Why is Basketball Considered an Invasion Game?

Many people look at the game of basketball and see a friendly competition taking place between two different teams. You might have heard of it referred to as an invasion game and wonder what in the world that is. After all, the game is fast and free-flowing. Who could possibly be invading whom? 

Basketball is an invasion game because it involves two different teams. The sole purpose of each team is to invade the territory trying to be held by the opponent. In so doing, one team tries to keep the number of points scored by the other team to a minimum. Successfully invading the territory of the other team is the only way to win. 

Invasion games help encourage teamwork, enhancing physical fitness, and promoting cooperation. This is why it is important to understand the basis of invasion games and how they benefit society. Continue reading to learn why basketball is among this genre of sport and what it means for you. 

What Constitutes an Invasion Game?

An invasion game is one where one team’s main objective is to invade the other opponent’s territory. In so doing, one team will try to score more points than the other within a prescribed period. If they can score more than the other team, they will be declared the winner at the end of the game. 

What Characterizes Basketball as an Invasion Game?

Not only is basketball fast, but it is free-flowing and relatively high-scoring if the two teams are good. The rules of the game allow players on each team to move freely around the court. As they do so, they can occupy any position they wish to as long as they remain inbounds. 

Here are some of the various ways that basketball was developed from its outset to be an invasion game:

  • Every player on the court has the same chance to score points. 
  • Play can quickly resume after a team has scored a point or committed a foul. 
  • Dribbling is unique to this type of invasion game as it is the mechanism by which players can gain an advantage over the other team and end up scoring a point. 
  • One team is tasked with the challenge of keeping the other team out of its territory. 

In order to get from one side of the court to the other, players on one team must use a combination of dribbling, running, and passing. If they can do this effectively without the other team intercepting the ball, they will have successfully invaded the other team’s territory. 

The key is to move the ball into the other territory quickly and efficiently. As players advance, there will even be a clock that gives each team a deadline to complete a successful invasion by either scoring a point or getting fouled. If the time expires before that point, then the other team will get the ball to attempt an invasion of their own. 

Basketball can also be classified as an invasion game because it involves a certain level of strategy. Just as in other types of invasion games, basketball requires one team to successfully maintain control of the ball long enough to end up scoring. Doing this requires a complex series of plays and maneuvers in order to be successful in the end. 

What is Required to Play Basketball?

Another component of basketball that makes it an invasion game involves the playing court and the equipment that is used. Teams do not just stay on one side of the court as they would in, say, tennis. Instead, they must position themselves to be able to get into the other team’s side and score. Doing so requires a certain setup that makes basketball unique from other sports. 

The following components are required to play basketball:

  • Space – Basketball can be played either outdoors or indoors, but there must be space big enough to constitute two sides of the court. Teams must then defend their side of the court via a basket to keep the other team from scoring. 
  • A ball that bounces – Since dribbling is the main way of advancing into the opposing team’s territory and creating an advantage, there must be a ball that has been inflated and is capable of being easily bounced without stopping. 
  • A basket – In order to score, there needs to be a basket installed at each end of the court. This is where the invading team needs to put the ball in order to be awarded a certain number of points. 
  • Some type of distinguishing uniform – Teams should wear a shirt that distinguishes its players from the others. This can be in the shape of an actual uniform or at least some type of clothing that set players apart, such as a bib. 

While there are aspects of basketball that make it an invasion game, these four components need to be present for the game to be played. This is how one team can eventually gain control over the other team. Without this, an invasion would not be able to occur. 

Types of Basketball That Can be Played

Basketball has evolved through the years into several different variations. While most people are familiar with the televised form where two teams of five players play, there are other forms that still make it an invasion game. 

Here are some types of basketball that can be played in virtually any location around the world today. 

2 on 1 Basketball 

This is a modification of the game where two players are permitted to dribble and pass the ball to one another, with the opposing player trying to intercept it before they can get to the other end of the court. Instead of scoring a basket, the number of passes completed before the ball is intercepted are counted to determine the winner. 

3 on 3 Basketball 

Just as its name sounds, this version of the invasion game pits three players against three. It is played only on one side of the court. The team without the ball must defend the basket while the other team is trying to score. The team with the ball only gets five passes with which to score, or the ball will turn over to the other team. 

5 versus 5 Team Basketball

This is the traditional form of the game where two teams of five play against each other. Each team can use a combination of passes and dribbles to advance the ball to the opposing team’s side of the court. There are time limits involved and the team with the most points at the end of that time is declared the winner. 

What Other Sports Are Considered Invasion Games?

Since we looked at the reasons why basketball is an invasion game, it is helpful to have some examples of other sports that fall into this realm as well. By comparing the characteristics that each of these sports have in common, it will be easier to visualize exactly why basketball is an invasion game. 

Some of the more commonly known invasion games include: 

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Rugby
  • Football
  • Hockey

The commonality between each of these sports is that there are two teams involved. While there might be different numbers of players on each side, the principle is the same. One team must successfully invade the territory of the other in order to score a point. There is no other way to win the game. Basketball is typically the highest scoring of the invasion games because of its fast-paced nature. 


Basketball has continued to grow in popularity worldwide since its development back in 1891. It is an invasion game that encourages players to work together within their team in order to accomplish a common goal. 

If you liked this post, be sure to check “Can Basketball Be Played All Year Long?” & “Basketball Shots – The 9 Most Important Shots in Basketball“.


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