All players are classified from 1.0 to 4.5 dependant on their functional ability; the higher the classification points the greater functional ability. With a maximum of 14 points allowed on the court at any one time this system encourages fair play and enables wider participation.
The classification of wheelchair basketball players has evolved significantly over the past 15 years. Wheelchair basketball classification is based on the players’ functional capacity to complete the skills necessary to play – pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching.
It is not an assessment of a player’s level of skill, merely their functional capacity to complete the task. Players are assigned points as their classification – 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the recognized classes, with 0.5 classes between for the exceptional cases which do not fit exactly into one class, and the 4.5 category for the player with least or minimal disability.
Classes are defined according to players’ “volume of action”. Each class has a clearly defined maximal volume of action, which the player may exhibit. Players are observed in their competition wheelchairs, complete with all strapping they will use, but in a training situation before the tournament commences. From this initial observation a player is assigned a class with which they will begin the tournament. The player is then observed in an actual competition game, at which time their classification will be confirmed or modified if the classification panel feels it is necessary.
The total number of points allowed on court at any time is 14.0. That is, the total points of all five players actually playing. If a coach allows the team to have over 14.0 points, they will incur a coach technical foul.