When the sun is out, it usually means outdoor activities can commence with Mother Nature's blessing. However, too much sun can make watching or participating in outdoor events unbearable, if not potentially harmful. Thankfully, there are shade structures designed specifically for sports applications, which are available in a range of materials and mounting strategies. The solution you choose will depend on the venue you're looking to accommodate. In many cases, a custom solution will need to be created by your provider. Here's a look at some of the different types of shade structures and their ideal applications

Cantilever
Perhaps one of the best solutions for covering areas such as pools and bleachers, where too many support posts can get in the way, cantilever structures can be supported from the center or corners, depending on the type of application.


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Hip And Ridge
Hip and ridge structures look more like a traditional roof structure and are one of the more versatile solutions out there. These are generally economical and are well-suited for pools, outdoor seating areas and playgrounds and are usually supported by two, four or six posts, depending on the size of the area that needs to be covered.

Shade Sails
Known for their aesthetic appeal, shade sails are a versatile, highly customizable solution. They are made of fabric and come in a range of shapes and colors. While shade sails offer complete UV protection, they can provide protection for smaller areas in targeted, less obtrusive ways. They are ideal for partially shading pool lounge areas, parks and playgrounds.


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Wrap-Around
A more extensive type of shade structure used to protect bleachers and dugouts at baseball and softball complexes, the wrap-around is designed to cover unusual shapes. These are made of fabric and can be customized with team colors and logos.

Umbrella
Umbrella shades are simple shade structures that are great for shading concessions tables and pool lounge areas. They're economical, come in a variety of colors, and can be branded with logos. Umbrellas come in a variety of materials — fabric, vinyl and fiberglass — and can be supported by a heavy base or table that allows for removal and storage, or permanently mounted to the venue surface with cement.


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Windscreens
Sun isn't the only element from which we need protection. Many providers of shade structures also make windscreens, which are mounted vertically and are perfect for providing a wind barrier and additional shade along tennis courts, pool decks and dugouts.


This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Purchasing Guide" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.