Is Your Child Playing with The Right Size Basketball?

In Basketball, Equipment
By Alex Flanagan | January 18, 2017

Is Your Child Playing with The Right Size Basketball?

By Alex Flanagan

If your child is playing basketball it’s important to make sure they are using with the right size ball. Yes. Basketballs come in many different sizes, ranging from size 1 to size 7. The sizing number assigned each ball is based on the circumference and even though it can seem like a small size variation it can make a huge difference.

Michael Rausa is a Regional Director for One on One Basketball. He advises that younger players shoot a smaller ball and also use a lower rim. “If they are using a basketball that is too big or if they are shooting on a rim that is too high their technique will suffer,” warns Rausa.

Throwing a baseball or a football requires a lot of turn in the hips, waist and shoulders. But when you shoot a basketball you want to be squared up to the basket and use your legs to generate power. Your shoulders should stay square and not rotate. If the ball is too heavy Rausa says even a good athlete will sacrifice form to make shots by twisting their shoulders to get the ball to the rim. “If you start with a small ball and a short rim the kids will feel more comfortable using good form and will start to gain confidence,” he says.
finding the right size b-ball


  • SIZE 7: 29.5 in22oz.  Also called “OFFICIAL SIZE“.  Used by boys in high school, college, and the NBA. Recommended for boys 15 years and older.

  • SIZE 6: 28.5 in20 oz. Also called “INTERMEDIATE SIZE“. For Boys ages 12-14 and Girls ages 12 and older. (But often used in youth leagues with younger kids–see below) This is the size used for women in high school, college, and the WNBA. Also used in many youth basketball programs.

  • SIZE 5: 27.5 in,17 oz. Also called “YOUTH SIZE“. Boys and girls ages 9-11 years old. This is considered the standard youth basketball, but I find most youth leagues for kids ages 9-11, including my own, play with a 28.5 inch ball. The bigger the basketball, the easier it is for kids to dribble.  

  • SIZE 4: 25.5 in, 14oz. Also called a “JUNIOR BALL“. Recommended for boys and girls 5-8, but most kids in this age range us the mini so it can be a tough size to find.



  • SIZE 3:22 IN 10oz. Also called  the “MINI“. It is recommended for kids ages  4-8 years old.

  • SIZE 1: 16 in, 8oz.  Also called the “Micro-mini“. For boys and girls ages 2-4 year olds.

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Alex Flanagan co-founded I love to watch you play in 2015. She was flying home from an NFL work assignment when a learning specialist, who was sitting next to her, shared 5 reasons she shouldn’t feel guilty missing her son’s game. She shared their conversation on her own website and the response was so overwhelming it inspired her to create ILTWYP to help parents like herself navigate youth sports.





  1. Why is a bigger basketball easier for kids to dribble (28.5″ vs. 27.5″)? I think it would be easiest to dribble the one that is the correct size for the player.


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