Difference Between Basketball And Netball – Explained!

Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by Alex PT

Basketball is a contact sport played with 5 players on each team, while netball is a non-contact sport played with 7 players on each team. Basketball players can move anywhere on the court, while netball players are restricted to certain areas depending on their position.

Overview of the Difference Between Basketball and Netball

Team Size5 players per team7 players per team
Court SizeLarger court with more spaceSmaller court with restricted areas
DribblingDribbling is allowed and a key skillDribbling is not allowed
ScoringPoints are scored by shooting through a hoopPoints are scored by shooting through a hoop
PositionsFewer specialized positionsMore specialized positions
MovementConstant fast-paced movementControlled movement with passing
ContactPhysical contact is more commonLimited physical contact allowed
Game DurationFour quarters, typically 12 minutes eachFour quarters, typically 15 minutes each
Scoring System2-point and 3-point field goals, free throws1-point goals, similar to free throws
AttirePlayers wear shorts, jerseys, and sneakersPlayers wear skirts or shorts, jerseys, and netball shoes
Governing BodiesFIBA (International Basketball Federation)INF (International Netball Federation)


Basketball is an intriguing, if not often confusing game. This is mainly because it’s played with a ball and 5 players on the court simultaneously. The goal of this exciting sport is to shoot the basketball through your opponent’s hoop while making sure you don’t get scored. Scoring 2 points has always been referred to as a “single”, while scoring 3 points at any other location on the court has been called a “3-pointer” ever since it became standardized with the addition of a bonus point for successful shots from beyond 3 meters back in 1979.


As an enduring symbol of international competition, basketball has its own court markings that are utilized. Netball also has the lines and cones drawn on a basketball court, but it has its own unique features as well. Basketball players can enjoy freedom – running the court’s length when chasing or retrieving the ball. Netball doesn’t allow for some of that flexibility because so much more placement precision is required within a three-and-a-half meter area at any one time. A goal circle is also present in netball and this is similar to the basketball rim with two pockets for scoring two points should the player manage to make use of either cross circle . The rules between netball and basketball are fairly similar too so you can see how Hoopla could help support both sports!

Major Differences between Netball and Basketball


Basketball is a very different sport than netball. You see, while in netball the ball has to travel over three meters (that’s almost 10 feet) before you can pass it again, and with basketball, there’s absolutely no such rule set. And then of course, like netball, there are rules about how long the basketball team can hold on to the ball – but none of them have anything to do with distance or time really. The important thing about basketball teams is that they can move as far back from the goalposts (3-point zone) as they want without any rule against it, allowing them more distance from their opponents. In today’s example, we’ll look at an excerpt from a tutorial where Netpicks is introducing some new users to one of the most popular sports around; Basketball!


Basketball player Steph Curry hasn’t always been the sharpshooting sensation he is now. In fact, he only started shooting from deep around his college years which, along with his 6’3″ frame and 12.8 points per game helped get him picked seventh overall in the 2009 NBA draft by Golden State Warriors. He also made a name for himself that same year when he hit a then-undefeated record of 272 3-point field goals which was until 2016 when Klay Thompson broke it with 268 3-point field goals hit. Unlike basketball, where anyone can shoot the ball you have to be confined to a specific zone during netball so as not to break rules pertaining to team shooting strategies and can only use certain players like goal-shooters and goal-attack players – typically those who specialize in long-range shooting.


Basketball and netball have some key differences when it comes to their positions. Positions are a key part of the game as they provide both teams with opportunities to gain an advantage over their opposition. Basketball does not have as many positions and is much more free-flowing in terms of where each player can be on the court whereas netball puts players in very specific places and requires them to stay there. Now, that’s not to say that basketball is a lot less restricted than netball, but players at least have room for a little bit of movement. A player in basketball could be playing center but depending on what’s going on in the game they may end up somewhere else on the court because you don’t really want a less-fit person out running around during a fast-paced offensive set.

Gender Separation

It can be applied in the sense that men dominate professional basketball while women do in netball, due to their physical capabilities. Netball is a non-contact sport that allows for rational thinking and strategizing. In contrast, the reason why male basketball is more popular could stem from it being not so much about strategy and prowess, being more about strength and agility. Given how overlooked men’s netball v/s women’s could be, it makes it difficult to even create a team.

