Installing a basketball hoop is not rocket science but, for some, it can be one giant step for mankind. If you’re not handy or you don’t have the time to devote 4-5 hours to this it may be best to hire a professional basketball hoop installer. The standard rate for installing a basketball hoop is somewhere in the neighborhood of $375 and above.

Tip #10- Installing a basketball yourself doesn’t always save you money.
Believe me. I know times are tough and people are looking to cut corners wherever they can but think twice before installing a basketball hoop just to save money. If you don’t have the tools (Wheelbarrow, digging bar, post-hole digger, level and spade shovel) having to buy them plus getting $40-50 in concrete doesn’t add up to much of a cost savings. For laughs, read the take of my friend’s Adventures in NJ Basketball Hoop Installations!

Tip #9- What kind of hoop should you get?
-An inground basketball hoop is your traditional direct-bury, pole in the ground systems that most people think of when they think of purchasing a basketball hoop. Generally speaking, today’s hoops that are inground are the smaller poles such as 4″X4″.
-Anchor Kit installations are when you dig a hole, pour the concrete and then submerge four j-bolts and a template into the concrete. Once it dries there are four corresponding holes on the baseplate of the hoop that slide right over and the hoop is bolted down. The advantage to an anchor kit is should you ever move you can take your hoop with you. Anchor kit installs are typically for higher-end hoops.

Tip #8- Where should your basketball hoop go?
-Be careful to not cut your sprinkler line. For the first 6″-9″ you want to dig very, very carefully. This is not the time to start driving your digging bar and shovel like Excalibur. Take the hippocratic oath and have your first rule be, “Do no harm.”
-Backboard extension plays a big part in selecting a spot to install your basketball hoop. Check with the manufacturer’s instructions to find the extension and make sure you install your hoop close enough to the driveway where you have enough overhang, especially if you have driveway pavers. For example, if your hoop has a 24″ extension from the front of the pole to the face of the backboard you want to place the front of your pole no more than 6-8″ away from the edge of the driveway pavers which will give you at least 18″ overhang into your driveway. This is important so your kids won’t do a lay-up and have their ankle come down on a driveway paver.
-The playing area- You want to try and maximize the playing area. A helpful hint is to get two people and a 25′ tape measurer. Have one person hold one end of the tape measurer and stand where you think the center of the rim will be. Have the other person walk out 19’9″ or what would be the 3-point line. Have the person under the rim stand still and have the other person walk side-to-side so you can get an idea of what the fan-shaped playing area will be. This will give you ideas on where the most playing area is.

Tip #7. Put cardboard, plywood or plastic on the drieway in front of the hoop while installing.
Tis is a messy job, regardless of how neat you try to be. You don’t want a beautiful hoop with a dirty driveway.

Tip #6. Dig your hole 36″ deep.
Some people think this is overkill but the purpose of digging at least 36″ deep is not just to hold up the hoop but to be lower then the permafrost layer. If you don’t do this and we have a bad Winter your hoop is going to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Tip #5. Mix your concrete in a wheelbarrow and mix it relatively dry.
It’s easier to control the mix in a wheel barrow. Also, you want to mix it relatively dry as opposed to too wet. When it’s too wet the water bubbles up to the top and can make your finish look sloppy. A dry mix is easier to work with and to carve a nice finish.

Tip #4. To paraphrase Huey Lewis, make sure your hoop is, “hip to be square.”
I think everybody knows the hoop should be level but just as important is to make it’s square to the playing surface. Riding around throughout the course of my travels I notice hoops because, after all, this is what I do. i can’t tell you how many hoops I see that are just slightly off and it’s not hard to do. When you install a 4″X4″ post it’s easy to think, “It’s close enough.” However, when you put a 36″X60″ backboard on the pole any mistake is accentuated and, from the street, it can stick out like a sore thumb.

Tip #3. Don’t try installing a basketball hoop by yourself.
Some of the items may not be heavy but, as they say, they’re an awkward heavy and you don’t want to lug an awkward heavy while you’re 6′ up on a step ladder. I know your kids want a hoop but they also want you.

Tip #2. Lay it all out there so you can see it.
-Lay all the hardware out on the driveway and check it against the bill of materials, especially if you’ve never installed a basketball hoop before. This will help familiarize you with the hardware, the process and the 5 minutes it takes you to do this will save you hours in the end. As you’re installing you want to concentrate on the task at hand, not going nuts looking for nuts.

Tip #1. Follow the directions EXACTLY.
-I know everyone thinks they’re smarter than the directions and can take short cuts but do so at your own peril. If you skip steps what will likely happen is you will use one set of hardware on one stage that was meant to be used on another. So what ends up happening is you have to undo stages and start over. Why, because you thought you were smarter than the directions.

Bonus Tip. Relax and take your time.
As I said in the beginning, this is not rocket science but there is a science to it. Relax and think things through.

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