Soccer and Basketball: Differences Explained

Soccer and basketball allow our children to learn discipline, be physically healthy, and make new friendships. However, these are two vastly different sports, so let’s learn more about them. This article will share the critical differences between soccer and basketball.

Soccer and basketball are both ball games that can be enjoyed by individuals and families worldwide. Soccer is played by kicking a ball, while basketball involves bouncing and shooting the ball by hand. Both sports are unique global phenomena.

Undoubtedly, soccer is the most popular sport globally, but basketball is not that far behind. These sports gave us memorable moments and the greatest players of all time. Read on to learn more about their similarities, differences, and rules!

Similarities and Differences Between Soccer and Basketball

In both soccer and basketball, players play the game with a ball. But soccer players dribble the ball with their feet while basketball players dribble it with their hands. Soccer players shoot by kicking, and basketball shoots by throwing the ball with their hands.

To be more precise, let’s compare sports and encourage discussion. Soccer and basketball demand ability, great skill, and technical performance.

Other than playing both sports with a ball, their similarities lie in numerous skills players must use like intercepting, blocking, shooting, and tackling.

Also, both sports are team sports, so the players share their responsibility. Therefore, they must strategically organize and function well together as a team.

Let’s dive into the subject in detail and learn more about each sport.


Regarding similarities in soccer and basketball scoring, the team with the most points is the winner. The difference is how they do it.

In soccer, one point equals one goal, regardless of how the player scored the goal. Soccer is the most straightforward sport in scoring and points; one point is one goal.

On the other hand, the scoring in basketball is a little different. The team can score one, two, or three points in basketball, depending on where the player lands the ball. 

  • Free throw shots from the free-throw line (during a free-throw situation) only equal one point. Shots made from this point outside of a free-throw situation are two points.
  • Shots made from inside the three-point arc equal two points.
  • Baskets made from beyond the 3-point line equal three points.


Soccer and basketball have different play times and different rules. Soccer matches are 90 minutes long, while basketball games are usually 48 minutes long.

People refer to a soccer competition as a “match.“ A soccer match has two forty-five-minute halves (ninety minutes total). What is more interesting is that the time in a soccer match doesn’t stop for any reason; it keeps going.

Depending on the game, we can add a few minutes. For example, a tie is allowed in a soccer match because not too many goals occur per match.

We refer to a basketball competition as a “game.” A basketball game has four quarters; each quarter is twelve minutes long (forty-eight minutes total).

The length of a basketball game depends on whether it is an NBA game, a high school game, an international game, etc.

Unlike a soccer match, the time in a basketball game does stop. For example, the clock gets paused when the ball is out of bounds or during some time-outs. In short, every second of the game plays out, resulting in unpredictable game durations.

In addition, in a basketball game, a tie is not allowed. Also, timeouts are allowed in basketball, which is not the case in soccer.


The most important rule in soccer is using your feet to dribble the ball, while basketball players use their hands.

In soccer, players can touch the ball with any part of their body except their hands or arms. The goalkeeper is the only player who can handle the ball with their arms. In basketball, players only touch, move and control the ball with their hands.

Well, there are odd occasions where a player will get hit with the ball or stop it with some other body part, but those are the exception to the general rule of basketball handling.

Let us put it this way: In soccer, we kick the ball; in basketball, we throw it.

Every soccer team has eleven players on the field, while every basketball team has five players on the court. This is because the basketball court is much smaller than the soccer field.

Want to find out what a soccer goalie can do that the other players can’t? Read this article I wrote: Can A Soccer Goalie Bounce The Ball? (Rules Clarified)


We should mention the essential part of any sport: the drills. Everyone’s heard the famous saying: practice makes perfect. So, let’s talk about the differences between the drills in soccer and basketball.

Soccer drills

The most significant element in soccer is dribbling. Mastering the skill of dribbling the ball will separate the outstanding soccer player from the average one. This is because many factors are essential to learning, like endurance, balance, speed, control, and agility.

Here are a couple of drills to learn that will make anyone a better soccer player:

  • Passing the ball
  • Dribbling the ball
  • Shooting the ball
  • Defense and attack
  • Goalkeeping
  • Controlling the ball
  • Crossing
  • Fitness in general

Basketball drills

As in soccer, learning basketball dribbling will make anyone a better player. Drills will help to improve dribbling techniques. Here are some varieties:

  • Two-ball dribbling
  • Full speed shooting
  • Full speed dribbling
  • Ball Passing
  • Defense and attack
  • Controlling the ball
  • Curl-fade-cut
  • One-on-one
  • Fitness (in general)
  • Running the lines (sprints)
An image of two boys in a yard with a basketball and football.

Which Is Better: Soccer or Basketball?

There is no universal right or wrong answer to if basketball or soccer is better; it is a matter of personal style and preference. For example, soccer fans will say that soccer is better than basketball and vice versa.

But, to play a devil’s advocate here, let’s find out if there is such a thing as “a better sport. “

Regarding popularity, in this category, soccer wins big time. But, of course, this doesn’t mean we should underestimate the popularity of basketball.

The truth is that soccer is famous globally and brings big bucks. But, on the other hand, NBA basketball players are also rockstars; do names like Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, or LeBron James ring a bell?

Let’s talk about which of these two sports has better technique. Soccer and basketball players are super technical and professional.

In both sports, they are highly skillful and fit. In soccer and basketball, planning and strategy are essential. Observing how the players approach the match or game is a pleasure.

Soccer is a global sport, but basketball overshadows every sport in the U.S. How to answer this question?

We suggest organizing a sports night. Watch a soccer match and a basketball game and decide for yourself. Whatever the decision is, it will be a fun experience!

Which Is Easier: Soccer or Basketball?

