Volleyball Wrist Protectors
Volleyball is a very intense sport that requires a lot of athleticism. It takes plenty of practice to become skilled and even then, injuries can not always be avoided. Read on to learn more about one of the best and most effective methods that volleyball players use to protect themselves: wrist protectors.
What are volleyball wrist protectors used for?
Wrist protectors are a very important piece of equipment for volleyball players. Passing and receiving are just two of the many repetitive motions in the sport that can cause strain on the body, specifically one's arms and wrists. Overuse and repetitive motions often lead to injury, which may be why hand and wrist sprains/strain are one of the most common volleyball injuries. Athletes can combat this by wearing protective gear.
Hand, wrist, and arm protectors are worn to prevent injury and promote recovery. By providing a barrier between the athlete's body and whatever surface it is contacting (likely the volleyball or court), wrist protectors reduce the amount of stress on muscles and joints. Wrist protectors, while great for some may not be the solution for all, so below are a few things to consider when looking for one of your own.
Things To Consider
When looking for volleyball wrist protectors, you'll want to consider the following:
- How frequently do you play volleyball?
- Have you suffered wrist or lower arm injuries before?
- How much would you like to spend on wrist protectors?
Each volleyball player is unique and has specific needs. As such, volleyball players have different requirements for their wrist protectors, leading to the different types of sleeves and guards.
Arm sleeves or compression sleeves put pressure on the arm, keeping those muscles warm while protecting the arm from impact with the ball. Sleeves also offer some protection from friction with the floor in the event that a volleyball player has to dive for a ball.
Padded Arm Sleeves
Padded arm sleeves are very similar to regular arm sleeves, the only difference being additional cushion in key areas of the sleeve. Some have padding on the forearms where players most often have contact with the volleyball. Other sleeves may have more padding on the elbow to lessen the impact felt there.
Unlike the sleeves mentioned above, wrist guards are more focused on protecting the hands and wrists than the arms. They can be extremely restrictive or less so depending on the severity of the injury and the desired level of mobility. This may be better for someone who is worried that a full range of movement will aggravate or worsen the condition of their wrist.
The different types of wrist protectors can also be made with different materials to enhance their function.
- Spandex: Spandex is stretchy, allowing for ease of movement, while still providing compression for the muscles.
- Neoprene: Neoprene doesn't offer the same compression as spandex but it does have more padding, making it the material most often used for wrist guards rather than arm sleeves.
- Nylon: Nylon is slightly more durable than the other two materials and great for minimal compression as well as padding.
With volleyball being such a popular sport, there's no shortage of wrist protector brands to choose from. Below are a few of the ones that have managed to distinguish themselves from the crowd.
- Tandem: Sleeves by Tandem are sold in a set of two, secure around the thumbs, and have a target on the forearms illustrating where the ball should land for optimal passing.
- Nike: Nike sells arm sleeves in a pair and their main selling point is the sweat-wicking technology.
- Mizuno: Mizuno sells both regular and padded arm sleeves specifically for volleyball. Wrist guards may also be purchased from this brand.
Outside of the brand, other important factors to consider include durability, cost, and sizes when looking for volleyball wrist protectors.
As with anything, the durability of a product depends largely on how much it is used. A sleeve or wrist guard will likely last longer the less it's used; however, nylon and neoprene are pretty durable. With this in mind, a sleeve will need to be replaced when it starts to show signs of wear and tear, like holes in the fabric or issues with the padding, while a wrist guard typically lasts a long time.
In most cases, a wrist protector will cost between $15 and $30. Popular brands such as Mizuno, are generally the most expensive because of the name brand. Padded sleeves or wrist guards with more protection (and less mobility) will cost more since they are supposed to be more effective at preventing injuries.
Most wrist protectors come in one or two sizes for both children and adults. Note that because sleeves and guards are supposed to offer compression, they should fit snug but in no way restrict blood circulation. Wrist guards may be a little uncomfortable and hinder movement.
Can you wear wrist protectors in a volleyball game?
Wrist protectors can be worn in a volleyball game but it's important to be mindful that they can affect play. Wrist guards that boast more support are often more restrictive of movement so, depending on the level of pain or injury, it may be best to forego maximum support guards in favor of sleeves and guards that are less cumbersome. It's also a good idea to practice in whatever wrist protector you want to play in so you know what to expect.
How do you wash volleyball wrist protectors?
Volleyball wrist protectors are usually machine washable. That means they're safe to be thrown in the washer. Of course, they can be hand washed as well so feel free to clean your wrist protector whichever way you prefer. Just be careful with drying because some materials (like spandex) don't do well in the dryer.
What are the benefits of volleyball wrist protectors?
Volleyball wrist protectors can ease the strain on a player's arms from repeated impact with the ball or floor. They can provide compression to keep the muscles warmed up and stability to lessen the chances of hyperextension as well as sprains or strains. They are good for both preventing injury and promoting recovery.