What is Better Soccer or Basketball
Soccer

What is Better Soccer or Basketball?

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Sport brings people together. Sport is an all-inclusive part of life but some people have strong opinions on what sport they prefer and which one is better. Although many do like many sports from boxing to formula one, some people feel they have to fully throw themselves into one sport and one sport only. The love for a sport can become quite tribal and heated arguments can develop over what sport is better. Especially in the United States with so many first-class sports available. Baseball, football, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, golf, tennis, and many more dominate the sports channels in the country. 

However, there has always been a debate about what sport is better between soccer and basketball because the two sports are end to end and high intensity. So what is better soccer or basketball?

Both sports have a huge following globally but soccer does have the edge because it is played at a higher standard across the world as opposed to basketball. However, the popularity of basketball cannot be understated with the sport being in the top three in America. People probably prefer soccer due to the global attraction and the fact scoring means much more, rather than the final quarter like basketball. 

Which sport came first soccer or basketball

When it comes to what came first, it is actually quite close. Both sports have had a long history in the world and both have been prominent since the 1800s. Over that time they have become two of the biggest sports in the world. 

However, soccer was the first to come onto the scene in 1863. After many centuries of soccer-like games, soccer was finally a recognized sport.

The game was banned for centuries due to violent outbreaks but returned to the streets of London in the early 1800s. However, the Government banned it once again until 1835 but at this point, it was well established in schools across the country and its popularity was rivaling cricket. 

In 1848, there was an attempt to finally sort out some rules for this game in Cambridge and this led to the creation of leagues and teams across the country. One of the first clubs Notts County, created in 1862, still exists today! The popularity and amount of clubs being created led to the English Football Association being set up in 1863. 

In 1885, after a long hard battle, professional football was established and in 1888 the first soccer league was created. When soccer was first played in England there were just 12 teams in the league, now there are 92 recognized teams in the first four top-flight divisions; in the country, there are over 40,000 recognized clubs with the soccer association. 

Basketball took an easier route than soccer, the sport arrived with clear set rules written by James Naismith. His thirteen rules that he stated were part of a class assignment and did actually use a soccer ball and nine players, all aiming to throw the ball into peach baskets that were nailed to the balconies. When a player scored a basket the game would have been stopped for someone to retrieve the ball!

In 1892, the sport was given its first public outing and was an instant hit with the crowd who watched the game. Word spread quickly about the sport and over the next three years the rules were refined and it led to the first intercollegiate game between Minnesota School of Agriculture and Hamline College being played in 1895. Alongside the men’s game, the women’s game was gaining popularity as well and the first women’s game was played the following year.

Everybody had basketball fever and the creation of the first professional league was confirmed in 1898 but it would be another seven years before they removed the peach baskets and ultimately removing the delay to the game.

Which sport is more physically demanding soccer or basketball 

Training

In soccer, professional players can train for around 30 hours a week and that is dependant on if they have several games a week. In training, they will vary work between light/recovery, gym sessions, on-field practice, and conditioning in pre-season. In pre-season, they can train up to three times a day but typically players will have two sessions a day split into the morning and the afternoon.

Basketball players have to go through slightly more rigorous training and train for around 40 hours per week in the normal season. Alongside this players have a more hectic schedule and in the NBA players have to play 82 games in a season as opposed to a Premier League footballer who would only play 38 games (excluding cup competitions). 

Players are required to train in the gym, full team practices, attend massage recovery sessions and also work on their own on their conditioning. In the off-season, basketball players can train up to 10 hours a day so that they are prepared for the upcoming strenuous season.

Game time running stats

It is hard to compare the two sports for in-game running stats because of the difference in pitch size. For example, the average professional football will run on average 6.7 miles whereas the average NBA player will run around 2 miles per game. So this shows the ability to run longer distances but the average sprinting done by a basketball player is much higher due to the quick and intense nature of the game being end to end.

Physical contact reliant

In both sports, you have to be strong physically and have to be able to fend off opponents who are trying to get the ball off you and into their possession. Both sports have players of different physical sizes who can still play the game but ultimately strength is a vital part of the game. Although physical contact is called up more often in basketball, by the referees, than it is in soccer for example a shoulder barge is a foul in basketball but in soccer, it can be seen as a fair tackle, you still have to be physically strong to block players from scoring defensively. 

It is a close call between the two sports but strength-wise you have to be more in shape in basketball especially as a defensive player. 

