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Soccer(pro) vs Basketball(con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,951 times Debate No: 44587
Debate Rounds (3)
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I am debating the point that soccer is in fact a better sport than basketball, why?
First point: physical fitness
- soccer (football) players are required to be able to endure two periods of non-stop forty-five minute halves plus extra time at the end (making up for injuries, fouls, etc.)
- basketball players technically play total of forty-eight minutes with timeouts, fouls, quarters, etc. Thus saying it requires a better level of fitness/endurance to play forty-five minutes non-stop in soccer.

Second point: skill level
- humans are raised using their hands and have a natural ability and coordination with their hands. To play soccer, you must learn to use your feet, to be able to pass or shoot the ball with every side of your foot. Or to use any other part of the body excluding arms and hands.
-The only person able to use their hands is the goalkeeper, who even then is better than the average basketball player, requiring gun shoot speed reflexes and strength to keep a ball out of their net. An example for this is that an average penalty kick (a set play, in which a ball is placed 12 yards from the goal line and a player goes face to face with the goalie with one shot. Resulting from getting fouled in the goal box.) can reach an average speed of around 125 mph in a quarter of a second.
-Unlike basketball, in soccer the foot skill to hand skill ratio is much higher. Soccer players can perform endless amounts of tricks whether it be for a shot: header, scissor kick, bicycle kick, scorpion, etc. or a way to move the ball forward: scissors, maradona, elastico, robhino, rainbow, etc. These can be performed whenever and wherever. But in basketball, there is a much smaller list of tricks like what, an alley-oop, slam dunk, through the legs?
-The ability to score a goal without using your hands (which like basketball is much easier) and to put it past a usually tall aggressive goalkeeper takes more skill and precision than to lob a ball with your hands into a basket. Many all-star soccer players can do this with their feet, I want to see a basketball player try to do score a basket with their feet, or even a goal at that.

Third point: entertainment and popularity:
-Soccer is the much popular sport in the world, likely because of its simplicity to set up a pick up game and excitement to watch. Though it isn't America's sport, it is vastly and fastly growing throughout.
-Soccer is much easier to understand with less rules and more ability to play without stopping which is why fans love it. They get to watch endless soccer except for at half time. Basketball lasts technically 48 minutes of gameplay but can literally last for 2 and half hours making its fan sit through 132 minutes of non playtime.
-In basketball when teams can start to score over 100 points it gets boring watching the same things over and over again when in soccer you have an anticipation and thrill in waiting for that one golden goal, and when it does come the excitement explodes with the fans and the players. But goals aren't the only thing people come to watch. They get to see beautiful passes, set plays, skill moves, goalkeeper saves, and many other exciting plays. Basket fans get excess amount of baskets to see made, occasionally a dribble trick and slam dunk every once in awhile. The really only exciting part in my, and many others opinions is in the final 5 minutes when you get to really see who might win.

Who will accept this debate? Open with your response to my arguments.


I will argue that Basketball is better than Soccer.

Physical fitness

Basketball is a sport that was designed by the physical education professor Dr. James Naismith in 1891 [1]. Unlike soccer, it was designed with the goal of physical fitness. Basketball is excellent for your physical health, and coordination. You use your hands for throwing and your legs for running and jumping.

PRO: "soccer (football) players are required to be able to endure two periods of non-stop forty-five minute halves plus extra time at the end (making up for injuries, fouls, etc.)"

Yes, but half of the time the soccer players are not doing anything! The goalie is the worst. He just sits in the goal doing nothing most of the time. Once in a while he catches the ball and throws or kicks it. The forward player often is just waiting in the near the opponents penalty area until someone gives him the ball. In basketball, on the other hand, all players are running back and forth, back and forth, etc. I am already getting tired just writing this down.


One reason soccer is not healthy is because of injuries. Of course, injuries happen in both sports. But soccer is a contact sport and basketball is not. You can slide tackle in soccer, and a bad slide tackle can easily injure the opponent. And sometimes, soccer players hurt their opponent intentionally. In basketball none of this is tolerated. The slightest contact is punished in basketball, making the sport much safer. Soccer is more dangerous than basketball [2].

skill level

There are actually very few tricks in soccer. A "header" is not a trick, even I can do that. Perhaps a bicycle kick can be considered a trick, but it is almost never done, and rarely successful. In basketball one uses both hands (for dribbling) and feet (for running). The use of legs in basketball is (also literally) pivotal. There lots of tricks in basketball:
between the legs dribble, behind the back, wraparound, layup, reverse layup, finger roll, etc etc
In [3] close to 40 different moves are listed.

