The style of the kneepads you like will greatly depend on how you wear them. I also believe that generally speaking men and women wear them differently. Men also typically wear them less often than women. I would attribute this to the differing style of play that are inherent between men’s and women’s volleyball.
It’s not a requirement to wear them, but they help younger volleyball players develop confidence when stepping on the court. Using kneepads can be seen as injury prevention by protecting your knees. And sometimes a hindrance to more experienced players. Personally, I wear them for protection – guarding my knees against floor burns, assisting in diving, (sliding across the floor versus on skin), and also because I end up on the floor quite often. For me, they are a tool of use.
use them to your advantage
Other positions or players might find them restricting. I have played with and against many people who will not wear them because they allow for “shortcuts”. If you are a mid to advanced-level player, try practicing without them to test your ability to get to the ball without dropping to your knees. They may eventually make your reaction times better and hold you accountable for being quick to the ball and avoiding diving unnecessarily!
Others may wear them out of comfort. As seen on many NBA players, a sleeve over the knee helps to keep it warm and supported. Covering a vulnerable spot on your body can support you psychologically. Diving on the floor for the ball is no longer scary. Knowing that the knee is protected will create confidence in the skill. You won’t have to think twice about going for the ball. However, going without them on occasion or during practices could improve your technique.
different ways to wear them
Generally, there are two ways to wear kneepads. You will either pull the kneepad so that the entirety of your kneecap is covered by the pad, or just below It. To create protection around the lower part of the knee, they are worn up to the knee joint and not over it. I like this style because if you’re kneeling on the ground, only the bottom half of the knee joint is actually touching the floor. Additionally, I find that the top band of elastic is too tight around my thigh. This is the classic “American” way to wear them.
The other way IS to wear them over your entire knee, putting the top band of elastic over the knee joint entirely. The kneepad will be covering your knee and because the elastic band is on your thigh, it won’t fall down as easily. Longer kneepad styles can serve the function of also keeping the joint warm and protecting more of the joint.