Though basketball is considered a contact sport, there is not much safety equipment that is required. While players in the professional leagues wear mouth gaurds, and various other protective gear, this is not required for normal competitve basketball.
Did You Know?
Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball!
As far as professional basketball competitions are concerned, most leagues use size 7 for men's competitions, and size 6 for women's competitions. Size 7 corresponds to 29.5 to 30 inches of circumference, whereas size 6 corresponds to 28.5 inches of circumference. Besides the size, basketballs also come in varying materials, of which there are two major types.
Basketballs made out of rubber are primarily used on outdoor playing surfaces, though they can be used on indoor courts too. These balls are heavier, more durable, and cost less than other types of basketballs.
Basketballs made out of leather are primarily used on indoor playing surfaces, and are referred to as indoor basketballs. They can be used outdoors as well, but are not made for outdoor courts, and hence get damaged or worn out quicker when used outdoors. They are lighter in weight as compared to rubber basketballs, and more expensive.
A basketball court is a rectangular surface consisting of two posts on either side, to which the backboards are attached. The size of the court differs with every league. The surface of the court is usually made out of wood or cement. Indoor courts that are used for competitive matches are usually made out of maple wood which is polished, whereas outdoor courts meant for casual play are usually made out of cement.
In the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is the highest professional league for basketball in America, the official size of the court is 94 feet by 50 feet. In the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the court is around 91 feet by 49 feet, which is slightly smaller than the NBA court. Schools and institutions have even smaller courts, some as small as 74 feet by 42 feet.
The basket, also referred to as a hoop or a ring, is a horizontal metallic rim, circular in shape. This rim is attached to a net, which is usually made out of nylon or steel. The rim is mounted 10 feet above the court. Some leagues, that cater to younger children, may have baskets that are lower than 10 feet.
The backboard is a vertical board made out of Plexiglas or wood, to which the basket is attached. This is the surface used by players to rebound their shots into the basket. In professional basketball , this board is made out of Plexiglas and not wood, not only because the former is more durable, but also because the opaqueness of wood proves to be a hindrance for the spectators whose view of the game can be blocked if they are sitting in line with the backboard.
The clothing or the uniform used in basketball is the next most important thing, as having the right attire can make you feel comfortable during the game or practice. Comfort is important since a lot of actions and movements in basketball require your joints to have full range of motion. Wrong attire can hinder the flexibility of the player.
Jersey and Shorts
Basketball is typically played in a jersey and shorts. The jersey should preferably be sleeveless, so that it does not hinder the shooting action at all. If you are playing in competitive matches, it is advisable that a team should wear the same colored jersey and shorts as it makes it easier to spot your teammates. In professional leagues, this a mandatory requirement anyway.
Wearing basketball shoes is very significant as opposed to donning usual sneakers, as these shoes are designed specifically for the game of basketball. They are ankle length shoes designed to give protection to the ankle, as basketball is a sport that involves a lot of jumping, twists, and turns. These shoes provide a lot of traction too.
In addition to the equipment mentioned above, other things are required when the game is played professionally. The most important of these are as listed:
A scoreboard is required to keep count of the score when a match is being played. A basic scoreboard consists of a digital clock that keeps track of the time of the match, as well as a digital screen that keeps the track of the score of both teams. A scoreboard is usually placed on the sidelines in semi-professional leagues, and at the top in professional competitions.
A shot clock is a digital clock, usually placed at the top of the backboard, which counts down from 24 seconds, during which time the team in possession of the basketball has to make a shot that touches the rim of the hoop. Failure to do so results in a violation against the team in possession. Once the ball has touched the rim, the shot clock automatically resets and begins another countdown of 24 seconds.
A referee whistle is required when matches are being played competitively. The referee uses a whistle to indicate the start or end of a game and to halt the play in the middle of a game. This is done to indicate fouls, timeouts, or if the basketball has traveled out-of-bounds. A whistle can be either made from aluminum or plastic.
Now that you are aware of the different equipment required to play the game of basketball, go out and get your gear to involve yourself in one of the most exciting and popular sports in the world.