Why Is Basketball So Hard?

Basketball may be an easy game to learn but it can still be very hard to master because there are so many things that you have to do at once!

It’s not just about dribbling around people or shooting baskets…it also involves running fast in order to get to rebounds, rebounding balls, passing accurately from one player to another with great timing, etc., all while maintaining your balance and keeping track of where everyone else on the court is moving too.

Basketball is a hard sport to play because it requires high levels of physical fitness, especially with all the running up and down the court that players do. More so, basketball skills take a lot of time to master, not to mention the fact that performing certain actions in game need high levels of accuracy, agility and body coordination.

Top reasons why basketball is a difficult sport to play

The following paragraphs discuss some of the most important aspects of playing basketball as well as how they relate to each other.

They’ll help you understand what makes basketball such a challenging sport.

1. Basketball requires high levels of physical fitness

why basketball is so hard - requires high fitness levels

In addition to being able to run quickly and jump high enough for dunks and layups (or jump shots), players must possess excellent endurance, strength, power, flexibility, speed, agility, coordination, balance, body control, and hand/eye coordination – all qualities needed to perform effectively on both offense and defense.

Athletes who excel at any single skill often struggle when asked to combine those abilities into a cohesive whole.

For example, imagine trying to hit a ball thrown by someone standing several yards away from you.

You would need to hit the ball perfectly with every part of your body if you want to make contact with it successfully.

If you’re like me, this seems impossible — especially if the person throwing the ball varies their arm movements up-and-down and side-to-side during the toss.

This means that basketball athletes need to develop muscle memory for performing these complex tasks simultaneously.

In fact, basketball experts say that it takes more time practicing than actually playing a full season.

It should come as no surprise then, that professional basketball coaches spend much less time teaching players how to practice individual skills like jumping, pivoting, or shooting free throws, compared to how much time they devote to developing overall athleticism.

The best way to improve your basketball performance is through repetition and training exercises tailored specifically toward improving specific athletic attributes.

2. Basketball skills take hours to perfect

why basketball is so hard - skills take many hours to perfect

Although mastering the fundamentals of the sport does require lots of repetitions, learning new moves, strategies, and tactics usually takes longer than simply repeating what you’ve already seen before.

What separates top performers from average ones is their ability to adapt new techniques to solve problems presented in real games or matches.

To see how effective this approach really is, consider the difference between watching Michael Jordan drive past defenders or seeing a video replay of him doing so after he had passed the ball only once.

Another reason why basketball skills are developed slowly over time is due to the complexity of the skills themselves.

Basketball consists of thousands upon thousands of different plays, which makes it extremely difficult for even skilled athletes to memorize them all.

Instead, players use mnemonic devices like acronyms, rhymes, images, short phrases, story lines, diagrams, and lists in order to remember all of the various “moves” within the playbook.

3. Scoring a basket requires high accuracy

why basketball is so hard - scoring a basket requires high accuracy

Accuracy is defined as the closeness of correspondence between an object’s true location and its perceived position.

When we speak of scoring goals in basketball, we’re referring to making precise shots at close range using our bodies as projectiles.

As mentioned earlier, good shooters know exactly where the ball will land based on the angle, velocity, and trajectory of the shot.

Their goal is to predict where the ball will go and move accordingly.

Achieving this level of proficiency requires extensive experience with the physics involved in projecting the motion of a ball in midair and landing it precisely on target.

For instance, a player might shoot a pass to his teammate, whose job is to catch the pass and throw it back out onto the court for a potential offensive rebound.

However, depending on how far away the defensive team has moved from its original position, the distance traveled by the ball could vary significantly.

Because of this variance, predicting where the ball will end up becomes increasingly critical for successful execution.

An athlete who consistently hits accurate shots knows that although getting the ball off the ground is half the battle, the next step is becoming aware of where the ball will ultimately land.

His focus shifts from just hitting the ball towards anticipating where it will bounce, roll, or stop.

He doesn’t worry about whether the ball will fall inbounds or outside the three-point line. He focuses solely on catching and returning the ball without fail.

4. Playing basketball requires agility and coordination

Being agile means having quick feet and possessing the motor skills necessary to change directions rapidly.

Coordinated movement refers to the simultaneous activation of muscles required to carry out two different actions smoothly.

Basketball demands that players move different parts of their bodies all at once in order to make successful plays that influence the results in live games.

To have the balance, agility and coordination to make all the right moves is by no means easy.

Players tend to think of agility as something that develops naturally, but it can also be improved with proper technique.

Agility depends largely on the quality of neuromuscular connections made between the brain and upper and lower extremities.

Improperly connected nerves produce poor results. Poor positioning, improper posture, and lack of core stability can lead to inefficient joint function and injuries.

In addition to this, good form starts with correct breathing patterns and strong legs.

Agility increases dramatically when practiced regularly.

One key element to building a strong foundation for better agility is to strengthen your ankles.

Your ankles contain the largest percentage of bone mass in the entire human skeleton.

Stronger ankle bones provide a solid platform for shock absorption and support throughout the rest of the body.

Weak ankles cause excessive strain on joints and increase risk of injury.

Ankle weights, stretching routines, and strengthening drills are essential components to increasing agility.

Is basketball really hard?

Naturally, you’d think that basketball is super difficult to play based on the reasoning that’s been provided in this post.

However, the sport is not insanely difficult to learn.

Causal players can pick up the skills needed to perform within a couple of practice sessions, as the basics of the game are fairly simple to get a good grasp of.

The difficulty comes in perfecting the rudimentary elements, which is what separates the players that participate in this sport at the highest possible level (i.e. NBA) from those who just partake in the game for fun.


Finally, keep in mind that basketball is a highly competitive and stressful sport.

Whether you’re looking to become a star college recruit, a professional player, or just enjoy spending time with friends, knowing how and why basketball is tough helps you prepare mentally and physically.

Now you don’t have to wait until the big tournament rolls around to figure it out — try working on your own basketball skills today!

If you’ve enjoyed reading through this post, then you should have a look at our other articles on:

About Samuel Waihenya

Samuel is an avid fan of basketball and has been following the sport for over 10 years. He now intends to dedicate his time to produce great content for his own little basketball blog that aims to help its readership with whatever basketball-related topic they can think of. Have a read through Samuel Waihenya's author bio page here.