Basketball Courts Indoor vs Outdoor | Differences


Depending on where you live most people can find a basketball court within walking distance or just a short drive.  The differences between outdoor basketball courts and indoor courts are many. Some players avoid outdoor courts all together due to the difficulty of the game.

Basketball courts played indoor or outdoor have many different benefits that can impact your game in different ways. Playing both indoor and outdoor basketball can really benefit your overall game, some may even say there two completely different basketball games.

 Here are some surprising differences between indoor basketball courts vs outdoors, keep an open mind and you may want to start balancing both forms of basketball to your game.

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Court Surface: Street vs Hardwood

I am willing to bet if I did a survey of which of the two people like on more, most people would choose to play indoor basketball vs outdoor. There are the odd few basketball players that like to play outdoors, over indoor for their own reasons.

The court surface has a huge effect on performance not just on a player’s game but on their body. Playing Basketball on concrete or asphalt can be difficult and painful to your joints and body.

While you are also more likely to fall playing outdoors due to the poor traction from the dusty courts. Very rarely are outdoor courts swept. If you fall it hurts much more due to the hard surface when compared to hardwood, no surprise. To add to that after a rainfall there may be some areas on the court where there are wet spots. That in itself is a game on its own to avoid.

Playing basketball indoors on a hardwood floor is much easier on your joints due to the give of the hardwood floor. It provides enough traction for your basketball shoes as it grips the floor every step due to the rubber soles gripping the hardwood. As long as the gym floor is taken care of generally you don’t have to worry about slipping and falling leaving you vulnerable to ankle injuries or painful falls like an outdoor court. I don’t need to tell you why an indoor court is better to play on surface wise.

If you find yourself playing a lot of outdoor basketball it is worth it to invest in a good pair of outdoor basketball shoes. This does a few things for you. One, Using indoor shoes outside will shorten the lifespan of your shoe considerably and will make a new shoe look like an old shoe in days. While Two, you get the proper support and traction needed to play your game outdoor on asphalt/concrete. An outdoor basketball shoe has a bigger sole with a lot more grip on the bottom of the shoe for cutting and crossing players up. Alongside they have extra padding and support with some shoes even having shock absorption technology. Click the picture and it will take you to Amazon to see the price for your size.

Here’s a remedy if you are playing outdoors in old basketball shoes and it feels like you’re wearing sandals while playing. Your worn-out shoes are in need of extra support. I highly recommend changing your insoles completely or get a soft insole on the market by Dr.insoles such as this in the image below.


This will make it so you have a little cushion for running and jumping. If your feet are hurting during or after playing, I would replace the insole entirely. This can make the world of difference while playing and you can focus on the game and not the pain.

I wouldn’t recommend playing outdoors all the time, this will impact your joints in the long run, if you can switch it up then do so. Switching it from an indoor court surface to an outdoor occasionally making sure to stop if your joints start to hurt you while playing outdoors.


Outdoor Rims Vs Indoor

In basketball, every rim is different, from the color to the materials and also the age of the rim. An older rim may be more forgiving due to the number of dunks and shots it’s taken. This weakens a rim over time. You may get more roll ins with your shot on a forgiving rim, but on a stiff rim you can’t buy a basket.

I believe you should spend time playing on outdoor rims for many reasons, this will benefit your overall game. Here’s why…

Many of the basketball rims you see outdoors are bent, are double rims, or have no nets( This always drives me crazy), or are over 10 feet tall. Shooting on many of the basketball nets just mention is much more difficult to make baskets on for several reasons:

  • The ball is dusty, poor grip
  • Your hands are dirty, again poor grip
  • A double rim is stiff and unforgiving, needs the ball to go in without touching the rim practically.
  • The weather, rain, wind, sun, all come into play.
  • The basketball itself not the greatest ball
  • No net on the rim or its falling apart makes it more difficult to score.

This is why I recommend playing outdoors, it is just much more difficult than playing indoors with all the variables you may encounter up above. This will help you become mentally tough while forcing you to learn how to score in other ways due to the conditions. You want to get better at indoor basketball, then play outdoor basketball.

Indoor hoops are generally the same at every gym, the rime you usually encounter the spring-loaded basketball rim that is able to withstand dunking and hanging on the rim. You know what to expect when you go to the gym, outdoor basketball is a different animal with a whole lot of challenges in the way.


 If you’re playing indoors generally you’re using a leather basketball that has great grip. It is easy to catch the ball in your hands easily and shoot it. While outdoor basketballs are different and made from rubber and composite leather materials, no matter what the grip will be sub-par from good to terrible due to it bouncing against the dusty pavement. If you are lucky enough to play on a special court that has those interlocking soft sports tiles or is acrylic then you can use a leather basketball with no issues.

I think you know where I’m going with this, playing indoors will always take the cake you never have to worry about grip on a ball unless no one in the gym has a good ball. But playing outdoors is going to be harder to dribble and shoot. Which will be again really good for your game, it adds another element of difficulty.

 After playing on outdoor courts for a while with a rubber ball you will find that an indoor ball will feel much easier to handle in the gym while you might even feel you have improved your handle and shooting. It will be a challenge at first playing outdoor basketball, save the excuses, just know overall it will benefit your game in the long run.

Need a good outdoor basketball, try this one, it has great reviews and a good price. You can use it indoors as its an indoor/outdoor.


The Difficulty of Playing Outdoor vs Indoor Basketball

Indoor courts are better for many reasons, you know what you’re getting when you arrive at the gym, you don’t have to worry about the weather although sometimes the A.C, doesn’t work in the gym but better than the sun shining on you while you play when it’s over 100 degrees outside.

Indoors courts are a great surface to play on with a water fountain nearby it overall is great to play on with little to no issues. You can bet that your joints will thank you also at the end of the day.

Here’s why playing outdoor basketball is tough and is a different type of game.

Playing outdoors you come across a lot of players with different personality types. That in itself is a battle not to mention the hard fouls when it’s too windy to shoot anywhere beyond 15 feet. Everyone knows your driving to the basket.

Weather conditions add another difficult element to outdoor basketball, from the wind to rain and the sun. Playing in a 30-minute pickup game without a water break in the heat will really deplete your energy levels, not to mention dehydration and possible cramping. Indoor basketball doesn’t, no one complains the A.C. is on full blast and it was the cause of a missed shot blowing it to the left.

Running outdoors is extremely difficult in itself go for a jog and see how long you can run for, it isn’t easy. Indoor courts are like running on a treadmill they are much easier and forgiving on your muscles.

Not to mention shooting on a double rim, is not easy. It feels as if when the ball hits any part of the rim after shooting, it bounces out and has no chance. You almost have to swish the shot in order for it to go in.

Playing in all those difficult conditions listed above is far more difficult than playing basketball indoors. This will challenge your skills and improve fundamentals while increasing your mental toughness.



Is practicing basketball indoor better than outdoors?   

Overall practicing indoors will always be better, there are so many variables when it comes to outdoors from weather to the condition of the cement court. You’re more likely to feel a nagging injury on a harder court.

If your practicing shooting drills and doing lots of impactful jumps and footwork try to get indoors and work on those movements. You are going to get tired in the shooting drills its bad enough that the ground is slippery leaving you vulnerable to injury when you’re tired.

Some other things to consider will always be the weather especially when its hot it can make you twice as tired when the sun is beating down on you.


Hopefully, you give outdoor basketball a shot. Choose a combination of both types of courts is a great addition to add to your game. You want to challenge yourself to get better, outdoor courts are a great way to do so.


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