Indoor basketball courts differ from outdoor basketball courts on many counts. Just as basketballs made of composite leather and rubber are necessary for achieving higher bounce outdoors, basketballs made of soft materials are necessary for indoor basketball courts. A quality indoor basketball gives an invaluable experience of playing the game to a player.
However, one needs to consider several factors while choosing the best indoor basketball. These include size, materials, grips, bounce, air retention, moisture absorption, durability and quality, budget, and design.
This post will cover the differences between basketballs for indoor and outdoor courts. In addition, it will also tell you how you can choose the best basketballs based on the above considerations.
How is Indoor Basketball Different from Outdoor Basketball?
Sometimes when you do not have outdoor basketballs lying around, it might feel quite tempting to treat an indoor basketball for outdoor basketball. But this is not the right approach to follow as indoor basketball has soft exteriors that cannot be used or played outdoors.
Indoor and outdoor basketballs are different from one another. There are many points that highlight this feature. For instance, indoor basketballs are softer, pricier, and less durable in comparison to the basketballs that are made for outdoor courts.
However, the major variation between them lies in the materials by which they are made.
The material used in indoor basketballs is softer than the one used in the manufacturing of outdoor basketballs.
The former is made from full-grain leather. For this reason, it has a higher possibility of showing signs of wear and tear or damage when used in the outdoor version of the basketball game.
In general, outside surfaces are rougher compared to indoor surfaces. Therefore, experts recommend that players pay attention to the compatibility of a basketball with the surface on which it is to be used.
How to Choose the Best Indoor Basketball?
As far as choosing the right kind of indoor basketball is concerned, a player needs to consider several factors. These include their age, gender, and the level of the sport they play.
When female players shoot the ball, they display more accurate control. For this reason, indoor basketballs for them are smaller in size and lighter in weight than those meant for men.
These days, basketballs are available in different sizes. That is to say, the basketballs for little ones are different from the ones that are made for adult players. As regards adults, their age and gender play an important role in the selection of basketballs.
- 29.5″ is used in the majority of leagues featuring adult men.
- Some adult youth leagues and women’s leagues use size balls that have a circumference of 28.5″.
- For children under 9, the standard size of the basketball is 27.5″.
As discussed earlier, materials play a vital role in drawing a line of distinction between indoor and outdoor basketballs.
Indoor basketballs involve full-grain leather, which is a soft material. On the other hand, outdoor basketballs are made of either hard rubber or composite materials.
As such, indoor basketballs are less-durable than the variants designed for outdoor baseball courts. However, the former, due to its soft material, provides a better grip than the latter.
Again, both versions of basketballs act differently when it comes to bounce. Indoor basketballs provide more bounce on indoor surfaces that are made of wood. On the contrary, outdoor basketballs are tailor-made to provide good bounce on rough or concrete surfaces.
Leather basketballs are more suitable for playing indoors as they are made of pure leather. The surface of indoor basketballs develops wear and tear after coming in contact with rough surfaces.
In terms of full leather basketballs for professionals to use indoors, this Nike Elite Championship Ball can be a good choice.
Composite leather, which outdoor basketballs are made of, is a form of man-made leather that involves leather fibers. Unlike traditional leather, composite leather is not made from leather hides. Instead, it is made from a combination of Polyurethane and leather scrap.
Composite leather comes with two benefits: good durability and low maintenance. Due to these benefits, it is used in a wide range of accessories, such as the ones involving footwear, clothing, and upholstery.
Check the composite leather basketball for indoor use here:
Wilson NCAA Composite Leather Basketball
Just like the five fingers of the hand, the capacity of different basketball players differs from one another. In general, the gameplay of a player depends on their age, gender, and level. These factors determine how a basketball player handles a basketball in a game.
For instance, female players put up a better performance with soft and smaller-sized basketballs (like Size 6) that allow a better grip. On the other hand, harder and bigger-sized (like Size 7) basketballs are for male players.
Just like basketballs for male and female players, there are also specific basketballs for juniors. On the part of a player, choosing a basketball based on his/her age, gender, and level is of paramount importance for achieving the desired level of performance.
