Basketball Hoop Construction – From Top to Bottom

John Lochert


This website is reader supported and as an affiliate, we may earn a commission for purchases made through links on this website

I was in my driveway shooting hoops, and I had just made a sweet three-pointer when I heard a loud snap. I looked over to see that my basketball hoop had broken in half. The backboard had completely shattered, and the rim was dangling precariously from the metal pole.

I was so angry. I had just bought that hoop a few months earlier, and it had cost me a pretty penny.

I tried to figure out what had happened. It didn’t seem like I had hit the backboard too hard with my shot- surely that couldn’t have caused such extensive damage. After examining the wreckage for a few minutes, I realized that the entire thing had been poorly constructed.

This guide will take you through the research we undertook to make sure we now know the difference between a well-constructed hoop and a badly constructed one.

It is important to know the construction of your basketball hoop for several reasons.

First, it will help you make a more informed and wise purchase based on your specific needs. Additionally, understanding the construction of the hoop can help you troubleshoot any problems that may arise during use.

Finally, knowing the construction of the basketball hoop can simply make you more educated on the topic, allowing you to enjoy the game even more. With that said, let’s take a more in-depth look at the construction of both the portable basketball hoops and the in-ground hoops.


The backboard is the part where your shoot hits if it misses the net.

That’s a boring intro, I know.

Let’s know how you should judge a hoop to find out if you really want it or not.

First, you have to know the different materials of a backboard and how they perform.

The materials are

  • Tempered glass.
  • Acrylic.
  • Polycarbonate.
  • Composite/Plastic.
backboard materials performance

Tempered Glass

If the quality and performance are all you want then a tempered glass backboard is for you. You will get a great rebound once the ball hits the backboard, and you will feel like a professional game if your hoop has got this material-made backboard.

It is always what you pay is what you get. You have to spend more than other types of backboard for a glass-made basketball hoop.

In terms of durability? Well, glass-made backboards are positioned behind the other materials in this case. The glass can be shattered upon falling or getting hit with heavy materials. But you can easily use the hoop carefully to keep the backboard safe.

Hitting with the ball will not cause any damage. Even if the glass breaks under any circumstances it will NOT be the cause of injury to any players.


Because similar to your car windshield the glass has a coating on it to hold the shattered glass in place. So, practically you never have to worry about shards of glasses falling upon you and making you injured.

So considering the quality and performance, this issue is nothing to give any attention to whatsoever. You will get consistent rebound and overall performance which is essential for your practice to prepare yourself for professional matches.

There is no issue with discoloration and hazing in the case of tempered glass which is another plus point.

Usually, tempered glass does not require any extra bracing behind the board, although some manufacturers use bracing.

For a highly competitive match, you must use a basketball system that has got a glass backboard.


When you are going to buy a fresh new hoop and compare an acrylic backboard with a tempered glass backboard, you will not see any difference visually. But at times acrylic backboard will lose its color and start to haze.

Comparing the rebound and overall performance acrylic is not falling that behind tempered glass but yes you will not get the exact rebound and performance as tempered glass backboard.

But of course, acrylic performs better than polycarbonate and composite/plastic.

In terms of durability, this material ensures durability, no issue with that. Pricewise acrylic backboards are not too high or too low.

Acrylic is softer than tempered glass, hence scratch-prone. On the other hand, it is less heavy than glass which makes your life comfortable when you move the hoop from one place to another.

Not only that, this material is more forgiving than tempered glass when the backboard gets hit with a stone or any other object.

Acrylic vs tempered glass – which one should you buy? If you want maximum quality and performance you should go for tempered glass. On the other hand, if you want to use the hoop comparatively rougher and looking for more durability then go for acrylic ones.


While polycarbonate backboard is well ahead of acrylic and tempered glass in terms of strength, and durability but when it is about performance polycarbonate is not good enough to play a competitive match. This material is good enough to play within a recreational match though.

If you are looking to play really rough and tough polycarbonate should be your first choice. Polycarbonate is said to be bulletproof but the acrylic is not that strong. Visually both acrylic and polycarbonate look almost the same.

Like acrylic polycarbonate backboards also tend to lose their color over time due to sunlight and become yellowish.

In terms of price, polycarbonate is cheaper than acrylic ones.


This is the lowest grade backboard when it is a matter of performance. The rebound of the ball after hitting the backboard is so poor that the ball just drops off most of the time instead of rebounding.

You can understand these boards are used to make the hoop for kids.

As these are used for the kids, they are most colorful to attract the kids.

Standard Backboard Size

Not all the backboards are of the same size. The price of the hoop also varies depending on the backboard size even if the material is the same.

If you are looking to play competitive matches you should go for the size ranges between 54”-60”. For recreational play 48”-50” is good to go for adults and youth. For the kids and younger players, you will find 44” even 32” backboards available. The regulation backboard size is 72”.

Most renowned manufacturers provide a safety pad attached to the backboard.


In general, you will find two types of rim.

  • Rigid.
  • Breakaway.

Rigid/Standard Rim

Rigid rims are fixed and do not have spring with them. As a result, these rims are used to make low-budget hoops for kids. Anyone who wants to play aggressively or competitive games should NOT go for a standard rim. Why? Because it will not be able to take the pressure resulting in backboard damage.

