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Wheelchair Basketball Rules

This guide explains the rules of wheelchair basketball adaptations. The modifications do not change how to play wheelchair basketball seated in a chair.

IWBF 2022 RULES: Of course, there are some minor alterations from the stand up game.

They govern and reflect the adaptations of using wheelchairs on the floor.

The modified regulations interpret the rules for wheelchair basketball. They regulate a game affected by the use of a chair instead of standing.

Slight ruling variations accommodate and adapt to the different situations. They relate to mechanics of wheelchair motion and playing from a sitting position.

The current rules of wheelchair basketball get based on the official FIBA Laws of the Game. Founded in 1973, the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation adapted the rules to suit.

IWBF Rules of Wheelchair Basketball

There are some differing regulations and established guidelines. They govern the type of approved wheelchair used in the game.

Wheelchair Specifications

They help to make the playing environment safe and fair for all players. Basketball wheelchairs are not permitted if the seat height is more than 21 inches off the ground. Mechanized or motorized chairs are not allowed at all.

Court Regulations

Competitors play wheelchair basketball on a standard sized basketball court. The hoop height and distance to the foul lines are the same dimensions and measurements as in the adult stand up sport. Some programs for juniors provide a lower wheelchair basketball hoop height.

Wheelchair Player Rules

A maximum of five players can play on court and they may get chosen from a squad of 12 players.

Two opposing teams will play four periods of 10 minutes per quarter.

Players often need to have documented and demonstrated lower-extremity disability. This may include partial or complete paralysis.

It can also be for partial or complete loss of part of a leg, or shortening of a limb.

Certain conditions alone, such as pain or numbness in the legs does not officially qualify someone to play competitive wheelchair basketball rules.

Dribbling Procedures

There are several striking differences between traditional basketball rules and wheelchair basketball. The most obvious contrast is how players dribble and pass the ball. You must wheel yourself around the floor with the ball as opposed to walking or running with it.

Most of the international wheelchair basketball rules define a dribble. They say it’s a player using his or her hands to push the wheel of his or her wheelchair two times, along with one dribble of the ball.

Combining two pushes with one dribble is a legal dribble. Players can wheel their chair as much as they want following these dribbling procedures.

Wheelchair Pivot

Wheelchair basketball rules and regulations allow pivoting. The technique gets performed by turning the wheels in opposite directions. There is no game law violation to the regulations providing the pivot gets conducted in one spot and not in a certain direction.

Tilting Chair

Wheelchair tilting is one of the most violated rules. Tilting means the chair’s footrest – or a player’s foot – makes contact with the floor.

This is most likely to happen when you lean forward or to the side. You will hear the referee’s whistle and the ball gets awarded to the opposite team if this occurs.

10 Rules for Playing Wheelchair Basketball

  • The rules of wheelchair basketball are much like Olympic Basketball. But, one regulation stands out the most – the 24 second shot clock law.
  • Each team gets 24 seconds from taking possession of the ball to complete an attempted shot at the basket.
  • One point gets scored for a successful free-throw. You get two points for a normal field basket score. Three points occurs for a successful shot made from behind the arc of the three-point line.
  • Players should throw or bounce the ball after every two pushes of the wheels on their chairs. This avoids getting penalized for wheelchair basketball travelling rule.
  • There is no double dribble rule in wheelchair basketball.
  • The distance a player coasts between chair pushes in not restricted.
  • Any player committing 5 personal fouls in the game must get replaced by another player.
  • Wheelchair basketball rules and regulations consider the chair as part of the player’s body. This relates to any case of charging, blocking, or going out of bounds. The same applies for other violations in relation to your opponent’s chair. It also governs the speed at which you are both traveling. Adjusting to this rule is usually the most difficult for seated chair players.
  • If you pick up the ball or place it on your lap you can only push twice before you must shoot, pass, or dribble the ball again.
  • Player advantage fouls may get called if an athlete uses their legs to raise themselves in their seats. The same applies for steering their chairs or balancing themselves to gain advantage.

British Wheelchair Basketball Classification

Wheelchair basketball classification gets based on the players’ functional capacity to complete the skills necessary to play. That includes pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching the ball.

The wheelchair basketball adaptations for competitions at the Paralympic Games means the game gets played in wheelchairs. It is open to athletes with a permanent physical impairment in the lower limb(s) which can be objectively verified.

Impairments may include paraplegia, lower limb amputations, cerebral palsy, and polio. Not all players are daily wheelchair users, so athletes can be ambulant.


10 Basic Rules of Basketball: How to play basketball for complete beginners.
Basketball Rules and Regulations: Check out FIBA regulations for playing basketball.
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Basketball Timekeepers: The role and specific duties of a timekeeper in basketball.
IWBF Official Wheelchair Basketball Rules: [PDF Download Option]

IWBF Wheelchair Basketball Rules and Regulations Played in the United Kingdom