Sweating is commonplace while playing a basketball game. However, it increases the chances of a ball slipping from the hands of a player. Therefore, having the right grip is of paramount importance for indoor basketball.
Indoor basketballs with a moisture-reducing surface make for an excellent option for indoor play. Such an arrangement facilitates the players to maintain a tight grip even when their hands are sweaty.
Senston 29.5 Black Gold Indoor Basketball is the one with best grip to use:
When you drop a ball on the ground, it bounces. This is a natural phenomenon, although it may vary depending on the type of ball in question. When you drop the ball on the ground, the ground returns the same force on the surface of the ball, which pops it up.
The type of bounce that a ball generates depends on the surface. For this reason, different surfaces show different kinds of bounce. On average, a rubber ball generates the highest bounce in comparison to other balls on various surfaces.
The hallmark feature of a basketball of good quality is that it will bounce to the right height, neither shorter or longer than it. For optimum performance, a basketball should rebound up to 49 inches.
Some players keep their basketball in places with a low temperature. Keeping the basketball in such places can cause harm to it. Instead, try keeping your basketball in a warm area.
Also, in some cases, basketball players treat their basketball as a soccer ball and kick it hard. This act can deflate a basketball, so refrain from doing it.
Paying attention to these points will help you ensure air retention in your basketball.
Wetness can be extremely damaging to a basketball. It affects the quality as well as the grip of a basketball. In addition, exposure to severe temperatures can also harm basketballs. Not only does it change the latter’s shape, but it also affects its performance.
For better moisture absorption, some manufacturers equip their basketballs with double moisture-absorbing PU leather. Units with this feature also consist of laid-in channels to provide better control along with a superior grip. The double coating, apart from absorbing the moisture uniformly, also offers consistent performance.
Durability and quality
The durability of a basketball depends on the quality of the material with which it is made. Besides, the duration of time for which you play the game indoors also plays a decisive role in determining its longevity. You can make your basketball last longer by taking care of it.
On average, indoor basketball lasts between 3 and 6 months, depending on how a player handles it.
You can maximize the lifespan of an indoor basketball by following some proven tricks to take care of it. These include keeping it at room temperature with the requisite amount of air, removing debris and dirt from its surface using a damp cloth, and refraining from bringing it in contact with direct sunlight, rainwater, and other harsh chemicals.
Every item comes at a price. The same rule is also applicable to indoor basketballs. On average, the cost of a basketball ranges between $30 and $70. Generally, expensive indoor basketballs have better quality in comparison to those that are available at a cheaper price.
Professional basketball players like to invest in high-quality basketballs. It not only helps them improve their performance but also plays their game with consistency. A high-quality basketball benefits all players of all levels alike.
Spalding TF-1000 Legacy Indoor Basketball with around $70 designed for pro to use:
However, if you are a beginner and have a low budget, you can buy a unit that corresponds to your budget, just like the XEDGE Composite Leather Game Ball:
In the beginning, basketballs were brown until the late 1950s. However, things changed after the introduction to orange basketball for the first time by a head basketball coach of Butler University, Tony Hinkle.
He believed brown basketballs created visibility issues for players, which affected their performance. He argued that orange basketballs would lead to better visibility of players in a game.
Hence, you can consider using orange balls at places where there is low visibility or when you are playing at night. Also, today, orange balls are primarily used in professional leagues. Thus at places where orange basketballs are mandatory, you might necessarily need to play with orange-colored basketballs.
On the other hand, at places when you are playing casual basketball, you can take up colorful basketballs. Also, these balls are more towards the stylish side and can be used to bring some pomp and show to the game.
Additionally, amateur players also play with colorful balls at their discretion as long as they do not face any issue with visibility. If you are seeking for a ball that looks cool, all black indoor basketball is also a good choice, just like this Veniceball PU Leather Basketball with official ball size.
How To Determine Size Of Indoor Basketball?
One of the most common questions parents ask is “what size basketball should I buy for my son or daughter”?
This is pretty understandable especially if your child is interested in the sport. The right size can help them hone their skills and improve their abilities.
1. For kids, size 1 to size 4 can be a good choice.
For boys and girls aged between 5 to 8 years old, a size 4 is a good choice. It is the smallest size with a 25.5-inch circumference and a weight of 14 ounces. This size will help them develop proper ball-handling techniques. Small kids will have a hard time practicing dribbles and shots if the basketball is too big or too heavy.
