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Basketball Equipment Checklist
It’s the beginning of a new basketball season — and whether you are a parent, player or coach, preparing with the help of a basketball equipment list will get everyone ready for the fierce competition ahead. Compared to other sports like ice hockey or football, equipment for basketball is rather inexpensive and straightforward. With a few necessary items and several more pieces of gear for training, there is no need to haul a heavy bag.
The pieces of equipment you choose will depend on your child’s skill level. A beginner may require a few more items, which may differ compared to a player on a travel league or school team. As for coaches, you also have a variety of options to choose when gearing up for the season.
If you are wondering, “What equipment does my child need for basketball?” it’s a good idea to start with the essentials, and then build up toward training equipment. When your child has the best gear and equipment, they will be ready to show the competition they came prepared to play.
The Basics: Basketball Training Equipment Your Child Needs
What equipment do you need for basketball? While there are dozens of different pieces of equipment and gear that can help prepare you for training and game day, the primary equipment your child will need is as follows.
- Athletic shorts: If your daughter or son’s team doesn’t have official uniforms, athletic shorts are vital for training and games. They are loose-fitting, comfy and allow you to move quickly with each step. There are no restrictions on your legs or lower body.
- Athletic socks: Like with any pair of shoes, socks prevent blisters and create additional support and comfort. Trainers sometimes recommend wearing two pairs of athletic socks for even more stability.
- Athletic tape: When you need extra strength around your ankles or wrists, you can apply athletic tape to your skin. The tape helps maintain the proper position of your muscles and bones to reduce pain, and also helps those who are recovering from an injury.
- Basketball sneakers: The must-have basketball gear is the basketball shoe. It is vital to help you perform every task within the game, whether you are sprinting, jumping or pivoting on the court. Basketball sneakers provide players with more support in comparison to running shoes and help you maintain high traction while also supporting your ankles.
- Compression shorts: Often referred to as Spandex, compression shorts offer comfort and help wick away sweat. They give you a “locked-in” feel that also increases ventilation during a game.
- Cooling towels: In the heat of the moment, you need a quick way to wipe the sweat off your body and cool down. You can drape cooling towels around your neck to provide relief. All you have to do is soak the towels in cold water while taking a breather on the bench.
- Compression arm sleeves: Similar to compression shorts, compression arm sleeves help keep you dry and add extra support to your arm while shooting, passing or driving to the basket. Sleeves provide protection, increased blood circulation, faster recovery from injuries and help maintain body temperature.
- Headbands: Headbands are ideal to keep sweat from your eyes, which can cause a burning and stinging sensation during intense games. Running back and forth, shooting and cutting past your opponent leaves little time to worry about the sweat dripping down your face.
- Jerseys or athletic shirts: Similar to athletic shorts, a basketball jersey helps you move with ease without restrictions on your upper body and arms. Wearing a loose-fitting fabric, you can pass, jump and run without feeling uncomfortable.
- Practice sneakers: While you are training throughout the week for competitions, wearing practice sneakers will help save your others for game days. If you cause too much wear and tear on your basketball shoes, you can lose traction and comfort, decreasing your performance.
- Slides: Slides are excellent while getting ready for a game in the locker room and afterward when leaving the court. Because the shoes are easy to slide on and off, you can change in and out of your uniform while remaining comfortable.
- Sports bras: Women basketball players often require extra support under their jerseys. Sports bras are not only comfortable, but allow them to move with ease.
- Warmup jackets and pants: No matter if you are playing an outside competition or are in a stadium, warmup gear can keep your body warm and loose before the whistle blows. But in general, jackets and pants also prevent your competition from seeing your numbers as you perform your warmup routine.
- Water bottles: As part of your basketball equipment checklist, water bottles are something you can’t forget. Fill them with water, Gatorade, Powerade or other sports drinks to keep your child hydrated.
- Wristbands: If you are uncomfortable with a headband collecting sweat during a game, you can rely on a wristband to wipe sweat from your forehead and other areas.
- Zippered duffel bag: Sports duffel bags are perfect for carrying around your basketball gear and equipment. Everything from your athletic socks and shoes to water bottles and athletic tape will be in one easy-to-access place.
While your child may not require each of the suggested pieces of basic basketball equipment, the list provides you with an excellent starting point. Buy basketball equipment as you see most imperative for your daughter or son to perform well on the court.
