With the advancement of home basketball goal technology, more and more families have adjustable goals for their children. While these are often bought for the sake of older children who wish to enjoy dunking the basketball, adjustable goals are a great way to help young children learn the fundamentals of shooting. However, it's difficult to know just how high to set the ball for the effective development of your child's skills.
To determine the correct height for your child, you'll need to consider multiple factors. Unfortunately, in spite of youth league regulations, there is no single correct answer that works for every young player.
The first thing to consider when adjusting your home basketball goal is the age of your players. Younger children will require a lower rim height and a smaller ball in order to learn the proper fundamentals of the shooting motion. As they age, you'll want to gradually raise the rim until middle school, when teams will almost undoubtedly play on the regulation rim height of 10 feet.
Around age 5, setting the rim at 6 feet is a good place to start. Any lower than that and the upward part of the shooting motion is compromised. Young players won't learn to drive up with their legs and to shoot with a soft arc if the rim is too low.
The American Sport Education Program suggests that the rims be raised from 6 feet to 8 feet during 3rd and 4th grade years, before being raised to 9 feet in 5th grade. This leads nicely to 10 foot rims in 6th grade. However, these regulations, while useful, only begin to get a family in the right ballpark.
You child's strength plays a big part in setting the height of your goal. That's because the legs are a critical element in a proper basketball shot. You'll want to keep the goal adjusted so that it is high enough to force your child to drive upward with their legs--but not so high that they end up throwing the ball instead of shooting it.
The best way to tell if your child is strong enough to play on a raised rim is to note their shooting range. If they're comfortable shooting from beyond 15 feet out, the rim should be raised immediately. Otherwise, a lazy lower body movement can develop and cause problems for your child down the road.
Conversely, if your child never shoots from outside of 5 feet, consider lowering the goal. Remember, your child needs to develop form as much as they need to develop strength. Sure, a high rim will force your child to work hard--but their form will suffer greatly.
Another element to consider is the size of basketball that your child uses. Coaches use different sizes of basketball when developing youth players. Each size brings certain benefits and drawbacks--but also require a higher or lower rim for maximum effectiveness.
Some players begin by using a size 3 mini basketball. This size seems great for small hands, and young players can get the ball up to a high rim easily. However, dribbling is often difficult due to the small size of the basketball.
On the other hand, some players begin with a size 5 youth basketball. This ball is much larger and heavier, making it easier to dribble. The drawback is that lower rims are required. If your child uses a mini, you might be able to start at 8 feet. If they're using a size 5, you'll probably want to start from 6 feet.
All of these factors should go into your decision about the height of your goal. Just remember--the enjoyment your child experiences when playing is the most important thing. Nothing impacts a child's development more than having a great time when they play. For more information, contact a basketball hoop dealer, such as Tree Frogs Wooden Swing Set Factory.