Try this BestKid Mini Basketball Set for your kids to play.
2. For youth, you may choose the size 6.
Youth-sized basketballs or size 5 is the right choice for older kids aged 9-11. It has a circumference of 27.5 and weighs 17 ounces. It’s best to let boys and girls use this size since it is what’s used in youth basketball leagues.
Use this ECO SPORTS 27.5 Indoor Basketball to improve your kids’ basketball skills:
High quality and highly durable, you can feel it a ball with great bounce and grip that can be a cheap alternative for Spalding leather basketballs. A perfect size for college and high school to use.
3. For women, size 6 is the official size in high school and college.
Next, we have size 6 with a circumference of 28.5 inches and weighs 20 ounces. This is the size used by boys between the ages of 12 to 14 and girls and women over the age of 12. This size is also referred to as “intermediate” and is used by professional leagues including the WNBA.
Try Nike Elite All-Court Basketball that fits women use perfectly:
4. For men, choose the official size – Size 7.
Lastly, we have the size 7 or the “official’” size since it is used by the NBA and other professional basketball leagues. This is the proper choice for men and boys over 15 years old. It weighs a bit heavier than the size 6 at 22 ounces and is bigger too at 29.5 inches.
Using the right basketball size for the age group is necessary not only for developing skills and curbing bad habits but also to make the game enjoyable for players. For instance, young children will end up being frustrated or tire easily if the basketball is too heavy to shoot.
Get this official size Spalding Precision Indoor Basketball:
This ball gives great grip and feels after breaking in, it has a deep channel and tacky grip you can never feel on other balls. The capability of maintaining air is also perfect, and can also give you responsive bounce.
Which Indoor Basketball Brand Fits You Most?
When it comes to basketball brands, there are many to choose from. Different leagues use different brands of basketball probably due to sponsorship or preference. For instance, FIBA uses Molten while the NBA prefers Spalding, and NCAA players use Wilson. However, these brands can be expensive.
1. For beginners, Nike can be a cost-effective choice.
For budget buyers looking for a reliable basketball without the pricey tag, Nike is a good choice. The leather has a good grip and bounce and is durable. Since it’s affordable, buying it for beginners is a good idea.
Here is a Nike Elite Basketball costs around $40 recommended for beginners:
2. For intermediate players, Molten brings a better grip and feel in playing.
Another popular brand is Molten. It is FIBA approved and according to players, has a comfortable dribble and is easy to grip. Depending on the model, it can be more expensive than Nike but is a good choice for better reliability.
Feel the wonderful grip on this Molten X-Series Composite Basketball:
3. For professional players, Spalding beats the other brands in overall performance.
Finally, we have Spalding or the “official NBA ball”. This brand boasts a revolutionary design that makes it reliable for players thanks to deep channels that make it easier for players to control. This ball offers superior performance which is why NBA players prefer this brand. All-leather Spalding balls tend to be more expensive than Molten and Nike.
Click to buy the official use Spalding Precision Indoor Basketball for daily training:
Play in the Gym, League, or Play at Home?
– For gym play
The floor of the gym influence the bounce of balls.
The main difference between an indoor basketball and outdoor basketball is the material. Generally speaking, indoor basketball is made of leather and is perfect for wooden floors. You should choose leather – be it full-grain, synthetic or composite – if your gym or house has wooden floors.
Most indoor gyms use wooden floors while others utilize foam and rubber. These types of flooring are softer compared to concrete. This is why you should use leather or composite basketballs for practice. Leather basketball will bounce better on a wooden surface and will help you hone your skills better.
Wear a suitable pair of basketball sneakers to protect your feet.
Proper footwear is needed not only for better performance but also to protect your feet. A good pair of basketball shoes should have good cushioning abilities since the game requires jumping, running, and constant movement. It should also have good support, flexibility and help keep you stable during plays.