Compression Breakaway

compression breakway rim

This is a flexible type of rim having a spring attached. That results in the rim taking the pressure when the ball or player exerts a force on it. That is why it will not cause damage to the backboard for moderately aggressive play. Have you noticed I said “moderately” aggressive play? Yes, for real aggressively there is a better solution that I will discuss after a few seconds.

The spring does not have any cover in this case, as a result, there is a possibility of rusting over time.

Pro-Style Compression Breakaway (Covered Spring)


Among these three types of rim, this is the most high-quality rim. The springs are covered to protect from rusting and enhance durability. The ability to take pressure is also so good that you can perform slam-dunking without any doubt.

You will get the highest amount of feeling and it performs almost like the professional rims.

Rim Mounting

Most of the manufacturers follow two patterns; 5”x4” (mostly the indoor ones) or 5”x5” (mostly the outdoor ones). This is the measurement of the distance of the holes on the backboard.


You will find nets in different colors. The good ones are all-weather nets and of course, made to be used outside, and polyester is the material used to make them.

As per the standard, the nets have 12 loops in total to be fit for the rims.

Supporting Pole

Another major part of a basketball hoop. You can say this is the backbone of a hoop. There are three types of support poles assembled to make a hoop, and depending on the number of poles the stability of the hoop varies once the ball hit the net or backboard.

Three Piece Pole

The majority of the middle tier and budget hoops are made with a three-piece pole system. Well, if you ask me if these shakes on the ball contact? I would answer “yes”. They shake more than two pieces. But don’t worry, the manufacturers make things in a way so that you can play a competitive match with a three-piece pole also.

Two-Piece Pole

In terms of stability, these are better than three-piece poles and are used to make high-end portable hoops.

One-Piece Pole

A one-piece pole is used to make permanent / in-ground hoops only. As the name suggests there are no multiple pieces that need to be assembled here. Only one piece; hence no shaking of poles.

Some leading manufacturer like Goalrilla provides a built-in pole pad as an extra safety measure for the player. You can buy a pole pad separately if your manufacturer does not provide it built in.

Height Adjustment Systems

Both portable and in-ground systems have a different way of adjusting the height mostly from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in 6 inches increments. You will find some exceptions though like infinite increment up to 10 feet but it is very rare.

The standard height of a goal is 10 feet which is of course not suitable for kids and younger players. Modern-day portable goals and in-ground goals solve this issue by implementing a number of height adjustment systems.

Let’s discuss some of the most popular systems. Remember, mostly these are the systems available on the market, but sometimes you will find the different naming of the same method used by different manufacturers.

Telescoping Pole System

Mostly used in cheaper hoops. The method is like you leaning on a hoop and unscrewing a bolt. After adjusting the height up or down you reinsert the knob. You can adjust the height from 7.5 feet to 10 feet in 6 inches increments using this method.

Broomstick Adjustment System

This particular system is also known as “exact height” and “ratchet adjustment” and like a telescoping system, this is also not a very convenient way to adjust the height considering the modern-day improvement.

Here you will use a broom or pole to unlock the ratchet behind the backboard and then use that same broom or pole to lower or higher the backboard.

This is also used for the budget system.

Crank Handle System

This is relatively easiest than the telescoping pole and broomstick system. Here you will have a crank located at the back of the pole. You will need to turn the crank to make the backboard high or low.

Trigger Handle Adjustment / Action Handle Adjustment

Another name is one-hand height adjustment. Well, you can say this is a modern age adjustment where you can adjust the height without any hassle at all.

Here you will find a handle with a trigger behind the pole. You simply push/squeeze the trigger and move your hand up or down based on your need. Once the backboard is at your desired height you simply release the trigger and the backboard will be stabilized at that particular position.

Here also you will be able to adjust from 7.5 or 8 feet to 10 feet in a 6-inch increment.

Power Lift/Pneumatic Adjustment

This system also requires only one hand and can be managed with ease without any trouble whatsoever. At present the most out-of-the-box system present in a relatively high-end basketball goal.

The working mechanism is of course super simple. You just have to squeeze the handle and the gas pressure will help you to move the backboard up and down. You can adjust the height in infinite increments here from 7.5 to 10 feet.

Since gas pressure is used to help the backboard move up and down this is also called a “gas shock” or “hydraulic” height adjustment system.

Supporting Base

This is available only for the portable system where you can fill the base with either water or sand or polymer. The base has got wheels underneath to make it portable.

The capacity of the base varies in different ranges. 35 gallons should be the minimum capacity of the base to make the hoop playable for competitive plays. For recreational plays lesser than 35 gallons can be used. Some hoops for kids have a 10-gallon capacity as well which is good enough for kids only.

Final Words

Whether you’re looking to build a basketball hoop for your home, school, or business, you’ll want to make sure it’s built correctly.

A well-constructed basketball hoop will provide years of enjoyment and exercise for all ages. Follow the simple tips in this article and you will end up with a basketball hoop that will last.

  • John Lochert

    Team sports have been a big part of my life ever since I can remember, playing soccer and basketball in my backyard. We started this site to share this passion and the knowledge that we have accumulated over the years, but ultimately we wanted everyone to be able to share the enjoyment of being part of a team sport.