Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Thousands of people attend games in stadiums or watch their favorite teams play on the TV. However, sometimes when people play basketball, the ball doesn’t bounce: what causes a basketball to not bounce?
A basketball doesn’t bound either because it does not have enough air inside or because the air is stale. If there is not enough air, you should fill it with air with an air pump. If the air is stale, you should first take out all the air and then fill it with air with an air pump.
Basketball is an extremely entertaining pastime, but only if you have equipment that works. More information about why basketballs deflate and how to inflate them is below.
Why Doesn’t Your Basketball Bounce?
There is one main reason why your basketball doesn’t bounce when you try to make it bounce so you can play basketball: it is flat. If your basketball is flat, there isn’t enough air in it to make it bounce. Instead, it will only bounce a few inches off the ground and then stay in place or roll a few inches away.
If your basketball is brand new and isn’t bouncing, it is either flat or the air is stale. Sometimes, air escapes from basketballs after they are put in the box and sold. If the air inside the basketball is extremely stale, sometimes it won’t bounce very high. If that is the case, let out all of the air and re-inflate it. (Source)
Basketballs are made to bounce, but only if they are inflated properly. Sometimes, it takes a few games to get used to the new basketball, but afterward, it should work well and bounce to your waist or slightly higher. If your basketball bounces much higher than your waist height, it has too much air inside. (Source)
Even if a basketball is extremely worn out, it will still bounce as long as it has not popped and still has a thin layer of the traditionally orange rubber coating.
Why Do Basketballs Go Flat?
Basketballs go flat when they are left unused or if they are stored in cold temperatures. Basketballs can also deflate if they are packed in a box or suitcase that is not made to carry basketballs, although most people don’t pack basketballs in their suitcase. (Source)
Basketballs lose a small amount of air when they are not used. It is not noticeable at first, as only a small amount of air is lost at a time, but if it is left unused for months or even years, your basketball will be extremely flat.
If you notice that your basketball is no longer round and instead is dipping slightly when placed on a flat surface, it is flat. The basketball will also be squishy if it is flat.
Basketballs also go flat when they are kept in cold areas. When the temperature goes down, air doesn’t circulate as quickly as it does in warm temperatures. Because the air isn’t circulating as fast inside of the basketball, it goes flat. When it is cold outside, people don’t often play basketball unless they have access to an indoor basketball court, which is another reason why basketballs deflate during the cold winter months.
If you don’t want to have to re-inflate your basketball, use it often and store it in a warm room. It is easy to determine whether or not your basketball is flat because you will see dips in the rubber or it will stay still when on a flat surface.
Do Basketballs Deflate as they are Used?
Basketballs deflate slightly as they are used. However, the rubber valve is air-tight and doesn’t let much air escape the basketball, even while it is being used.
If your basketball is losing air quickly as you use it, there is likely a small hole, the rubber valve is old and worn out, or the basketball is of low quality. There also could be debris stuck in the rubber air valve that is preventing it from closing completely, so air is escaping from the basketball.
Extremely old basketballs lose air relatively quickly because the rubber is worn out. However, the rubber valve doesn’t wear out easily as it is rarely manipulated.
If your basketball noticeably deflates as you use it, that may be a sign that you need to replace it with a new basketball, especially if your basketball is extremely old. You can purchase a new basketball at any sporting goods store.
Although when a basketball is used it is thrown against extremely hard surfaces, it doesn’t lose much air. Basketballs are made to be used, and not many people would use a basketball that went extremely flat as they used it.
Useful Tips for How to Make Your Basketball Bounce Again
The main thing that you can do to make your basketball bounce again is to inflate it with air. Basketballs need to be inflated with air to bounce, so when it is flat it doesn’t bounce. When it is properly inflated, it will bounce again and you can play basketball with your friends and family once more.
To inflate a basketball, you will need the following:
- Hand pump with an inflation needle (basketball air pump)
- Inflation gauge
How to inflate a basketball:
- Get the necessary supplies
- Put the basketball on a surface where it won’t roll away when it is fully inflated
- Lubricate the air pump needle with water
- Insert the air pump needle into the rubber air valve
- Slowly fill the basketball with air using the air pump until it is fully inflated.
- Get the inflation gauge.
- Insert the inflation gauge needle into the basketball’s rubber valve. Make sure it reads between 7 and 9 pounds. Release some of the air if it reads more than 9 pounds.
- Test the basketball by bouncing it. If it bounces higher than your waist, it has too much air and needs to be deflated slightly.
