Sports – Why Are They Important?

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By Admin

It is a well-known fact that playing any kind of sport results in improved motor skills and dexterity, increased strength, resilience and general improvement in health. However, the importance of sports goes beyond just the physical benefits. Sports also –

  • Aids mental health, confidence and clarity
  • Helps develop leadership skills
  • Promotes a healthy spirit of sportsmanship
  • Improves teamwork and coordination
  • Provides a platform for people from all walks of life to interact
  • Promotes international peace and harmony

The Diversity In Sports

Have you ever wondered, exactly how many sports are there in the world? The answer to this depends upon how you define a sport. Broadly speaking, sports can be divided into two categories – amateur sports and professional sports. This often prompts one to ask – what is a professional sport?

Any sport is considered a professional sport when an athlete receives money as payment for playing solo or as part of a professional team. Additionally, they are also overseen by various leagues or associations for the respective sport. Hence, any sport can be recognised as a professional sport when it is governed by a regulatory body and offers certain remunerations to the players. This is different from amateur sports, where often there is no monetary gain for the participants.

Sports endemic to select countries and communities are reaching beyond their borders and, those considered extinct, resurfacing once again. Existing games are constantly revised and modified to include all kinds of people with varying degrees of ability.

Due to this diversification and evolving definition of what comprises a sport, it is a herculean task to tell the exact number of sports in the world and list down all their variations. However, that does not stop us from attempting it! Here is a categorised list of 100+ sports from around the world.

100+ Sports From Around the World

Acrobatic and Endurance Sports

  1. Climbing – Climbing refers to the sport of ascending natural or artificial surfaces with a steep or vertical incline. Climbing sports can be of various kinds, some of which are:
  2. Rock Climbing – Participants climb a natural rock surface, usually in mountain regions.
  • Bouldering – A free climbing sport that involves climbing smaller rock formations instead of mountains or cliffs. In the competitive version, different combinations of handholds and footholds on artificial boulders are known as “problems”.
  • Speed Climbing – A sport where competitors climb to the top of identical rock climbing walls in the least amount of time.
  • Rope Climbing – Competitors attempt to climb a rope suspended from a fixed object as fast as possible.
  • Competitive Dancing – It involves dance teams performing various styles of dance before a panel of judges. Teams may choose any dance style from a permitted list of styles and are evaluated on their overall performance, the difficulty of the choreography, technique, music, costumes, etc.
  • Figure Skating – Figure Skating is a popular sport where individuals or pairs of figure skaters perform to music on an ice-skating rink. Competitors often perform two routines – a short program, followed by a free skate.
  • Gymnastics – Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of systematic exercises that test a competitor’s balance, flexibility, strength, and motor coordination.
  • Mallakhamb – A traditional form of Indian gymnastics, Mallakhamb is a sport where gymnasts perform various gymnastic postures on an oiled, vertical teak wood pole.
  • Trampolining – Also known as Trampoline Gymnastics, it is a competitive sport where athletes perform various twists, somersaults, and other acrobatic techniques on a trampoline. Athletes are scored based on the complexity of the tricks and the amount of time spent mid-air.
  • Tug of War (or Tug-o-War) – It is a sport where two teams with an equal number of players tug on either end of a rope attempting to pull the opposing team over a line in the centre.
  • Weightlifting – Weightlifting is a sport where participants lift barbells with the heaviest possible weights. In competition, barbells are lifted in two ways – the snatch and the clean and jerk.

Aerial Sports

  1. Hang Gliding – An aerial adventure sport where participants use special sailing instruments called hang gliders to glide down from an elevated area.
  • Parachuting – Parachuting is an adventure sport that involves diving from a point high above the ground and using a parachute to control the descent.

Animal-aided and Vehicular Sports

  1. Cycling – Cycling sports can be of various types, but the most common ones involve multiple athletes racing each other on specialised cycles or bikes.
  • Equestrian sports – Equestrian sports are horse-riding and training events not including Polo and Horse Racing. Events under Equestrian Sports are:
  • Dressage – An event where horses are evaluated on various gaits and canters.
  • Show jumping – Horses jumping over raised obstacles.
  • Hunting trails – An endurance sport that simulates a hunt, horses have to cover a 25 to 30-kilometre cross-country obstacle course with various obstacles and tracks.
  • Horse Racing – It involves horses ridden by jockeys racing each other to reach the finish at a specific distance away from the starting point.
  • Luge – In Luge, players race each other on special sledges called luge, in which they lay face-up. Luges are controlled using controlled flexion of the calf muscles or shoulder lean.
  • Motocross – Motocross refers to a cross-terrain motorcycle racing sport.
  • Snowcross – This form of Motocross takes place in snow-covered areas and involves racing on specialised snowmobiles.
  • Polo – Polo is a field sport where players on horseback use mallets with long handles to strike a small ball through the opponent’s hoops.
  • Toros Coleados (Coleo) – A sport with its origins in South America, it involves teams of four men on horseback who attempt to chase and bring down a bull in the fastest possible time.
  • Rodeo – A competitive sport where horse riders exhibit their skills at roping cattle, riding half-tamed or wild horses (called bronchos), and steer wrestling among others.

