Not surprisingly, wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Paralympics. It is a fast-paced team game that attracts competitive athletes with physical disabilities that prevent them from running, jumping, and pivoting. Not all athletes who play wheelchair basketball require the use of a wheelchair for daily life.
Open to male and females, Wheelchair basketball is a game played by two teams of 5 players on the court (and 7 substitutes) where the goal is to shoot the ball through the opposing teams basket. At the same time, teams actively try to prevent the opposing team from making points or baskets.
The match consists of four periods of ten minutes with a 15-minute interval between the second and third period and one-minute intervals between the first and second, and third and fourth periods. If the score is tied at the end of playing time in the fourth period, the match will be continued with an extra period of five minutes or with as many such periods of five minutes as are necessary to break the tie.
Scoring points varies between 1 to 3 points depending where you are on the court at the time. Baskets are credited to the team attacking the basket into which the ball has entered as follows:
- A basket from a free throw counts as one (1) point.
- A basket from the two-point field goal area (anywhere inside the 3 point line) counts two (2) points.
- A basket from the three-point field goal area (outside the 3 point line) counts three (3) points.
Every team has 24 seconds to complete its attempt to score a basket. If the team with the ball exceeds this time limit, then the ball and the right of play is granted to the opposing team.
Basketball wheelchairs are quick, agile and allow for speed, quick turning ability and maneuvering. Therefore, there are specific chairs used for basketball. More information on chairs can be found here.
Like able-bodied basketball, players must dribble the ball when having gained control of the ball on the court. It is a traveling violation to take more than two pushes on the wheels without a dribble of the ball. For more rules and regulations click here.
When classifying an athlete, the classifier takes into consideration the athlete’s functional ability to perform skills specific to the sport of wheelchair basketball; wheeling, dribbling, passing, reaction to contact, shooting, rebounding.
Classifications are based on the international classification system and range from 0.5 to 4.5. Lower class athletes are more limited in their functional skills. Athletes assigned higher classes have few if any limitations.
The total number of points on the court assigned for each of the five players may not exceed 14 points at any one time in most divisions.
Class one (1): athletes are generally unable to move their trunk in any of the planes of movement. For example, most are unable to rotate their upper body to receive an over the shoulders pass in a fast break.
Class two (2): athletes are generally able to rotate their upper body without using their arms for support. This greatly improves their ability to scan the court, as well as receive or shoot the ball from different directions.
Class three (3): athletes are generally able to turn their shoulders as well as lean forward without difficulty. They can dribble the ball far off the front of the wheelchair for example. They however cannot lean to the sides and return to upright without using their arms as an assist; most class 3.0 athletes lack the leg power necessary to perform such an action.
Class four (4): athletes are able to move their trunk in all planes of movement. They can rotate, learn forward and to at least one side without difficulty. Athletes in this category can lean to the side to contest a shot or protect the ball from an opponent or catch a rebound. Class 4.0 athletes differ from class 4.5 athletes in that they often are not able to lean equally to both sides due to limited power in one leg.
Occasionally, an athlete displays characteristics of two classes. In these instances a .5 class may be assigned.
Clubs & Contacts
Club ’99 - Saskatoon
NRG Mini – Saskatoon
Regina Paratroopers (@RegParatroopers)
High Performance Coach
International Wheelchair Basketball Association
Canadian Paralympic Committee - Wheelchair Basketball
International Paralympic Committee - Wheelchair Basketball