See some tricks here:

watch this:

PRO:"I want to see a basketball player try to do score a basket with their feet, or even a goal at that."
Yes, they can do that. Watch #4 in:

I am sorry to say, but soccer players are amateurs. They have a giant goal, and only one person that can use his hands to defend it.
In basketball, there is just a tiny goal (basket) and 5 tall men defending it with their hands. One would think that soccer players would have an easy time scoring compared to the basketball players. But basketball players score all the time where soccer players hardly score at all.


Worldwide soccer is more popular because of historic reasons. Soccer has a long history going back to the Greeks, and has spread worldwide because of colonialism. So more popularity does not automatically mean better. Basketball is more popular in the USA (even though soccer existed longer). In fact basketball was initially played with a soccer ball. Soccer has made a bit of a comeback, but will never be as popular as basketball.

In soccer there is very little scoring. Sometimes there is no scoring at all. There is nothing as frustrating to watch 90 minutes of soccer without a single goal. You are literally watching grass grow.


Debate Round No. 1


Even though basketball was created for "the goal of fitness", it doesn't mean it takes more physical ability. Goalies may not be that active during the game, but they must endure long training sessions of building leg and strength especially arm strength for the reason of what I said before, they may be needing to block up 125 mph shots.
Your argument about them not doing anything most of the time is invalid. All 10 field players are ALWAYS moving whether it be jogging or sprinting. ( with exception of taking 5 seconds to take catch their breath.) if a player were to stand around a coach would not be happy and likely take them out at an approprite time. "The forward player often is just waiting in the near the opponents penalty area until someone gives him the ball." This argument is completely false and almost offensive. I personally play striker and I never sit around waiting for the ball. I'm always jogging and I sprint more than any other position on the field. Sprinting for at least 45 minutes straight of the 90 minute game, the rest jogging.

Soccer is very healthy sport with a bad injury rarely happening maybe in 1 of 3 of a players game. Basketball is just as dangerous with many common injuries including "jumpers knee", muscle strains, ankle sprains, broken fingers, knee injuries, need I go on? Soccer has many health benefits including:
Increases aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health
Lowers body fat and improves muscle tone
Builds strength, flexibility and endurance
Increases muscle and bone strength
Improved health due to shifts between walking, running and sprinting.
Promotes teamwork and sharing
Teaches you to think on-the-go
Helps to increase skills in concentration, persistence and self-discipline
Is a great way to meet people and exercise with friends
Can provide an opportunity to increase your confidence and self-esteem, and help to reduce anxiety
Requires very little equipment so can be played in the backyard or park
(Credit to

Soccer is more of a contact sport but many people including myself prefer this. I gave played both sports and love the fact that I can nudge, bump, and knock into other people, while in basketball you said it yourself, the slightest push is punishable which much more frustrating than "safe". You say soccer players hurt their opponent intentionally, this is true yet it is true for all sports, including basketball, therefore making that argument invalid.

Very few tricks in soccer? Please. Watch this.
And #4 is not putting in the basket with his feet. He's simply passing it to his hands.

You say soccer players are amateurs and have a huge goal to score on. This Is true but think about about it. You must get through 11 players including the goalie all of which are trained to play defense. And after this you have literally a window lasting seconds to get a shot off, all while using your mind and coordination to tell your feet, which are harder to use than hands, to place the ball perfectly, once again using your mind to think of where the ball can be placed in coordination of the goalkeeper, and which part of the net has the biggest opening. Here's another video showing how skillful shots can be. Enjoy.
Let me make another point about this. Basketball players can rarely score from anywhere less than 22 feet out (the 3 point shot) which even then shooting a 3 is a gamble with half the players. Soccer players range of scoring is anywhere within their opponents half usually out of the goal box, making the goal appear smaller and requiring even more precision.
Here's another video of precise aim.

A goalless match is very rare and usually won't happen. Yes they go back and forth but fans who actually know about soccer enjoy the build up of a play, the great pass, the awesome goalkeeper save, the beautiful shot. The has had plenty of time to accept basketball which it has been in many countries, but soccer is still world dominate and always will be, people are too passionate about the game and could never let it go. It is religion for some cultures.
Basketball isn't even the most popular sport in America, it isn't really in any country. American football is America's sport.
Soccer will soon be more popular than both. I work at a soccer store and the growth it has made since it started is incredible. More and more new customers are coming by the month and more and more people are beginning to enjoy MLS each year.


PRO: "All 10 field players are ALWAYS moving whether it be jogging or sprinting."
Yes, most of the time the players are walking or jogging. Only when the ball is near one sees them sprinting.

no arms

In soccer, with the exception of the goalie, one hardly uses the arms. They are only used for a throw-in, which is not very often. In basketball one uses both arms and legs. Basketball is exercise for the whole body, but soccer is only exercise for the legs.


