Product Advice

Understanding Basketballs

Understanding Basketballs

Authored By Scott Freer

The Basics

The type of basketball purchased and the surface on which it is used is a crucial decision in enjoying the game. Getting to grips with the various types of balls will give you greater confidence that you are making the right selection for your child.

The below guide will discuss the many different types of basketballs on the market.



The size of basketball used is of extreme importance to children’s skill development, as well as long of the game.

Shooting consistently requires co-ordinated use of the leg muscles, as well as triceps. While growing children often don’t have the power to shoot an adult size ball accurately. Practicing with a ball too big for a child’s body can discourage the child as they struggle to score and help develop bad shooting mechanics. As such, no matter what model you are purchasing, use the below guide to inform your decision.

Boys and Girls under 10 – Size 5 basketball

Boys and Girls under 14 – Size 6 basketball

Boys 15 and over – Size 7 basketball

Girls 15 and over – Size 6 basketball

To emphasise the importance of learning to shoot with the right size ball, below is a video of Steph Curry, the greatest shooter in the history of the game talking about the development of his jump shot.


Basketball Types


Suitable for outdoor surfaces. Used by many primary schools, rubber balls are often the first basketball that children experience.

While durable, rubber balls are difficult to grip and have an extreme and inconsistent ball rebound score (ball rebound being a measure of the rebounding off the ball off varying surfaces when bounced). This will limit a child’s ability to improve their dribbling skill, crucial in the game of basketball.

The cheapest option on the market, these balls do not provide the playing environment intended for elite basketball. Often purchased as a first ball by parents while deciding if their child will continue with the sport long term.

Our range of rubber basketballs can be viewed here.


Competition – PU leather and composite surfaces

Junior and social competitions often use a PU leather or composite leather surface basketball. For example Basketball Victoria currently use the BGMX series basketball, which can be seen here.

Composite basketballs can present a good value option in that the lower end balls can be used both outside and inside (such as the BGH series) while retaining a consistent ball rebound. However outdoor use often ruins the surface as compared to indoor only basketballs and the feel often isn’t authentic to a serious player.


Elite Competition – Premium composite and full grain leather

Premium composite

The best value option when wanting an elite feel. Strictly for indoor use only, premium composite balls offer feature elite features as standard, such as the pebble surface as seen on the Molten X range which provide superior control and precise shooting. Look for approval of elite world competitions when purchasing elite competition basketballs, such as FIBA, NBL or the NBA.

We recommend the BGF ball, which can be purchased here.

Full grain leather

The choice of the professionals, full grain leather balls are strictly for use for indoor courts only, and only those with a floating wood system, of which a cut away can be seen below.


And below is what the court looks like from above


The leather surface provides for a basketball that is perfectly weighted for shooting, allowing for a greater margin of error on any release from a player’s hand.

Upon first picking up the ball for those unfamiliar with the leather surface they may find the leather surface does not provide a lot of grip for point guards or those with the ball in their hands a lot. To over this issue, many players lick their fingers prior to handling the ball, a move made famous by two time NBA MVP Steve Nash.

However many quickly get used to the feel, able to control the ball with a low dribble.

We can supply full grain leather basketballs on request. E-mail us here to find out more.

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