How to choose an indoor basketball
If you want to play basketball the best you can, you need to feel comfortable. Aside from feeling comfortable with your basketball skills, you want everything around you to suit your game. When it comes to indoor basketball, since the weather is not concern, your equipment should make you as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
For every basketball player, from amateur to professional, getting the right basketball is right at the top of the list. You may have noticed while watching NBA games that players often want to touch and feel the ball before beginning of the game (Tim Duncan even hugs it).
Basketball is your main tool in the game and you want to make sure that you are using the tool that you handle the best, to feel like it is molded for you. Here you can learn things that you need to consider when choosing the right basketball for your game.
Your age and size
The first thing you should look at when choosing the right basketball is how it fits into your hands. In order to dribble and shoot with most efficiency, you need to feel that you have complete control of a basketball, so for that reason it has to be the right size.
When choosing a basketball, take it in your hands and place it on your palm in the shooting position. If you feel like the ball is not completely fixed in your palm and itís slipping away, you should consider smaller size. Depending on your age and gender, there is a variety in sizes of basketball. However, there are some general rules and standardized sizes:
Size 5 basketballs are intended to boys and girls ages 7-12. The ball has circumference of 27.5 inches. If you are in this age group, this ball size is the best choice in order to get the right shooting and dribbling mechanics.
Size 6 (28.5 inches) is generally for boys ages 12-15 and women. This is also the size for professional women basketball.
Size 7 (29.5 inches) is for boys age 15 and up and for men. It is used for high school, college and professional basketball.
Of course, the goal for you is to get to the professional basketball size as soon as possible. But important thing for you to remember is that you need to develop your shooting and dribbling mechanics, so if you donít feel comfortable with biggest size you should first start with smaller basketball and move to the bigger ones over time.
Type of court surface material
Before you choose the right material for your basketball, you need to consider material of your courtís surface. Different basketball materials behave differently on specific types of courts, so be careful with that when choosing the best option.
In indoor basketball, courts are usually covered with hardwood. It is the best court material for indoor basketball which provides the smoothest surface and the bounce of basketball is consistent throughout the court. Smooth surface allows you to use leather basketballs of highest quality without damaging them. Because hardwood provides perfect bounce for basketball, you can easily choose any material for your basketball, like rubber or synthetic.
If an indoor court is not intended for basketball only, usually it uses multi-purpose court materials. This type of court is suitable for highest quality leather basketballs and synthetic basketballs. However, rubber basketball tends to bounce a little harder than desirable on this kind of surface, so you should avoid it in this case.
If your indoor court is made from concrete or asphalt, you should definitely avoid usage of leather basketballs. They get damaged over time on this surface. Instead, you want to look for either synthetic or rubber basketball.
After you have determined your desirable basketball size and court surface, the only thing left for you is to choose appropriate basketball material. There are 3 main types of basketball regarding material and they differ in price, touch and durability.
Leather basketballs are most expensive, but offer best quality and longevity. They are made of genuine leather, so over time they will give softer feel when you hold them in your hands. Most professional leagues including NBA, NCAA and FIBA Euroleague use genuine leather basketballs, so by using them you will get an ideal preparation for real game situations. Although they are most expensive, they last longer than any other type and provide exceptional grip and comfortable feeling in your hands.
Synthetic leather balls are usually suited for both indoor and outdoor play. With constant development of material technology they are becoming more and more similar to genuine leather basketballs, in terms of quality, longevity and grip. The main difference between them is that with synthetic balls time is not needed for material to chip in, so you will adapt to them earlier. Synthetic balls are suitable for all types of court materials and their diversity in that regard is perfect if you are playing basketball on different courts. Their price is also lower than leather balls, but on the other side, their lifespan is shorter.
If your indoor court is made of concrete or asphalt, rubber basketballs are excellent choice. Rubber structure has best durability on these courts and their price is significantly lower than leather and synthetic basketballs. Of course, with low price comes worst quality, so donít expect from rubber balls to last for long. They will wear out and deform with time, and on the long run you will lose that soft touch and comfort while handling them.
Price vs quality
Price of the basketball is the most obvious and often deciding factor in purchasing. Have in mind that with price comes quality and durability, and the idea is to find golden middle between the price and quality. However, the idea is also that you get comfortable with your basketball. When you adapt to bounce range and in-hand feeling of your basketball while handling it, you will get more confident with your skills. So choose smart and enjoy the game.