Basics of Classification in wheelchair basketball


To play wheelchair basketball at an international level (i.e. for your country at an IWBF competition) you must meet BOTH of the following criteria:

  • Have one of the following Eligible Impairments: Impaired Muscle Power, Impaired Passive Range of Movement, Limb Deficiency, Leg Length Difference, Hypertonia, Ataxia or Athetosis.
    *(These Eligible Impairments are defined by the IPC Athlete Classification Code and Players must have an accepted Underlying Health Condition also defined within the IPC Classification Code)
  • Meet the sports’ Minimum Impairment Criteria (MIC) for their Eligible Impairment. (the MIC can be found in the IWBF 2021 Player Classification Rules)

Player Evaluation Process

A Player must go through the Player Evaluation process to confirm they have an Eligible Impairment and that they meet the sports’ MIC before they are able to be assessed to have a sports class allocated. Click here for further information on the Player Evaluation.

The new Player Evaluation process is part of the new Classification Rules that came into effect on 1 October 2021 which also included the new Minimum Impairment Criteria.

Any player who are not listed on the Classification Master List (including those who were previously internationally classified prior to the new rules coming into affect in 1October 2021) will be required to go through Player Evaluation Process.

Sports Class Allocation

Sport Class is based on the players’ functional capacity to complete the skills necessary to play – pushing, pivoting, shooting, rebounding, dribbling, passing and catching. It is not an assessment of a player’s level of skill, merely their functional capacity to complete the task. In particular, the trunk movement and stability observed during these actual basketball situations form the basis for the assignment of a player to a particular class.

Versions of this video are available in Spanish, French and Portuguese


Players are assigned points as their classification – 1, 2, 3, and 4 are the recognized classes, with 0.5 classes between for the exceptional cases which do not fit exactly into one class, and the 4.5 category for the player with the least disability.

Volume of Action

Classes are defined according to players’ “volume of action”. Each class has a clearly defined maximal volume of action, which the player may exhibit. The volume of action refers to the extremes to which a player’s trunk stability will allow them to reach, without holding on to the wheelchair, before overbalancing.

Class Characteristics

Each class has characteristics unique to that class, which are used by the classifier. These characteristics are evident in each of the basketball skills observed as part of the classification process.

Team Balance

The total number of points allowed on court at any time is 14.0. That is, the total points of all five players actually playing. If a coach allows the team to have over 14.0 points, they will incur a technical foul on the bench.

For further information on the Classification Rules for the sport please refer to the Player Classification Rules and Manual (Links below).

2021 IWBF Official Player Classification Rules

2021 IWBF Official Player Classification Manual