Inflating or Deflating the Basketball for an Advantage

under-inflated ball?

As I was researching articles and examples for our new Assist Map feature, I came across a completely stunning basketball hack I never considered: Modifying the inflated PSI pressure of the basketball to suit your team’s strengths. The New England Patriots in 2015 were caught doing this in a “cheating” sort of a way in the Deflategate scandal, but for your own team you can make the ball more or less bouncy within the legal limits of your league. Most balls have a recommended range for PSI between 7 and 9.

When to Over-Inflate the Ball

An over-inflated ball will be bouncier. This will result in longer rebounds, and slightly less accurate outside shooting. It’s also an advantage for teams that like to play fast, since a bouncier ball is easier to run-dribble with.

Conversely, an under-inflated ball works for teams that like to play slow, and who rely on three point shooting and other outside shots. Taller teams probably want rebounds nearer the basket to accentuate the height advantage they have.

The inspiration for this post (with a lot of detailed math and uber basketball geekery), is found in this article.

Do you have another theory on the advantages of hard or soft basketballs for your team? Please share!

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