Is Basketball Hard? Easy to learn, years to master

Aside from being a fantastic way to get the physical exercise that your body needs to stay healthy when you play sports, your brain releases chemicals such as dopamine and adrenaline, which make you feel happier too. But sports are not one size fits all, and which sport you choose to play will depend on your skill set.

Basketball can be a fun and rigorous sport, but if you are thinking about getting involved with the game, you might be wondering, is basketball hard?

Basketball is easy to learn, but it can take years to master the skills needed to play professionally. Additionally, players must have endurance, which requires them to practice several times a week.


What Is Basketball

Basketball is a team sport. Teams consist of up to twelve players, with five players actively playing on the court at any given time. The objective of the game is to get more points than the opposing team, and this is done by shooting a basketball through a netted hoop while also defending your own hoop.

That might sound easy, but players cannot travel with the ball. Instead, the ball can only move if it is being dribbled or passed by a player. Additionally, there are several positions, and each one has its own agenda and required skill set.

Basketball is played all over the world, but it is most popular in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the Philippines.

Is Basketball Hard?

So, this is a loaded question, and the answer seems to be—it depends on who you ask.

ESPN recently released a ranking system in which they ranked the difficulty level of 60 different sports. According to them, and their panel of “experts”, basketball was the fourth most difficult sport. However, not everyone seems to agree with this decision, with many saying that soccer (which was rated 10th) and even wrestling (which was rated 5th) are much harder than basketball.

The debate seems to depend on which part of basketball you are talking about. For example, many people have agreed that basketball is one of the hardest sports in terms of endurance, as players spend a lot of time moving and running.

Additionally, it can be difficult to get the mechanics of basketball down. However, others have pointed out that once understood, basketball is actually a remarkably simple sport, and one that does not require a lot of skill aside from being tall.

We decided to look more closely at the things that people claim make basketball difficult and let you be the judge.

What Makes Basketball a Difficult Sport?

Since the answer to the question, “is basketball hard?”, seems to depend on which part of the game you are talking about, we will take a closer look at the various aspects of the sport and allow you to decide.


Every sport has certain skills that players must know to be good at the game. Players who are naturally talented will often excel, while those who are not will struggle to do well. But are the skills needed in basketball hard to learn?

There are five major skills that players will have to master if they want to do well in basketball—dribbling, shooting, passing, rebounding, and defense. These skills can take time to master but are quite easy to learn. However, it seems to be the other, less obvious, skills that make basketball a bit more difficult. For example, players must have good hand-eye coordination, the ability to move quickly, and the ability to jump.

Some of the less obvious skills are much harder to teach, and many of them are skills that an individual either has or does not have, which makes it hard for people who are not naturally talented to become good in these areas.


Endurance is arguably the hardest part of basketball. Basketball games are played in quarters, with each quarter being 12 minutes long. There is a 15-minute half-time break, as well. Exactly how long each player will play in a game depends on the coach, the number of players on the team, and the players themselves.

However, most players do not play for the full 48 minutes. Still, even if they play two or three quarters, that is still a lot of physical activity in a short amount of time.

But the number of stamina a player needs is not limited to just the game itself. Players must be able to commit to several rigorous practice sessions and complete multiple drills to increase their endurance. In fact, the average basketball player practices up to three or four hours a day.

Team Player

This might not be at the top of the list, but it is still an aspect of basketball that requires a bit of attention. Basketball is a game that requires teammates to work well together. They must be able to predict what their teammate is going to do, when to pass, and much more. Unlike other games, like tennis or even baseball, players MUST rely on their teammates to be successful.

However, it is also a quick game and one where frustrations often run high, which can sometimes make it difficult to work well together. If you are not a good team player, basketball might not be the right sport for you.

Contact Sport

If all you had to do was run a basketball down a court and shoot it into a net, we would not be having this conversation. However, you must be able to do all of this while an opposing team (full of players just as determined and physically fit) tries to stop you.

Of course, this aspect of the game is more difficult for some players, especially those who are smaller in stature. For example, a player who stands seven feet tall is probably not going to have trouble defending themselves against a player who is under six feet tall and half their weight. However, if the situation is reversed, the smaller player is going to have to compensate for their stature in skill. Mainly, dodging other players.


According to The National Athletic Trainers Association, basketball is one of the most injury-prone sports to play. Although the rate of injury is much lower than in football or soccer, 22% of male basketball players will receive at least one injury, and 60% of those injuries are sustained while practicing.

Additionally, the average basketball career (in professional basketball) is only 4.5 years, and this has a lot to do with career-ending injuries.


Everything considered, on a scale of one to ten in terms of difficulty, basketball seems to fall around an 8. It is not a hard game to learn, but it does require a lot of endurance, which means players must work hard to build that stamina outside of the court. Additionally, it is a contact sport, and injuries are quite common. Although it is a bit easier than football or hockey, it is much more difficult than baseball or tennis.

But like we said at the beginning, sports are not one size fits all, and while basketball might seem difficult to some, it could be easy for you.

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John is a writer who combines his personal experience and research to create engaging and informative content on various topics. He writes about Hobbies, careers, travel, luxury watches, and classic cars.

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