Have you ever shot a basketball all net and felt good about yourself? After all, the basketball rim looks small enough that an inch or two in every direction would result in a bad miss. But the thing is, there is actually more room for error in there than you might think. So, the question that’s probably in your mind right now is, “How many basketballs can you fit in a rim?” The answer might surprise you.
How Many Basketballs Can You Fit in a Rim?
That depends on the size of the balls. Basketballs used in youth and women’s competitions could simultaneously fit two in the rim. Now, the standard-sized basketballs (Size 7) used in FIBA and the NBA won’t. There will still be plenty of room, but two size 7 balls won’t fit in a standard rim.
Let’s do the math: The diameter of a standard basketball rim is 18 inches. A size 7 ball has a diameter between 9.43 and 9.51 inches. That means the total diameter of two size 7 balls is roughly an inch longer than the diameter of a standard basketball rim. Therefore, as mentioned, two size 7 balls won’t fit simultaneously in a standard rim.
If you have already tried putting two size 7 balls in the basket, the tensile strength of the rim’s material allows both to fit simultaneously. However, the balls will get stuck on the rim and won’t fall. On the other hand, women’s basketball uses a basketball with a circumference of precisely nine inches. Therefore, two basketball can fit and pass through a standard rim.
Now, what about the balls used in kids’ basketball? You can actually put three size 5 balls in the basket, and it will pass through. Only when you add another will it get stuck and not fall.
Can Two Basketballs Fit Through a Basketball Hoop?
The keywords here are “fit through.” That means it should fall or go through the basketball hoop simultaneously. Again, the answer is that it depends on the size of the ball. Two size 7 basketball won’t fit through a standard rim, while smaller balls could easily do so. In fact, a standard rim could easily fit through three size 5 basketballs used in youth leagues.
Single vs. Double Rim Basketball: What’s the Difference with the Size?
In basketball, the rim is the same as the “hoop” or the “basket.” Don’t get that confused. Most hoops use a single rim, which means a single piece of round metal around ⅝ of an inch thick. A double rim is like two single rims stacked on top of each other. Double rims are mainly used in outdoor courts. Because they are exposed to the elements and bad weather, outdoor basketball courts use the sturdier double rim setup.
It appears that it’s harder to make a shot in a double rim compared with the single rim. The room for error is a couple of inches off when you shoot in a double rim. Double rims make the ball bounce off hard with hardly a chance of rolling in. That’s why players must apply a gentler touch when shooting in a double rim. You probably won’t like training and shooting at double rims initially, but it will help you develop a much smoother jump shot. That comes in handy if you eventually play on single rims.
If you want to shoot hoops at the comfort of your own home, using a double or single rim is one of the first decisions you should make. As previously said, if you want to train your skills, such as shooting layups and jump shots, training on a double rim helps you improve. But keep in mind that you should be able to tolerate failures and missed shots before seeing improvements.
How does a double rim help you finish layups? Even though the layup is the most straightforward shot in basketball, a double rim makes finishing layups harder. Double rims require a very gentle touch and even more careful ball placement. Otherwise, you have never seen more clanked layups in your lifetime.
How Much Weight Can a Basketball Hoop Hold?
A breakaway basketball rim can withstand 230 pounds of pressure at the point farthest away from the backboard. The overall strength of the rim structure has improved significantly since the days of Darryl Dawkins and the rookie Shaquille O’Neal.
Most hoop manufacturers now use spring assemblies that allow the rims to absorb more significant impact without breaking the backboard. The rims used in Dawkins were secured with bolts that ran right through the glass. Still, it would take 600 lbs of force to break a rim with that structure. But then again, Dawkins was a 6-foot-11, 250-lb mountain of a man, so it wouldn’t be impossible for him to generate that much force.
The NBA eventually changed the structure of how the rim is attached to the glass backboard. These “breakaway” rims, as they call them, have heavy-duty compressible springs. These springs can be broken, and the bolts still run right through the glass. However, the main difference is that the bolts are screwed into a piece of steel on the other side. This way, the whole rim and backboard are basically unbreakable even if you can pull the entire goal into the ground.
That notion has been put to the test in one episode of Sports Science. Former NBA All-Star Amare Stoudemire tried to tear down the rim and was found to generate over 1,000 pounds of force in his dunks. That should be more than enough to break the backboard of older rims, but it did not shatter the backboard of breakaway rims.
At the next experiment, the Sports Science team practically threw down a piano in the front end of the rim. It generated over 6,000 pounds of force and broke the entire structure. Interestingly enough, while the impact bent the rim and all, the glass remained intact. On that account, it’s safe to say that the modern breakaway rims are practically indestructible with the current basketball hoop rim size.
What about the other rim structures, such as adjustable and spring-loaded rims? Naturally, these rims are not as strong as breakaway rims used in the NCAA and NBA, but they are sufficient for younger players. Adjustable rims should never be dunked on even though the base appears to be strong enough to hold your weight. Spring-loaded rims could handle more impact, but you should not hang on them because they could potentially break down over time.
What Size of Basketball Should You Use?
The right basketball size to use depends on the age of the players. It wouldn’t make sense if you’d let a 7-year-old handle a regulation size 7 basketball now, would it? Using a basketball that big would mess up a young baller’s shooting mechanics.
Here is the basketball size to use based on the players’ age brackets:
- Boys and girls aged 9-11 shall use a size 5 basketball. The youth-size basketball has a circumference of 27.5 inches.
- Girls aged 12 and up and boys aged 12-14 shall use a size 6 basketball. It has a circumference of 28.5 inches.
- Men aged 15 and up shall use a regulation size 7 basketball. It is called men’s official size and has a circumference of 29.5 inches.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Basketballs Can You Fit in a Rim?
If you have asked this question out of curiosity, you are not alone. In theory, knowing exactly how big the rim and basketball are could help improve your game, especially your shooting skills. This knowledge allows you to ascertain the room for error when shooting the basketball.
As you may have noticed, the 10-foot hoop hanging on the backboard looks pretty darn small from our perspective. But it’s not as small as you may think! A standard basketball rim has a diameter of 18 inches, while the diameter of a basketball size 7 is roughly 9.5 inches. That means the ratio of basketball to hoop is almost 1:2!
So, can a basketball rim fit 2 basketballs? Yes, it could. However, if you put two size 7 basketballs in the rim at once, both will get stuck and won’t fall through. Anything smaller than a size 7 could fit simultaneously in the hoop. Two size 6 basketball could fit in a rim with about a quarter of an inch to spare. Three size 6 basketballs could sit on the rim but won’t pass through.
If you want to improve more on your shot, you have the option to train on double rims. Unlike a single rim, double rims will help you develop a gentle touch on your jump shot and layups. This is because the ball bounces hard off a double rim, and it rarely allows the ball to roll right in. The room for error also goes down a couple of inches, so your best bet is to shoot it right in the middle, all net.
When aiming at the basket, do whatever feels comfortable and natural to you. Like your shooting mechanics, your target should always be the same every single time. It will make your shot more consistent, and you can lock in quickly at your target. The shot becomes automatic.
How does knowing the size of the rim matter when playing basketball? Well, sometimes, it’s all about perception. You may think you can’t make the shot because the rim is too small, and it may affect your confidence. But as you have learned, there is actually a lot of room for error than you think!
When you are shooting poorly from the field, as yourself, “How many basketballs can you fit in a rim?” Then, think about the size of the rim for a while and the fact that it could almost fit two regulation-size basketballs at once! It won’t produce miracles, but it does improve your confidence. In basketball, sometimes, confidence makes all the difference.
Did you find this helpful? Then also check out other basketball FAQ articles here.