How to Restore Grip on a Basketball

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No matter how good you are in basketball, the ball sometimes slips from your hand. It’s not your fault; it’s the basketball. Knowing how to restore grip on a basketball will give you those winning moments.

A basketball is the most abused part of a game. It takes constant the pounding, changing hands from players, and hitting different parts of the court. It is also susceptible to natural elements. Without proper care, the basketball loses its grip. The player misses three-point shots and turns over the ball.

What Makes a Basketball Lose GripWhat Makes a Basketball Lose Grip?

A good grip on a basketball requires a player’s skill and the condition of the basketball. Over time it gets dirty and becomes slippery, and deteriorates without the proper upkeep. A basketball should be adequately cared for to exceed its lifespan, perform as expected, and to show  a player’s skills on the court. These are the things that you must know on how to make your basketball more grippy.

1. A Basketball in the Wrong Court

The type of basketball you’ll use depend on the kind of court you’re playing. A basketball made of rubber is made for outdoor play on concrete flooring, leather basketballs are made for indoor courts on a wooden surface, and synthetic basketballs are suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces.

You’ll find yourself in trouble if you carry your leather basketball outside.

2. Giving way to dust

Dust and dirt will find their way to your basketball’s surface. If left soiled, it will accumulate over time and occupy the crevices making the basketball slippery. You’ll find a hard time dribbling, shooting, and passing, adversely affecting your game. Avoid this by frequently wiping your basketball with a towel.

Mix water with a mild cleansing agent for your leather basketball and dry it with a towel. Leaving it wet will damage the surface.

Rubber and synthetic basketballs can be left in damp conditions for long, but not the leather types.

What Makes a Basketball Lose Grip

3. Exposure to the Elements

Don’t leave your basketball exposed to the elements for so long. Extreme weather conditions can affect the quality of any basketball.

Extensive exposure to UV rays will alter the color and can change the shape affecting play. A wet basketball surface will cause it to lose its grip.

4. Improper Air Pressure

An over-inflated ball can cause lumps, and slamming it on the floor or bouncing it off the wall can cause tearing. An under-inflated basketball won’t bounce properly. 

A tip is to drop the ball from above your head, and if it bounces back to chest level, you’re ready to play.

5. Wrong Storage

When you’re not using your basketball, store it in a basketball bag. Avoid placing any objects on top which can change the shape.

The rack railings can cause your basketball to become non-spherical instead of the round shape if placed too long.

How to Get Grip Back on a BasketballHow to Get Grip Back on a Basketball

Playing with your rubber or synthetic basketball outside exposes it to water and dust becoming slippery. Your play is affected. You miss easy shots lose control of your dribble, or make bad passes. If you know how to restore grip on a basketball, you’ll apply wet cloth and soapy water moving in circular motions to get between the dimples on the ball. Top it off with a dry cloth and leave it to dry before resuming play.

A leather basketball requires a different approach to get back its grip. Since it’s expensive, we must ensure no damage to the ball while we clean. 

1. Flat Surface

Find a flat surface, preferably on the ground, that can get wet and where you can hold the leather ball with one hand without rolling over and getting dirty again. It could be a patio or a garage floor that can be easily cleaned of any residue by hosing.

2. Hold the Ball

If you know how to fix a slippery basketball, you’ll avoid soaking your leather ball with water. It will help if you have a good grip on the ball to avoid any slip out. Pushing it too hard or gently might cause the ball to slide or get loose.

Consider deflating the ball a bit so you can have a good grip while washing.

How to Clean a Basketball

3. Use Rag and Soap Dish

Too much water will damage the leather. Soak a rag in hot and apply a few drops of liquid soap on the rag and not the ball.

Start cleaning the ball by wiping the rag in a circular motion, be sure that every part of the ball is covered.  Use a dry cloth to wipe the ball. This medium will remove any residues from the excess water or soap.

4. Apply Leather Cleaner

After the basketball has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, move to a dry surface and apply a leather cleaner. Do not use a leather cleaner that catches your eyes. Winding up with the wrong type will cause your leather to be more slippery, causing permanent damage. Go for a leather cleaner provided by reputable sports equipment stores.

Remember that application of a leather cleaner is not required every time you clean and it is done after the ball is over a year old. 

How to Clean a BasketballHow to Clean a Basketball

Your basketball has been trashed a million times. It bounced off the floor and the backboard, swished the net through a layup or jump shot, changed hands among players, and was exposed to dirt, grime, and bacteria. Cleaning it will provide a good grip and increase your basketball’s lifespan. It will also save you from playing with a dirty basketball.

But, do you know how to clean basketball? 

Basketballs are made from different materials requiring different cleaning techniques. Once you know the material you can clean it to make it look like new and perform well.

1. Rubber Basketball

Rubber basketballs are the most abused basketballs from the pounding on the concrete floor and exposure to dirt. It gets dirty very quickly but can be easily cleaned with these steps.

  • Pour warm water into a bucket.
  • Add drops of liquid soap with warm water and mix thoroughly.
  • Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and scrub the surface thoroughly.
  • Repeat if you don’t get the desired outcome. Apply more force.
  • Check the exterior and scrub as needed until every bit of dirt has been removed.
  • Wash with clear warm water.
  • Use a clean cloth to eliminate remains of water and detergent.

2. Synthetic Leather Basketball

Synthetic leather basketballs are used either for outdoor and indoor play. The proper care will improve its durability from the rough treatment on concrete surfaces.

  • Prepare a mixture of warm water with liquid soap.
  • Rinse the basketball with water thoroughly to remove any signs of dirt.
  • Dip a clean cloth to the mix and apply it on the ball’s surface.
  • Repeat as needed until the surface is clean and non-sticky.
  • If there are nasty stains, use elbow grease or a leather cleaner.

3. Natural Leather Basketball

Natural leather basketballs are easy to clean with many types of leather cleaners in the market. Get one from a reputable sports equipment store. Use the steps in cleaning a rubber basketball when it is covered with mud before applying a leather cleaner.

  • Check the bounce of the ball; if it does not reach your chest, inflate it.
  • Purchase a leather cleaner or a leather shampoo. Avoid products that soften the leather.
  • Place enough in a container.
  • Dip a clean cloth and apply it to the surface of the ball.
  • Dry the surface of the ball with a clean cloth.
  • After cleaning, store in a cool, dry place.

Wrapping Things Up: How to Restore Grip on a Basketball

Constant pounding and exposure to the natural elements will fill the crevices on the dimples of a basketball. The basketball will be slippery if left unclean. You can avoid turnovers if you know how to restore grip on a basketball and enjoy those winning moments.

Fortunately, all types of basketball are easy to clean. Rubber and synthetic basketballs need warm water and detergent to remove unwanted materials that cause a slippery ball. The application of a leather cleaner or shampoo will restore the grip on a leather basketball.

Did you find this post helpful? Then you may also like our other basketball FAQ articles here.

> How to Wash a Basketball Jersey

> How to Paint a Basketball Court

> How to Install a Ground Basketball Hoop?

> How to Add Grip to Basketball Shoes

> Can You Bring a Basketball on a Plane?

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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