The net versus the hoop: two symbols of sport, representing two vastly different sports. Netball and basketball, while sharing similar principles, are two very distinct games that require different skills and strategies to succeed in. Whether you’re a fan of one or the other, or both, there’s no doubt that both games offer an exciting spectacle for players and spectators alike.

So what is the difference between netball and basketball? While there may be some similarities in terms of rules and techniques, the differences are numerous. From court size to playing positions, from ball size to fouls – it’s clear that these two sports have their own distinct characteristics. In this article we’ll explore these differences in detail so that you can decide which game is right for you!

Netball and basketball have been around for decades, captivating audiences with their thrilling action-packed gameplay. Whether you’re a keen player or just an avid spectator looking to know more about either game – you’ve come to the right place! Read on as we delve into the unique features of each sport and uncover what makes them so special.

History Of Netball And Basketball

It’s quite interesting to think that two of the world’s most popular sports have such different histories. Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, while netball has its roots in a 19th-century game called “basket ball”, which was played almost exclusively by women. Though they may appear similar at first glance, their differences go far beyond just their origins.

The rules of each sport also vary greatly. In basketball, there are five players on each team and the objective is to score points by shooting the ball through a 10-foot tall hoop. In contrast, netball has seven players per team and requires them to shoot into a hoop that is only about 8 feet high. Moreover, in basketball the court has an out-of-bounds line; for netball it’s an area marked with cones and circles instead.

Though these two sports may be compared due to their similarities, there are still major differences between them that make them unique from each other. Next up we’ll take a look at the court dimensions associated with both sports and how they differ from one another.

Court Dimensions

Have you ever wondered what really sets netball and basketball apart? Aside from the history, court dimensions are one major difference between these two beloved sports. Let’s take a look at the specifics of this comparison.

The court dimensions of netball and basketball may seem similar on the surface, but there are some crucial differences between them. The size of a regulation netball court is 30.5 meters long by 15.25 meters wide; in contrast, a full-size basketball court measures 28 meters long and 15 meters wide. The netball court also has a 3-meter shooting circle around each goal post, which is not present in a basketball court. In addition to being slightly larger than its basketball counterpart, the netball court is divided into thirds as opposed to halves like in basketball.

Netball and basketball both require speed as well as agility, but their respective courts are designed to accommodate different levels and types of play style that call for different skillsets from the players. The larger area available on a netball court encourages more physical contact between opponents compared to the more strategic approach taken within a smaller space on a basketball court where players must rely more on finesse and tactical plays for success.

These differences in size and division can have an impact on how each sport is played – making it important to know the exact measurements before stepping onto either one of these two courts!

Number Of Players

It is well established that netball and basketball are two distinct games, each with its own unique rules and regulations. It’s time to dive deeper into the differences between the two sports, starting with the number of players required for each game.

Netball is a seven-player sport, where teams typically have three defenders, three attackers, and one center or goal shooter. Basketball on the other hand consists of five players per team; two guards, two forwards, and one center. Consequently, netball requires more players than basketball to field a complete lineup.

In addition to having variations in the number of players allowed on court at any given time, both sports also differ in terms of how many substitutions can be made per match. Netball allows up to twelve substitutions per match while basketball permits as many as fifteen substitutions during a single game.

It’s clear that netball and basketball have different requirements when it comes to player numbers and substitution rules. Next we’ll look at another significant distinction between these sports: the type of equipment used by participants.


Finally, let’s discuss the equipment needed for each sport. Now, if you’ve ever watched either of these games, you know that they both require a basketball and a court – but that’s where the similarities end! Let me put it this way: if you’re looking to stock up on gear for your next game, here are some things to consider:

First, netball players need specialized protective eyewear (which basketball players don’t!). Additionally, netball has two unique pieces of equipment specific to their sport – the post and the center circle. On the other hand, basketball requires backboards and hoops which netball doesn’t. And finally, while netball is played with a smaller ball than basketball, most balls used in both sports are designed with a grip surface so they can be easily handled.

