Dec 14, 2022 | TAGGED SKILLS
It is basketball season, and if you’re a parent, coach, or player, it’s time to stock up on all the basketball essentials needed for practice at home and on the court. Being prepared with a complete list of gear and equipment will help you prepare for the hard road and fierce competition ahead.
And when you have the best basketball equipment at hand, you’ll be able to show your opponents that you’ve come geared up to play.
Fortunately, youth basketball can be played with the basics: a ball, a hoop, and a half-court space. But a private basketball coach or player can benefit from a few extras in their bag of tricks to make practice all the more fun, enjoyable, and convenient.
As a player, the type of gear that you select will depend on your skill level. A beginner’s needs differ greatly from what players on pro basketball leagues or basketball teams need.
That said, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics and build your way up toward more specialized practice gear.
Here are the top must-haves for playing at a basketball camp or in a children’s basketball league.
There are dozens of gear to choose from to help you prepare for practice and game day. Here are the basics you will need for your kit of basketball essentials:
A basketball is one of the first and foremost items that players need to invest in. It allows them to train and work on their skills on their own time.
While picking out a basketball for youth, factor in your age, skill level, and playing environment. Kids have small hands and thereby need smaller-than-regulation basketballs. Players in basketball teams for 12-year-olds and under should select a ball with a circumference of 27.25 to 27.75 inches.
Professional leagues like the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) use full-sized balls with circumferences of 29.5 inches. These are suitable for players in basketball teams for 13-year-olds and older.
The official basketball size for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WMBA) is a circumference of 28.5 inches.
When selecting a basketball, remember that you can choose from three different materials—your choice depends on the type of court that you play on.
Indoor courts have smoother surfaces than outdoor ones. Rough outdoor courts make a ball’s surface wear away faster. If you use the wrong ball for your type of basketball court, you’ll have to deal with awkward bouncing and increased wear and tear of your basketball.
Here are the three basketball materials you can choose pick from:
Professional leagues only use genuine leather basketballs for their games. These balls are soft to the touch and are best for indoor courts.
Players who are just starting out usually opt for rubber basketballs. They are sturdier, bounce well, and are best for asphalt courts.
Synthetic or composite leather basketballs feel like genuine leather but don’t need much time and use for breaking in. These basketballs offer superior control and traction and are fantastic for indoor and outdoor courts.
Get an adjustable basketball hoop and put it at the appropriate height for your level of competition. For reference, NBA hoops are ten feet off the ground.
Practicing with a hoop is the only way to become better at the sport. As you grow older and develop your skills, you can raise the height of the hoop to suit your needs and abilities.
A ball pump is an important piece of equipment to ensure your basketball bounces well and is functioning at optimum performance levels. Playing with a deflated basketball is difficult and significantly hinders your performance.
Inflating needles are handy when pumping up your basketball, which makes them a must-have in your training kit.
Basketball shoes are another vital piece of gear you need to play the sport well. Although you can play a game well enough in regular sneakers, a pair of basketball shoes with high-quality rubber soles will significantly improve your performance on the court.
This specialized footwear also provides additional comfort, safety, support, stability, and traction for smooth movements and prevents rolled or sprained ankles or other types of injuries.
With high-quality basketball shoes, you can smoothly perform every move you want, including dribbling, sprinting, pivoting, or jumping. You can also transition laterally and do sudden cuts to beat your opponent.
Make sure you try on your new pair at the store to ensure a proper and comfortable fit. It will take some time to break in until they feel comfortable, so keep that in mind, too. Most importantly, select a pair that is best for the type of surface you usually play on, whether it is an indoor or outdoor court.
If you play or train for several hours each day, footwear experts recommend replacing your basketball shoes every month or so. This is because heavy use reduces their traction and cushioning—overuse can lead to injuries and sprains.
Aside from a good pair of basketball shoes, you must also have a separate pair of sneakers especially dedicated for practice. It will help reduce the wear and tear on your regular basketball shoes and save them for game days.
Practice sneakers also provide greater comfort and traction, which levels up performance.
While wearing basketball shoes, it is vital to wear the appropriate socks to reduce friction and keep blisters and sores at bay while increasing comfort, support, and balance. Some coaches even tell players to wear an extra pair of socks for greater support and stability. Invest in several pairs that feel comfortable with your shoes.
A basketball jersey is a loose-fitting fabric that allows you to dribble, pass, run, and jump and does not restrict your upper body and arms.
It is also part of your identity on the court. It has your team’s logo and branding, your name, and your number.
Similar to jerseys, basketball shorts are vital for practice and game days. These loose, comfortable shorts help you move around as much as you want and do not restrict your lower body or legs.
If you are playing outdoors in the winter, a pair of athletic pants will be better. But shorts are best for indoor playing as they don’t cling to your legs even when you sweat heavily.
Commonly known as Spandex, these shorts provide a high level of support and comfort and prevent soreness during practice or a game. This helps improve performance on the court so you can keep playing better for longer.
These shorts also wick away moisture and sweat and increase airflow while you’re playing, which adds to your comfort.
Compression arm sleeves, also known as shooting sleeves, are similar to compression shorts. These sleeves provide extra protection and support to the arms while passing, shooting, or driving the ball to the hoop.
They also regulate your body temperature, keep you dry, increase blood circulation, and promote faster muscle recovery on and off the court. Moreover, they look good and add to your style on the court.
Choosing whether to wear compression arm sleeves depends on your comfort and style preference.
If you need extra support and strength for your wrists or ankles, use athletic tape on those areas. It helps your muscles and bones maintain the correct position to reduce pain. Tape also aids in recovering from soreness and injuries.
