An Introduction To… Wheelchair Basketball

By Greg Potts
Looking to get into wheelchair basketball but don’t know where to start?
We’ve compiled a quick list of the rules and regulations you’ll need to know so you can get playing as soon as possible.
USA’s Alana Nichols in the Bronze Medal Match against the Netherlands at London 2012.
USA’s Alana Nichols in the Bronze Medal Match against the Netherlands at London 2012. Photo: Scott Heavey / Getty Images Europe

Where can I start playing in London? 

(All offer a free first session to try out the sport!)

Surrey Rams Wheelchair Basketball Club – Fridays, Sunbury Manor School, Middlesex

London Titans Wheelchair Basketball Club – Wednesdays, Olympic Park, Stratford

London Sparrows Wheelchair Basketball Club – Fridays and Saturdays, Hackney

The Court

Wheelchair basketball uses the exact same dimensions and markings as a running basketball court, so courts are available at nearly all local leisure centres!

Scoring is the same too, with one point for a free throw, two for a basket inside the three-point line and of course, three points for a shot from anywhere else on the court.

Wheelchair basketball is played on the same courts as running basketball. Photo:


Matches are split into four quarters, each 10 minutes long. As in running basketball, the shot clock (the time each team has in possession before shooting) is set at just 24 seconds. So wheelchair basketball is a fast paced and intense sport!

Players also can’t stay in the key (the square in front of the basket) for longer than three seconds!


Team GB’s Jon Pollock is fouled while shooting at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics. Photo: Adam Pretty / Getty Images AsiaPac


There is no double dribble rule in wheelchair basketball. Inst
ead, if a player picks up the ball or puts it in his/her lap and pushes the wheelchair more than twice it is considered travelling. You can travel as far as you like while pushing the chair and bouncing the ball at the same time.


The wheelchair is considered part of the player so blocking, charging, pushing and holding are all fouls. The referees may also call a technical foul if a player leaves their seat to gain an advantage.


In wheelchair basketball, both teams have 5 players on the court at all times. Each player is given a classification ranging from 1.0 (least mobile) to 4.5 (most mobile) and the team must not have players with a classification score of more than 14.0 on the court at a time.


Team GB’s Harry Brown offers some tips and tricks in this pre-Rio, National Lottery video.


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