Picking the Right Basketball Shoes
Because choosing the proper pair of basketball sneakers is one of the most critical decisions to make when preparing for the upcoming season, here is a short guide on how to choose the right pair for your daughter or son. Shoes not only enhance a player’s performance on the court as they run, jump and pivot, but they also protect feet and ankles from injuries. Picking the right basketball shoes includes the following steps.
- Measure feet: Having a professional from an athletic store measure your feet will help determine the correct size and whether you require a narrow or wide fit.
- Determine basketball style: Depending on if you are a fast, all-around player or a power player, different shoes accommodate different positions. If you are an all-around player, choose lightweight sneakers with flexibility that provide support and a moderate level of cushion. Power players will require heavier shoes with excellent stability and cushion.
- Choose the level of protection: Purchase low-top basketball shoes that provide fewer restrictions and are lightweight for speed. Designed for aggressive players, high-top sneakers offer maximum support.
- Select appropriate soles: All basketball shoe soles are made of rubber with a specific pattern on the bottom to increase your grip and traction. However, some sneakers are designed for indoor training, while others are better for outdoor courts.
- Try on shoes: It’s always a smart idea to try on your basketball shoes to make sure they feel snug, but not too tight. You will want a small space between your toes and the end of the shoe. Walk and run around to feel them out, too.
While there are many colors and styles, you shouldn’t worry about brand name or appearance. Focus on performance and comfort, as basketball sneakers will provide expert ankle support to prevent rolled or even sprained ankles.
Trainers suggest high school and college players replace their shoes each month, since worn-out shoes with depleted cushions and traction can result in injuries.
Extra Training Gear for Basketball
Besides the basic list already provided, basketball training equipment has a list in and of itself. Training equipment helps players prepare at elite levels, compared to running the same drill each day. When you want to maximize your time and effort in the gym, the right tools specific for the task at hand can make all the difference.
Here is what you need to know about extra training gear for basketball players.
- Agility hurdles: Hurdles force basketball players to get their feet off the ground and to move quickly while remaining accurate. They improve your footwork and help during vertical training.
- Agility ladder: An agility ladder is excellent for any player, regardless of their position. The basketball training equipment improves players’ footwork while enhancing their agility. With different combinations, you can use the ladder to challenge and improve your speed.
- Ball pump: A ball pump is necessary to keep your basketball at optimum performance levels. Playing with a deflated ball is not only difficult, but can be a hindrance to your game-playing skills.
- Basketball hoop: Purchase an adjustable basketball hoop so you can put it at the appropriate height for your daughter or son’s level of competition. It will help them practice, and as they grow older, you can extend the hoop to higher heights.
- Basketball return: This piece of equipment replaces a rebounder if you are practicing alone and saves you time and energy from running back and forth. Basketball returns help you stay in position and focused.
- Basketball: As the essential item to invest in, basketballs help players train and hone their skills during their own time.
- Dribble stick: If you are training to increase your one-hand dribbling skills and hand-to-hand combinations, a dribbling stick promotes ball control. It forces you to dribble over or under various stick heights.
- Inflating needles: To pump up your basketball, you will need proper inflating needles.
- Training cones: Training cones help players — whether they are beginners or more advanced — during training sessions. You can use them for running and dribbling drills or even during scrimmages.
- Weighted speed vest and resistance bands: When you train using either of these pieces of equipment, your body outputs more force, which will help you become more explosive when you are in the game. You will be able to blow past your opponents, as you will feel lighter and more agile.
Particular pieces of equipment are for more advanced players than others. It’s important to determine the skill level at which your daughter or son is playing, and from there, you can decide which gear is most appropriate.
Each player will likely own a basketball and hoop, but as their level of skill increases, so will their training equipment, including things such as a dribble stick and resistance bands.
Choosing a Basketball
Picking out a basketball may seem simple. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind, such as the age of players, skill level and environment. Because children have smaller hands, they play with smaller basketballs. For youth — ages 12 and under — choose a basketball with a circumference ranging between 27.25 to 27.75 inches.
Professional NBA and FIBA leagues use basketballs with circumferences of 29.5 inches, which are full-sized balls appropriate for players ages 12 and older. The official size for WMBA basketballs is 28.5 inches in circumference.
