An in-ground basketball hoop for your home will be one of the best investments you make as a basketball player. However, set it up wrong and it could be one of the worst! This article will lay out how you can install your own hoop for the greatest training sessions possible.
Perhaps you are considering buying a portable hoop. After all, they are cheaper and considerably easier to set up.
However, unless you intend for only younger players and real beginners to use it, your results will be limited.
Selecting the best in-ground basketball hoop will allow you to truly develop your playing skills without worry of damaging the hoop or injuring yourself.
Before you start installing your hoop, you need to strategies and plan out your installation.
The best do-it-yourself (DIY) projects don’t come without extensive thought and planning.
You don’t want to get off to a bad start and lower your chances of success before you even start the installation!
So, keep these things in mind.
Find Suitable Ground
Your installation will only be as good as the ground the hoop is installed on.
Picking ground on a slant, slope or angle will immediately make your job more difficult as you will need to make adjustments to ensure your hoop is upright and stable.
If possible, scout some ground on your property that is flat and paved.
Driveways are ideal but, providing the ground is reasonably flat to begin with, you can always pour concrete.
Remember though you don’t just want the base to be concrete, you also want to be able to dribble and play around and underneath the system.
Leave Space For The Right Amount of Overhang
The overhang of a basketball hoop is the distance and playing area under the basket, between the pole and the backboard.
The overhang determines how much room you have to play with under the hoop. You need room to land after you shoot layups and dunk, and also to defend the goal properly.
For most players an overhang of between 2 feet and 4 feet will be the perfect amount. Any less and you risk running into the support pole and any more you risk the whole system being unstable. This would cause shaking as the weight of the backboard puts constant tension and pressure on the pole.
Vision & Sunlight
Another hugely important thing to consider before installing your hoop is how its positioning will effect your vision. After all once you do, it isn’t easy to move it.
Where the sun shines brightest and will effect your vision will depend on your particular property and where the driveway or garden faces.
Make sure you spend some time outside on a sunny day and take note of where the sun shines and how that would effect your vision whilst playing.
Every property is different and you need to make sure installing your in-ground system won’t cause damage to your property, land or any surrounding obstacles like power lines.
Keep your hoop at least 20ft (7m) away from overhead power lines. Also, ensure that the power lines are not within a 20ft/7m radius of the hoop.
Keep in mind any other potential obstacles that exist already or you might wish to install in the future which could disturb your ability to play and use your hoop.
Measure Your Court Dimensions in Advance
The best in-ground hoop in the world will not be that fun to use if you have only a tiny playing area surrounding it.
Measure out your desired court dimensions in advance to guarantee that you get your positioning right.
You want plenty of room so you can practise your 3 point shots, layups, dunks and any other manoeuvres or playing strategies.
You will want at least 28ft out from the support pole if you intend to have a regulation three point line (plus room behind the system).
If you’re looking for a backyard three-point arch you need to leave at least 40ft of width.
Check For Gas, Power, Phone, Water or Utility Lines
You need to carry out your due diligence before you install your hoop.
Failure to do this will land you in hot water if any important utility lines sustain damage whilst installing your hoop.
Source Your Tools & Materials
The installation of your hoop will take considerably longer if you need to keep running off to grab supplies.
Plan out and source which tools and materials you will need in advance so on the day of your installation, you can dedicate all of your time and attention to installing the system.
Have At Least The Following Tools & Materials Ready
- A spade/shovel
- Cement trowel
- Tape measure
- Stir rod
- Dry concrete mix (between 10 and 14 60lb bags)
- Rubber mallet/hammer
- 1/2″ drive torque wrench
- Steel punch
Consult the installation instructions provided with your in-ground hoop to see if the list differs from the above or if you will require any additional supplies to complete the hoop set-up.
Steps To Install Your In-Ground System
1. Dig Your Hole
The strength, stability and accuracy of your setup and hoop relies heavily on digging the correct hole.
You must dig a hole deep enough to house the right amount of the support pole and big enough so that the metal bars of the anchor fit securely.
Depending on the surface you are installing your hoop on, you can dig the hole with a shovel or spade, or a auger (or similar digging tool).
Check your installation instructions for precise measurements for your particular system. It is likely that your hole will need to be around 48″ x 16″.
This hole will be used to form the foundations of your in-ground goal.
2. Mixing & Pouring Your Concrete
Having dug your hole, you need to pour the concrete so your support pole can sit comfortably in it.
Most permanent hoops need between 10 and 14 60lb bags of concrete mix to offer maximum support and stability. Although you would be wise to grab a couple of extra bags just in case you are caught short.
Some find the mixing of concrete difficult although it needn’t be. You just need to ensure that you have the right amount of concrete mix to water ratio.
Mixture that is too thin risks not being strong enough to hold the support pole and entire system in place. Mixture that is too thick won’t fill the hole and voids correctly and could have issues setting.
A 60lb bag of dry concrete mix should be blended with approx. 1.9 liters of water for best results.