Heat and sweat are a normal part of any sport, but they can be annoying to deal with. Cooling towels are an excellent way to wipe away sweat from your body and cool down quickly when you’re taking a breather on the bench.
Soaking towels in cold water and draping them around your head and neck fights off the heat and provides immediate relief.
When sprinting up and down the court, dribbling and blowing past your opponents, or shooting the ball, you won’t be thinking about the sweat trickling down your forehead. But if left unchecked, the sweat can sting and burn your eyes and cause discomfort.
Headbands look cool and are also a handy solution to keep sweat away from the eyes and avoid discomfort during intense games.
If you don’t want to use a headband to collect sweat from your forehead, you can wear a cloth wristband instead. You can use it to wipe sweat from your face and neck to stay cool and focused on the game. It can also be an excellent fashion accessory to amp up your style quotient on the court.
Warmup jackets and pants keep your body warm and loose before the game begins, so you can perform warmup drills with ease.
Slides are great for wearing in the locker room when you’re getting dressed and preparing for a match, as well as afterward, when you’ve left the court.
This simple footwear is easy to wear and remove, so you can quickly get in and out of your team uniform while staying comfortable.
Basketball leagues for youth don’t always provide matching uniforms. Instead, players wear different-colored pinnies. These pieces help coaches and players tell apart defense and offense teams or identify different positions during training and games.
Female basketball players need extra support and comfort under their uniforms to prevent injury and soreness. Sports bras provide a high level of comfort and allow female players to move and play with greater ease.
When you’re ticking off your gear checklist, don’t forget water bottles. Fill them with plain old ice water, a sports drink, or another healthy beverage to stay hydrated before, during, and after a game.
Basketball bags are ideal for carrying all your equipment and gear, such as clothing, shoes, towels, bottles, and other accessories, and keeping them in order. You can easily access everything you need before, during, after your practice, and when you get home.
You can use drawstring bags, duffel bags, or backpacks. Drawstring bags are more affordable but are smaller, so they are great if you don’t have much to carry. Otherwise, duffel bags or backpacks are your best bet.
Aside from the aforementioned list of essentials for practice, there are other pieces of basketball practice equipment you can get if you wish to reach elite levels of performance. These tools help you optimize your time and energy in practice sessions and take your performance to the next level.
Note that some basketball gear is more suited for advanced players and are not necessary for beginners and intermediate players. Your skill level and the league in which you play will dictate the training equipment most appropriate for you.
Here is a list of the extra basketball training gear you can consider adding to your kit to elevate your performance on the court:
A basketball return is an essential piece of gear if you’re shooting hoops alone. It replaces a rebounder, so you can save a lot of time and effort that you’ll otherwise waste running after balls. Instead, you can maintain your position and focus during a practice session.
These tools are great for players of all skill levels during dribbling, running drills, and even scrimmages.
Agility hurdles are an excellent training aid. They help improve footwork and are handy during vertical training. They force you to be nimble in your movements and quickly get your feet off the ground while ensuring high accuracy and precision.
An agility ladder is great for any player, regardless of their position or skill level. It improves your footwork and boosts agility. You can choose from different combinations to challenge your skills and slowly increase your speed.
A dribbling stick is great if you wish to hone your hand-to-hand combinations and one-hand dribbling skills. It enhances ball control by making you dribble over and under different stick heights, improving hand positioning, dribbling speed, and agility.
These are great for enhancing strength, endurance, and agility. When you practice with them, they train your body to use more force, so you can practice increasing your power during a game.
You will feel stronger and more explosive, yet lighter and more agile, allowing you to beat your opponents and drive the ball straight to the basket.
Like other youth sports, basketball can injure and wound players. Basketball players have to deal with injuries like sprained or rolled ankles from pivoting, falling, landing, and coming in contact with opponents. Players also have to deal with wounds to their wrists, fingers, teeth, and face.
To keep injuries at bay, it’s important to wear the right protective gear. Playing in a safe space and attending practice regularly to help your body get used to certain common movements is also important.
Training teaches you the best techniques to use when dribbling, passing, jumping, shooting, and landing, so your body will get used to moving a certain way.
Warmups and stretches before every practice session and match will relax your muscles while sprinting and shooting. Cool-down exercises after training and games are equally important to promote muscle recovery.
Below we have listed the basketball safety gear you need for support during practice and games:
Basketball is a contact sport, so you should wear elbow pads to protect your elbows from bruises and injuries upon contact with other players.
Knee pads are a great way to keep your knees safe during practice and games. They protect you during falls when an opponent tackles you or when you dive to save the ball from going out of bounds.
Goggles are excellent pieces of gear to shield your eyes from elbow hits and pokes. It will also protect your eyes from sweat dripping from your hair.
Famous NBA players like Kareem Abdul-Jabar, James Worthy, and Horace Grant made goggles their signature accessories that have helped up their game.
Mouth guards are custom-made safety gear that keep your teeth, tongue, lips, and cheeks safe while playing.
Basketball essentials for practice are key to performing well on the court. You may not need all the equipment listed here, but it is an excellent starting point that can guide you on what to buy.
Once your child is all geared up, you may be looking for basketball near me youth so they can get started with the sport. There are many youth basketball programs and leagues in the Sherman Oaks area.
De Toledo High School and Westside JCC (Jewish Community Center), and Sinai Temple offer excellent basketball programs for youth. You can also enroll your child in Royal Basketball School, where our expert team will guide your child and help them master the skills to perform well on the court.