A back plate is meant to support a player’s lower back, therefore decreasing the among of impact on the lower spine.
Apart from protecting against lower spine hits, the back plate also helps protect the kidneys from hard impacts.
The kidneys and spine are among the most vital organs on a human body, so you’d want to guard them as best as you probably can, don’t you agree?
Lower back hits are not as common as the hits to the lower abdomen, but some players are more susceptible to lower back hits.
Take a wide receiver, for instance. Anytime a wide receiver is running a slant, squaring in, or making any sort of comeback play, they expose their spine and lower backs to the defender.
As such, a wide receiver is more likely to sustain a lower back injury than say, a lineman.
A back plate is essentially an extension of the shoulder pad, designed to attach to most shoulder pads easily. For convenience, these pieces are easily removable so you can put it on or take it off as desired.
Back plates are quite lightweight too. You will hardly notice that you’re wearing one until you take a hit.
Benefits of Football Back Plate
The primary advantage of wearing a back plate is that it helps reduce impacts to the lower back. Thus way, the piece of protective equipment protects the player’s lower back, spine, and kidneys.
When wearing a back plate, there is no guarantee that you won’t get injured.
However, there is a guarantee that the resultant pressure and impact of the hit will be drastically reduced, thereby eliminating or lessening any resulting damage.
OA player who is wearing a back plate can play with more confidence, knowing that whatever happens on the gridiron, their vital organs are well protected.
Besides, if a player is wearing a back plate, then this gives the coaches and parents some peace of mind.
Nobody wants a career-ending injury hanging over their heads, which is precisely what a kidney or spinal injury would do.
Other players may opt to wear a back plate only because it makes them look cool.
Back plates do look pretty cool, especially when worn outside the jersey and left to flap about as the player darts from one corner of the field to the other.
However, keep in mind that this is not the appropriate way to wear a back plate. A floppy back plate will not offer you the protection you need upon collision.
Regardless, if for no other reason at all, wearing a back plate because it looks cool wouldn’t be the worst thing. After all, you’d still stay protected, no?
What to Look for When Buying A Back Plate
The last thing anyone wants is to have sweat pooling at their lower back because they are sweating excessively, all thanks to the back plate.
For this reason, a good back plate should have certain ventilation and circulation systems put in place. At the very least, make sure the back plate has vent holes.
This is done to encourage a free flow of air around the lower back, thereby transferring moisture away from the player’s body.
When the back plate is capable of wicking away sweat, then the player can stay comfortably cool and dry throughout the game.
The weight of the back plate should be ideal for its intended user regarding whether it is a youth or adult back plate, and also the age and body build of the particular player.
A good back plate should provide a lightweight fit that’s isn’t bulky. Make sure you can be able to move freely while wearing the back plate, without the gear interfering with any of your plays.
A heavy back plate will weigh the player down, thereby limiting their stamina and making them get tired faster. Of course, no one wants to be in such a situation.
It will be of no use to stay protected but have the protective gear interfere with your performance on the field.
So, the plate should sit comfortably on your lower back, such that it is hardly noticeable until you take a hit.
Besides being lightweight, a no-bulky back plate that can inconspicuously fit under your jersey is the best choice to go with.
Strength & Durability
How strong and durable is the backplate?
The idea is to invest in a solid back plate that will competently protect your lower back from hard hits.
However, at the same time, the back plate shouldn’t be so heavy and rigid that it affects your performance, and therein lies the real challenge when finding the best backplate.
A flimsy back plate could break off upon impact, thereby losing its function and even injuring the wearer in the process.
On the other hand, a rigid plate might restrict your movements, thus hindering your performance.
Finding a material that’s strong and rigid yet lightweight and comfortable is no easy feat. Nevertheless, that’s not to mean that such back plates don’t exist.
Reputable brand names, in particular, have mastered the art of manufacturing quality back plates to a tee.
Pay close attention to the material the back plate is made from and do your fair amount of research to ascertain the quality of a football back plate before making your purchase.
A high-quality football back plate should come with high impact cushioning capable of absorbing and dispersing the shock of an extremely hard hit.
Besides, the padding enhances the comfort of the back plate, so the player is more at ease with a good deal of cushioning.
As much as ample cushioning is desired, it should not be bulky or add to the weight of the back plate. So, the idea is to have thin lightweight cushioning with effective impact absorption.
Size & Fit
Just like with any other football gear, the size and fit of a back plate are very crucial.
The fit not only dictates how comfortable you will be while wearing the back plate, but it also determines the amount of lower back protection offered.
Back plates are designed for different kinds of users, be it youth players, teenagers, or adults. Therefore, it is essential to find one that fits the player perfectly for optimum comfort and protection.
Besides how the back plate fits against the player’s body, also consider how the back plate fits on your shoulder pad.
Most back plates offer a universal fit, which means that they are compatible with nearly all shoulder pads.
Always make sure you check whether the plate is compatible with your gear so that you don’t end up with something that you cannot use.
The coverage offered by the back plate is something else you would need to consider.
While some players may be okay with a narrow fit and coverage, others would like the back plate to be longer and cover a broader area on their lower back.
FAQ For Best Football Back Plates
How to Choose the Right Size of Football Back Plate?
First off, start by measuring the length and width of your lower back. Then use these measurements alongside the manufacturer’s sizing chart, which looking at the back plate you plan on buying.
The size of the football back plate you go for will depend on your skill level as well as the desired amount of coverage.
Smaller back plates tend to offer narrow coverage and, therefore, less protection.
These are ideal for youth players, especially those in positions that don’t experience a lot of blindside attacks.
Wider and longer back plates cover a larger lower back area and therefore offer more protection.
For this reason, these back plates are better suited for varsity players rather than youth football players.
How Do You Attach A Football Back Plate?
First off, you need to make sure the back plate comes with the necessary gear to attach it to the shoulder pads.
Step 1: Locate the two holes on the back of the shoulder pads where the back plate should be attached.
Step 2: Align the holes on both the back plate and the shoulder pads. On the back plate, the hole you select will depend on high low or high you want the plate to sit on your lower back.
Step 3: Insert the screws through the aligned holes, making sure they are tightly locked in.
An improperly installed back plate will be a huge hindrance and nuisance.
So, take a look at this video to get a better idea of how to properly attach the back plate to your shoulder pads.
Do All the Football Backplates Come with Screws?
Most football back plates come with the hardware you should use to attach the plate to your shoulder pads. In fact, all high-quality back plates should come with the necessary fasteners, i.e., T-nuts, screws, and washers.
In case you buy a back plate, and the screws and nuts aren’t included, however, then you could buy them separately from a store.