Aquatic Sports

  1. Canoe Sprint – It is a water sport where athletes race each other on narrow, streamlined boats, usually on calm waters. Participants generally use two types of boats – kayaks and canoes.
  2. Competitive Swimming – In this sport, competitors swim a specific distance from the starting point using any one of the four established swimming strokes (viz. breaststroke, butterfly stroke, backstroke, and freestyle).
  • Diving – In Diving, athletes launch themselves off flexible springboards or diving platforms into a swimming pool. They are usually evaluated on the execution of their starting position, approach and takeoff, their technique, and their entry into the water.
  • Drag Boat Racing – In Drag Boat Racing, teams row a long drag boat in order to reach the finish line before their opponent.
  • Kite Surfing – Also known as Kiteboarding, it is an adventure sport where people use a large power kite to pull them across land, water, or snow.
  • Paddleboarding – Paddleboarding is an aquatic sport where participants use their arms or a paddle to propel a surfboard.
  • Rowing – It is an aquatic team sport where participants race each other on boats with fixed oars. The disciplines under rowing are sculling and sweep rowing.
  • Sailing – Sailing is a solo or team sport that involves manoeuvring a variety of small air-propelled aquatic vessels.
  • Surfing – A leisure sport often played in beachy areas, participants use a surfboard to surf the waves of the ocean.
  1. Wakeboarding – An adventure sport where people surf on wakeboards fastened to a speed boat.
  2. Water Polo – Played between two players of six players and a goalkeeper each, Water Polo is a team sport where competitors attempt to score points by throwing the wall into the opposing team’s goal located on opposite ends of a pool.
  3. Yachting – Yachting is a sport where participants race each other on yachts.

Ball Sports

  1. Basketball – Basketball is a team sport where two teams with five players each compete to shoot a ball into the opponent’s hoops to score points.
  • Dodgeball – Dodgeball is a team sport that involves one team forming a circle within which the opposing team is free to roam. The team forming the circle has two balls with which they target and hit players of the second team below the waist to eliminate them.
  • Football – In this game, two teams of 11 players aim to score goals into the goalposts of the opposing team. Players are permitted to strike the ball only with their feet, chest, or head, except the goalkeeper, who can use their hands.
  • Futsal – It is an indoor version of Football, where five players play on each side on a smaller playing field. Unlike Football, however, it is often played on solid courts instead of grass fields.
  • Handball – A net and ball game where teams of seven players pass a ball with their hands to throw it into the opposing team’s goal. Players must throw the ball into the net from beyond a specified area outside the goal to score.
  • Hitball – Invented in Italy, Hitball is a relatively new sport similar to Football. Players use their arms and hands to hit a ball into the opponent’s goal, with one team scoring while the other tries to defend their goal.
  • Kemari – Kemari is a Japanese sport where participants attempt to keep a ball from touching the ground using any body parts excluding their forearms and hands.
  • Krachtbal – A game with roots in Flanders, France, Krachtbal is played by two teams of four players each. The objective of the game is to throw the ball into the opposing team’s goal within three throws to score points.
  • Lawn Bowls – Lawn Bowls is an outdoor sport where the players attempt to strike a ball (called a bowl) towards a smaller ball called a jack such that the former rests as close to the latter as possible.
  • Netball – Netball is one of the few sports initially played exclusively by women. Although similar to Basketball, bouncing the ball, dribbling, changing positions, and running with the ball are disallowed.
  • Rugby – Played with an oval Rugby ball, the objective of this full-contact sport is to carry the ball into the in-goal area of the opposite team. This sport is also called American Football.
  1. Sepak Takraw (Kick Volleyball) – Teams of two to four players use their feet, knees, shoulders, and head to hit the ball over the net in this net and ball game. This sport is made with a special ball made of rattan or synthetic plastic.
  2. Speedball – A cross between Handball and Football, Speedball is a team game where players score goals by either kicking or throwing the ball into the opponent’s goal.
  3. Tetherball – Tetherball is played using a ball suspended from a vertical pole. Two players stand on opposite sides taking turns hitting the ball clockwise and counter-clockwise respectively.
  4. Volleyball – It is a ball game where two teams of six players each bounce a ball to each other using their fists without letting it hit the floor or the net.
  1. Beach Volleyball – It is a variant of Volleyball played on a sandy beach court. Each team has two players.
  2. Wallball – Wallball is a high-paced sport where pairs of players standing on the same side of the wall as their opponents bounce a ball to each other.
  3. Baseball – In Baseball, the pitcher from the fielding team throws a ball to the batting player from the other team. This game is played on a quadrangular field called the diamond, having four bases at its four corners.
  1. Softball – This variation of baseball is played on a smaller pitch, with players using a bigger ball. Interestingly, this game was first developed to be played indoors.
  2. Cricket – Cricket is a popular sport played worldwide. In this sport, the batting team attempts to score as many runs as possible while the fielding team tries to get the batsmen out and prevent them from scoring runs. There are three main formats of Cricket – Test Matches, ODI (One-Day Internationals), and Twenty20.