In short, when it comes to equipment for these two sports there are some key differences – so make sure you’re prepared before getting out on the court! With that in mind, let’s move on to discuss playing time.

Playing Time

The fifth step in our comparison of netball vs. basketball is playing time. Both sports are typically played indoors, but the amount of playing time differs due to their rules and regulations. In netball, the game is split into four 15-minute quarters, while in basketball the game is split into four 10-minute periods. This means that netball games tend to last 60 minutes while basketball games are 40 minutes long.

When it comes to substitutions, both sports allow for substitutions throughout the game at any point without a limit on how many players can be substituted in each game. However, there is a difference when it comes to fouls and injuries as well; if a player suffers an injury or has more than seven personal fouls in a single game, they cannot be substituted back in for the remainder of that game in basketball, whereas this does not apply in netball.

Overall, the difference between netball and basketball playing time lies mainly within the amount of time each game requires and how many substitutions can be made after a player has received an injury or has accumulated too many fouls during one match. Moving forward, we will now look at scoring rules which differ between these two sports and how that affects gameplay.

Scoring Rules

Scoring in netball and basketball may seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple rules to remember, it can be quite straightforward. The differences between the two games are starkly clear when looking at the scoring. Like a work of art, understanding these rules can make all the difference. Here are 3 tips to help you grasp the scoring of both sports:

First, netball has no three-point line and all goals are worth one point each. Basketball is slightly more complex; there is a three-point line which allows players to score three points per shot taken from beyond that line. Additionally, shots taken within the three-point line are worth two points each.

Second, in netball, it’s important to remember that only shooters can score and defenders cannot prevent their opponents from scoring; this differs from basketball where both defenders and attackers can make or stop baskets.

Thirdly, netball has different ways of restarting play after a goal is scored compared to basketball; for example, in basketball an inbound pass is used whereas in netball only centre passes can be used to start play again after a goal is scored.

It’s clear that there are some crucial distinctions when it comes to understanding the rules for scoring for netball and basketball; knowing them will ensure you understand when someone scores as well as how play resumes afterwards. With this knowledge in your pocket, we now move onto court markings…

Court Markings

The court markings of netball and basketball differ significantly and help to identify each game as its own entity. As the last step before we look at the ‘passing rules’, let’s take a closer look at how these two sports are distinguished by their court markings. Figuratively speaking, the court markings act like beacons in the night, guiding each player on their journey to victory.

Here is a list of 5 items that demonstrate the differences between netball and basketball court markings: • Netball has a semi-circular shooting area while basketball has an arc around the backboard that is three-point line. • The lines on a netball court are thicker than those of a basketball court. • Netball courts have 3 circles – centre circle, goal circle, and penalty circle – whereas basketball courts only have 2 circles – centre circle and foul line circle. • In terms of sidelines, netball courts feature longer sides than basketball ones. • Lastly, there is no restricted area in netball but there is one in basketball under the basket called the key or paint.

Both sports require players to stay within certain delineated areas as part of their strategy which is why it’s important to recognize these distinctions when playing either game. With this knowledge in hand, we can now move on to our next section: ‘passing rules’.

Passing Rules

The passing rules for netball and basketball are both important aspects of the game, yet have some key differences. For instance, when playing netball, players must pass the ball within three seconds of receiving it, while in basketball there is no time limit.

In addition to this, the manner in which each sport passes the ball is also quite different. In netball, a player may only pass backward or sideways – never forward – meaning that if they are going for a goal shot, they must build up their play over multiple passes until they reach the shooting circle. On the other hand, basketball players can pass in any direction but must keep the ball below shoulder height to prevent an illegal overhead pass.

These two sports also require different types of hand movement when passing. In netball players must give a two handed overhead pass while in basketball the most common form of passing is to throw or bounce with one hand from either chest or waist height. Both sports however use proper technique and need accuracy to ensure successful passing between teammates.

