The Effects of a Surface on Bouncing a Basketball

If you play basketball long enough, you will eventually find yourself using different kinds of playing surfaces. As a player, it is important that you know the effects that a specific surface will have on bouncing a basketball. If you do not, you may find yourself unable to dribble the basketball as well as you would like, and this will keep you from doing your best.


Hardwood Floors

If you play basketball inside a gym, you will most likely be playing on a wood court. Ideally, these are the best floors to play basketball on, and if you go to any of the different NBL arenas, you will see that the games are played on a wood court. Overall, these are the best surfaces for dribbling a basketball. However, some older wooden floors have suffered water damage and can be very difficult to dribble a basketball on. This is because of “dead spots” in different locations on the floor. When you bounce the basketball on these different spots, the ball dies and does not bounce back up very well. This can be challenging to deal with when playing a competitive game of basketball.


Concrete playing surface

Asphalt/Cement Courts

When you play basketball outside, you are primarily playing on either an asphalt or cement surface. This is the type of surface in your driveway or your neighbourhood park. Both of these surfaces are adequate for dribbling a basketball when they are new, but they will become more difficult to handle the basketball on as they age. If the surface is painted and sealed — as compared to being left to sun exposure — it will make a big difference. Assess each surface individually to see how well the basketball is going to bounce on it before playing.


Multipurpose Courts

Multipurpose courts are made out of a tiled plastic material or a hard rubber surface. These surfaces are less expensive to install than wooden floors and are better for non-basketball activities. You will find them in a lot of smaller schools and community recreation centres. When they are new, they offer a great surface to dribble the basketball on, but as time goes by and the amount of foot traffic increases, they begin to lose some of their bounce. The plastic tiled floors begin to develop the “dead spots” similar to older wood floors, and it becomes a challenge to dribble the basketball.


Angels Gate Park, San Pedro, CA

Tips and Considerations

Adjust the amount of air in the basketball if you are having trouble bouncing it on a specific surface. You may have to experiment a bit, but the increased ease of dribbling the ball will make the effort worth it. Also, use the appropriate type of basketball for the surface. Basketball 91 notes that you should use a leather ball only on an indoor court, as outdoor use may damage the ball. Composite or synthetic leather balls are better for outdoor courts, and rubber basketballs are best for beginners, according to Basketball 91.


Which Floor Is Best for a Basketball?

The best floor surface for indoor basketball is hardwood. Natural wood floors have been the floor of choice for decades and are standard in all professional and college basketball games. The most common wood type for indoor hardwood floors is Victorian Ash, although some courts use a Tasmanian Oak or Messmate. Victorian Ash is best because it offers the flexibility and durability that is valued by players for performance and safety. Because Victorian Ash is a more resilient wood, it offers a more forgiving surface for players when they fall or hit the floor, as do Tasmanian Oak and Messmate.


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