When choosing field or facility barrier netting, it’s important to first consider what sports will be played in the space. The majority of barrier net applications involve blocking a sport ball from leaving the field or hitting other objects such as lighting, scoreboards, and PA systems. However, sports like track and field that utilize heavier objects, such as a discus, shotput, and hammer throw, may also need field netting for containment. The ball/object size, weight, speed of impact, and play level are all factors that will determine the style and strength of netting you need.
The size of the ball or object will determine the mesh (net hole) size. If the holes are too big for your sport ball, the balls will escape the netting through the holes, defeating the purpose of your net! Net mesh holes are available in varying sizes to block different size balls, from 3/4” hole size for golf, 1-3/4” for baseball, and all the way up to 4” for football and soccer.
Ball speed, weight, and skill level will need to be taken into account when deciding on the strength of the netting. Net strength is measured by the thickness of the twine diameter and is typically denoted with a number symbol; as the number increases, the net strength increases. Sports netting is commonly available in strengths of #18 all the way up to #96.
Baseball fields will usually require stronger material due to the speed of the ball hitting the net. For those applications, a #36 net is the most popular net strength for youth and high school play. For collegiate and professional skill levels, a #60 net is recommended for the best performance. Track and field events such as discus and hammer throw will need even stronger netting to block those heavy objects, usually requiring a #72 or #96 net.
In addition to the net strength, your play level will also influence the net material you use. Nets constructed of polyethylene are a cost-effective option for home use, light play, or youth skill levels. On the other hand, nylon nets are designed to stretch, have a higher abrasion resistance, and will last longer, thus making them a smart choice for youth play all the way up to professional skill levels.
Lastly, for outdoor applications, avoid purchasing netting solely based on school or mascot colors. Generally speaking, darker colors provide better UV-resistance than lighter colors. Black has long been the preferred color for field netting, as it’s less likely to fade from the sun and provides a better backdrop for spotting a ball from a distance.