Comparing the ease of two different sports, like soccer and basketball, is tricky. There is no correct answer to this question. It depends. For some people, soccer is more straightforward; for some, it’s basketball. Both sports require endurance, skill, fitness, and strategy.

Soccer and basketball are complicated sports. As we stated before, both sports have more differences than similarities. Therefore, we will argue that comparing them is a little unfair.

The soccer field is much larger than the basketball court. For this reason, during the match, soccer players run farther than basketball players.

At the same time, because the basketball court is smaller than the soccer field, the basketball players are much more explosive on the court.

When it comes to the length of a soccer match or basketball game, a soccer match lasts ninety minutes or even longer. On the other hand, a basketball game lasts around forty-eight minutes.

Sprinting on the court for forty-eight minutes is quite impressive, but soccer lasts twice as long, and there is no stopping during the match.

What about strategy? The soccer team has eleven players, while the basketball team has five. For that reason, and the field’s size, soccer requires more strategy.

However, basketball also requires more strategy because the basketball court is smaller and has only five players. It’s an intense and fast sport; players must be quick in their decisions.

Basketball requires a great deal of physical effort from the players. There is so much physical contact in one game, jumping, pushing, and cutting.

A lot of upper body strength is necessary. Basketball players must be light on their feet, fast, and at the same time be able to catch and shoot the ball.

Soccer also requires physical effort from the players. Therefore, a soccer player must have high endurance and excellent cardiovascular health.

Unlike basketball, soccer involves a lot of lower body strength. Another thing to consider is that people always play soccer outdoors regardless of the weather. So, rainy or windy, a soccer match is happening.

What do you think – which sport is more straightforward? We admit that there are pros and cons to both.

Will Soccer Be Easy for a Basketball Player?

Basketball players may find that natural athleticism and endurance help them transition to playing soccer. Still, they may not find it “easy” overall as the skills, rhythms, strategies, game time lengths, and playing styles are completely different.

Soccer is a pass-oriented sport – basketball players considering playing soccer must prepare themselves for the differences. It won’t be easy, that is for sure. Both sports have different drills, rhythms, strategies, physicality, etc.

However, let’s not forget the most significant difference; basketball is played with the hands, and soccer with the feet.

It will be challenging, but it will also be rewarding. By playing soccer, a player can improve their basketball skills.

The footwork will improve cardio, defense, mobility, and strategic decisions. In addition, because the soccer field is so big, soccer players have excellent coordination and can evaluate and analyze different angles.

Also, a basketball player can learn to be a good teammate from soccer. Solo dribbling on the court is great but is not always a good decision.

Will Basketball Be Easy for a Soccer Player?

Soccer players may find that their athleticism and endurance help them transition to playing basketball. Still, it may not be an easy transition as the rhythms, skills, game speed, game time, and playing styles are vastly different.

Same as with soccer, basketball will be a hard transition for a soccer player. Although, with training and persistence, it is doable. If soccer players play basketball, they can improve their explosivity, jumping, and upper body strength.

Another thing to mention is that basketball players are typically seen as big and tall – much bigger and taller than soccer players. That can be quite a challenge at the beginning, but after that, it will be an extra plus for their soccer skills.

Basketball is a super-fast game, and many folks like to play it one-on-one. These are excellent skills to learn and implement in your training.

Does playing soccer make you taller? To find out for sure, check out this article right here.

An image of a Male soccer player hits the ball on the soccer field.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Soccer and basketball are the two most popular sports in the world. Basketball is played with hands and soccer with feet. But, as we have learned through this article, there are more differences between them than similarities.

The similarities are that both soccer and basketball are team sports and are played with a ball. But in the end, we would like to stress a different kind of similarity between soccer and basketball.

Soccer and basketball are two beautiful and different sports. The technique, the strategy, the drills, the team, the field, the court, everything is different.

People are constantly debating about which one is better and easier. There is no satisfying answer. Some people like soccer better than basketball, and some people think basketball is easier than soccer.

The truth is that both are beautiful games that bring people together. Both sports can be played by families or family members and can be enjoyed as a sporting event that brings the whole family together.

It’s less a matter of which is better – and more a question of which sport your family likes better. Or, if one of your family members prefers one, get out there and support them in that passion!

Soccer and basketball players have the same qualities: endurance, persistence, discipline, agility, speed, and strength.

The amount of dedication and skill required for players to have is outstanding.

If you have the opportunity to watch soccer and basketball live, we highly recommend it. The energy of sports is much more wonderful than watching it on TV.

In addition, some of the greatest athletes of all time are soccer and basketball players; they are true role models for our kids.

The funny thing is that basketball players are fans of soccer and support the sport as much as soccer players support and love basketball.

Here are a few more articles here about soccer. We plan on expanding our article database very soon, so there is a TON of good information about basketball and soccer for families to use and make decisions.

They’re all good, so pick your reading adventure going forward. Happy family time, friends!


Learning from your own experiences is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as a family of sports nuts wannabes.

  • “Basketball vs. Soccer: Which Is Harder?” Hoops Addict, 27 May 2022,
  • “Does Soccer Take More Skill Than Basketball?” Your Soccer Home, 30 Sept. 2021,
  • “How Soccer Can Improve Basketball Skills.” Old Man Game Tips, 4 July 2021,
  • “Is Soccer Harder Than Basketball? Here Are the Facts.” Your Soccer Home, 30 Sept. 2021,
  • Miquel M. “Is Basketball More Physical Than Soccer?” Basketball Overtime, 18 Apr. 2021,
  • Soccer, Authority, and Authority Soccer. “What Is Better Soccer or Basketball?” Authority Soccer, Accessed 12 July 2022.

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