Comparing soccer balls and basketball can sometimes give you an idea about why the balls are made the way they are for each of these sports.
Deciding which sport to focus on can be confusing for a well-rounded athlete.
Lately, there’s a growing debate about soccer versus basketball, indicating their worldwide fame. Even though the ball sizes differ, it’s crucial to understand that one isn’t better than the other.
Whether you’re a fan or a newbie, the similarities between basketball and soccer are interesting, and we’ll get into that shortly.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What Is The Difference Between a Soccer Ball and Basketball?
Soccer balls are bigger, round, and have panels for a steady kick.
Basketball is smaller, round, and smooth with grip channels. Soccer balls are less inflated, and good for grass, while basketballs suit indoor or outdoor courts, emphasizing hand use.
Knowing these differences helps players adapt their skills.
Basketball Size vs Soccer Ball Size
Generally, soccer and basketball recommend different ball sizes based on age, with basketballs normally being bigger than soccer balls.
Here are the recommended ball sizes per age for both basketball and soccer.
|Basketball size (Circumference)
|Soccer ball size (Circumference)
|12 and above
|Size 7 (29.5 inches / 75 cm)
|Size 5 (27.5 inches / 70 cm)
|Between 9 and 12
|Size 6 (28.5 inches / 72 cm)
|Size 4 (25.5 inches / 65 cm)
|8 or younger
|Size 5 (27.5 inches / 70 cm)
|Size 3 (23.5 inches / 60 cm)
To put it simply, the smallest basketball is equivalent in size to the largest soccer ball in terms of recommended sizes based on age for each sport.
So, why is the basketball bigger?
A straightforward answer is that basketball players need to grip and bounce the ball throughout the game, and a larger size facilitates these actions.
The ball must be big enough for basketball players to comfortably execute these moves repeatedly in a full game.
As for soccer, the balls need to be small enough for players to control with their legs and large enough for goalkeepers to block effectively with their hands.
Therefore, size 5 is typically the preferred soccer ball size.
Soccer Ball & Basketball Bounce-rate
The bounce rates of soccer balls and basketballs differ due to various factors, primarily attributed to their different designs and purposes.
You might have already assumed that a basketball bounces higher than a soccer ball, but the difference between the two isn’t substantial.
In simple terms, a basketball bounces slightly higher than a soccer ball, and this makes sense given the specific needs of each sport.
Basketball Bounce Rate
Basketball is designed for consistent and predictable bouncing.
The ball has a round shape and is inflated to a specific pressure, allowing it to bounce uniformly on the playing surface.
The bounce of a basketball is a crucial element in the game, facilitating dribbling, passing, and shooting. The consistent bounce ensures players can maintain control and execute various maneuvers during the game.
Soccer Ball Bounce Rate
Soccer balls are designed with a different purpose in mind, focusing on rolling and skidding rather than bouncing.
The spherical shape and lower inflation pressure contribute to a reduced bounce compared to a basketball.
Soccer players predominantly use their feet for ball control, passing, and shooting.
The ball’s bounce is less critical in soccer than in basketball, as the game emphasizes other skills like precise passing and skillful ball control.
Basketball Weight vs Soccer Ball Weight
Basketballs are a bit heavier than soccer balls.
A standard basketball weighs around 20 to 22 ounces, while a soccer ball is lighter, weighing about 14 to 16 ounces.
The weight difference is because basketballs need to be a bit hefty for better handling with hands, while soccer balls are lighter to make them easier to control with the feet during play.
Without talking too much, here are the numbers:
|Soccer ball weight
|12 and above
|21 oz (595 g)
|14 – 16 oz
|Between 9 and 12
|19 oz (539 g)
|12 – 14 oz
|8 or younger
|17 oz (482 g)
|11 – 12 oz
These numbers may not be exact, but they give a good idea.
What’s evident is that a basketball for a specific age group is much heavier than a soccer ball for the same age group.
Interestingly, even the soccer balls used in professional games are typically lighter than the basketballs used by kids aged 8 and below.
Basketball Color vs Soccer Ball Color
Basketballs are usually orange or brown, and soccer balls often have a black-and-white pattern.
The bright colors for basketballs and the distinct pattern on soccer balls make them easy to see during games.
The orange color of basketballs became popular for visibility reasons.
Before now, basketballs were brown, but the switch to orange was made to enhance visibility for both players and the audience.
The bright and contrasting nature of orange proved effective, leading to its adoption in professional basketball competitions.
As for soccer balls, the traditional color is white and black.
However, many soccer leagues now use colorful balls as long as they don’t clash with the field’s colors.
Orange soccer balls are traditionally used in extremely cold weather or snowy conditions to ensure better visibility on the field covered with snow.
The orange color helps players and spectators easily spot the ball during matches in snowy conditions.
Can You Play Soccer With A Basketball?
Of course, you can in a casual and impromptu setting where you don’t have a soccer ball, using a basketball to play soccer can be a reasonable solution.
The basketball’s weight, though heavier than a soccer ball, can make it suitable for kicking, allowing your kicking muscle memory to adjust without significant difficulty.
While basketball might work as a short-term solution, it’s advisable not to make it a long-term practice for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the constant use of a basketball for soccer may wear it out more quickly.
Secondly, it’s essential to maintain the muscle memory associated with kicking a standard soccer ball to ensure your skills remain aligned with the specific demands of soccer gameplay over time.
While you technically could use a basketball to play soccer informally, it’s not recommended for several reasons.
Size and Shape: Basketball and soccer balls have different sizes and shapes.
A basketball is larger and heavier than a soccer ball, which could make it more challenging to control the feet and play the precise maneuvers required in soccer.
Bounce rate: Basketball is designed for a higher bounce, which could affect the ball’s behavior on the soccer field.
Soccer balls are designed for controlled rolling and bouncing, allowing for better gameplay.
Foot Control: Soccer involves a lot of footwork and ball control with the feet.
The size and weight of a basketball may make it more difficult for players to execute soccer-specific techniques.
Game Rules: Official soccer games are played with a regulation soccer ball. Using a basketball in an organized soccer game would likely violate the rules of the sport.
Can You Play Basketball With A Soccer Ball?
You theoretically could play basketball with a soccer ball, but it comes with significant drawbacks.
The soccer ball’s weight is less than half that of a basketball, disrupting the game’s flow and performance.
Also, the lack of grip on a soccer ball further hinders play.
Even if you’re looking for a less-than-ideal game with limited possibilities, using a soccer ball for basketball is not recommended.
When a soccer ball bounces like a basketball, it may develop uneven swelling, disrupting its aerodynamics and rendering it less suitable for any sport.
The more swollen spots, the more stretched and thin the rubber becomes, making the ball easier to pop.
Using a soccer ball for basketball is not practical and can lead to a less enjoyable and potentially damaging experience.
Size and Weight: Soccer balls are larger and lighter than basketballs.
The difference in size and weight can significantly affect the handling, shooting, and dribbling in a basketball game.
Bounce Rate: Soccer balls are designed for rolling and bouncing on the ground, and they don’t have the same bounce rate as basketballs.
This difference in bounce can impact the flow and dynamics of a basketball game.
Game Rules: Official basketball games are played with a regulation basketball. Using a soccer ball in an organized basketball game would likely violate the rules of the sport.