When choosing the correct basketball, be aware that there are three different materials available. Selecting one is often based on the type of court on which you will be playing.
Outdoor courts have rougher surfaces compared to indoor and can cause the surface of a basketball to wear away faster. If you use the incorrect ball for the court, it can result in awkward bouncing and more wear and tear.
Depending on your skills, age and whether you are playing inside or out, you have three basketball options to choose from to help you train. The three basketball materials are as follows.
- Leather: All professional leagues use authentic leather basketballs. Made from genuine leather, they are soft to the touch and used for indoor courts.
- Rubber: Beginners often use rubber basketballs. They are more durable, bounce well and are ideal for asphalt courts.
- Synthetic: Composite leather feels like genuine leather, but doesn’t need excessive use and time for the material to break in. You can use synthetic leather basketballs for both indoor and outdoor courts, as they offer superior control and grip.
Basketball Safety Tips
Like any sport, basketball can cause injuries to even the most elite players. The most common injuries are ankle sprains from falling, landing, pivoting and contacting other players. Others include wounds to your fingers, wrist, face and teeth. Compared to males, females have a higher risk for knee injuries, usually occurring from pivoting.
For you to prevent injuries from occurring, it’s imperative to start with the correct protective gear. You can also check for a safe environment. Make sure your child attends training sessions so their body can become accustomed to specific movements. They will learn how to use proper techniques when it comes to passing, dribbling, jumping, landing and shooting.
Warming up and stretching before each practice and game will help keep their muscles relaxed while sprinting down the court and shooting from the foul line. Cooling down afterward is also important, along with stretching.
Make sure your daughter or son remains hydrated, whether they are running a few laps for practice or in the zone during a competition. Being prepared with a first-aid kit could also help if they receive minor injuries. For more detail, here is a basketball equipment safety list to support players.
- Elbow pads: Because basketball is a contact sport, elbow pads can protect others and reduce the chance of them getting hurt.
- Goggles: Goggles are a sure way to protect your eyes from unsolicited pokes and elbow hits.
- Knee pads: When you fall after a layup shot or because of an opponent, knee pads can protect you — even if you dive on the floor to save an out-of-bounds ball.
- Mouthpiece: Custom-fit for your mouth, mouth guards protect your teeth, cheeks, tongue and lips — especially when you go in after a rebound.
- Proper shoes: Appropriate basketball sneakers will protect your son or daughter’s ankles from rolling or spraining. They will provide comfort and support in all the right areas throughout the game.
Some players won’t want — or need — to wear goggles or knee pads. Safety gear depends on what the player is most comfortable with while playing on the court.
Buying Basketball Equipment for Teams
Although basketball equipment for an individual player encompasses most items you will need during the season, there are several things you may need as a team.
- Ball carts: Ball carts help keep basketballs from rolling around the court. During training, each player may need a ball, or the coach may only need one for a scrimmage. You can place extra basketballs in the cart and wheel it around for easier access.
- Folding chairs: Folding chairs are available for team members to sit on the sidelines while they are taking a break from the game or gearing up to go back in. You can customize chairs for each team as well as each player.
- Pinnies: Basketball leagues for beginners don’t always have uniforms. Instead, kids put on different-colored pinnies. Pinnies are also vital pieces of gear for scrimmages and drills during practice. They can help distinguish between defense and offense, or help delineate different positions.
- Playmaker dry-erase board: A playmaker dry-erase board is a bigger version of the coach’s. Instead of being hand-help, purchasing a portable dry-erase board helps each player visualize different positions, plays and scenarios. A coach can draw on the board to further clarify shooting and defensive drills or to discuss individual plays during halftime or practice.
- Power grip: Basketball team equipment can include power grip. It’s like liquid chalk to increase a player’s grip while shooting the ball. As you run up and down the court, your hands become sweaty and slippery. But with the chalk, your hands remain dry and ready for a strong performance.
- Team bags: Team bags are popular pieces of equipment, often embellished with team names, logos or players’ names. Everyone can store their gear in one place.
- Uniforms: Uniforms designate numbers to players and help referees distinguish between the home and away team. They provide a sense of unity among players, while also proving useful to spectators in the stadium.