Fouls And Penalties

When it comes to fouls and penalties, there are some key differences between netball and basketball. In netball, physical contact is not allowed, while in basketball it’s a crucial part of the game. Let’s take a look at the main differences:

  1. In netball, no physical contact between players is allowed. This includes pushing, pulling or charging another player’s body or obstructing a player from being able to move freely.

  2. In basketball, physical contact can be used to gain an advantage on offense and defense. A player may push off of another player’s body as long as they don’t make excessive contact with them.

  3. The penalty for violating the contact rule in netball is an immediate free pass to the opposing team from wherever the infraction occurred on court; this penalty is different from the one handed out in basketball where the referee usually awards a non-shooting foul for most violations.

  4. Finally, if a player on either team commits three personal fouls within one quarter of play in basketball, they are ejected from the game. In contrast, there is no such limit set in netball – here fouls are tracked across all quarters of play so it takes more than three infringements before being sent off court.

Since both sports have different rules when it comes to fouls and penalties, teams must adapt their strategies depending on which sport they are playing. As we move onto timeouts – an important feature of each sport – it’s important to remember these differences when making decisions on how best to proceed during a match.


Timeouts are an important part of both netball and basketball. However, there is one major difference between the two in terms of timeouts. In basketball, each team has six full timeouts and two 20-second timeouts per game. These can be used to stop play when a team needs a break or wants to devise a strategy. On the other hand, netball only allows two 1-minute timeouts per game that can only be used at half-time and during the last five minutes of play.

The reason for this difference is that netball is considered more of a continuous sport than basketball as it’s played on one court, with no stoppages for substitutions or fouls. This means that allowing multiple timeouts would disrupt the flow of the game significantly.

Timeouts are still important for teams in netball, however, as they allow players to take a breather and strategize how to defeat their opponents in those critical moments near the end of the match. As such, coaches often use them to adjust tactics, provide advice or motivate players before they head back onto the court.


Do defensive strategies differ between netball and basketball? It’s an interesting question that often comes up in any discussion about the two sports. To find out, let’s take a closer look at the rules of defense in both games.

When it comes to defending opponents, there are some key differences between netball and basketball. In netball, contact is strictly prohibited; players must keep their hands and arms out of the way of their opponents. Meanwhile, in basketball, contact is allowed as long as it isn’t excessive or illegal. This means players can use their bodies to defend against their opponents, although they must adhere to certain guidelines regarding physical contact.

Another major difference between the two sports lies in how teams can defend players with the ball. In basketball, defenders must stay within a certain distance of their opponent while they are dribbling or shooting; this is known as ‘defensive three-second rule’. On the other hand, no such restriction exists in netball; defenders are free to move around without being restricted by a set distance from their opponent with the ball.

Clearly then, there are some distinct differences when it comes to defending in both sports – understanding these rules is essential for any player looking to become successful on the court! With this knowledge under our belt, let’s turn our attention towards shooting – an area where we’ll uncover even more disparities between netball and basketball.


When it comes to shooting, the distinction between netball and basketball is quite clear. To illustrate this, imagine a young child playing with a mini-hoop on their bedroom door. The child will likely be throwing the ball at the hoop from all angles, not just straight ahead. This is because they understand intuitively that shooting in netball requires an array of skills from different angles – something which is not as necessary when playing basketball.

In basketball, players are encouraged to shoot from outside the three-point line as often as possible and score points for each successful attempt. On the other hand, netball does not incorporate this element and instead focuses more on accuracy due to its smaller court size (in comparison to basketball). Furthermore, there are strict rules governing who can shoot during a match; only certain players on each team have permission to take shots at goal depending on their position on the court.

The difference in shooting between these two sports can be attributed to their varying styles of play. Basketball encourages a fast-paced game where teams compete against one another for points while netball has a more measured approach, focusing more on skill and teamwork than individual prowess. As such, shooters need to develop strategies that work best within their own style of play in order to be successful.

Shooting plays an important role in both netball and basketball however it is executed differently depending on which sport you’re playing. With these differences in mind, it’s important to pay attention to how each team approaches shooting so you can adapt your own tactics accordingly and make the most out of your time on the court. As we move into considering national governing bodies for both sports, it’s useful to keep our newfound understanding of shooting in mind as we explore how each sport is governed around the world.

