One of the great things about basketball is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to play. Just get a ball and find a goal and you can start a pick up game. However, there are some official rules about what equipment you need when playing competitively.
Professional leagues such as the NBA have very precise parameters for the official basketball they use. This includes color, material, size, air pressure, and bounce. The main thing to know about the basketball is the size. There are different sizes for different ages as well as for boys and for girls.
Standard Mens Basketball (Size 7) – This is the size used by the NCAA men, boys high school, as well as the NBA. It has a circumference between 29.5 and 30 inches and weighs between 20 and 22 ounces.
Standard Womens Basketball (Size 6) – This is the basketball used by NCAA women, girls high school, and the WNBA. It is between 28.5 and 29 inches in circumference and weighs 18-20 ounces.
Junior Basketball (Size 5) – The junior size basketball is for boys and girls between the ages of 8-12. It is between 27.25 to 27.75 inches in circumference and weighs 14-16 ounces.
Mini Basketball (Size 3) – For young children ages 5-8, the mini ball is 22 to 22.5 inches in circumference and weighs 10.5 to 11.25 ounces.
The basket is made up of the backboard, rim, and net. The rim is 18 inches in diameter. A regulation backboard is 72 inches wide by 48 inches tall, although you will find backboards can vary in size.
The rim should be 10 feet from the ground. Typically a 10 foot rim is used from ages 6th grade and older. For younger kids you can lower the goal so that they can take a proper shot at the goal. For kindergarten through second grade children you can try a 6-foot goal. Then move it up to 8 feet for 3rd and 4th grade. Try nine feet for 5th grade. Of course, this depends on the size, strength, and skill of the player.
The basketball net hooks onto eight rungs on the bottom of the rim. It hangs down around 15 to 18 inches. The net helps to slow the ball coming through the hoop and also to help see whether a basket was made or not.
The basketball uniform generally consists of a tank top and shorts. You also need socks and some good basketball type sneakers. Basketball sneakers are good for all the starting and stopping required in the game. You can choose high tops, low tops, or three quarter height shoes. If you play under the basket a lot you may want high tops to help protect you from getting a twisted ankle.
You should not wear a watch or a shirt with buttons while playing basketball. These can scratch or get caught on other players. Also, you may want to wear a mouthpiece to protect your teeth.