How to Choose the Right Basketball

How to Choose the Right Basketball

Just starting basketball? Need help choosing a ball? You’ve come to the right place! With this guide, you can learn how to choose the right ball by following a couple easy steps.

First, consider your age and/or size.

Easy enough, right? Typically basketballs come in different sizes for different players, and are often determined by the age of the player. They generally fall under three categories:

  1. A full-size ball, which is used in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) recommends this for players that are over 15. The ball measures 29.5 inches, also known as a size 7.
  2. Another ball option is one frequently used by women 12+ and boys age 12-14. This is the official ball of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and is also used for women’s high school and college games. It measures 28.5 inches, also known as a size 6.
  3. The last ball is used by boys and girls ages 9-11 years old. This is the standard youth basketball you find in most stores and measures 27.5 inches or is known as a size 5.

Second, know where you want to play.

The surface of the court changes the type of ball you should get (and type of shoes). Outdoor courts are usually more abrasive, and using the wrong ball will cause the surface of the ball to rip or tear faster.

The three main components of basketballs are leather, synthetic or rubber.

  1. Leather basketballs are used in professional leagues and are made of genuine leather. These are usually the most comfortable material. The longer you use these basketballs, the softer they become and feel. Note: leather basketballs should only be used indoors. 
  2. The second type of basketball is a synthetic basketball. This is made of a composite leather and is synthetically produced. They can be used both indoor and outdoors. These typically do not require any "breaking in."
  3. Lastly there are rubber basketballs, which should be the most affordable and are used by beginners. Rubber basketballs are much more durable, which makes them ideal for outdoor courts and concrete.

Now that you know how to choose your basketball, you are almost ready to play! Once you have your ball, it’s time to jump onto the court. Don't have one near you? Make your own with one of our hoops!


Here are few local places in San Francisco to go check out:



St. Marys Rec Center

Justin Dr & Murray St

San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 695-5006

Mission Creek Park - Basketball Court

401 Berry Street

San Francisco, CA 94158

Glen Park Rec Center

70 Elk St.

(415) 239-4008

Mission Dolores Park Basketball Court

19th St & Linda St

(415) 831-5500


500 Felton St.

San Francisco, CA 94134

(415) 831- 6828

Joe DiMaggio Basketball Courts

651 Lombard St

San Francisco, CA 94133

Upper Noe

295 Day St.

San Francisco, CA 94131

(415) 970-8061

Alta Plaza Park

Jackson & Steiner

San Francisco, CA 94115

Potrero Hill Recreation Center

801 Arkansas St

San Francisco, CA 94107

(415) 695-5009

Richmond Playground

18th Ave & Lake

San Francisco, CA 94121


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