Basketball vs. Volleyball: What’s the Difference?

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A diehard basketball or volleyball fan wants to know the better sport.

Both game types were invented in the same period, basketball by Naismith in 1891 and volleyball by Morgan in 1895. They require teamwork, and the crew with the most points after regulation time wins the game.

Basketball is played on a court larger than volleyball. Volleyball requires three touches before the ball is tossed to the opponent’s side, while basketball has no limit before a shot is made.

Learn more about the similarities and differences between basketball and volleyball in this material we prepared.

Brief History of BasketballBrief History of Basketball

In 1891, Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith was tasked by his superior at Springfield College (International YMCA Training School), Massachusetts, to create an indoor game to keep students physically fit with fewer injuries.

First Goals

Naismith approached the janitor for two 18-inch square baskets, and he was given two peach baskets. Naismith nailed the baskets at both ends of the lower rail of the gymnasium’s balcony to serve as goals. The height of the balcony was ten feet, maintained by modern-day basketball.

When a shot is made, a person will retrieve the soccer ball to resume play. Sometime later, he knocked the peach baskets’ bottoms.

13 Rules

Naismith drew up 13 basic rules with a referee to implement the rules and control the game. Each team has nine players composed of three centers, three forwards, and three guards. There were two 15-minute playtimes with a five-minute rest period between halves.

At the start, the games were slow and awkward. Eventually, the rules changed and made it a fast game.

The First Basketball Game

Two teams made of 18 players from the International YMCA Training School tested the 13 rules of Naismith on December 21, 1981. The first basketball game ended with a 1-0 score.

Brief History of VolleyballBrief History of Volleyball

American William G. Morgan invented Volleyball in 1895. The game was designed for his classes of businessmen who find basketball to be physical. Morgan studied at Springfield, Massachusetts, and befriended James Naismith. After graduation, he worked at YMCA Holyoke, Massachusetts, and became the physical education director.

Sports Origin of Volleyball

Mintonette was its original name, which later changed to volley ball, now called Volleyball. The sport took after badminton with the cock going back and forth. Ideas from tennis, baseball, badminton, and handball were borrowed.


The net was borrowed from tennis and was installed six-feet-six-inches high. The size of the court is 25 feet by 50 feet.

The original ball was the air bladder of a basketball; however, it was light and slow. Morgan tried the basketball, but it was big and heavy. He sought the assistance of A. G. Spalding & Bros.; the company devised a light leather-covered ball in 1900.

10 Rules

The ten rules of Morgan had no three-touch rule, and the play continued until a team missed and the ball kissed the ground. There was no limit to the number of players as long they could fit into the playing area.

In 1913 the first international competition, the Far East Games, was held in Manila, Philippines. The game became popular, and the rules evolved. The Filipinos introduced the setting and spiking style. The ball will be tossed in a high trajectory to be struck hard by a teammate.

What are the Differences Between Basketball and VolleyballWhat are the Differences Between Basketball and Volleyball?

Basketball and Volleyball were invented in the same period, in 1891 and 1895, respectively. Both sports are popular and well-known globally, played by male and female athletes at a fast pace. But there are differences between basketball vs. Volleyball.

The Difference with the Rules

There are 12 NBA rules in basketball, Federation Internationale De Volleyball (FIVB) has 30.

The Basketball Rules

Scoring in basketball is done by shooting into your team’s hoop. Shooting beyond the three-point arc earns three points; regular shots are credited with two points, and an And-1 credits the shooter with two points and an additional point if the gift shot goes in. The win goes to the team with the most points.

Each game consists of an offensive and a defensive team. Offensive players try to make as many points as possible, while defensive players try to limit the point production of their opponents. 

The offensive player’s mission is to bring the ball to their courtside by dribbling it with one hand and passing it to teammates. Both hands can be used when shooting and passing. A player should bounce the ball after every two steps.

The Volleyball Rules

The game’s object is to hit the ball over the net with your arms, hand, or head without committing a foul.

The rally begins when a team serves the ball to the other side. The team has three touches before sending the ball back to their opponent. Once the ball hits the ground of a legal area, it is considered a point.

Service rights are rotated among the players, except for the libero.

