Sports: Three Types of Sport
“Sport” is an often used term, but what exactly does the term mean? “Sport” is commonly applied to any form of competitive physical activity, which via organised or casual competition, aim at enhancing or expressing physical fitness, social interactivity or getting results at every level. Organised competitions include sports such as swimming, cricket, golf, rugby, tennis, motor racing and cycling. The term “sport” can also be applied to a collection of recreational activities, such as horse riding, fishing, diving, paintball, motor-bicycle racing and skydiving.
Some people argue that there are several types of sport, some of which are more popular than others. One school of thought says that there is no clear-cut definition of sport, and that the term “sport” should be interpreted broadly to cover any physical activity that requires a level of skill that is necessary for participants to achieve the goal. According to this school of thought, there is no precise definition of sport and it is impossible to predict how different types of sports will develop in different areas and in different time-periods. Sport can therefore be regarded as a generative term, with a wide range of possible outcomes being conceivable. However, as sports become more developed and players become more specialized and dependent upon their equipment, there are fewer sports for which there is a clear-cut definition.
As opposed to this view, some sport experts maintain that there is one defining characteristic of sport that makes it distinct from all other types of activity – its competitive character. According to this school of thought, sport involves competition, and the definition of a game therefore reflects the nature of that competition. The sporty, competitive element of a game can be understood, if we consider games such as chess, tennis, volleyball, hockey and football. Although these games obviously require the presence of certain game elements (such as the ball), they each involve a different kind of competition. Chess, for example, involves a defined set of moves, a controlled environment, and the ability to use tactical thinking, whereas football involves numerous unpredictable variables, the ability to improvise and overcome previous strategies, the ability to make quick decisions under pressure, and the acceptance of uncertainty as a natural part of the game.
Another school of thought suggests that there are four characteristics of sport: namely, activities that are physically demanding, those that demand special skills, those that require advanced training and extensive experience, and those that are based on a competitive environment. In the first two categories, the physical aspect of the activity is obvious. Whereas most outdoor activities are intensely physical, activities like diving, skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, and aerobics are highly demanding physically. Conversely, activities that require advanced training and extensive experience, such as yoga and dancing, are also physically demanding. Finally, competitive games, such as soccer and lacrosse, require the ability to use one’s own physical attributes against another in order to emerge victorious. These last two characteristics, in combination with the competitive nature of most sport, make it clear that sport can be an active pursuit, rather than a passive activity.
Some people argue that there are several major differences between types of sport, including technical activities versus activities. Technical activities, such as swimming and biking, are designed more to teach and improve certain aspects of fitness, whereas sports involve physical contact and the application of unnatural forces against others. While there is no conclusive evidence to support this claim, some sport activities such as weightlifting and tennis do focus on development of certain physical traits, and some do not. Still, the fact that some types of sport are designed to develop certain skills or physical attributes does not mean that other types of sport are not focused on these same things. In fact, most contact sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, focus on developing physical strength, while other types of activity, such as fishing and bowling, focus on the development of the archery skills.
The problem with defining sport can be complicated, as there are so many different types of activity that fit into the category. However, there are three basic categories that most people agree on, including motor sport, athletic activity and endurance sport. Motor sport refers to those sports that require speed, power, and endurance. This type of sport often involves racing cars, skateboarding, and other similar activities. Athletic activity usually involves a specific sport or field and can include track and field, soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, softball, football, baseball, and track and field. Endurance sport typically involves high-intensity activities that focus on long periods of time, such as marathons, triathlons, and Ironman courses.