Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Effect of Ball Mass on Dribble, Pass, and Pass Reception in 9-11-Year-Old Boys' Basketball

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

Effect of Ball Mass on Dribble, Pass, and Pass Reception in 9-11-Year-Old Boys' Basketball

Article excerpt

The objective of the study was to analyze the effect of ball mass on dribble, pass, and pass reception in real game situations in 9-11-year-old boys' basketball. Participants were 54 boys identified from six federated teams. The independent variable was ball mass, and dependent variables were number of dribbles, passes, and pass receptions. Three situations were established in which the participants played four games with each of the following: (a) regulation ball (485 g, 69-71 cm), (b) ball of smaller mass (440 69-71 cm), and (c) ball of greater mass (540 g, 69-71 cm). Four observers recorded data from observing game videos using a computerized register instrument. Participants executed more dribbles, passes, and pass receptions with the 440g ball when compared to the regulation (p <.05) and 540-g ball (p < .01). Reduction of ball mass seems to have enabled the children to go from paying attention to aspects related to ball handling to aspects of game interpretation.

Key words: children, physical education, rule modification, team sport


Children normally lack the strength and physical characteristics required to use the equipment used in adult sports. Various studies proposed game modifications as a strategy to adapt the game to children's interests, possibilities, and needs (Evans, 1980; Kirk, 2004). Studies of basketball support use of basketball equipment suitable for children's physical characteristics and training needs (Chase, Ewing, Lirgg, & George, 1994; Regimbal, Deller, & Plimpton, 1992; Satern, Messier, & Keller-McNulty, 1989). The problem is that most studies analyzed equipment modifications with tests and in conditions dissimilar from those in a real basketball game.

The internal logic of a game, that is, the dynamic relations established between structural elements and players, is defined by rules (Parlebas, 1999) that determine participant relationships in game action, with: (a) other participants, (b) game space, (c) equipment, and (d) the mode in which they adjust to game time. When changing a rule, such as the size of the game ball, game actions may change. Such a change requires that studies be conducted to analyze subsequent game action. Changes during game play can be seen in game actions as visible results of internal logic. Game action is expressed through motor behaviors that can be objectively observed.

The ball is an important piece of equipment that mediates confrontation in team sports (i.e., the ball determines the attacking or defending team). The literature on motor learning and development recommends using a ball with a smaller circumference (63.83 cm) when learning to dribble (Burton & Welch, 1990). An increase in circumference tends to make throwing more difficult (Burton, Greer, & Wiese, 1992). However, there is no agreement about what kind of ball would facilitate pass reception (Evans, 1980; Isaacs, 1980; Koslow, 1985; Payne, 1985).

In a literature review, we found several studies of youth basketball that analyzed the effect of ball dimensions through shooting tests. These studies indicated that a ball of smaller dimensions (496-538.65 g and 70.8-73 cm) allowed for better shot technique (Regimbal et al., 1992) or did not impair it (Satern et al., 1989), satisfied children's preferences (Regimbal et al., 1992), increased their levels of perceived self-efficacy (Chase et al., 1994), and increased shot effectiveness (Isaacs & Karpman, 1981; Regimbal et al., 1992) or did not impair it (Chase et al., 1994; Satern et al., 1989).

Pinar (2005) and Arias, Argudo, and Alonso (2009) conducted two studies on youth basketball games. One of Pinar's objectives was to increase the frequency of passes per ball possession. Pinar modified: (a) court size, (b) free-throw line, (c) three-point line, (d) game duration, and (e) number of players. There were no differences in the average number of passes after introducing the modifications (0-2 passes: 86. …

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