The team that wins three out of five sets gets the victory. The winner of the set must reach 25 points and lead by two points; play goes on until the two-point margin is achieved. The fifth or tie-breaker set is a race to 15 points, and the two-point lead continues.

Number of Players in a Game

An NBA team has 12 players on the roster, with five players on the court at any time. Usually, the roles of the five players on the court are: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center.

A volleyball team has 12 players, with six players on the court and six substitutes. The six positions in Volleyball are setter, libero, middle blocker, outside hitter, opposite hitter, and defensive specialist.

Length of the Game

The total game time for a regular NBA game takes about 48 minutes with four 12-minute quarters. But the game can last over two hours due to fouls, timeouts, violations, a halftime break, referee reviews, and overtime.

A volleyball match can last about three hours long or less than an hour, depending on the circumstances of the game. A regular volleyball set lasts about 30 minutes, and a tiebreaker set takes about 20 minutes to complete. A full 5-match set takes around two hours and 20 minutes. Other factors, such as timeouts, break between sets, challenge, and substitutions, affect match time.

Skills Required to Play

Basketball and Volleyball are played by athletes that require different skills. Both sports are scoring games: the team with more points gets the W. Hence, the players must hone their basic skills and one-up their opponent to help the team.

5 Basic Basketball Skills in Basketball

1. Dribbling

Dribbling is an offensive weapon that a skilled ball handler can use to outmaneuver opponents and execute plays.

Ja Morant dribbles with the left, shifts to the right hand, and drives to the hoop for a deuce or a dish.

2. Passing

Passing is finding open teammates for good looks at the basket.

When Nikola Jokic holds the ball, he can throw a homerun pitch, or a no-look pass to his teammates.

3. Shooting

Shooters carry the game’s important goal, which is point production.

Step Curry’s crazy shooting drill pays off when he releases beyond the 3-point arc, looks at the crowd, and the ball swish the net

4. Rebounding

The Bigs control the boards, but it’s not just size; they should anticipate where the ball bounces and proper positioning and time his jump.

5. Defense 

A good defense limits your opponent’s scoring and allows your team to score.

5 Basic Skills in Volleyball

1. Serve

The serve is an opportunity to score a point. Aggressive players hit the ball hard to keep their opponents off-balance.

2. Passing

Passing is a reception technique to contact the ball when it enters your court area. Both hands are clasped, creating a platform to deflect the ball in the air.

3. Setting

Setters get the second touch and set up hitters along the net for the best possible position to bring the ball to the other side.

4. Spike

The spike is a powerful strike using an arm swing to hit the ball hard at its highest point, knocking it down to the opponent’s side.

5. Block

The front-row players play the block to prevent the opponent from returning the ball.

What are the Similarities Between Basketball and VolleyballWhat are the Similarities Between Basketball and Volleyball?

  • The inventors of the two games were associated with Springfield College (International YMCA Training School) in Massachusetts, James Naismith for basketball and William G. Morgan for Volleyball.
  • Basketball and volleyball were invented in the same period, 1891 and 1895, respectively.
  • Blocking prevents an opponent from scoring.
  • Both sports use balls and hands when playing.
  • Men and women can play basketball and volleyball.
  • They are team-oriented games.
  • The game’s replay review results can overturn a referee’s decision.
  • Both sports are indoor and outdoor games.

What Sport is Harder to Play: Volleyball or Basketball?

Basketball is much harder to play than volleyball.

Basketball is a contact sport, and there’s a lot of pushing and body contact in every play. The volleyball teams are on opposite sides of the court; there would be rare contact by opponents near the net.

The NBA’s official basketball court size is 98 feet long by 50 feet wide, and FIVB has 59 feet (L) by 29.5 feet (W). NBA players must cover many areas, while volleyball players have about 30 feet of the play area.

Basketball players are in constant motion, while volleyball players stand still before hitting the ball.

Wrapping Things Up: Basketball vs. Volleyball: What’s the Difference?

Sports enthusiasts can easily give you a lot of similarities and differences between basketball and volleyball and why they prefer playing basketball over volleyball or vice versa.

They are two games with a large fan base worldwide, thrilling to watch, and keep you active, promoting a healthy lifestyle. 

Whichever side of the fence you are, both sports excitingly unite people and keep the drab away from the routine of life.

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.


Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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