Is Volleyball Harder Than Football? Answered

Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in the world, right next to football.

Both sports are incredibly fun to watch and play. But have you ever wondered which one is more difficult?

This article will try to break down what makes each sport unique and try to find the one that’s tougher to play.

Reasons why American football and soccer is harder than volleyball

Football is an incredibly popular sport that goes all the way back to the mid-19th century in the UK. It was a hugely popular sport in its time, just like it is now. It is sometimes confused with soccer (that is played with the feet only) as this sport is more popular in Europe and parts of Asia.

Football and soccer are contact sports while volleyball isn’t. This means that you are allowed to touch the other player (within certain limits). It’s a hard-hitting sport in many ways. Players might run into other players on the field. Players have to pass, shield, shoot, and tackle players on the field. Tackles are especially dangerous and play a big role in why football is dangerous. It’s entirely possible to lose a big part of the season if you get into a hard shuffle. Both sports require strength, stamina, and speed.

Most American football matches last 60 minutes. Soccer matches last 90 minutes (with the possibility of additional time being added). There is no time limit in volleyball, only a scoring limit. In general, volleyball matches last 60 minutes but they can go on to over 2 hours. This doesn’t happen often in soccer or football with the exception of some tournaments if there is a draw. This means that volleyball matches generally last longer.

Football and soccer also make heavy use of mind games. When an attacker and defender clash, it becomes a battle of skill and wits. The skill ceiling in football is quite high. Players can invent their own moves and take incredible risks to achieve goals.

Football is a very intense sport. It’s incredibly demanding on the whole body. In soccer, players mainly use their legs. In volleyball, the upper body is mainly used. A game could turn around at any instant. There are long bouts where players are locked in a stalemate. But things can turn around fairly fast.

Football and soccer are mainly played by guys while most volleyball players are female in the USA. Volleyball players also tend to be quite tall if we look at data from the Olympics.

There are professional American football and soccer leagues in the USA. This is not the case for volleyball and players have to go abroad (to for example Japan, Italy, or Brazil) if they want to become a pro.

But what about volleyball?

Reasons why Volleyball is harder

Volleyball is an incredibly demanding game to play as well. It’s something of a combination of tennis and handball and originated in 1895. This makes volleyball less than 200 years old.

Volleyball is played entirely with the arms and hands, in contrast to football. Players don’t sprint down fields, but they do rapidly shift their weight from side to side in their court. This results in heavy usage of the anaerobic system of the body because players have to be very agile. This requires short burst of energy instead of longer periods of intense movement such as we saw with football.

While football is the sport that makes use of the arms and legs, volleyball is surprisingly intense on the feet as well. Volleyball players frequently jump high and land on their feet, causing stress on the body. The constant jumping is great for flexibility and players derive a lot of energy from their hips and legs to strike the ball.

Volleyball makes heavy use of mind-games as well, given the limited amount of options each player has to choose from. While it’s not a full-on contact sport like football, volleyball players also suffer from physical injury.

A typical game of volleyball lasts around 60-90 minutes. Beach volleyball exposes players to the sun, but they get the benefit of the softness of sand in exchange. Sand is a great material to cushion the body from impact after jumping. Sand does have a tendency to make people slip, though, and that can result in some problems.

Indoor volleyball doesn’t come with sand but does come with a comfortable temperature-controlled environment instead. This makes it a very nice sport to play give rain or shine.

A volleyball player needs to know how to serve, pass, set, block, dig and spike. The skill ceiling remains fairly high, but the amount of improvisation and manipulation of the ball is lesser than in football.

It does offer a more full-body exercise than football and given the intense anaerobic nature of the sport, can make you muscular. And unlike football, volleyball can be played several times a week. Professionals do play often, and this tells us that it’s far less stressful on the body than football.

While it’s true football players end up running across a field for long periods of time, volleyball players might actually end up burning more calories in the end. This is simply because of how frequently they clash with their opponents on the field. Which leads to incredibly quick bouts of offense and defense.

Players on a football field can remain inactive for long periods of time. But there’s no time to rest for volleyball players. You can’t hide from the ball if you wanted to.


Football is a physically more demanding game, while volleyball is a technically more demanding game. Football is based on endurance and makes use of the aerobic system, while volleyball makes more use of the anaerobic system.

Football involves the whole body as you run and hold the ball. But volleyball actually makes heavy use of the legs because of all the jumping and diving. Volleyball requires more frequent explosiveness and good balance to dodge, duck, and dive.

Violations in volleyball frequently result in a point. Violations in football result in the offended team being awarded an advantage in the form of free kicks and penalty kicks.