As I wrote before, injuries happen both in soccer and basketball. But soccer is a more dangerous sport, because there is more contact between players. I have already given a source showing that soccer is more dangerous. According to [1],
(men's) basketball has 1.5 casualties per million, and soccer has 2 casualties per million.
(casualty: death, permanent disability, or non-permanent brain/spinal cord injuries). These statistics come from high school sports in the USA.

PRO: "Soccer has many health benefits including:
Increases aerobic capacity and cardiovascular health
Can provide an opportunity to increase your confidence and self-esteem, and help to reduce anxiety"
All these things are also true for basketball. It is not a valid argument to choose soccer over basketball.

PRO: "[Soccer] Requires very little equipment so can be played in the backyard or park"
Basketball also needs very little equipment. All you need is a basket. For soccer you need goals. Most people do not have a backyard big enough to play soccer. For basketball, you only need a driveway. Many people put a basket near the driveway or above the garage door. This is all you need. To play soccer you need a lot of space. In the winter, soccer is even more problematic. It is simply to cold to play soccer. But basketball you can also play inside without having to change any rules. (There is such a thing as indoor soccer but it is really a different game with different rules).

PRO: "Soccer is more of a contact sport but many people including myself prefer this. I gave played both sports and love the fact that I can nudge, bump, and knock into other people, while in basketball you said it yourself, the slightest push is punishable which much more frustrating than "safe". "
One cannot argue about preferences. I prefer a non-contact sport.

PRO: "You say soccer players hurt their opponent intentionally, this is true yet it is true for all sports, including basketball, therefore making that argument invalid."
I think there is less intentional hurting in basketball. In soccer it is much easier to get away with hurting someone. The field is big, so the referee cannot see everything. Even if a foul is registered on camera, it won't count if the referee does not see it. There is only a small difference between a slide tackle and an attack on the opponents ankle. Because one can get away with it, such fouls happen more often. In basketball if one hurts an opponent, it always will clearly look like a foul.

The popularity of soccer seems to have reached its peak. Soccer attendance in MLS is declining [2], and youth soccer enrollment are declining [3]. So soccer will never be as popular as basketball.

I give one more reason why basketball is better:

Soccer has archaic rules

In soccer, one wrong decision of the referee can be disastrous. A referee may decide that an invalid off-side goal is valid, he may give a penalty kick because one player faked a foul (often resulting in a goal). Even if it is clear to the whole audience (because of the cameras) that the referee is making the wrong decision, the decision of the referee cannot be overruled. In basketball the referee can watch an instant replay if necessary.

I am looking forward to my opponents final arguments.

Debate Round No. 2


"Most of the time players are walking or jogging" forwards are sprinting for over half the game, if course they jog around. It's not physically possible to sprint for 90 minutes straight. I wouldn't expect a basketball player to understand how tiring soccer truly is, they only have to run/stand in a 94 foot court, while soccer players are running back and forth on an almost tripled size of 300 feet.
Soccer is an exercise called high intensity interval training which overall strengthens the heart and raises metabolism. This achieved by sprinting for short periods time and then jogging and doing this over and over again. This is a healthier exercise than throwing a ball to each other and moving around a bit/jogging.
Yes you can get away with fouls easier in soccer but doesn't mean it's easier to hurt someone. You could intentionally hurt someone in basketball just as easy.
Soccer is definitely more accessible. All you need is something to resemble a ball. Many legendary Brazilian players started As a child juggling (keeping the ball from the ground) melons or balled up news papers. And for a pick up game. All you need for example is two rocks to mark the goal. That's plenty easier to obtain than expensive basketball hoops in which you have to have in order to play basketball. You say all you need is a driveway and hoop but that isn't basketball. That's shooting hoops. So Parallel to this in soccer would be juggling which can be done somewhere as small as a 5 by 5 square with anything that can bounce off the foot. In many countries soccer can be played all times of the year and countries that do experience winter can play indoor which you say is different, but your statement is entirely false and invalid. Indoor soccer is exactly what it sounds like, indoor soccer with slightly different rules such as 8 players instead of 11 per team and kick ins, instead of throwins. There are many different types of indoor such as futsal. Which even then it's similar.
"I think there is less intentional hurting in basketball." This argument is clearly invalid. In your own statement you said "you think" not you know.
Total viewers of world in NBA final 2013 was 26 million viewers in the nation and 34 mill in the world. Keep in mind this only an American League. For the world cup, which is a world thing not just nation we had 24 million viewers in america, and 3.2 billion viewers world wide crushing NBA statistics with 46.4 percent of the world population.
Your statement about declining mls attendance is false. This is true for the recent mls cup but not for average viewers in season. In season viewers for mls is rapidly increasing resulting in sold out season tickets ( Http:// )
Your website about youth soccer is very misleading and is not right for the argument you are trying to prove. Youth Soccer is a business. There are plenty of other youth soccer associations within America. This Youth Soccer enrollment in US is declining because of their business. Their decline is likely because of players leaving to other organizations. It is still on a rise and gaining more population.
You argue that a referees rule cannot be overuled when in fact it can. There are a total of three refs overseeing the game one center ref, and two side refs. The main purpose of the center is to call fouls, keep track of time and extra time, call goals, and give warning yellow cards and give red cards which kick a player out of the game leaving the team a player short.( this is also a method to Keep soccer safe in warning aggressive players with a yellow card and kicking them out with a red which also keeps them from the next game. )
The purpose of side refs are to call offsides and decide who gets a throwin or corner kick or goal kick. They may also flag fouls and to my main point let a center ref know that his call was wrong. So in actual reality to counteract your statement, a side ref can discuss with a center if a goal should have been a goal or not and the goal can either stand or be taken away.

