How to choose the right basketball for you.
Basketballs come in a range of materials & sizes. In this blog we discuss these official recommendations to help you choose and understand & right ball for your game.
Decathlon Ireland
September 10, 2021

The main factors to consider when choosing a basketball are the age of the player, gender and whether you’re playing in an indoor environment or outdoor environment.
In this blog we will break down the differences and recommendations to help you choose and understand the right ball for your game. 

Choosing the right basketball will help you play to your full potential whether it’s a game of street basketball or a match in an indoor court, differences which we will also discuss below.

Firstly, basketball recommendations by the NBA (National Basketball Association) are categorised by both age and gender. These recommendations are based on the average height and hand size of the individual to allow for a perfect match between an individual and the ball they play with.

The recommended size basketball by age & gender:

For children of any gender:

For kids between the ages of 4-6 years old, a size 3 ball would be best suited. However, for older kids between the ages of 7-10 years old, a size 5 ball is recommended.

As children generally have smaller hands, it makes sense that their ball is also smaller to allow them to have better grip and to play with ease. Larger balls can make it difficult for children to perfect basic basketball drills and fundamentals which can be frustrating. With a smaller, more suitable ball, basketball can be more enjoyable and slightly easier to master for younger kids.

Older boys & men:

For older, teenage boys aged 12+ and men, the recommended size is a size 7. The National Basketball Association (NBA) states that a size 7 basketball is the official size for men, again based off the average sized hand for comfort and grip.

Here at Decathlon a great ball for recreational play would be a BT500 GRIP FIBA S7 brown

Older girls & women:

And finally, for girls aged 12+ and women a size 6 basketball is recommended. The size 6 basketballs are designed to help women perform better as generally womens’ hands are smaller than mens’. The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) states that a size 6 basketball is the official size for women. 

The difference between indoor and outdoor basketballs:

Basketballs don’t only come in different sizes, they also come in different materials, which are more suitable for different conditions. These conditions being either an indoor or outdoor basketball court.

Indoor basketball:

Indoor basketballs are made of full-grain leather. Leather basketballs should only be used for indoor use because the concrete surface of an outdoor court can cause the leather to wear away which would ultimately ruin the ball’s grip. 

Although the full grain leather basketballs are expensive, they are definitely the right fit for an indoor court because the leather provides a better grip and feel. 

Indoor basketballs need to be used a few times before playing a game so they can become more soft and easier to grip. 

A great ball for both indoor and outdoor use would be the BT100 soft basketball. This ball is great for beginners who want to practice playing ball on any court!

Outdoor basketball: 

Outdoor basketballs are made of rubber as opposed to leather because the rubber material can adapt better to the rougher surface of a concrete outdoor court. 

Outdoor basketballs do not have to be broken in because of its rubber material. Basketballs made out of rubber usually bounce harder than indoor basketballs. 

A basketball made out of rubber and composite material (leather and plastic) will be the better option for beginners. These balls are made to last on rough surfaces and playing on an outdoor court is FREE.

Whether you want to play recreationally or for training, outdoor basketballs are more affordable and offer more bounce, therefore they are always the best option! 

A great ball for outdoors would be the BT500 size 7 grip ball


All you need for basketball at all ages or levels is available at Decathlon in store & online here. Whether it’s basketball hoop or basketball to play at home or basketball shoes, shorts or accessories for training in. 

At Decathlon, you have the flexibility to choose what is best for your needs. You are never too young or old to start!

Basketball is one of those sports that has everything. You can develop your team player skills or practice by yourself to work on your individual talent. If you have a good ball you can practice anywhere!

You can also book our Deca Court for free to play here.

Basketball, Decathlon Ireland, Basketball hoops online


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