Smaller gymnasiums present unique planning and construction challenges. There’s a lot to fit in, and sometimes it can be a chore to find enough space for everything.

Here are four ways to get the most out of the space in a small gym:

Use ceiling-suspended equipment.
One great way to maximize gym space is to move what you need in and out of the playing space. In a smaller facility, however, storage space will be at a premium.

Using ceiling-suspended basketball and volleyball equipment lets you make use of the building’s vertical space. For a volleyball match, an electric winch raises the basketball backstops up out of the playing space and lowers the volleyball system. When it’s time for basketball, up goes the volleyball net and down come the backstops. For indoor soccer, hockey, or other games, simply raise all of it.

For especially tight spaces, Draper’s TB-25R backstop is mounted to heavy-duty trolley assemblies that roll on I-beam tracks, allowing the top of the T-frame to roll forward as backstop folds back.

Click here to explore Draper’s various models of ceiling-suspended, folding backstops. For overhead volleyball, click here.

Hide those mats.
Wrestling and tumbling mats can be real space hogs. They’re big, bulky, and unsightly when they are sitting there rolled up. You can use carts to move them into storage, but your small facility may not have room for that.

Mat lifters allow you to hoist rolled wrestling mats up and out of the way. Mat lifters use a sling to hold one, two, or multiple sections of mats. Traveling kits can also be added to move the mats once they have been hoisted into place.

For details on Draper’s mat lifters, click here.

Create additional playing spaces.
One thing that can be limited by a lack of gym space is the ability to engage in multiple activities. Gymnasium divider curtains can help.

Using one or more gym dividers allows you to turn a single gym into two, three, or more smaller spaces. For gym time or indoor recess, multiple classes or activities can take place at the same time without balls and other equipment going into adjacent play areas.

Draper offers several gym divider solutions, depending on the size, shape, and needs of your facility. Explore them here.

Keep it safe.
Hard surfaces are a danger in any athletic facility, no matter the size. But they are an especially important consideration in smaller spaces where walls, ceiling supports, and other hard surfaces are closer to athletes.

Most sanctioning bodies use wording similar to the National Federation of State High School Associations rule book that reads, “There shall be at least 3 feet (and preferably 10 feet) of unobstructed space outside boundary lines.” This buffer zone allows athletes space to slow down, but wall padding should also be employed up to 10’ away.

ASTM F2440-11 is the specification for indoor wall/feature padding establishes minimum acceptable levels for shock absorption using two measurements. Gmax measures impact attenuation. It is the ratio of maximum negative acceleration on impact in units of gravity to the acceleration due to gravity. HIC (Head Injury Criterion) measures the likelihood of head injury arising from an impact. For both Gmax and HIC, the most important thing to remember is that the lower the measures are, the safer the wall pad is.

According to the standard, the Gmax must be below 200 and the HIC must be less than 1,000.

For Draper’s wall pad solutions, click here.

Some solutions are better than others based on each gym’s unique characteristics. For help planning and outfitting your athletic facility, click here and contact your Draper gym equipment representative.