Differences between Mens and Womens Basketball


The differences between the two leagues WNBA and NBA vary from season to season, and aspect to aspect. No two seasons are ever the same, and therefore by the time you read this, some changes may have been made that will even outdate these findings. Every sport has changes to its game with every new season it faces. These changes are made to bring about fair competition, exciting games for the fans, and to make things fair in the end. While the game could be left the same year after year, it has to adapt, and change to keep up with the times.

Some of the differences: The ball for women ranges in size from 28.5 inches to 29 inches. This is a full inch smaller then the men’s ball size, and while a lot of people believe this can change the game greatly, it simple serves to even the playing field for the competition. Men traditionally have bigger hands, and therefore can handle a larger ball; the weight difference is very minute and doesn’t really play a factor.

Often when you are watching the games, if you watched one and then the other, only a very experienced basketball fan could spot the difference without being told.

In Men’s basketball, a five second rule is applied if there is a defender within 6 feet of the player, in women’s ball the defender has to be within three feet of the player. Women’s basketball is currently less popular then men’s basketball but that isn’t because of the quality, it is because women’s basketball even though it’s been around for awhile, is still fairly fresh and new on the scene and hasn’t become quite as main stream yet. Give it a few more years and it will grow leaps and bounds in popularity.

The team mechanics and styles are also very different. Men will always attempt to plow through things with athleticism and skill, while women tend to analyze a situation and come up with a response. Women’s basketball tends to be slightly more technical and the women’s learning styles are far more different and vocal. Men will ask a question, and answer a question. Nice and simple. Women will ask a question, answer the question, and analyze it. Coming ups with in depth and correct answers that not only help the coaches but also help the players.

In the end, other than a few small measurement differences, and the size and biological differences between men and women, truly the game in essence is the EXACT same. It is a competitive sport, which both men and women play to win, play with their teams, and enjoy. While the technical aspects of the game surely are different, the spirit of the game has no difference between men and women. Both sets of players will give it their all from game to game, and season to season, and fans of both will convey to you the same thing, it’s a pleasure to watch, and has the same enthusiasm behind it, no matter who you are watching!

[info_box]Picture credit: neofx19Creative Commons Attribution[/info_box]

About Author

I have been playing Basketball for as long as I can remember and coaching from the age of sixteen. My blog,, has been created to help Basketball lovers from all skill levels to improve their game. I hope that you find my blog both useful and entertaining!


  1. i liked the way you put this into words. i am doin a project on this, and it really helped me out alot!!

  2. Hi Bria,

    glad you liked it! Let me know, if you should have further questions. As a coach of a womens basketball team I’m sure I can help you, if needed.

    Best wishes,

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  6. thank you sooooooooo much…i had to do a project comparing the similarities and differences between men and womens bball and this helps alot
    thanks again,

      • Hey Akashi,

        thanks for your comment.
        As far as it concerns the ball being smaller and therefore going through the rim easier, you are correct. Still you have to pass by the defense to score, which doesn’t make it easier to score in the end. :-)


    • Hi Meg,

      how did your project go? Glad that this article was useful for your researches!
      Thanks for commenting!!


  7. i m an indian and i play basketball really well. is it possible for me to take up basketball as my lifetime career? right now i m 17 and i live in india. can u suggest me something? i really want to be a basketball player but my parents r not so happy with it. will u mail me if u r ever free? my email id is do reply me when u r free.

  8. Eitel,

    Very nice job of applying men and women’s varying natural instincts to the way the play the game of basketball. In regards to your comment on every season changing, I believe this is absolutely shown in Baylor center Brittney Griner. Her raw physical talent is much more “guy like” and could easily change the way the women’s side of the game is played if this is indeed the new prototype of a women’s basketball player. Her talent following the standout career of Maya Moore could be what the sport needs to reach a higher level of recognition. Well Done,


    • Thanks for your comment, Sean!
      In my opinion, being more “guy-like” as a woman in sports isn’t something negative. I had the honour to coach a second division player this year and she has outstanding athletic performance, compared to the other girls in my team. This came from working-out regularly in the gym, but also by playing against boys and men. Playing against men with body contact helped her to compete even harder when playing against women.

      • Certainly not, and if it could enter the womens game via multilple players, the combination of both athletic, physical play and a focus on the fundamentals would create an amazing product. Think an entire league of Timmy Duncans.

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