Technical requirements of wheelchair rugby
Court markings and dimensions
Competition for Wheelchair Rugby takes place indoors on a regulation sized (15 x 28 meters) basketball court with slight modifications. Each end of the court is marked to create a “Key Area”, which is 8 meters wide and 1.75 meters deep. Cones should be placed at the outside corners of each Key Area to designate the goal line. For safety, a clear area of 3 meters in length, and running the width of the court should be available directly behind each goal line for use as a run-off zone. Both sides of the court should have a minimum of 2 meters of open space extending beyond the court’s sidelines where possible.
For the purposes of competition, each team should be assigned a bench area to be located on the same side of the court as the scorer’s table. A penalty officials’ table should be located directly across the court from the scorer’s table, and penalty boxes marked off on each side of this. The scorer’s table, penalty table and penalty boxes should be located at least one meter from the outside of the court’s sidelines.
For more information about court markings and dimensions, consult the International Rules for the Sport of Wheelchair Rugby, section 2.
Wheelchair rugby uses an official size and weight volleyball in competition. The ball must weight 280 grams.
For more information about the ball, consult the International Rules for the Sport of Wheelchair Rugby, section 3, article 14.
Athletes compete in manual wheelchairs that are specially designed for Wheelchair Rugby. The rules of the sport include detailed specifications for the wheelchairs to ensure safety and fairness; in international competition, all wheelchairs must meet these requirements to be considered legal for play.
When first starting out, any manual wheelchair may be used while learning the sport, although the game is much easier when played in a Rugby chair. Many players begin using wheelchairs adapted from wheelchair basketball, and switch to Rugby chairs when their skills have improved and they have committed to the sport.
There are two types of wheelchair rugby chairs: offensive and defensive chairs.
Offensive chairs are set up for speed and mobility and contain a front bumper and wings to prevent other wheelchairs from hooking it. These chairs are used by players with more function (2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5).
Defensive wheelchairs, like the one pictured on the left contain bumpers set up to hook and hold other players. These wheelchairs are most often used by players with less function (0.5, 1.0, 1.5).
For more information about wheelchairs, click here to read Section 4 - Wheelchair in the IWRF International Rules for the Sport of Wheelchair Rugby.
Most athletes wear gloves while playing Wheelchair Rugby, and consider them as a vital part of their personal equipment. They are worn for several reasons, but most often because they help protect the hands and skin during play.
Some additional benefits of wearing gloves are:
- They often provide additional grip when pushing the chair, and aid with starting and stopping
- They can help compensate for the loss of hand and finger function associated with a disability
- They make catching, throwing and handling the ball easier during practice and competition
Many different types of gloves are available to choose from. When selecting gloves one should look for something durable that will hold up to the rigours of the sport. Many athletes prefer using rubber coated cotton gloves such as shown below, because they are inexpensive and provide considerable grip to the player. Using tape to secure gloves to your wrist is a common practice and is highly recommended.
For more information about gloves, click here.
Strapping is an important part of every Wheelchair Rugby athlete’s preparation when getting ready to practice or play. Being properly strapped into your Rugby chair will provide added stability and improve all aspects of your performance on the court.
When strapped correctly, a Rugby chair will respond as if it is a natural part of the athlete's body, in essence becoming one.
For more information about strapping, click here.
Some of the common things a player may carry with them are:
- A water bottle and spray bottle
- Several rolls of athletic tape
- Extra gloves and strapping
- An extra practice jersey and/or T-shirt
- Four to eight extra inner-tubes for the Rugby chair
- Spare parts such as extra spokes, bearings, axles, etc
- A small toolkit with wrenches, pliers, hex-wrenches, etc
- Personal items such as gum, catheters, medication, towel, hand cleaner, etc
For more information about preparing equipment to play wheelchair rugby, please visit http://www.wheelchairrugbyready.com/ or refer to the International Rules for the Sport of