National Governing Bodies

The differences between netball and basketball come in many forms. In this thirteenth step, we take a look at the national governing bodies of these two sports. Juxtaposed to the previous section on shooting, this part looks at the organizations that help guide and shape the rules of each game.

Netball is regulated by the International Netball Federation (INF). This organization is responsible for establishing laws, regulations and technical guidance for international competition. The INF also works with its member nations to promote and develop the sport worldwide by offering advice and guidance, providing access to funding opportunities, and helping organize international events like the World Cup.

Basketball is more well-known around the world than netball and is overseen by FIBA (the International Basketball Federation). Like INF, FIBA makes sure all international competition follows uniform rules which are reviewed regularly to ensure fairness in every match. Additionally, FIBA works with member countries to increase participation in basketball both domestically and internationally as well as promote grassroots programs designed to teach children how to play.

Moving away from national governing bodies now towards popularity – an area where basketball has a clear advantage over netball…


Comparing netball and basketball is like comparing apples to oranges: both are similar in many ways, yet distinctly different when it comes down to the details. When looking at popularity, it’s clear that basketball is a much more widely adopted sport on a global scale.

The worldwide recognition of basketball can be attributed in part to its deep roots in North America, with the National Basketball Association (NBA) reigning supreme as one of the most profitable professional sports leagues. The NBA has grown its reach over the years, leading to more international participation in the sport. On the other hand, netball’s governing body is limited primarily to countries within the British Commonwealth.

Given this disparity in national governing bodies, it’s no surprise that basketball boasts far greater fan engagement than netball. According to a 2019 survey from Statista, 30% of Americans follow NBA games closely compared to just 2% who follow netball. This significant gap speaks volumes about how large a presence basketball has around the world versus its lesser known counterpart.

It’s clear that while netball and basketball may have several similarities, their differences extend far beyond their names and court dimensions – especially when it comes to popularity. As we explore professional leagues next, we’ll gain further insight into why basketball has achieved such widespread success over recent decades.

Professional Leagues

Just as the two sports have their differences, so too do they have their similarities – some more obvious than others. But what about professional leagues? That’s the topic of this article’s fifteenth point.

Basketball and netball are both played in many countries across the world. In the US, basketball is represented by the NBA while netball has its own professional competition: the Suncorp Super Netball League. The former features some of the best players from around the globe, while the latter is a league of eight teams located in Australia and New Zealand.

The Suncorp Super Netball League offers an exciting brand of fast-paced netball for fans to enjoy. Players have to be agile and quick on their feet, as well as having excellent passing and shooting skills. All these aspects combine to make for an exciting spectacle that keeps spectators coming back for more each week.

The popularity of these two sports may differ from one region to another, but there is no doubt that both basketball and netball are enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Professional leagues offer fans a chance to enjoy high-quality play that can’t be found anywhere else – whether it be on court or in front of television screens.


In conclusion, netball and basketball are two very different sports in terms of history, court dimensions, number of players, equipment and playing time. Netball is played mostly in the UK and Australia while basketball is more popular worldwide. Both sports have their own professional leagues with millions of fans around the world. Despite their differences, they both have something in common: they require a lot of skill, passion and determination to excel. Thus, it can be said that both sports bring out the best in athletes to achieve greatness.

The popularity of both sports is increasing day by day due to the enthusiasm of its fans. The National Governing Bodies for these two games work tirelessly to promote them globally. They organize tournaments and provide resources to help athletes grow and become better players. This only goes to show how much effort is being put into bringing these two amazing sports together – a testament to the power of teamwork and collaboration!

Ultimately, netball and basketball offer unique experiences for everyone who plays them; no matter what your age or ability level is you can still enjoy them. As an inspiring example of this point in action, we can look at the incredible achievements that have been made by players from all walks of life who have excelled in either one of these games – a striking reminder that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

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