About Wheelchair Basketball
Wheelchair basketball is a fun, fast-paced, exciting, and strategic sport. Not surprisingly, it’s one of the most popular spectator sports at the Paralympic Games.
The sport is highly developed in Ontario, with numerous clubs and programs available across the province for youth and adults alike.
In Canada, wheelchair basketball is a fully inclusive sport, and anyone can play up to a provincial level – including able-bodied athletes! It is also common for club teams to have mixed-gender teams.
The sport can be played by athletes with many different physical abilities and not all athletes who play wheelchair basketball require the use of a wheelchair for daily life.
Wheelchair Basketball Equipment
One of the attractions to wheelchair basketball is that it does not require the use of much equipment. All players need for this fun team game is a sport chair, a ball, a basket, and some friends!
No sport chair? No problem!
Athletes, especially those just starting out, are usually able to access a sport wheelchair through their local club or program, or through ONPARA. We want to make sure that the cost of equipment is never a barrier to participation! Find more information on the ONPARA Wheelchair Loans program here.
The rules of wheelchair basketball are very similar to stand-up or able-bodied basketball. For example, the court dimensions, the height of the basket, and the distance to the foul and three-point lines, etc., are the same measurements as in the game of basketball.
There are only a few basic rule changes that have been made to adapt basketball to wheelchair play:
- A traveling violation occurs if the player takes more than two pushes while in possession of the ball without dribbling. A player may wheel the chair and bounce the ball simultaneously, however, if the ball is picked up and/or placed on the player’s lap, he or she is only allowed to push twice before being obligated to shoot, pass, or dribble the ball again.
- There is no ‘double dribble’ rule in wheelchair basketball.
- The player must remain firmly seated in the chair. The player may not lift themselves out of the chair to shoot, rebound, or pass the ball, or attempt to block shot or a pass from an opponent, or attempt to secure a pass from a teammate. They must also not use their lower limbs to steer the chair or gain an unfair advantage. This can result in a technical foul.
Note: The wheelchair is considered a part of the body and any contact is treated in the same manner as contact with the body in the stand-up game.
Wheelchair Basketball Classification
Wheelchair basketball athletes are assigned a point value (class) based on their functional ability. In Canada, classifications are closely based on the international classification system and range from 1.0 to 4.5. Lower classification athletes are more limited in their physical function while athletes assigned to higher classes have few if any limitations. The total number of points on the court assigned for each of the five players may not exceed 15 points at any one time in most Canadian divisions.
For example, five 4.0’s would not be allowed to play because their points on the floor would equal 20.0, thus exceeding the 15.0 allowance.
Where Can I Play?
There are opportunities to participate in wheelchair basketball at all levels, from recreational to high performance!
Find a complete list of wheelchair basketball clubs and programs across the province here.
Competitions & Tournaments
Play in our provincial league. There’s something for everyone! Find out more about the Great Lakes Conference Provincial League (Divisions 1, 2 & 3) here.
Clubs teams can compete every year in the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship – Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s premiere national event on the annual domestic calendar.
Find out more about the opportunity to compete at a provincial level as part of Team Ontario
High Performance Coordinator, Wheelchair Basketball