If you’re the type of person who’s known to be quite particular with basketballs, you’ve probably noticed by now that some basketballs sound different when they bounce. Some have that sharp thwak sound, while others have that solid, comforting thunk thunk sound.
Whether you’re looking in to playing with the pros or merely hunting for something for your next casual game, here’s everything you need to know before buying a basketball.
If you’re mostly playing indoors, play with a leather basketball. Outdoor courts and driveways will chew them up in a hurry. Sure, it could feel new in the hands and might be a little weird to hold, but once you’ve played with it for some minutes, it will feel nicer.
Pros: Professional basketball players love leather balls – Curry for one uses a leather basketball. You can go and get a model like what he’s using.
Cons: Leather type basketballs are pretty expensive.
If you’ve always wanted the feel of leather basketball but don’t exactly have the funds to go buy one, buy something that’s synthetic composite.
Pros: They’re cheap, yes, but synthetic composite balls don’t wear out fast and feel much softer once used. They can be used both indoors and outdoors, but driveways will get to them after a while. Still, this material doesn’t dry out as much as leather types.
Cons: They don’t exactly have the original or legit status the same as leather basketballs.
Rubber basketballs are best for summer camps and other activities wherein you’ll need a lot of balls! These are incredibly cheap, quite durable, can be played on asphalt, and you can hoard lots of these things.
Pros: Incredibly affordable and can be used as dodgeballs. You can do anything with them as you please since they are pretty durable.
Cons: These are incredibly cheap, so don’t expect a lot when you decide to buy a rubber basketball. A tip is to stick to a brand you know.
Basketballs come in several sizes. For little ones keen on conquering a basketball court, there’s a seven-inch mini basketball that will easily fit their tiny hands. Mini balls can also be used by older athletes who are skill training.
For serious basketball players, there are three commonly used sizes. The choice depends on your gender, age, and your league.
Women’s leagues and youth leagues for players ages 9 to 12 often use a size 6 ball, which measures 28.5 inches. Adult men’s leagues, on the other hand, use a size 7 basketball, which measures 29.5 inches. This size caters to ages 13 and up.
There is also a ball for ages 9 and below – a size 5 basketball at 27.5 inches – two inches smaller than the men’s size.
As discussed above, there are three basic types of materials used in basketballs: leather, synthetic composite, and rubber. Though it could be a personal choice, the material of the ball largely depends on league requirements, that is if you’re playing in a competition.
For pros, leather basketballs are a standard. This material is the most expensive of the bunch, but there are more supple and softer. With a leather basketball, you get a lot of control even when your palms are drenched in sweat. This is one of its biggest advantages – it gives you a lot of grip.
Leather basketballs also prevent damage to the wooden flooring of indoor basketball courts, which leads us to an important thing to remember: these balls can only be used in an indoor setup. Using it in concrete won’t do it any good and will only damage its finish. This material also needs a break-in period before you can use them in competitions.
It’s safe to say that a synthetic type basketball is the best outdoor basketball. They offer a successful middle ground when it comes to performance. For one thing, synthetic composite balls don’t require a break-in period before you get to use it. It’s also perfect for indoors as much as outdoors. They’re really durable, a bit rough when held, but there’s nothing an elbow grease wouldn’t do.
Rubber basketballs are also great outdoors. In fact, they’re also called outdoor basketballs. They are super durable and offer extra bounce. Rubber basketballs offer beginners a good start as these are best for recreational and casual games.
A lot of basketballs come with a slightly burnt orange color, but there are other colors to choose from as well, such as yellow, blue, black, and you can even find multicolored ones. For teams and most leagues, the orange is a standard. The other colors are merely for aesthetic purposes rather than its purpose. For competitive games, you’re likely going to use an orange ball, but you can check with the guidelines of your team or league.
If you’re still developing your ball skills, it’s best to stick to training basketballs. A basketball used for training is traditionally rubber, but it weighs double than the average ball. Weighted rubber balls are best to develop form and strength for shooting, passing, dribbling, and other ball-handling skills.
If you want to enhance your shooting skills, you can try a shooter’s ball. This type of basketball has markers in it that indicate where you should place your hands.
These days, “smartballs” also exist. These digital and connected basketballs are able to track your stats, such as your makes and misses, shooting percentage, and others. You can also compete with your friends or send your coach your stat for the day.
You can connect this smart technology via Bluetooth and in your smartphone, you can review all your training data. This is especially useful for competitive players who want to determine what their weak points are.
It’s important to be able to identify the type of basketball you need in order to improve your performance. You can use this knowledge in and out of court, and help educate young ones too when it comes to playing ball.