If you don’t want to use an inflation gauge to determine when your basketball is inflated enough to use, bounce it on a hard surface and watch how high it bounces. If you bounce it from a small height, it shouldn’t bounce very high. (Source)
Now, your basketball should bounce just fine. If it doesn’t bounce, even though it isn’t flat, you may need to replace it as it is worn out and extremely old.
How to Care For Basketballs
When basketballs are taken care of, they don’t quickly deflate to the point that they can’t be used. However, if you want your basketballs to last for years on end, you need to take care of them properly.
How to take care of a basketball properly:
- Don’t over-inflate it
- Wash it when it gets dirty
- Don’t store it in a cold room
- Don’t store it in direct sunlight
- Use it regularly
- Never inflate your basketball when weather is cold
Don’t over-inflate your basketball. If you do over-inflate it, it likely won’t go into the basket, even if it hits the rim and seems like it will go in and get your team a point. It is also harder to control an over-inflated basketball. However, if your basketball isn’t inflated enough, it will be hard to control and take more effort to bounce. Use an inflation gauge to determine when your basketball has enough air inside it. (Source)
If you need to deflate your basketball, all you need to do is insert a small pin with a hole in it in the rubber air valve and wait until enough air escapes.
Wash your basketball when it gets dirty. This will keep your hands clean and make sure that dirt and debris don’t prevent your basketball from bouncing high enough so you can control it with ease. It is easy to clean a basketball.
All you need to clean a basketball is water and possibly soap. Most dirt and debris on a basketball can be removed with water, but sometimes soap is needed to remove the caked-on dirt. Use a hose and pour water on your basketball. The dirt and debris should seemingly melt away. Pat or wipe the basketball dry with a towel so your hands don’t get wet while you are playing basketball. Water will cause you to lose your grip on the ball.
Don’t store your basketball in a cold room or in direct sunlight. Cold air will cause the basketball to deflate and possibly freeze the rubber.
If your basketball is in direct sunlight for too long the color will be bleached away from the rubber. If the weather is warm enough, the sunlight may melt the rubber on your basketball slightly. It is never fun to discover that your basketball has melted slightly.
Don’t fill your basketball with air when it is cold. You can do it inside when the basketball has gotten to room temperature, but if you fill your basketball with air when the leather and rubber are cold, it may explode or crack. When rubber is cold, it freezes. When the rubber moves when it is frozen, it cracks. Then, your basketball can’t be used as it will be broken.
Filling your basketball with air when it is cold can cause the air bladder that keeps the air inside to explode. The air bladder of a basketball is covered in rubber, even though it doesn’t seem to be. If you fill your basketball with air when it is cold, it will pop and you will have to replace it before you can play basketball unless you have a spare one.
If you want to be able to use your basketball for years without having to replace it, use your basketball regularly. This will help keep it inflated enough for you to use. Before you start playing basketball, make sure that your basketball is properly inflated.
If you don’t, you won’t have as much success as you usually do, and it may be harder to control the ball. The basketball may be so flat that it doesn’t bounce when you try to dribble it, which means you can’t play basketball until you find a replacement ball or re-inflate your basketball.
Basketballs are easy to use when they are properly inflated, but they don’t bounce when they don’t have enough air inside of them. They are similar to volleyballs in that way. One of the only reasons why basketballs sometimes don’t bounce when you try to dribble them is that they are flat. When a basketball is noticeably flat, fill it with air before you use it.
Does My Basketball Have a Hole In It? How to Fix
If your basketball is losing air quickly, even when it is not being stored in a cold room and is being used regularly, it likely has a hole in it.
If you suspect that your basketball has a hole in it, dunk it underwater. If bubbles continue to appear after you dunk it in the water, then your basketball has a hole in it. (Source)
To fix a basketball with a hole in it, put tape over where you have determined the hole is. Don’t put the tape on when the basketball is wet, or the tape won’t stick. Then, re-inflate your basketball. Be careful not to overfill it.
If you want a more permanent fix for your basketball than tape, use rubber-like repair materials to seal the hole in your basketball. One product that you can use is FlexSeal. However, only put the material on a small area of your basketball as it may reduce the bounce of your basketball. After the FlexSeal is dry, fill your basketball with air, but don’t overinflate it.
If the air leak is coming from the air valve, clean the valve. If the air valve is clean and still leaking, replace the valve or the basketball. You can purchase a replacement air valve at any sporting goods store.