Volleyball vs Basketball: A Friendly Rivalry Unveiled

volleyball vs basketball

Ah, my high school days’ friendly volleyball vs. basketball debates always brought out my passion.

Back then, I was all about volleyball, defending it with passion.

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But ask a basketball fan, and they’d have a hundred reasons why basketball rules.

Despite the differences, both sports are fantastic for staying active and fit.

Plus, they teach you how to work together and have fun. 

Quick Answer: The main difference between volleyball and basketball is their gameplay nature, requisite skills, and court dynamics.

Volleyball involves hitting the ball over a net, preventing it from hitting the ground, while basketball revolves around dribbling, passing, and shooting to score in a hoop.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes volleyball and basketball unique and celebrate the fun and excitement they bring to the court!

Volleyball – An Overview

Volleyball is a team sport where two teams, each having six players, use their hands to send the ball over a tall net.

The goal is to score more points than the other team by making the ball touch the ground on the opponent’s side of the court.

It was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan, who wanted to create a less stressful game than basketball.

It quickly became popular in the United States and was introduced to other countries in the early 1900s.

The volleyball court is divided into two halves by a net, measuring 18m in length and 9m in width.

Any team can have six players on the court, and three contacts are allowed per side.

It is played as best-of-five sets typically, with each set won by a team reaching 25 points first.

The players rotate positions on the court with each successful side-out, ensuring equal distribution of roles and responsibilities.

What do I like about it?

Volleyball is one of the most popular Olympic sports; apart from that, I have been in love with it since childhood.

I have observed many positive aspects of this fantastic team sport and would love to elaborate on those points.

  • Volleyball is a game that requires a lot of collaboration, communication, and unity among the players, which helps develop teamwork.
  • The dynamic gameplay nature of volleyball and the constant movement keep all the players, and the audience engaged.
  • People of all ages and skill levels enjoy it, which makes it an inclusive nature sport.
  • Volleyball offers physical and mental challenges to the players to gain their opponent’s competitive advantage.
  • The players in volleyball, especially the libero and DS, engage in various skills during the game, from powerful spikes to precise serves and instant digging.
Players engaged in a volleyball match

What I don’t like?

While volleyball is a thrilling and exciting game I love the most, a few points sometimes make me chuckle.

But don’t get me wrong!

They are the small stuff that adds fun to the game.

Let me discuss light-heartedly those interesting points with you:

  • Sometimes, weather dependency, such as rain, can affect the outdoor volleyball match.
  • Matches can be lengthy when both teams are equally strong.
  • Learning the rotations, such as a 4-2 rotation, could be challenging for beginners.
  • As with any sport, there are possible injuries, but luckily, there are not too many in volleyball.

Basketball – An Overview

Basketball is a team sport involving two teams with five players each, aiming to score more points than their opponents by shooting the ball in the opposite hoop.

If I talk about the history of basketball, Dr. James Naismith invented it in 1891 to keep athletes active during the winter season.

The game soon gained popularity throughout the world.

The basketball court is typically 28m long and 15m wide, with a hoop at both ends.

Each player in the team has a specific position responsible for contributing to the gameplay.

The game consists of four quarters, each of 12 minutes.

The team with the most points at the end of the game wins it.

What do I like about it?

Basketball is a widely beloved sport with over 800 million fans worldwide.

There are a lot of positive aspects of this game, which capture the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide.

  • You can play basketball everywhere in the world because of its easy setup. You only need a hoop and a basketball to start paying.
  • You can’t rest during the basketball game, and that’s due to the game’s fast-paced nature. It results in improving the overall fitness and athleticism of the players.
  • Like volleyball, it’s a sport of teamwork and coordination. You must collaborate with other team members to win the game and make the strategy.
  • Basketball has many events frequently happening in almost every state of the USA. Such events bring communities together for the same purpose.
players jumping in a basketball game

What I don’t like?

Millions of fans worldwide love basketball, which has some unique elements that others may find challenging and not glamorous.

However, these aspects are part of the game, making it diverse and exciting.

Let me discuss a few points.

  • Frequent fouls in the basketball game can slow down the game and disrupt its momentum.
  • It can have many stoppages or breaks, especially during the timeout, breaking the game’s flow.
  • We all know that tall players have an advantage in basketball, which makes it challenging for shorter players to excel.
  • You can only dominate this game by excelling in dribbling; mastering it is tough, especially for the newbies.

Volleyball vs Basketball: Head-To-Head

I have compiled a comprehensive list of 8 features that shed light on volleyball and basketball.

Whether you are a die-heart volleyball fan or a basketball enthusiast, get ready to explore the face-off between two excellent sports in a head-to-head comparison.

Also, don’t forget to check out my similar in-depth comparison in ‘Volleyball vs Tennis‘.

It’s a must-read for those who love exploring how volleyball fares against other popular sports!

1) Physical Contact

In volleyball, the players focus on preventing the ball from touching the ground on the side of the net.

The players could bump into each other during the game, but direct body-to-body contact is limited.

On the other hand, basketball involves more frequent physical contact between the players.

While dribbling and defending, players typically bump into each other.

It is part of the dynamic nature of basketball, where contact is a normal part of it.

2) Ball Size

Regarding the ball sizes of volleyball and basketball, I am referencing the standard balls of both sports because their sizes may vary due to their usage in different leagues and levels of play.

