Dec 19, 2022 | TAGGED SKILLS
Basketball is an excellent sport that your child can get into. It will improve their fitness and agility, and they will learn other essential skills, such as coordination, teamwork, discipline, and more. Participating in a team sport also enhances your child’s physical, mental, and emotional health and keeps them healthy and happy.
If your child wants to start playing basketball for youth, giving them the right basketball size suited to their size and age is vital. The proper sports equipment prevents injuries, elevates their playing experience, and ensures they begin on the right foot.
If you’re wondering which basketball size your child should use for playing, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you. We also discuss the importance of size, its material, and how to take care of a basketball for long-term use.
But first, let’s learn about the benefits of playing and why your child should enroll in local basketball programs for youth:
Playing basketball provides children’s basketball league players with an impressive list of benefits. Here are some of the best advantages of playing the sport:
Playing basketball involves a lot of running back and forth on the court. Even players not holding the ball follow it to ensure they can receive passes and rebounds.
This is why most basketball players enjoy a high level of fitness that leads to better overall health.
Aside from running long distances, basketball requires short and quick but intense movements. Young players train for years to understand and respond to everything that happens on the court and complete team plays.
To be able to play effectively and handle these challenges, children need to build their agility. Many things can happen before and after each play, and players must prepare themselves for any kind of situation.
Basketball is a great sport for improving balance and hand-eye coordination. Players need to focus on many things on the court, whether they are running to receive a pass or dribbling the ball and driving to the net.
Players must make snap decisions in a split second, such as whether to pass or shoot while simultaneously maneuvering the basketball and reading the defense. Defensive and offensive players must also remain alert to their opponents and position their bodies to block and rebound effectively.
A basketball camp is an excellent venue for your child to make new friends. It is a team sport that encourages players to work and interact with others who are of similar ages and try to achieve a common goal.
Playing in basketball teams helps your child cultivate friendships that go beyond sports and last a lifetime.
Basketball is also a fantastic confidence booster, making it great for shy kids or those with low self-esteem. When kids learn new skills for a sport and perform well, it helps build their psyche and improves self-worth in invaluable ways that they will bring into adulthood.
Completing shots and getting assists are some simple ways that basketball teaches young players that they are important to a team and they can compete with others.
Before youth basketball players begin playing and learning the techniques and moves for the sport, they must get the correct basketball size. The ideal basketball size helps young players master ball handling and shooting skills. It is crucial for learning proper hand placement for one-hand shooting and the correct technique for passing and dribbling.
When young players learn all the moves and techniques with the appropriate basketball size, they perform better and even excel in the sport as they grow older and graduate to larger sizes. And soon enough, they will be able to handle professional basketballs with no trouble.
Moreover, the wrong basketball size—one that is too big or heavy—can cause players to develop improper playing techniques and bad habits. They may start compensating for the extra weight of the basketball by using both their arms instead of one or chucking the basketball instead of shooting it.
They may also lunge forward while shooting or use the wrong hand placement. These bad habits can then be difficult to correct later on and cause poor performance on the court.
Young players may also find the game less enjoyable if they use a basketball that is too heavy or big for them to grip and shoot properly. They may end up losing interest and give up the sport forever.
The wrong basketball size may also cause injuries while playing.
Now that you know why you must get the proper basketball size for your child, here are the different sizes appropriate for your child’s age:
A size 7 basketball has a circumference of 29.5 inches and weighs 22 ounces.
It is for boys and girls who are in high school and college. It is also the official size for players in professional leagues. Once a child is in high school or turns 15, they can start playing with this ball.
A size 6 basketball is the official ball size for boys and girls who are 12 years old and older. It is smaller than a size 7 ball, making it great for kids with small hands. Young players in basketball teams for 12-year-olds or higher should stick to this size.
A size 6 basketball has a circumference of 28.5 inches and weighs 20 ounces.
A size 5 basketball is the standard youth ball and is the one used in basketball leagues for youth. Boys and girls from the ages of nine to 11 or in grades three to five should use this ball size. It has a circumference of 27.5 inches and weighs 17 ounces.
A size 4 basketball is designed for boys and girls who are five to eight years old or are in kindergarten to the second grade. Its circumference is 25.5 inches and it weighs 14 ounces.
Size 3 balls are often used interchangeably with size 4 for young players in kindergarten, although size 3s are the more popular of the two. A size 3 ball is commonly called a “mini” basketball and is suited for children who are in kindergarten or ages three to five. Its circumference is 22 inches and it weighs 10 ounces.
A size 1 basketball is typically known as a “micro-mini” basketball and is great for young players ages two to four. This ball weighs eight ounces and has a circumference of 16 inches.
A Nerf basketball is a very popular foam ball that measures nine to 20 inches and weighs one to five ounces. It is an excellent ball for boys and girls up to the age of four. It is soft, so even beginners and toddlers can shoot hoops without hurting themselves.
Aside from the size of the ball, you should also consider other elements to ensure safe play and high performance on the court. You can take your pick from different types of basketballs based on their material.
Most balls are made of leather, composite or synthetic leather, or rubber. Here we’ll look at each of them to help you decide which type of basketball your child should use:
Leather basketballs are the softest and best ones on the market. They are also more expensive than rubber and synthetic leather balls. They are generally more consistent, provide better grip and comfort, and become softer with use. They are best used in indoor courts.
