Sunday, June 25th, 2017

The Great Volleyball Knee Pad Debate

Published on February 23, 2010 by   ·   4 Comments

Several years ago I was playing volleyball in England, and for love or money I could not find a pair of knee pads that would work for me. Unwilling to pay massive shipping costs on a U.S.-based order, I decided to just stop wearing knee pads altogether.

It took me a little while to get used to having my knees exposed to the harsh gym floor, but after a few practices I discovered I was using much better form on my dives and rolls in order to avoid smacking my knees. And as a setter I was doing my very best to get my feet under the ball so I wouldn’t need to go to the ground any more than was absolutely necessary.

After that, I was hooked. No more smelly knee pads stinking up my gym bag, and no more massive rug burns from my knees sliding around inside the knee pads.

But once I returned to the U.S. and could get knee pads from my friendly neighborhood sporting goods store, I decided to give my old friends another chance. After all, I was trained as a defensive specialist and was still spending a lot of my time in contact with the gym floor.

My reunion with my knee pads did not go well.

It was as if my volleyball brain knew they were back and decided to take full advantage of them. I found myself setting from my knees, diving on my knees, and generally banging my knees into oblivion. Over the next few days I developed some awesome bruises to go along with the rug burns I got during the game.

And so we come to the Great Knee Pad Debate, which I submit to you for your input:

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Paul says:

    Nope, totally disagree. Followed the same logic, but all that happened was that I smacked my knees a lot and got water on the knee. Rug burns? Who the heck gets burns from their knee-pads?

    Oh, could we have the same debate on whether to use ankle braces? I bet you could get a clear US/EU split.

  2. Mike says:

    I use kneepads. My knees have been in pretty bad shape since I was a youth and if I didn’t have them I’d have to quit playing.

    I can understand the “I know they’re there…so I’m gonna use them” concept, but I think that’s not a kneepad problem but a mental problem that can be worked around.

    It’s better for me to gain a sense of relief from them rather than have to try and protect my poor knees and lay up when playing.

    And burns? Wow, I have a feeling the pads weren’t the right size.

  3. sprouticus says:

    Paul — maybe “rug burn” isn’t the right word, but I do get raw red patches on my knees. Based on yours and Mike’s comments sounds like sizing may be my problem :)

    And this is why it’s great to have other volleyball players to give input — now I know to search out some better knee pads rather than give them up forever!


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