Ball handling 

Basketball players and coaches are constantly at work on their ball-handling abilities. Many different dribbling techniques, such as “the sham god” and “the crossover,” have been perfected by coaches and practitioners alike in order to put defenders on the back foot. Netball is an increasingly popular sport which relies heavily on agility and stamina. The fundamental rules of the game are fairly simple; each team has seven players who attempt to score points by placing a ball through a hoop ring attached to a unit situated above the net. One crucial point about this game though is that it does not allow for physical contact between opposing team members nor it recognizes if a player fails to return the ball over the net within five seconds. Perhaps this will inspire you to try out netball with others so that you can develop your hand-eye coordination skills and gain immense enjoyment from playing it!

What Are Some Similarities Between Netball and Basketball?

Netball and basketball share several similarities, despite being distinct sports. Here are some key similarities between the two:

  1. Team Sports: Both netball and basketball are team sports played on a rectangular court with the objective of scoring points by shooting a ball through a hoop.
  2. Court Layout: The layout of the courts for both sports includes a hoop at each end and specific boundary lines, such as the center circle and shooting circles in netball, and the three-point line in basketball.
  3. Passing: Passing is a fundamental skill in both sports. Players in both games need to pass the ball efficiently to move it up the court and create scoring opportunities.
  4. Defense: Both sports involve defensive strategies to prevent the opposing team from scoring. This includes marking opponents, intercepting passes, and blocking shots.
  5. Scoring: In both netball and basketball, the primary objective is to score points by shooting the ball through the opponent’s hoop. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  6. Teamwork: Both sports require effective teamwork to be successful. Players need to communicate, coordinate movements, and work together to advance the ball and defend against the opposing team.
  7. Offensive Plays: Both sports use offensive plays and strategies to create scoring opportunities. These can involve setting screens, creating space, and executing planned plays.
  8. Game Structure: Netball and basketball are typically played in quarters, with each team trying to outscore their opponent during each quarter. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
  9. Referees and Rules: Both sports have referees who enforce the rules and ensure fair play. They penalize violations, such as traveling, stepping, and fouls.
  10. Physical Fitness: Players in both sports require a high level of physical fitness, including endurance, agility, and speed, to perform well on the court.

Why netball is better than basketball

1. Lower Risk of Injuries:
Netball involves less physical contact than basketball, which generally results in fewer injuries. As a non-contact sport, netball players cannot snatch the ball from opponents, reducing opportunities for collisions and consequent injuries.

2. Inclusive for All Ages and Abilities:
Netball is designed for players with varied skill levels. From junior to senior levels, the rules can be easily adjusted to accommodate everyone, making it a very inclusive sport.

Children’s participationHighly EncouragedSometimes limited
Seniors’ participationHighly EncouragedSometimes limited

3. Encourages Teamwork:
While basketball encourages individual performance, netball emphasizes teamwork. In netball, no player is allowed to move with the ball, hence the team has to work together to score.

4. Different Positions, Different Roles:
In netball, each position has a specific role, which ensures everyone on the team has a significant part to play in any given game. Unlike basketball, where roles can be somewhat fluid, netball assigns clear duties to each player.

5. Superior Skill Development:
Many argue that the range of skills required to play netball — like catching, throwing, jumping, and pivoting — can be more demanding than those for basketball. The prohibition on dribbling or moving with the ball, for instance, requires players to think strategically and react quickly.

6. Less Dominated by Height:
While height can be an advantage in both sports, it is less of a determining factor in netball. In basketball, taller players can sometimes dominate the game, while in netball, precision, agility, and strategy often prove more critical than sheer height.

7. More Global Reach:
Despite basketball’s popularity in the United States, netball has a broader global reach. It’s hugely popular in Commonwealth countries, and its profile continues to rise worldwide.

Final Words

In conclusion, netball is a sport that originated in England from basketball. It was created so that women would have a sport that could be enjoyed and played without the hassle of running into men on the court! The major differences between basketball and netball are gender separation, no contact when dribbling and prohibiting players from using their hands for passing, less number of players than the other team, there are only ten people total on the teams competing, shorter game duration, and the fact that there is a gap between the rims of nets. There can’t be any backboards so it makes it harder for people to shoot baskets past it. Also, you aren’t allowed to step out of bounds as well. And may I add that Netball is also referred to as “women’s Basketball?”



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