If your child plays mostly on outdoor courts, it’s best not to opt for a leather basketball as it will split and crack.
Unlike a leather basketball, young players can use a composite or synthetic leather ball on indoor and outdoor courts. The quality is not quite as good as a leather basketball, but it feels similar.
Note that it can be trickier to control a synthetic leather basketball on indoor courts compared to a leather one. The former also has a slightly uneven bounce. Nonetheless, new technologies have made these balls easier to grip, so they won’t impact performance.
You also don’t need to break in a composite leather basketball. This means players can start using it smoothly as soon as they get it.
Leather balls absorb sweat and moisture, making them more prone to damage over time. In contrast, composite leather basketballs don’t degrade as quickly as their genuine leather counterparts and are usually much more affordable, too. This means you can be assured of better performance with a synthetic ball in the long run, and this aspect of your child’s hobby will be quite easy on your pocket.
This long list of qualities makes composite leather one of the most popular types of basketballs on the market. Of course, you must keep in mind that it is a matter of how your child handles the ball and their personal preference.
A rubber basketball is an excellent option for new players or those who play basketball only as a hobby. It is the most affordable type, and young athletes can use it on indoor and outdoor courts.
Rubber basketballs don’t provide the same quality, feel, and comfort as leather or synthetic leather. But they are good enough for use in casual play. Furthermore, they are highly resistant to the elements, so they don’t break down as quickly as the other types.
Whether you get a rubber, leather, or synthetic leather basketball, it’s essential to care for it properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Here are a few simple tips to help you maintain and care for a basketball:
Store the basketball indoors at room temperature.
Ensure it always has the right amount of air.
After playing with the ball, wipe off dirt and grime with a damp cloth.
Regularly clean the ball with mild soap and warm water.
Do not soak a basketball in water.
Do not let your basketball get exposed to heat, direct sunlight, cold, rain, or other harsh weather elements.
If your child plays basketball often, fill it with air and store it anywhere inside your house at room temperature. If they do not play with it frequently or you must travel with it, you can deflate it, but make sure to still keep it at room temperature.
Do not store a ball outdoors or expose it to harsh weather.
Basketballs deflate a little bit over time, whether or not they are used regularly. It is vital to ensure they have the right amount of air so they can bounce correctly and your child gets the training they need.
When dropped, the ball should bounce back up around two-thirds of the height of its initial position. If it doesn’t, it may have too much or too little air pressure.
When manufacturers produce and inflate a ball, they drop-test it to determine its ideal air pressure. This figure is printed near the hole of the ball, so you should be able to find it easily.
In general, basketballs are inflated to approximately eight pounds per square inch.
Do not use excessive air pressure to inflate a basketball—it is not like the air pump you use to fill your car tires. Don’t fill a ball when it’s cold out, or its bladder could burst.
Note the recommended air pressure printed near the hole of the ball.
Here are the simple steps to inflate your basketball correctly:
Take a ball pump and coat the needle with a little lubricant.
Firmly grip the valve while you insert the needle into the ball.
Slowly inflate the ball to keep its bladder from rupturing.
Inflate as per the specifications listed by the manufacturer.
To deflate the ball, insert a pin into its hole to release the air. If you’re deflating it for storage, leave three to four pounds of air pressure to prevent damage to its cover.
Aside from size and materials, you must also factor in your practice hoop’s rim height. It should correspond with your child’s age, so they can learn to shoot without feeling frustrated. The ideal rim should challenge a young player but be accessible enough, so they feel motivated to keep improving.
Playing on a basketball court with a shorter rim encourages kids to hone their skills and techniques without switching to a poor form to make shots.
USA Basketball recommends that kids ages seven to eight play with eight-foot baskets. Kids from ages nine to 11 need nine-foot baskets. A child in a basketball league for six-year-olds and younger needs lower rims suited to their age and height.
USA Basketball also states that children aged 12 and older can shoot on a 10-foot rim (305 cm). This rim height should be accompanied by a six-foot (183 cm) wide by 3.5-foot (107 cm) high backboard.
Choosing the appropriate basketball size for your child depends primarily on their age and level of play. Size 1 balls and Nerf balls are best for toddlers and beginners up to the age of four. Kids aged three to eight should play with a size 3 or 4 basketball.
Size requirements increase as children grow older, until young players of age 15 can play with the official pro league basketball size, which is size 7.
The type of basketball you use also depends on the court surface your child plays on, as certain materials fare better indoors or outdoors. You should also know how to properly care for a ball to ensure long-term use.
Once you select the right ball size for your child’s age and experience, let them practice their shooting skills with a basketball rim at an appropriate height. This will help them learn the proper shooting fundamentals at a young age and progress to advanced levels as they improve their skills.
Enrolling your child in basketball programs for youth is a great way to help them get the practice and play they need to become an excellent player and, more importantly, stay fit and healthy. There are many programs and leagues for basketball near me youth in the Sherman Oaks area you can check out for your child.
Some excellent basketball programs for youth include those offered by De Toledo High School and Westside JCC (Jewish Community Center), and Sinai Temple. You can also sign up your child at Royal Basketball School, where your child will learn from a private basketball coach and master the skills they need to perform well on their own and with a team.
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