Volleyball, whether played professionally or recreationally, requires only a few, but vital pieces of equipment. It is therefore always recommended that you use the best quality products on the market. 2012 offers a wide array of fantastic options for enthusiastic volleyball players looking to update their outdated balls, nets, and gear for the greatest advantage when playing. Some of the most well regarded brands like Asics, Mizuno, and Adidas have brand new, high-tech products that will offer better protection, improved performance, and a more comfortable experience regardless of your preference for indoor, outdoor, or beach volleyball. Check out some of the latest items below for your next game, and see the difference 2012 makes.
There are different types of balls created for indoor volleyball versus beach volleyball, so here are the best options for each court environment.
Mikasa Beach Champ
The Beach Champ is not only a stylish ball with its signature blue, white, and yellow coloration, but is also a technological marvel. This ball is used by FIVB, an international competition, and its predecessors were used at the Beijing Olympic Games, so you know this is a quality ball with an impressive pedigree. Made of moisture repellant material and advanced stitching, it is sure to give you the ideal experience every time, and hold its shape no matter the thrashing you give the other team. Laurels do not come cheaply, though, and this ball will run you about $48.
Tachikara NAIA Official Game Ball
Another pedigreed and highly awarded ball, the NAIA official game ball is a lovely colorblock combination of red, blue, and white and offers players supple leather panels and a Loose Bladder Construction to make it easy to see and fun to play. Playing like the professionals starts with the equipment, so this ball is a good investment for around $50.
Professional beach volleyball players generally forego the kneepads since sand tends to offer a softer cushion than hardwood, but indoor courts definitely require this must-have gear.
Asics Slider Kneepads
Asics makes a wide variety of quality volleyball gear, and these kneepads are no exception. Made of molded PU foam for the best impact protection, along with a forgiving knit elastic sleeve, they prove to be not only essential for safety, but extremely comfortable as well. At around $21, they are more expensive than other brands, but you cannot put a price on joint protection in this sport.
The net is the final crucial piece of equipment, and is easily the most costly. Investing in a high quality net can guarantee years of problem-free play and will prove a worthwhile purchase.
Jaypro Flex Net
This net is used in conjunction with the Jaypro competition system, and offers superior net tension while reducing the amount of time spent setting up. There are no extraneous accessories required, like the ties some systems require, as the Flex Net hooks directly onto the headband. Ease of use and superb construction will cost you around $450, so this expenditure is reasonable only for the most serious teams.