ncaa basketball court
During this month’s March Madness NCAA tournament we’ve seen some of the best examples of hardwood flooring in the world. We’ll be taking a closer look at the process behind hardwood courts and what makes them so unique.

You might be wondering, “How are the hardwood courts I see on TV different from the wood flooring in my home?” There are a lot of similarities between the two but hardwood courts incompass various elements that make them particularly durable, resistant and help promote better athlete performance.

Maple is the Choice
In an interview with Sports Illustrated Doug Hamar, Horner Flooring president, shares: “It is selected over others because it is harder than other hardwoods, is a tighter grained product, and is light in color.” Maple is known for its tight grain and hardness which make it the ideal species to withstand the wear and tear of college basketballs seasons. In addition, the light color of the wood helps to laminate the cord and brighten up the entire arena.

NCAA Tournament and Portable Wood Floors
Many college basketball courts are stationary and don’t need to be converted on a regular basis, unlike their NBA counterparts which experience 70 plus court conversions a year. However, during March Madness the NCAA uses various arenas all throughout the U.S. and the need for high performing portable wood floors is paramount. The subfloor becomes increasingly important when producing a high quality floor that is also portable and companies are using a range of systems to achieve desired results.

basketball court

Floor Bounce and Better Athletic Production
Creating the proper floor resistance helps with vibration control and shock absorption and subflooring systems consist of everything from plywood to cushioning. However, there is a fine line between too much absorption and not enough resiliency.

“The cushions or pads on the underside of the floor to enhance resiliency characteristics are sometimes opted for, but not all the time,” he says. Depending on the amount of cushion, the NBA floors absorb energy. Too much absorption means that players don’t get as much energy returned to them, and the less energy returned the harder it is to run, like running on sand or in water. “You don’t want the floor surface to absorb too much of the athlete’s energy,” Hamar says. “Some athletes prefer a harder surface for playing their games so they get more energy return.” – From Sports Illustrated

Connor Sports
Connor Sports is the Official Court of the NCAA, and specializes in manufacturing basketball courts around the world. Connor Sports spends time to actually choose the Northern Rock maple trees from Wisconsin that will be cut down each year for the Final Four court, and even takes the floor on a tour of the country before the final games are played. After the final game, the court is typically offered for sale to the winning team and sometimes is cut up into hundreds of pieces to be used as gifts or auction items for supporters of the school. – From The Master’s Craft Flooring Company

These high performance hardwood courts are truly a work of art. We hope that you now have a greater appreciation for the subtleties of hardwood basketball floors and the technology and craftsmanship that goes into them. If you’re interested in learning more about the process and/or about the major basketball court companies in the U.S., we recommend checking out the links below.

Resources: Sports IllustratedThe Master’s Craft Flooring Company, Connor Sports, and Horner Flooring

A Closer Look at the Process Behind NCAA Hardwood Courts
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