Basic Rules of the Game

The rules for wheelchair basketball vary little from those of stand up basketball. In Canada, FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules are used with minor changes to reflect the use of a wheelchair as defined by the IWBF or International Wheelchair Basketball Federation. Only a few adaptations are made for the mechanics of wheelchair motion and the necessity to play from a sitting, rather than a standing position. The adaptations do not change the way the sport is played, but instead are used to interpret the rules affected by the use of a wheelchair.

Wheelchair Basketball is played on a standard sized basketball court. For adults, the height of the basket, distance to the foul line, three-point line, etc., are the same measurements as in the game of stand up basketball. For juniors, some programs offer lower hoop heights to ensure that they have a positive experience.

The game is played by five players from two opposing teams, in four quarters of 10 minutes each. There is a 24-second shot clock, which means a team must shoot at the basket within 24 seconds of gaining possession of the ball.

There are a few obvious differences that need to be considered. The major differences between wheelchair basketball and the running game are:

  • The wheelchair is considered part of the player's body in relation to establishing responsibility for contact on court in the case of charging, blocking, going out of bounds, and other violations. Charging and blocking depends on where your chair is in relation to your opponent's chair and the speed at which you are both traveling. This rule is the hardest to get used to and takes time before players to adjust to.
  • A player can push their wheelchair and bounce the ball simultaneously, however, if the ball is picked up and/or placed on the players lap, the player is only allowed to push twice before they are must shoot, pass, or dribble the ball again.
  • There is no double dribble rule in wheelchair basketball. A traveling violation occurs if the player takes more than two pushes while in possession of the ball and not dribbling. The distance a player coasts between pushes in not restricted.
  • In addition to the technical fouls that may be assessed from time to time in stand-up basketball, player advantage fouls will be called if an athlete uses their legs to raise themselves in their seats, steer their chairs or balance themselves in any way to gain advantage.

For more information on official rules and regulations click here.