I look forward to my opponents final arguments and hope that they can get their facts straight.


Basketball is healthier

Both soccer and basketball are healthy. Basketball was designed as an alternative for soccer and other sports, and it was designed to be good for physical health. Forbes magazine listed the 10 healthiest sports. Basketball ranked #6, and soccer was not listed at all [1]. In a basketball, the players run back and forth a lot of times, so in the end they cover the same distances as soccer players.

Basketball is safer

Injuries happen both in soccer and basketball. But because soccer is more of a contact sport, more injuries happen. I have given proof that there are more casualties in soccer compared to basketball [2]. My opponent did not rebut this statistic.


You do not need much to play soccer or to play basketball. For soccer, you need a ball and two goals, but you can get away with something that marks a goal. For basketball you also need a ball and two hoops/baskets, but any basket's will do and one could use buckets for example. Originally, basketball was played with a soccer ball, and with peach baskets [3]. But the big difference between soccer and basketball is that soccer needs a lot more space (even if you play it indoors). An NBA basketball court is
28.65m x 15.24m [4], a soccer field is 105m x 68m. An indoor soccer "field" is 60.96m x 25.91m (200' x 85')


Soccer is indeed more popular over the world. The main reason for this is that it is a much older sport, and the sport has been spread by colonialism. So, soccer is not more popular because it is better, but because it had a better chance of being spread around. My opponent never gave a reason why more popularity means that it is a better sport.

archaic soccer rules

In soccer there is one referee and 2 line referees. Together the must cover the huge field. The main referee has absolute authority. He sometimes goes with the judgment of the line referees, because they are in a better position to see if the play was off-side. But he can always overrule the line referees. Line referees make mistakes. And often, in a quick offensive play, the main referee is not close to the ball to see if the play is offside, so he just goes with whatever the line referee says. The problem is, that if the three referees come to the wrong decision (which is quite often) then this decision cannot be overruled, even if it is clear on camera that it is the wrong decision. Here are some notorious examples: [6].


Some find soccer boring, some find basketball boring. It is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I find soccer boring because there are so few goals and sometimes no goals at all.


Since Basketball is healthier, less dangerous, and you need less space to do it, it is a better sport.
Vote CON!!!!!

I thank my opponent for this discussion and for being a good sport.

Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Bennyot 3 years ago
Skip to 1:00 on the first vid to see the actually video
Posted by songmin1 3 years ago
I love soccer but I can't say soccer is better than basketball. Considering that I don't like basketball too much but...
Soccer is fun and hard. It requires skill set and active players on the field but doesn't basketball too? Basketball is a fast-paced game especially going back and forth on full court. Soccer has a large field with many more players to divide the work. People pass the ball long distance, short distance.
Basketball requires arm strength and a constant practice for shooting for perfection. Basketball is around world wide too. Think about dribbling back and forth and passing and dodging and blocking other players and rebounds. The skills you need to accelerate and move fast side to side on your feet and forward. How long can you sprint for? It's intense.
Soccer is an exciting sport and fun to watch. There are endless skill sets you can master and even create. You run on the field and want to control the game with procession of the ball.
Because both sports have a ball and a rule to use only some parts of the body for the game, that's where the challenge first begins. Soccer: legs, thigh, chest, and head. basically everywhere but your arms and shoulder with an exception of a throw in. Basketball: Hands only
They all have different rules so depending on each person, one enjoys more of one or the other.
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