at ball hockey you run. Ice hockey is played at cold environment, but ball hockey can be played during hot, cold or rainy weather. Ice hockey shin guards have more protection and therefore they are heavier and not ideal for running. Most ice hockey shin guards have insufficient strapping around the knee area, no ventilation and they are bulky for running. Ice hockey shin guards have also rounded knee cap, which throws you of balance while in a blocking position.
3. Ball hockey shin guards should have air ventilation.
Air ventilation is an important aspect for ball / dek hockey player shin pads. Your calf and shin muscles need to be air cooled in the hot weather as running puts tremendous stress on them and it can lead to heat cramps. If your shins are completely covered in non breathable materials, you will start to sweat more and loose salts, which can also result in muscle cramps.
4. Weight of ball hockey shin guards.
Ball hockey player shin pads should be light, but at the same time provide sufficient protection against orange ball. Soccer shin guards are very light, but you are risking injury every game. Ball / dek hockey player shin pads should weight in a range from 300 to 450 grams per piece. Side coverage of your knee or shin is always worth the extra weight if you play 3 on 3 ball hockey.
5. Ball hockey shin guards knee protection.
There are 3 options for the knee protection for ball / dek hockey shin pads.
No knee shell is one of the options, but it is not recommended for safety reasons. Some ball hockey players, who play 5 on 5 ball hockey, don’t use knee shell as they feel more comfortable while running.
Foam shell protection can only be sufficient for certain level of ball hockey and for hardwood floor, but it is not recommended for an asphalt and perforated plastic tile surface, due to inability to slide. Some players mix soccer shinguards with volleyball knee pads and this set up works great for hobby ball hockey players.
Hard knee shell is ideal, but it needs to be from flexible materials so it does not crack and cannot be bulky. Adjustable knee height is always a big plus.
6. Shin pads with no sweat absorption
Some ball hockey shin guards do not absorb sweat as they don’t use fabric lining, but closed cell foam. This is a great option especially during tournaments, but it is not a must.
Strapping should last you minimum of 1 year and the plastic shell should last at least 4 seasons. Ideal is if you can replace the inner lining as it might have bad odour over time and loose the cushioning properties.