Basketball Australia today announced its Aussie Hoops program will introduce a size 4 Spalding basketball as part of their participation pack for all new registrations.
The new size 4 ball will be rolled out as of Term 3 2019, beginning July 15. The introduction of the size 4 basketball is in line with the mini-basketball guidelines set out by FIBA which outline a number of suggested modifications to effectively develop the skills of basketball for early primary school age groups. These suggestions comprise of alterations to rules, number of players on court and equipment including ring height and basketball size. “With over 60% of Aussie Hoops participants in the prep to grade 2 age bracket, the size 4 basketball is ideal for children to improve their skills and enjoy the game at the introductory level,” said Basketball Australia CEO, Jerril Rechter.
The benefits of a size 4 basketball feature greater hand surface space on the ball, improved control while dribbling, increased success with passing and shooting due to reduced weight and when combined with a lower ring height. Research conducted at the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) by Adam Gorman (who currently works at the Queensland University of Technology or QUT) and colleagues Ian Renshaw and Karen Topp from QUT, Jonathon Headrick from Griffith University and Christopher McCormack from USC provided further evidence that a size 4 basketball is suitable for introductory programs. Comparing hand-to-ball size ratios in junior and senior basketballers, Gorman and colleagues found that scaling the ball to a size 4 was likely to be the optimal size for the average hand for 11-year-old male participants. A smaller basketball tended to increase steals/interceptions and three-point attempts while also tending to lead to more chest passes and passes inside the key, enabling younger athletes to enjoy a wider array of features of the game. Aussie Hoops ambassador and Australian Boomer Matthew Dellavedova was excited about the introduction of a size 4 basketball. "I think Aussie Hoops moving to a size 4 ball and lower ring height will be great to focus on development,” Dellavedova said. “In addition, it will better line up with the kids skills and physical development so they can continue to work on proper technique."