Your Basketball Tips: Understanding Ball Size and Rim Height

According to ASEP (American Sport Education Program) recommendations, it's important that team, court, and ball size – as well as basketball rim height – all be age-appropriate for a youth basketball program to be successful.

Let's take a look at a couple of those factors and later we'll introduce you to a fun way to help keep your kids physically fit.

Does Size Matter? Yes! Especially When It's A Basketball

Usually, written right on the ball is the size number. Varying weights and sizes apply to basketballs. Here are the basketball sizes for kids…

Mini International Size 3:

  • Weight – 10.5 to 11.25 ounces
  • Circumference – 22 to 22.5 inches
  • Age recommendation – 5 to 8 years

Junior International Size 5:

  • Weight – 14 to 16 ounces
  • Circumference – 27.25 to 27.75 inches
  • Age recommendation – girls and boys, 8 to 12 years

Intermediate Size Girls Youth Basketball:

  • Weight – 16 to 18 ounces
  • Circumference – 27.75 to 28.5 inches
  • Formerly referred to as International Size 6

Women's New International Size 6:

  • Weight – 18 to 20 ounces
  • Circumference – 28.5 to 29 inches
  • Accommodates most female hands

Men's International Size 7 (regulation basketball):

  • Weight – 20 to 22 ounces
  • Circumference – 29.5 to 30 inches
  • Used in middle school, high school, college, and professional games

How High Should the Rim Be In Kids Basketball?

The following rim heights are recommended by the ASEP:

  • Grade 6 and above – 10-foot rims (Particularly after kids get to middle school, this is what most American and international kids shoot at.)
  • Fifth graders – 9-foot rim
  • Kids 8 to 10 years old, third and fourth grade – 8-foot rims
  • Second grade, first grade, and kindergartners – 6-foot rims

Why is the correct rim height so important? It's consideration, primarily, is to instruct children as to the proper form for shooting. With the right shooting mechanics, can the child (of a certain age) get the ball anywhere near the rim (of a certain height)? That's the big question.

Just because a child who is young can get the ball all the way up to a rim that may technically be too high for them doesn't mean they're using proper shooting form to get in there. They’re probably reaching too far and throwing their form all out of whack.

Are Schools Paying Attention to Size And Height?

Basketballs themselves (that your child currently plays with) may or may not be the appropriate size for children. In America, unfortunately, matching kids to the appropriate rim height isn't accomplished nearly as much as it should be. It's not uncommon to see 10-foot hoops being used at a third and fourth grade level. It's hard to teach a child the right shooting mechanics when the hoop is at an improper height.

For a program to truly adapt to both a child's inabilities and abilities, the recommendations by the ASEP regarding ball size and rim height should be adhered to as closely as possible.

Find the Ideal Equipment For Your Child

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