Sports are physical activities that involve a number of the senses. These can be seen both individually and collectively, in organized competitions such as the Olympics, and in recreational settings such as at a local ball game or basketball. There are numerous types of sports. However, there are two main types: athletic and non-athletic.


Athletic sports refer to those games that require extensive training and competition over extended periods of time, including sprinting, tackling and throwing. (In some cases, there is little difference between the two types of games, such as lacrosse, American football and soccer.) An example of an athletic sport would be swimming, tennis, basketball and track and field. An example of a non-sport that falls into the non-sport category would be traditional board games, such as Scrabble, Cornhole and Frisbee.

The second main definition of sports involves the physical contests, usually competitive, which are based on skills. The most common games among these would include tennis, squash, badminton, hockey, golf, rugby and cricket. Non-sport events may include horse racing, figure skating, beach and snowboarding, surfing, curling, skating, motorcycling, gymnastics, aerobics, basketball and table tennis. For this reason, it is easy to see why people often have an easy definition of sports. While many of the sports listed above certainly require an athletic dedication, many others exhibit skill-based competition. This can include competitive chess and poker tournaments, competitive swimming races and even high-level basketball and table tennis.

The second main component is skill. In sports where speed or physical dexterity is necessary, this is where training and practice play a vital role. However, this component can also be a combination of other factors such as endurance, sport specific “gear” and a specific level of physical ability. Some sports require large muscles, while others require small muscles. Therefore, it is important to understand how each sport utilizes the different components of the sport for training, practice and competition.

Lastly, we come to emotional engagement. Simply put, everyone in sports loves to compete. People are naturally competitive and love to win. However, winning is not the only aspect that motivates people into sports. Of course, winning is the best feeling in sports, but winning also exposes people to risk. This aspect of sports requires people who possess mental abilities beyond the realm of normal physical activity.

As you can see, there is more than just the physical components in popular sports. The definition of each category includes many other components as well. Knowing what makes each component unique will help you identify with the sport better. Furthermore, knowing the relationships between these components and your personal physical and emotional capabilities will help you enjoy your participation in the sport.