Sports have been governed by an unceasingly changing body of standards and traditions, that maintain fair play, and enable consistent adjudication of the results, both negative and positive. The essence of sport is that it is voluntary, undertaken for social or personal gain, recreation or exercise, with an objective of winning by engaging all the parties involved. As the word sport implies, the game can be of many different types, varying from games played in public parks, or as in polo and golf. However, whatever its type, the essence of all sports is that they are played between equally matched competitors, who are necessarily endowed with equal chances of winning, or being awarded a point by the umpire(s).
Most sports are conducted with a degree of skill on the part of the participants. Some sports can be controlled by physical exertion alone, whilst others require a lot of physical exertion but not necessarily so. There are three main factors that affect the success of any game: skills, effort and luck. Sports people are judged on the basis of their ability to perform with standard physical exertion, while other factors such as sportsmanship, courtesy, and personal attributes have more to do with how much they enjoy the activity. This article will attempt to clarify the meaning of sports, and shed some light on the subject of physical exertion within sport.
Today, there is increasing recognition and appreciation for sportsmanship, as exemplified by the London Olympics 2021 team’s display of sportsmanship to win the Games. Sportsmanship can be defined as exercising positive attitude, or feelings of obligation or respect towards another person or team, in competition or in place of competition. It can also mean the recognition of an individual or group for achievements, whether these are athletic or other. The Olympic movement recognized the values of sport and active participation by introducing the term ‘Olympic spirit’.
The Olympic movement recognised the need for an accurate definition of sport, and as a consequence sports has become not just defined as physical exertion, but as participation in a competitive environment. Therefore, it has become necessary for athletes to undergo training to improve their skills and match performance on the sporting field. However, it is sometimes difficult to measure how much a particular sport engages the mind, as different sports will present differing challenges when it comes to using both visual and sensory information. For example, chess has a completely different visual system than football, therefore it can be hard to tell how much the visual system of each sport engages the mind.
Therefore, it has become necessary for researchers to develop universal definitions of sport that can capture the essence of how different sports engage the mind. Unfortunately, this definition is very hard to agree upon, with many people viewing sport in different ways, and many people viewing sport in fundamentally different ways. In order to broaden the definition of sport, and therefore its definition, researchers and sport specialists have developed many different scales. One of the most commonly used scales for measuring sport intensity is thescale from the athlete’s endurance test, where the athlete’s ability to complete the test is rated on a scale of 0 to 9. This provides a good measure of how much of a particular sport a person can engage in without suffering cognitive effects.
Another popular scale for measuring the complexity of a sport is the verbal score index, where players are verbally assessed on their level of expertise in the various sports that they participate in. Finally, many people will be measured on a personal enjoyment scale where they are asked to rate their enjoyment after engaging in a certain sport. This suggests that people enjoy their sport so much that they would give up anything not involved in that sport. Therefore, although the definition of sport is constantly changing as sport researchers continue to strive to understand its many aspects, sport nevertheless has a strong psychological element that cannot be overlooked.