Classification System for Wheelchair Basketball

Participants with various levels of physical ability, including able-bodied participants, compete in wheelchair basketball. Therefore, in order to ensure fair competitive opportunities for all athletes a classification system has evolved that recognizes a players’ functional capacity to complete the necessary skills to play of pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching and assigns a classification to the athlete. This system ensures that players with limited or absent lower limb or trunk movement will have an opportunity to play and that the strategies and skills of competing teams, not the amount of physical movement of their players, will be the factors determining success in competition.

Athletes are numerically classified from 1 to 4.5 points with a class 1.0 representing players with the least amount of physical functioning and 4.5 the highest. When a player does not fit clearly into the descriptions of either one class or the next class, they are assigned a half-point, creating classifications of 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5. Additionally, class 4.5 was added to provide a distinctive class for players with minimal disabilities or for those that are able-bodied. Classifiers observe the player's functions during wheelchair basketball competition and assign the player a classification based on their observations.

The classification point value of the five players competing on the court is totaled, and may not exceed a certain number depending on the league or level of play. In some introductory and junior programs athletes compete together without the use of a formal classification system or a modified system and in Canada a 0.5 class may also be assigned.

Becoming A Classifier

Classifiers may be experienced players, coaches, sports scientists, physiotherapists and physicians. They must attend a series of seminars and training sessions during basketball competitions to be certified to classify players locally for wheelchair basketball competition. After nomination from a zone or country, an experienced classifier is accepted to begin the international certification process. Following successful completion of the training and examination process, certified classifiers can serve on the classification team at regional qualifying tournaments, World Championship and Paralympic Games competitions. If you are interested in becoming a classifier in BC, please contact BCWBS .

Additional Resources

Resource How to Aquire
Classification - An Overview by Don Perriman Download PDF
IWBF Table on Classes Download PDF
IWBF Intro to Player Classification (Order Form) Download PDF
IWBF Classification Manual
CWBA - Classification Policies & Procedures Download PDF