Volleyball has a circumference of about 22.59 to 26.34 inches, allowing the players to make controlled hits and serves.

volleyball ball floating in the air

A basketball of standard size 7 has a circumference of about 29.6 inches.

This size makes dribbling, shooting, and passing easier for the players.

One interesting thing to notice is that a basketball has small bumps on its surface, while a volleyball ball usually has a smooth exterior or a collection of small dimples.

3) Court Dimensions

The volleyball court is rectangular, measuring 59 feet in length and 29.6 feet in width.

The court consists of two halves, separated by a net, and each half consists of a front and back zone.

On the other hand, a basketball court is 94 feet in length and 50 feet in width, featuring a hoop and backboard at each end.

The court size and layout make dribbling, passing, and shooting easier to outplay opponents.

basketball court

4) Equipment Requirements

If I talk about the equipment requirements of volleyball and basketball, both require minimal equipment to play, which helps to move the players on the court efficiently and enhance performance.

You need a standard ball, net and poles, appropriate footwear, and knee pads(optional) for volleyball.

While in basketball, you need a hoop, a standard-size ball, and a flat court.

For quick movements and agility, pay special attention to choosing basketball shoes to help in better dribbling, shooting, and passing.

5) Team Composition

A volleyball team consists of six players on the court: three in the front row and three in the back row.

The positions are setter, libero, outside hitter, middle blocker, and opposite hitter.

The basketball team comprises five players, divided into guards, forwards, and a center.

The substitution of the players occurs during the stoppages to maintain the player’s stamina.

6) Skill Sets

I can’t prioritize any of the two sports regarding the skill set because both require a mix of skills.

Volleyball focuses on teamwork and accurate ball control, while basketball revolves around dribbling, passing, and quickly scoring points.

In volleyball, the setter needs precise hand control, whereas decisive and strategic shots play a vital role for the hitter to score the point.

Liberos and defensive specialists have unique positions in volleyball, often found in the back row.

Basketball players need versatile skill sets as well.

You need terrific control over the ball for dribbling, and passing requires effective ball movement and teamwork.

The same goes for rebounding and shooting, which require perfect timing and positioning to defeat the opponent.

7) Game Rules

In volleyball, the primary objective is to execute precise shots over the net onto the opponent’s side while preventing the ball from making contact with the ground on your side of the court.

The ball is allowed to touch various body parts but not held or caught, as decided by FIVB. If you don’t follow this rule, it is a lift violation.

Each team receives three opportunities to return the ball, with the rule that players can’t hit the ball twice. The first team to reach 35 points wins a set.

In basketball, the teams score the point by shooting the ball into the opponent’s hoop above the court.

Players can’t travel (move without dribbling), and there is a restriction to not hold the ball for an extended period.

You get two or three points in case of a field goal, while free throws are worth one point.

8) Ease of Learning

As someone who has spent years playing and coaching volleyball, I feel like it’s the most straightforward sport to master, but let’s not decide on my gut feeling.

Some points could help me better explain the concept of ease of learning for volleyball and basketball.

  • Volleyball doesn’t involve dribbling or shooting techniques, which are hard to master for beginners.
  • The collaborative nature of volleyball promotes quick adaptation.
  • In basketball, mastering accurate shooting and defensive strategies can take time.
  • One thing that basketball has a clear advantage is the need for more learning resources, including coaching, drills, etc.

    If I compare it with volleyball, the resources could be better, so I am on a mission to spread volleyball knowledge to the masses.


As a die-heart volleyball fan, I have to say that while volleyball and basketball have their charm, there’s something magical about the teamwork, strategy, and robust spiking of volleyball that makes it unique.

But, to all the basketball fans, I handed over this discussion to you, and I know that your heart lies within dribbling, passing, and rebounding.

So, it’s not about which sport is better, but rather enjoying it will full heartedly and healthy competition that brings it to our loves.

Let’s keep the courts alive with our enthusiasm and love for volleyball and basketball.

Frequently Asked Questions

The friendly rivalry is ongoing, as I am answering some of the most asked questions regarding this debate.

Is volleyball or basketball more popular?

Basketball is more popular than basketball due to a large fan base and presence in more countries than volleyball.

However, volleyball is also enjoyed by over 800 million people worldwide, with a massive following in certain countries.

Is volleyball a harder sport than basketball?

The level of difficulty of a sport depends on individual preferences and skills.

While volleyball requires teamwork, strategy-making, and precise timing, volleyball requires dribbling, shooting, passing, and defensive skills.

Both have challenges, making it difficult to say that a specific sport is harder.

Does playing volleyball make you better at basketball?

Yes, playing volleyball can improve you at basketball because both sports require teamwork, strategy-making, and effective communication.

The hand-eye coordination developed through volleyball can help improve ball handling and passing basketball abilities.

Does basketball burn more calories than volleyball?

Yes, basketball burns more calories than volleyball. Both sports offer excellent workouts and intense movements.

Still, the calorie-burning aspect depends on certain factors like the sport’s intensity, the activity’s duration, and most importantly, the individual level of effort.

To answer this question, I did some calculations, and according to them, if a person weighs 180 lbs and plays basketball for 60 minutes, the burned calories will be 549.

On the other hand, if the same person plays volleyball for 60 minutes, he will burn 343 KCAL.

While these stats show a general trend, it’s important to note that an individual’s body composition and variability can affect these estimates.

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