Wheelchair Basketball Travelling Rule

The biggest difference between regular basketball and wheelchair basketball is the travelling rule.  In regular basketball, this means that if someone stops dribbling, they are only allow to take three steps before they have to pass the pall to someone else or make a shot for the basket.  This is obviously not enforceable with those in a wheelchair, so how has this rule been changed?

The rule is actually very simple: rather than three steps, it has been changed with two touches of the wheels.  Hence, an athlete must pass, bounce or shoot the ball if they have stopped dribbling and touch their wheels twice

Got a question? Email us

So is this the only rule that is different between regular and wheelchair basketball?  Amazingly enough, yes it is.  In fact, the basket is at the exact same height (10 foot) and the court is the same size.  Naturally, it is impossible for someone in a wheelchair to do a slam dunk, but if they were to find a way to do it, they would be allowed to.

Because of this extreme similarity between wheelchair basketball and able-bodied basketball, there are a number of countries that allow – and encourage – mixed play.  Presently, Australia, Canada and England all have mixed teams and a team is not allowed to refuse a person access to the team based on the fact that they are in a wheelchair.  This type of inclusivity must be applauded and it is hoped that other countries will soon follow suit.

There is one other rule to understand within wheelchair basketball, however, which is particularly important for mixed teams.  A player is given a classification number that denotes his or her level of disability.  A classification of 1 is majorly disabled, such as a paraplegic, and a 4.5 is minimally disabled (5 is not disabled at all).  In order to ensure there is equality, one team of five players may not have more than 15 points between them.