It not only takes plenty of muscle power and endurance, but also good coordination skills and tactical awareness for players to excel on the court. These are the four reasons why wheelchair basketball is so special:
A sport for everyone
Wheelchair basketball is open to everyone – it is a sport played together by competitors with and without impairments, but also by competitors with very different types of impairment. In order to ensure a level playing field, all players are classified depending on their sport-specific functional abilities such as their wheelchair handling, dribbling or passing skills. Players are assigned between one and three points, with the highest number of points corresponding to the lowest degree of impairment. Each team can have five players on the court at any one time – whose combined classification value must not exceed 14 points. By the way: Men and women can compete together in mixed-gender teams.
Shorter playing time
The rules of wheelchair basketball are very similar to those of the running game. As in regular basketball, the court has a size of 28 × 15 m, and the basket is at a height of 3.05 m. And that is exactly where the ball needs to go. Baskets scored from beyond different point lines count differently. Depending on the point line, the players can score between one and three points. The team with the highest total score wins the game. Playing times are slightly shorter than in a running game: Preliminary rounds are played over two periods of 12 minutes, semi-finals and finals over two periods of 15 minutes each.
No double dribbling
There is no double dribble rule. Competitors can hold the ball in their hands or rest it on their lap. The players can stop dribbling any number of times to push their wheelchair. However, after two pushes in succession, the ball must be dribbled or the player will be penalised.
Wheelchair is part of the player
When defending, the wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body. Just as in running basketball, rough physical play is prohibited; a player cannot bump or push an opponent away. For a legal defending position, the defensive player must be clearly in front of the offensive player.
During the preliminary rounds, the teams can have an overall size of 16 players, with a maximum of 12 players eligible for each match. If a nation is unable to field a team with the required number of points by the time of the RECCE in spring 2023, it also has the option of nominating players for the ‘Team Unconquered’ at the Invictus Games 2023 in Düsseldorf.
Wheelchair basketball is one of the most professionalised Paralympic sports. In Germany, the sport is organised in a federal league system. The athletes also compete regularly in European and world wheelchair basketball championships.
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