The best kind of basketball shoes is high tops. This is because they provide better ankle support. Basketball requires lots of athleticism, instant acceleration, and deceleration so look for sneakers that are lightweight, supportive, and durable. Wearing high tops mean that your foot and ankles are protected during jumps, sprints, and sudden stops. (Like this high top basketball sneakers designed for men)
You should also consider high tops with deep treads. Since basketball requires a lot of acceleration and deceleration, you need good treads on the sole to help you stop quickly or prevent you from slipping while doing maneuvers. Shoes with good treads can help prevent accidents and injuries.
– For League Play
Know the league rules before playing.
In terms of ball size, color and materials, most of the leagues have strict rules, especially for the ball size and color.
For the ball size, the professional league uses size 7. This is true including FIBA and the NCAA. This ball has a circumference of 29.5 inches and weighs 22 ounces.
The most common color for basketballs is orange with black ribs. This made it easier for players and fans to see the ball.
You might have also seen basketballs in gray, green, yellow, blue, and others. These colors are just for aesthetics and do not affect the performance of the ball. The colorful balls can also make the sport more attractive to young kids who are starting out. So make clear whether the colorful balls can be chosen in your league before buying.
– For Home Play
Choose a mini or portable ball to match your indoor backboard.
As for playing basketball at home, make sure that you have adequate space and that the area is flat and paved. Basketball height is set to 10 feet but the size of your backboard depends on how much space you have.
Generally, the size of the backboard is between 44 to 72 inches which is what they use in the pros.
Basketball hoops for indoor use are generally smaller. They can be installed on your walls or on the back of doors. There are also kid-sized hoops that are good for indoor playing with children.
Click here to get BestKid 6″ Inflatable Basketball Set for your kids.
When choosing to buy an indoor hoop, take into consideration the height of the players. Kids in kindergarten and those in grades 1 to 2 play with 6-foot rims while third and fourth graders use 8-foot rims. Fifth graders will use rims 9 feet in height while older children will go with regulation height.
A basketball arcade will help to practice shooting skills.
The arcade is a good place to practice your shooting skills. Arcade basketball games can help improve your accuracy and teach you to shoot while under pressure. Playing at the arcade also boosts motor coordination, speed, flexibility, and endurance.
Especially with such Pop-A-Shot indoor basketball arcade with scoreboard and clock.
Tips To Improve Your Indoor Basketball
Brands like Spalding are expensive, especially if you get the full-grain leather that the NBA uses which is why you need to take care of it properly in order to preserve and prolong its life.
1. Pump it up.
Generally speaking, if your basketball bounces past your hips or a little bit higher then it’s fully pumped. For the NBA, their balls are inflated between 7.5 to 8.5 psi. It is good to note that basketballs lose air when they are unused or through normal use, so better check the air pressure before you start to play or practice.
2. Break it in.
Leather balls need to be broken in and the fastest way to do that is to play with it. Breaking in a basketball just means that you need to wear it out a bit so that you get a good grip. Composite basketballs come ready to play out of the box and do not need to be broken in.
3. Clean it up frequently.
Another way to keep them in good condition is to clean them regularly. Cleaning a basketball is very easy and everything you need is already in your house. All you need is some dish soap, water and a hand towel. Mix around a tablespoon of dish soap to some water. Dip the towel in the mixture and wring out the excess water. Wipe the ball using the towel gently but thoroughly. Finally, rinse and dry using an unused clean towel.
It is important to remember not to soak your balls in water or to use harsh detergent as it can compromise the integrity of the leather and make the ball deteriorate faster.
4. Use it properly.
Lastly, use the correct kind of basketball for the surface you are using. As we have said before, leather and composite basketballs should be used indoors for wooden flooring, while rubber basketballs should be used outside in concrete or when playing street basketball. Matching the appropriate basketball to the surface will help extend its lifespan.
When it comes to playing indoor basketball, a player needs to be spoiled for choice. Ranging from its bounce factor to budget, design, and a plethora of other things, every basketball variant is unique in its own way.
By paying attention to the above points, you can pick up the right basketball for your needs. If you wish to play outdoors, you can benefit by investing in outdoor basketball rather than doing it in indoor basketball.
If you intend to play basketball on both indoor and outdoor surfaces within a tight budget, buying an outdoor basketball first would be the right option for you. Thereafter, you can save money to buy an indoor basketball.