When deciding which Basketball to buy, the buyer will have many options to consider. It isn't as simple as saying what ball you want but, will it be suitable for your standard of play. It would be crazy to spend a lot of money on a Basketball if you are an occasional player. Likewise, it would make no sense to spend a few pounds on a ball that is unlikely to last a few months.
There are 3 main sizes available to the serious Basketball player: Size 5, Size 6 and Size 7. The size you require depends on the age of the player concerned and also the sex of the player. A size 5 Basketball, is designed for players up to age 11. The ball has a circumference of 27.75" and weighs 18oz. A size 6 Basketball, is designed for players between the ages of 11 and 14. This is also the ball specified for Women. The ball has a circumference of 28.5" and weighs 20oz. A size 7 Basketball, is designed for all male players, 14 years and above. The ball has a circumference of 29.5" and weighs 22oz.
These sizes will be used when a player is involved in matches and league Basketball. However, when developing young and new players, it is important to use a ball that is the perfect size, to aid their development. If a player has small hands use a ball that is one size smaller, this will then give the player more control and build confidence quicker.
There are 3 types of ball, Recreational, Training and Match. The type of ball can also be specifically designed for indoor and outdoor use. The type of material used between manufacturers varies greatly. They all call their own design and type of rubber or Leather unique.
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Balls that are manufactured using genuine leather will need a period of 'breaking in'. Being constructed from genuine leather, it will have natural oils within the skin, when first used it can feel slippy. To 'break in' the ball, it will need to be scuffed up by bouncing on an indoor court. The Molten BGL basketball was used at the London 2012 Olympics but each ball, prior to use, was bounced in excess of 400 times.
The prices for recreational balls start from £3 to £4. Match balls can be as high £85 but, are generally around the £30/£40 mark for a decent one that will last a couple of seasons.
The material covering the ball is a contributing factor on whether the ball can be used indoors or outdoors. The higher quality balls tend to have an enhanced grip, with a cushioned inner layer, giving the ball a better bounce. The covering can be leather, synthetic Leather or composition rubber. The bladder also can alter the price of the ball, the heavy duty bladders are again used in the high quality match balls.
The price of the ball though can be slightly higher though, depending on the brands marketing spend. They need to get this back by adding to the cost price, thereby making the ball more expensive for the end user. It doesn't mean the ball is better though, so should be taken into consideration when purchasing. Spalding, Molten and Wilson all have lincensing agreements with various governing bodies, so would need to increase the buy price to get this back. Lusum however, do not have any agreements as they do not sponsor any league, club or players so can produce the same quality of ball without the extra costs involved.