Have you ever bought a basketball and discovered that it kept bouncing way too high?
Playing basketball either on your driveway or in a court becomes frustrating as the ball keeps bouncing away from you.
What caused this to happen? It needed some air taken out of it to lower its bounce. Even though basketball is an exciting sport, unfortunately nobody likes deflating their balls, since deflation itself is a bit of hassle.
However if you find yourself needing to deflate a basketball, there are quick ways to do so, but before that, it’s helpful to know the right amount of air pressure for your basketball.
What Pressure Should the Air Inside a Basketball Have?
The amount of air pressure in your basketball has a major influence on the height of your jump and the distance covered when you dribble.
The NBA recommends that a basketball be inflated to 7.5 to 8.5 pounds per square inch. This general guideline can help you adjust your basketball’s air pressure if necessary.
Why Should you Deflate your Basketball?
However, you may be wondering why anyone would deflate a basketball.It is a less common action than inflating one, but there are some situations in which deflating a basketball will be necessary.
Basketballs need to be deflated because, sometimes, they become overinflated.
When a ball is overinflated, it bounces too high. This makes it impossible to dribble and control the ball. It also leads to a higher likelihood that the ball will bounce off the rim and away from the basket when shooting, which can lead to a great deal of frustration for players of all skill levels.
Overinflated balls are not only more difficult to play with in terms of their bounce and movement, they can also be dangerous. It can sometimes feel like you’re playing with a rock rather than a ball because of the lack of give.
In fact, an overinflated ball can lead to injuries like tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome due to the excessive strain it causes on your wrists and arms as you try to compensate for its weight.
A fun fact about basketballs: they have to be deflated in order for them to be transported and stored. In fact, it’s impossible to transport or store an inflated basketball.
A fully inflated ball would take up too much space, and would not fit in the shipping container. Plus, the air pressure inside the ball would make it explode before it got where it needed to go. That’s why balls are always shipped flat—and why you have to inflate them before every game!
How Do I know if my Basketball Needs Deflating?
If you’re not sure if your ball needs to be deflated, here’s a quick test:
- Take the ball in your hand and gently squeeze it.
- Put the palm of your hand against the side of the ball opposite to your fingers. Don’t press down, just rest it there for a moment.
- If your palm stays put, that means you have an underinflated basketball; deflate it before use! If your palm slides off, then you have an overinflated basketball; inflate it before use!
But if your palm doesn’t move either way—if the ball feels firm but not rock hard—then you’ve got a perfectly inflated basketball, and all that’s left to do is hit the court!
How to Deflate a Basketball?
1. Inflation Needle:
In the right circumstances, a basketball can be deflated with an inflation needle.Follow these simple steps:
- Grab an inflation needle.
- Locate the valve on your basketball.
- Push the needle of the inflation needle through the hole in the valve.
- Turn the inflation needle counter-clockwise to loosen the ball.
- Remove the needle.
- Pump some air back into your ball if it’s too deflated.
2. Air Pressure Gauge
The air pressure gauge can usually be found at your local sporting supply store in the basketball section. The gauge is used to check the air pressure of your ball and to deflate it if needed.
- To gauge the air pressure, it is helpful to moisten the needle with saliva, water or some other liquid.
- Then start by removing the valve cap of the basketball. The valve cap is the piece on top of the hole in the ball where the air comes out.
- Next, insert the air pressure gauge into the hole in the ball where the valve cap used to be. Make sure you get a good seal so that there aren’t any leaks between your air pressure gauge and the ball itself.
- Now, press down on the air pressure gauge until it’s secured against the basketball and both parts are touching each other. Press firmly instead of just holding it in place; otherwise, you may not get as accurate a reading on your air pressure gauge as possible.
How to Deflate a Basketball Using Common Household Items?
If you do not have an inflation needle or air pressure gauge, try going back to using the common household items that are used to deflate basketballs. These items may not work as good as the gauge and needle, but they are still a viable option.
1. Using a Bobby Pin
To use a bobby pin to deflate a basketball, start by finding the needle-like cap that covers the valve on the ball. Pry off the cap using a small screwdriver or another sharp tool.
Then, straighten out one of the sides of your bobby pin as much as possible. The side that remains curved will be useful for you to hold onto. Stick your straightened-out bobby pin into the hole where the needle-like cap was and gently poke around until you find the little rubber plug that prevents air from escaping.
Once you’ve located it, push down on it with your bobby pin until you feel all of the air spurt out of your basketball’s valve.
2. Using a Pen
No pump? No problem.
With just a few steps, you can deflate your basketball using only a pen!
- Use your pen to find the opening for the needle on your basketball.Be sure to leave an opening for air to come in and out of the ball.
- Remove the nib and tip from the pen. Discard these parts (if they’re metal, you could hurt yourself or someone else).
- Insert the body of the pen into the opening you found in step 1 (if there isn’t an opening already, make one with your pen).
- Push down on the back of your pen so that air comes out of the ball. Continue until your ball has reached the desired level of deflation.
3. Using a Refrigerator
Did you know you can deflate a basketball by placing it in the fridge?
It’s true. Quite shocking to think about it, but one of the proven ways to deflate your basketball.
- Put the clean ball in a towel and roll it over one of the shelves in the fridge. To clean the outside, wipe it with a damp cloth.
- Leave it there until the ball has fully cooled. This may take anywhere from an hour (if you have an industrial-strength fridge) to a full 8-hour workday (if you have a mini fridge).
- When the basketball is cool, remove it from the refrigerator and set it on the floor or other horizontal surface. Use one hand to rotate the ball around its equator for about a minute, making sure to let the ball roll freely between your fingers. You may feel cold air escaping from the ball as you do this; this is normal and indicates that your basketball is now properly deflated.
Hopefully, you now feel more confident in your ability to deflate a basketball with the steps mentioned above. A skill like that could be useful every now and then.
Remember! be safe and be careful when using sharp objects.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can you deflate a basketball without the aid of a needle?
Have a pen, paper clip, sewing needle or any other tool that can reach the valve.This could be difficult and probably damage the valve, but one must be careful to get things done in a rightful manner.
- Why does a basketball sometimes lose air?
A basketball can deflate if the ball is stored incorrectly. If you keep the ball in a hot area, the air inside will expand and escape through the valve. If it’s too cold, the air inside can contract and leak out. If the ball was over-inflated in the first place, or if it’s too old, it can deflate on its own.
- How quickly does a basketball lose air?
There is no easy answer to this question. It all depends on the individual ball. Some balls keep their shape for three to four months, while others lose their air after only five to six months.
Jeff Carroll is a young and talented professional basketball player under the age of 40. He has quickly made a name for himself in the league with his impressive skills and dedication to the game. Off the court, he is also known for his charitable work and commitment to giving back to his community.