Selecting a Sports Floor That is Safe

Selecting a Sports Floor That is Safe

When selecting sports surfacing, safety is a key consideration. Rarely is a sports floor used for just one purpose. You need to keep in mind both primary and secondary uses of the floor as well as the athlete and non-athletic users.

Questions to keep in mind:

  • Does this floor meet the biomechnical needs of its intended uses?
  • Is there proper cushion for impact?
  • Is it too slippery? Not slippery enough?
  • Does it accommodate a wide range of users?
  • Are there any protrusions that can cause a hazard?

Best flooring choices match up a sport’s action with the surface’s response. Here are the four main biomechanical needs.

Running - When athletes run, they apply concentrated weight on a floor. The sports floor should react in way that increases comfort and reduces the likelihood of injury.

Jumping - A sports floor needs to absorb a degree of shock generated by a jumping athlete as he or she lands on the floor. A consistent surface is also important to help avoid injuries.

Pivoting - This involves turning of the foot on the surface of the floor. A sports floor must provide uniform surface friction to make this motion safe and easy for the athlete.

Dribbling - Key in basketball, a sports floor should provide an adequate amount of ball bounce that is uniform across the floor surface.

By sport, here is a breakdown of safety and biomechanical considerations:

Basketball Ball bounce
Running
Dribbling
Jumping
Foot turning/pivoting
Volleyball Jumping
Horizontal slide
Falling/diving
Ball bound
Aerobics/group fitness Jumping
Horizontal slide
Dance Foot slide
Turning/pivoting
Jumping
Spike (heel)
Resistance
Sound transmission
Soccer Running
Turning/pivoting
Ball roll
Falling
Ball bounce
Inline hockey Gliding
Friction/adhesion
Tennis Ball bounce
Foot slide
Controlled foot
Slide
Track and field Running
Jumping
Friction/grip
Weightlifting Dropping
Standing
Load bearing
Sound deadening
Yoga/pilates Sitting
Laying
Balancing
Standing
Indoor baseball/softball Training
Running
Batting
Pitching
Catching
Sound deadening

Reference: 2003 Recreation Management

A sports floor is a significant investment. You should choose a floor that covers all the features you need while providing safety and protection against the stresses on limbs and joints.