Which players are more fit, soccer or basketball?

The demands of either sport are different and ones that have to be looked at carefully. As stated the size of the pitch/ court differs between the two sports therefore it is hard to comparatively say who is the fitter player.

There are statistics that can compare the two like previously mentioned about like distance covered but also top speed. The fastest player in the NBA is reportedly Kings’ point guard De’Aaron Fox who can reach a top speed of 18.6 mph; which is incredibly quick. However, Bayern Munich full-back Alphonso Davies can reach speeds of 22.69mph as he demonstrated against Barcelona in the semi-final of the Champions League in 2020.

Both sports, if you are to succeed, have to have players who are at their peak fitness and that is why you are seeing players like Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James play into their late thirties at the highest level still. 

Who earns more basketball or soccer?

There can be many differences in what a player earns throughout their career playing either basketball or playing soccer. There can be players who earn millions and there can be players who earn a very decent wage. If you look at players who play basketball outside the USA they are likely to be earning $500-800k a season. Whereas in the USA (NBA) players’ average salary is a whopping $8.32 million! 

The NBA is where the money is and players often dominate the list of the wealthiest sportsmen in the world. Players like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damien Lillard all earning way over $45 million from their salary and sponsorship deals.


On the soccer side, players can still earn a very good wage but the average in the English Premier League is nowhere close to $8 million. The Champions Manchester City have an average wage bill of roughly $8.7 million and they are one of the richest clubs in the world. Compare this with a club like Burnley who has been a Premier League mainstay for many years they only overage $2.39 million for the entire squad.

Players like Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar are the highest paid in the sport and are all worth in excess of $95 million. However, in the MLS players are not getting anywhere near the same amount of money as the three just mentioned as the average wage $530,000 yearly.

The popularity pays the wages for the two sports depending on what country they play in.

Which sport is more technical, basketball or soccer?

Both sports have technical aspects that are niche and incredibly hard to pull off. Players train hard to perfect certain skills like three-point shots in basketball or free kicks in soccer. Players a relentless in trying to improve and bring a more technical side to their game.

It could be argued that it is harder for basketball players to score a basket because of the size of their target and players being in such close proximity to put a player off a shot. However, in soccer, the goal has a permanent goalkeeper to stop the ball from going into the back of the net so it requires a player to be more precise with their finishing. 

Which sport needs more strategy, basketball or soccer?

The great thing about sport is, is the fact that it is always evolving. Strategy and how to play the game have brought some genius people to look at the way the game is played and alter it so that they have the winning formula. Soccer has had managers like Pep Guardiola, Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian Clough, Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho, Ottmar Hitzfeld, and Bill Shankly all change the way soccer is played. The same can be said for basketball with coaches like Jerry Sloan, John Kundla, Chuck Daly, Larry Brown, Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, Red Auerbach, and Phil Jackson, just like the soccer managers managed to revolutionize the game and turn their philosophy into a winning strategy,

The strategy can be simple and the strategy can also be more complex in both sports. In soccer, you have the famous total football where you are constantly attacking and playing as a unit or you can have the route one style where you play a long ball up and battle with the opponent for it. In basketball, it can differ from constant ball movement that you see in today’s game or it could be the dominant big men of the 1960s relying on their physicality and brute force to beat an opponent. 

None is better than the other and both sports have had people change the strategy for years but both should be respected for people wanting to outwit and study the game so they can gain an advantage. 

Soccer is an international sport but basketball dominates in the USA

In terms of popularity, soccer will always have an advantage. The sport dominates most of Europe and South America whereas basketball is only the biggest sport in the USA. Competitions like the World Cup, European Champions League, Copa Libertadores, and the European Championships show how many different countries can battle it out on the highest stage and you can have a different winner each time. For example, in the World Cup, the past five winners have been France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Brazil. 

However, basketball centers around the USA and only a handful of countries. Unlike soccer, the USA has blown away other countries in the Olympics due to their greater stature. They have also got the most medals at the FIBA Basketball world cup. Although they have not been as dominant as they have been at the Olympics they are still incredibly superior to the opposing nations. 

Ultimately, the two sports require a high amount of commitment to make it to the top level. It is hard to say which sport is the better one because that would be disregarding sportspeople who have worked hard to make a career in the sport of basketball or soccer. Soccer is probably more popular than basketball and would make it th better sport in some people’s eyes but basketball is a very entertaining sport that people do enjoy alongside soccer.

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