How to Inflate a Basketball

Three Methods:Using a PumpInflating Your Ball without a PumpCaring for Your Ball

Playing basketball with a flat ball decreases your game and stunts training. Playing basketball with too much bounce can also be damaging to the ball. For the best possible basketball, you’ll need to inflate it to the proper tension and care for it. There are alternatives if you do not have a ball pump.

Method 1
Using a Pump

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    Get an air pump. Purchase a decent air pump for balls if you have not done so already. Pumps aren't too expensive and are easy to find. You can even use a bike pump with the proper needle.
    • You’ll need to purchase a ball needle if your pump doesn’t already have one.[1]
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    Attach the needle to the ball. Connect your needle to the pump. Moisten the needle with water and insert it into the hole of the ball.
    • The hole where you insert the needle is a small black rubber circle with a smaller hole. Check with the manufacturer if you cannot find the hole for your ball.[2]
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    Begin pumping. Start pumping your ball. Check the air pressure after 3-5 intervals by feeling your ball. The point is to check how much air you have pumped. Compress the ball with your fingers to check the air pressure.
    • Another way to check is to hold the ball beneath your chin and drop it. If the ball reaches around your waist level, then it has the correct amount of air.[3]
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    Ball your heart out. Once you have a well inflated basketball, you’re ready to take it to the courts. Enjoy your game with a pumped ball. There isn’t a better feeling than a well pumped ball.

Method 2
Inflating Your Ball without a Pump

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    Use a compressed air can. Yes, you can use your keyboard cleaner to pump your ball. Remove the plastic extender attached to the compressed air. Moisten one end of the tube and insert it into the air hole of the ball. Secure the other end of the tube onto the air canister’s nozzle.
    • Hold the handle down until the ball becomes inflated to your desire.
    • Repeat the process and add more air if needed.
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    Inflate using CO2. Secure the needle for the ball into the air socket of the basketball. Screw on a tubeless tire valve stem to the needle. Attach a CO2 cartridge to the valve stem. You may need to use a tube to attach the two.
    • Loosen the CO2 valve to release the compressed CO2 into the basketball.
    • Test the ball and add more air if needed.
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    Use a tire or air supply. As long as you have the needle that fits into the ball, you can use almost anything with the proper adapters. The other supplies you’ll need is a tube and a tire valve. Attach the needle and tubing to your ball first and then attach it to a healthy tire.
    • You could also bring your ball and quarters to a tire pump at a gas station. The only other tool you'll need is a needle that fits into ball.

Method 3
Caring for Your Ball

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    Clean your ball. After a hard day of basketball, be sure you give your ball a proper wipe down. Cleaning it periodically will prevent grime and dirt from settling into the ball. Use a damp cloth and allow it to dry.[4]
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    Store your ball. This depends on how often you like to play basketball. If you play often, keep your ball well inflated and store indoors at room temperature. If you don’t play too often, keep your ball slightly deflated. This will increase the longevity of the ball.
    • Never leave a ball outside and avoid direct sunlight for too long of a period.
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    Use it for basketball. A good way to ruin your basketball is by kicking it around like a soccer ball. It is a common misconception that any inflatable ball will work for anything. The construction and design of a basketball is very different from other balls. It was designed for the court, so bring it to the court not to the field.[5]


  • Make sure that you moisten the needle and hole before inserting the needle, or you might damage both the ball and the needle.
  • Make sure you get a lot of needles (for air pump) because they might break.
  • You can gauge whether the ball is properly inflated by doing a drop test. To do the ball test, hold the ball with the bottom of it 6' (72") from the ground. When dropped, the ball should bounce back up so that the top of it reaches a height of just over 4' (49-54"). If the ball reaches a height below the mentioned height, inflate the ball some more and then try again.

Article Info

Categories: Basketball