Discovering Wheelchair Basketball: What You Didn’t Know16 Sep
This week we’re taking a look at Wheelchair Basketball, an amazing, inclusive, fun sport!
Wheelchair Basketball has been around since 1944 and was invented by World War II veterans because there was an increase in disabilities due to the war. The Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club are based at Ellesmere Port Sports Village and welcome mixed genders and ages in their teams so that anyone can join in! You might not know much about the sport, so we’re here today to answer a few simple questions!
Who Can Play?
Anyone can play Wheelchair Basketball – and we mean anyone! Wheelchair Basketball embraces a wide range of disabilities including paraplegics, spina bifida, amputees, brittle bones, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis. Each player is assessed on their functional capacity to complete the skills necessary to play – pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching. It is not an assessment of a player’s level of skill, just their functional capacity to complete the task. At this level, the game isn’t restricted to only those with a disability, either. 25% – 30% of The Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club are able bodied, because it really is a sport for all! The team accepts anyone – one father decided to join the team with his son who has a disability, and it was the first time they were able to play a sport together which just shows how universal Wheelchair Basketball is!
What are the rules?
They’re not too different to running basketball – the court size and the height of the basket are exactly the same. When it comes to moving with the ball, players must bounce the ball after every two pushes of their wheels otherwise the referee will call a travelling penalty. Each game is played for 40 minutes, this is split into four 10 minute quarters. It’s not all about rules though! Speaking to Anna Jackson, the Head Coach and Team Player, she says “Its just about having fun and doing something you love”. We love this sentiment, as it’s what sports are all about!
What equipment do I need?
The wheelchairs all have anti-tip casters, which are used to prevent the wheelchair from tipping backwards. Top Wheelchair Basketball players will use special designed titanium or aluminium chairs designed and built using the latest technology! These can cost up to £5,000 but can only last for as little as 6 months when at high levels of competition!
How can I get involved?
Wheelchair Basketball is a great sport to get involved with whether playing or watching! You can join in with the fun with the Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball team! They are always looking for new people to join in with the fun, whether that be as a spectator, player or a coach, and for people who want to get involved in something a bit different and make a positive contribution towards the team.
It’s important to spread word about the opportunities that Wheelchair Basketball brings, Anna says “Anyone can play and its a sport for everyone”. The club have great ties with each other and it feels like a community. If you’ve been inspired by the 2016 Paralympic Games, then now’s as good a time as any to get involved! For more information, visit the Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club website!