How to Install Any Basketball Pole Sleeve: A 4-Step Guide

how to dig a hole for a basketball pole

If you’re familiar with a ground sleeve for basketball pole, you probably have an idea of how helpful it is when installing an in-ground basketball hoop. It makes installation much easier and allows you more flexibility in the future.

No, you don’t ”need” one of these to install your hoop, but if you ever want to move it to a different location, this way you won’t have to dig up all that cement. Also, this way you won’t have to deal with the plastic ballast.

I used this sleeve instead of just putting the pole in the ground for two main purposes.

The first is that I can rotate the pole in the sleeve. This makes installing a hoop less stressful because you don’t have to bother with whether or the backboard not being parallel to the edge of the playing area. After you construct the poles, you can rotate the whole assembly in this sleeve.

The second reason is that I’m taking the whole thing down every winter, so the elements don’t get damaged.

The instructions were a bit complicated, but now when it’s all set and done, the picture makes more sense. For me, the hardest part was digging the hole.

In addition to the following guidelines, I attached the rebar to give it more structure through the concrete. My pole doesn’t budge not a bit. Also, I had to go back to Home Depot for cement, so I guess recommended 450 lbs of cement doesn’t always work.

The in-ground sleeves you can find on the market today are compatible with different kinds of hoops, no matter what the brand is. It’s important that the pole fits by the diameter and is it round or square.

Today we’ll learn how to install a ground sleeve for basketball hoop pole in no time. Just follow these four steps, and by tomorrow you’ll have your basketball hoop ready.

1. Dig a hole based on these dimensions

Manufacturers are calling for an 18″ round hole, 24″ deep, but the guidelines are a bit strange. They advise to dig a hole with that dimensions, but only mount the front side of the pole 4″ from the playing area. This will make your pole uncentered from the hole.

What you’ll do is to make a square form so that the concrete at the ground is square rather than round. It will also make it look better. You’ll probably end up digging an 18″ hole about 28″ deep and having an 18″ square pad at the surface.

Use about 8 bags of concrete (80 lb). Plan on getting a bit more, you don’t want to stop pouring and in the middle of it. Make concrete base a couple of inches set back from the driveway, so water will not run off the driveway onto the base.

2. Position the ground sleeve and make it 1/4” higher than court

Position the in-ground sleeve at the center and obtain a perfectly vertical and stable position. Make sure it’s not moving, you’ll soon be pouring the cement.

It’s instructed to make the head of the sleeve level with the playing area but then say to slope the concrete down and away from it. Clearly, this would make the concrete at the court lower than the court itself.

Make it about 1/4″ higher than the playing area and sloped the concrete from the courtside up 1/4″ to the head of the ground sleeve. When you finish setting the pole into it, you’ll find that it sat about 1/4″ lower than it should.

3. Fill in the concrete around the ground sleeve

Make sure that the sleeve stays upright, up to the top of the surface level. Don’t add any concrete into the sleeve.

Set the height of concrete about an inch below my driveway so that the top of the sleeve was about an inch higher than the concrete and level with the driveway.

This will give you room to tighten the set screw, as well as to stop water from running down into the top of the sleeve. Also, it will allow your grass to grow level over the support base allowing only the sleeve to poke through.

While the concrete is still wet, fix the sleeve again to make sure it is vertical.

Weather and the type of cement will influence the drying time. Think about one day for quick setting cement and 6-7 days for regular cement.

4. Fill the basketball pole with concrete

The instructions also suggest filling the bottom pole with concrete as the concrete in the pole makes the bottom pole very sturdy and stops vibration being shifted down to the sleeve from the backboard ball hits.

Make sure the sleeve is plumb before you pour your concrete then double check plumb with a level before the concrete hardens.

To maximally secure it put the rebar to the inside of the bottom pole while installing the ground sleeve to hold straight up in the pole to prevent it from falling against the sides.

Issues with installing a ground sleeve

The ground sleeve will increase installation time because you’ll have to wait for the cement to set around the sleeve before moving on to another phase. It’s enough time to assemble the rest of the hoop completely and put concrete in the bottom pole section.

Except for that, there are only a few issues.

How to keep the pole and sleeve from rusting?

There are gaps in the sleeve that will allow water into it. The ground sleeve has a tiny bump-out in the rear of in which you will place a metal clip and set-screw. This tab/screw is what’s keeping the hoop from rotating.

The problem is that this lets water in there, which will probably allow the pole and sleeve to rust together in a few years if not sealed. The manufacturer could improve this by offering some sort of rubber cap that could block water from entering the base of the sleeve.

I recommend putting silicone around the top of the sleeve and in the spots where it connects with a pole.

How to keep the pole from spinning in the sleeve?

I did the friction tape as instructed, but still spinning pretty loosely with light pressure. It seems that the friction tape that comes with the product, used to stop spinning, was low-quality.

When I pulled it out, it looked to have become soft and began falling apart. I tightened the cap real strong, and that helped, but ultimately the tape wore down.

I replaced it with some great non-skid tape from the hardware store. So far, so good. I think if you get a similar tape or some type of wrap so that there is more pressure, it should keep it secure enough to prevent spinning.

Wrapping up

There you have it, the four easy steps to installing a ground sleeve for a basketball hoop pole.

Is this easier than you thought? Are there some other issues with this you would like to fix? Comment down below if there are, and for more on hoops and basketball, stay tuned to Improve Hoops.