- Warmup jackets and pants or sweatshirts: Along with uniforms and team bags, matching warmup outfits or sweatshirts allow a basketball team to feel like one. With players’ numbers, names and the team’s name on the warmup jackets or sweatshirts, everyone will show up to each competition with pride and integrity.
Basketball Equipment for Coaches
Learning about basketball equipment and their uses is not only for players and teams, but also important for coaches. They also need to prepare for training sessions and games. Refer to the following list of essential basketball equipment for coaches.
- Ball locker: Keep all your basketballs secure in one area with a ball locker. It’s accessible for players to grab a ball to start shooting, and at the end of the practice, it can help store the balls safely and securely.
- Flip a score: When you are scrimmaging within your team or another team, using a flipping scoreboard helps keep track of points.
- Lineup card: A lineup card assists you in keeping track of who are starter players and who are first to sub-in during a game.
- Coach’s board: A playmaker is a simple whiteboard with the design of a basketball court. It helps you and your players visualize different plays and keeps everyone on the same page.
- Scorebook: A scorebook not only helps you keep track of the number of points each team earns, but it also indicates time left in the game, fouls and period, along with which players scored and played throughout each period.
- Stopwatch: A stopwatch helps keep track of game time, playing time and other features during a competition. It can also assist you in practices for timed runs, shooting drills or agility tests.
- Whistle: Whistles are perfect for getting your players’ attention, whether you want to indicate a foul, timeout or out-of-bounds play. You can stop any practice or game to direct players.
Coaches can also invest in basketballs, training equipment and other gear for their players. If basketball programs don’t provide uniforms for players, they either rely on basketball shorts and athletic shorts or purchase matching jerseys.
The list above includes appropriate equipment needed for basketball, so you can continue coaching to the best of your abilities. Use a playmaker to indicate player positions and various plays during a full-court press or different defense tactics. A whistle will prove useful in more ways than one and help save your voice.
Maintaining Basketball Equipment
For your basketball equipment to last several seasons, proper maintenance is key. No matter if you play year-round or seasonally, it’s vital to store your gear at room temperature and keep things clean.
Before washing your daughter’s or son’s basketball uniform, air it out, making sure it’s dry. Sweaty socks and shirts are a breeding ground for bacteria — to avoid damp clothing, have your child store their washable items in a ventilated locker.
Wash shirts, socks, shorts and other necessary items in cold water under the gentle cycle with mild detergent. Never dry clean or use chlorine bleach, as it will ruin uniforms. When you wash jersey uniforms, clean them inside out to protect the numbers on the back. You can follow the same steps to wash any sports bags, as they can fill up with smells of sweat from basketball practices and games.
Maintaining your equipment also mean keeping the right air pressure in your basketball. The instruction sheet you receive after purchase will indicate the appropriate inflation. Compared to washing clothes, cleaning a basketball depends on the type you use. Here are three examples.
- Leather: Clean your ball using a natural leather cleaner and a soft cloth, but never submerge it in water.
- Synthetic: Use soap, warm water and a damp cloth to wipe the surface of your basketball. Dry it in a well-ventilated area and keep it away from direct sun.
- Rubber: Maintain your ball using soap and water, but you can scrub the surface with pressure. You can also use a sponge, cloth or soft brush to get into deeper areas.
Be aware intense detergents can cause color distortion.
Making sure your gear is clean is one of the smartest steps in helping it last long-term. Wipe off dirt and debris from your basketball and shoes after each game or practice. You can hand-wash your other equipment with warm water and mild soap and store it somewhere dry. Investing in several plastic storage bins can be a good tactic, too.
You should never expose your gear to harsh elements such as direct sunlight, rain or cold weather. Never sit on basketballs, and remember to only use each piece of equipment for its intended purpose. In situations where you may be storing things for extended periods, you can also get a professional to clean your items, which will get rid of odors, bacteria and dirt.
Buy Basketball Equipment Online
SV Sports is your go-to store to purchase basketball equipment. Now that you have the essentials in mind, you can either visit us in-store or buy online. If you see a piece of equipment you like online, you can check in-store availability by using our convenient store locator tool available on each product page. Our friendly team of in-store professionals are knowledgeable when it comes to basketball equipment. Whether you are purchasing a basketball or need the correct mouth guard, our helpful sales associates can help.
You also have the option to buy online. With further questions about our basketball equipment or other products, contact SV Sports online. Browse our selection today!