First, pour your dry concrete mix in to a container and make a depression/impression in the middle of it.
Add your water to the container and mix it until the substance is firm.
Refrain from leaving the mix still for any extended period of time as it will dry out and become too hard.
Start filling your hole with the concrete, about half way.
Insert your steel bars in to the hole and make sure they are aligned correctly and secure.
Once aligned proceed to fill the hole with the remaining concrete and level it using your concrete trowel.
You want to be left with a smooth surface which has no air pockets.
Next, put your anchor in to the concrete and push it far enough down to keep it stable and secure in the ground.
At this stage, you must double check that everything is level. If you wait until the concrete is set it will be too late to make ammendments.
Now you simply need to for the concrete to set. In warmer climates and seasons this will take roughly 72 hours. In colder climates and seasons, you should leave an additional day or so to ensure that it is completely set and secure.
3. Install & Fix Your Support Pole
The next set of instructions will depend in part on which type of in-ground basketball hoop you have purchased.
Some hoops consist of a one-piece support pole where as others use a two-piece or even three-piece pole.
The one-piece poles are the most desirable and recommended as they offer the greatest level of strength and security. The single pole will minimise vibration and shake as the board hits the backboard (or hoop/pole). Such systems are also more protected from rust, corrosion and damage.
Shape & Size
The general rule is the thicker and bigger the pole, the more secure and rigid it will be.
At home systems with between a 4″ to 6″ support pole will offer incredible performance and stability.
You will also find options with square or round poles. The best in-ground systems have square poles which are also stronger and more secure.
7-gauge thick support poles are the most sought after as they are stronger than 11-gauge alternatives.
Not only are thicker poles stronger and more stable, they also shake and vibrate less and last longer.
Finally, you aren’t able to safely practise dunking on the thinner support poles. Doing so could risk breaking the backboard or even toppling the entire system.
Fixing The Support Pole
In order to effectively fix your support pole, first you need to ascertain what type of anchor you are using.
Almost all at-home systems will come with either a threaded j-bolt anchor or a hinge anchor system.
Hinge anchors are thought to be easier to install however you will have to work with what you have available in any case!
If you have a j-bolt anchor you will need to request the assistance of some friends, family members or contractors.
In order to secure and mount the system, you need to lift the pole above the anchor, align it and then bolt it down to the anchor. After doing this you will need a stepladder to then secure the backboard, extension arms, hoop and net.
Systems with a hinge anchor are considerably easier to install and require less people and effort.
With such an anchor you can piece together the support pole, extension arms and backboard before aligning and securing the pole using the provided hinge mechanism.
Once done, simply position the pole upright and secure it with the provided bolt.
4. Attach & Install The Backboard
When ordering, you will be presented with different options for your backboard.
The most popular is tempered glass however you could also go with acrylic or polycarbonate.
Tempered glass is the strongest of the options and also offers the best surface for bounce and spin. As a result of its popularity, you will find larger sizes offered when made out tempered glass.
Now, depending on your in-ground system, the backboard might be pre-attached to the support pole. Or, you might have to attach it yourself.
Backboards (especially tempered glass ones) are heavy so you will want at least a couple of friends or family to help you attach it to the support pole.
Simply raise the backboard up and mount it on to the support arms.
Make sure it is securely attached as it will cost a lot to replace it if broken and could damage the rest of the goal/system if installed incorrectly.
5. Attach The Rim & Net
The rim of your hoop will see the most action (so to speak) as the ball hits it regularly. If you are dunking on it, it will also come under considerable amounts of pressure and weight.
Therefore you must choose a strong, sturdy and forgiving one. Most in-ground systems will come with a breakaway rim which can withstand more force, weight and impact.
Attaching the rim and net couldn’t be easier thankfully.
Just screw the hoop onto the backboard in the designated places, then position the net over the hooks on either side of the rim.
6. Final Touches
Now that you have installed your hoop, you need to clean up the playing area.
Move any tools and excess materials, give the ground a sweep and clear the way of any obstructions to your play.
Now might also be the time to draw any court markings you want (if any) and install plus wire any outdoor lighting you want.
Once this has been done, you are ready to play!
Concerned? Hire A Pro
If the above all seems a bit daunting, or you know your heart isn’t really in it. You can always hire a professional to help you with the installation.
Most of the most popular brands (like Goalrilla, Spalding or Pro Dunk) offer installation services alongside your purchase.
Research how much you can expect to spend on all of the tools and materials (renting or buying them) and consider the time and effort it will take to install the hoop yourself. Then get quotes from some respected tradesmen/contractors in the area to make your decision.
Still have questions? Feel free to get in touch with us and get answers!
Or, check out some of our other basketball articles.
Here are a few we think you will find useful:
- The Best Basketball Knee Sleeves
- Best Basketball Shorts
- Best In-Ground Basketball Goals
- Best Portable Basketball Hoops For Kids
Catch you in the next article.