Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Women's World Wheelchair Basketball Championships

The Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships which runs from June 20-28, are underway at the Mattamy Center in Toronto. This tournament will host 12 of the best women’s wheelchair basketball teams on the planet, all of whom hope to lay claim to the title of the world’s best team. Canada comes into this tournament having won bronze at the previous world championships, while team USA are the defending world champions.

As you read the media guide you will notice that each player has a classification number between 1 and 4.5. Classification is a structure for fair and equitable sport among athletes with varying degrees of disability. The number assigned to each player is based on the players functional capacity to push, pivot, shoot, rebound, dribble, pass and catch. The classification number has no bearing on the player’s skill level but rather, is an indication of their functional ability. Athletes classified on the lower side of the spectrum are limited in terms of their trunk movement and overall stability. 

Classes
  • Class 1.0 – An athlete is unable to move their trunk in any of the planes of movement and must rely on his / her arms to get to the upright position when unbalanced. 
  • Class 2.0 – An athlete is able to move their upper body without the support of their arms but has no lower trunk function. 
  • Class 3.0 – An athlete can rotate their shoulder and lean forward without difficulty. They do not have the leg power to maneuver sideways or return upright without the assistance of their arms. 
  • Class 4.0 - An athlete is able to move their trunk in all planes of movement but usually has difficulty controlling movement on one side. 
  • Class 4.5 – An athlete has the ability to move their trunk in all directions and reach side to side without limitation. 
When an athlete does not seem to fit a single class, they may be classified as 1.5, 2.5 or 3.5. Generally the athlete will exhibit characteristics of two classes.

These classification numbers are important because a team cannot exceed 14.0 points when all five players are on the court. For example, you can have 2 players with a classification of 3.0, 2 players with a classification of 2.0 and 1 player with a classification of 4.0, adding to a total of 14.0 points. Going over this number of points leads to a technical foul against the team.

As you enjoy the tournament, try to be cognizant of the different classes that are on the court. Watch what each athlete is able to do. Pay attention to the strategies employed by coaches, based on who is on the court. Lastly, remember to cheer for our Canadian women as they take on the world!
Photo credit: Phillip MacCallum / Wheelchair Basketball Canada

References Available from the SIRC Collection:


1. Crespo-Ruiz B, Del Ama-Espinosa A, Gil-Agudo Á. Relation Between Kinematic Analysis of Wheelchair Propulsion and Wheelchair Functional Basketball Classification. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. April 2011;28(2):157-172.
2. de Lira C, Vancini R, da Silva A, et al. Relationship between aerobic and anaerobic parameters and functional classification in wheelchair basketball players. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports. August 2010;20(4):638-643.
3. Malone L, Gervais P, Steadward R. Shooting mechanics related to player classification and free throw success in wheelchair basketball. Journal Of Rehabilitation Research & Development. November 2002;39(6):701.
4. Molik B, Kosmol A, Morgulec'Adamowicz N, Laskin J, Jezior T, Patrzałek M. GAME EFFICIENCY OF ELITE FEMALE WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL PLAYERS DURING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (GOLD CUP) 2006. / SPIELEFFIZIENZ VON WEIBLICHEN ELITE-ROLLSTUHLBASKETBALL-SPIELERINNEN WÄHREND DER WELTMEISTERSCHAFT (GOLD CUP) 2006. European Journal Of Adapted Physical Activity. September 2009;2(2):26-38.
5. Skučas K, Stonkus S, Molik B, Skučas V. EVALUATION OF WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL SKILL PERFORMANCE OF WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL PLAYERS IN DIFFERENT GAME POSITIONS. / SKIRTINGO AMPLUA VEŽIMtLIŲ KREPŠINIO ŽAIDtJŲ ŽAIDIMO ĮGŪDŽIŲ RODIKLIAI. Education. Physical Training. Sport. November 2009;(75):65-69.
6. Yildirim N, Comert E, Ozengin N. Shoulder pain: A comparison of wheelchair basketball players with trunk control and without trunk control. Journal Of Back & Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. April 2010;23(2):55-61.

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