Cue and Club Sports

  1. Billiards – It is a leisure and competitive game played on a pool table, a special table with six pockets. The goal of the game is to hit a white cue ball with a cue stick to deflect numbered pool balls into the pockets.
  • Broomball – Broomball is a sport similar to Hockey, where players use a long paddled stick to hit a ball. The objective of this team sport is to push the ball into the opponent’s goalposts to score points.
  • Croquet – A leisure sport where coloured wooden or plastic balls are hit with mallets through hoops or gates.
  • Gateball – Inspired by Croquet, it is a strategic team game where each player tries to pass the balls assigned to them through gates.
  • Golf – A sport where players use golf clubs to hit a small white plastic ball over long distances into a series of holes on a golf course.
  • Hockey – Hockey is a fast-paced sport where players belonging to two different teams use hockey sticks to push a puck into their opponent’s nets.
  • Ice Hockey – As the name suggests, this sport involves players playing Hockey on an ice rink.
  • Hurling – It is an Irish sport played using a hurley, a stick with a flat end, to hit the ball through the opposing team’s goalposts. Each team consists of 15 players, with the objective of the game being to score more points than the opposing team.
  • Lacrosse – It is a team sport played using lacrosse sticks and lacrosse balls, where the ultimate goal of the players is to score more goals than their opponent.
  1. Woodball – Originating in Taiwan, players in teams of two to four use a mallet to hit a wooden ball through bottle-shaped gates. The objective is to complete the entire set of gates in the fewest number of strokes.
  2. Gilli Danda – It is an Indian sport where a long stick (danda) is used to strike a shorter stick (gilli) mid-air to fling it to great distances.

Combat Sports

  1. Boxing – Boxing is a combat sport where participants use their fists, often wearing gloves, to strike their opponent in nine to twelve rounds of three minutes each. Matches generally take place in a boxing ring.
  • Kickboxing – As the name suggests, Kickboxing is a type of combat sport that utilises all the traditional boxing techniques with the addition of various kicking techniques.
  • Mas-wrestling – Derived from a traditional game of the Yakut ethnic group of Turkey, two participants sit with their legs outstretched touching a central beam and holding a stick. The player who is able to pull the opponent over while keeping the stick in their hands wins the round.
  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – MMA is a combat sport where participants face off using techniques derived from several forms of unarmed martial arts.
  • Sumo Wrestling – It is a special type of wrestling from Japan where players try to push their opponent out of the ring.
  • Wrestling – Wrestling is a strength sport where athletes grapple with each other to pin down or immobilise their opponent.

Racquet and Paddle Sports

  1. Badminton – It is a racquet sport with its origins in India that is played using a shuttlecock. It can be played by an individual or a pair of players.
  • Squash – Played in singles or doubles, this game involves players hitting a soft rubber ball onto designated areas of a wall.
  • Table Tennis – It is a ball-and-paddle game where players bounce a ball towards each other using wooden paddles with rubber pads on a table.
  • Tennis – Tennis is a well-known racquet sport where individuals (singles) or pairs of players (doubles) hit a tennis ball back and forth over a net.

Skating and Board Sports

  1. Inline Skating – More popularly known as Rollerblading, this sport involves various activities performed by a participant wearing inline skates with wheels arranged in a single line.
  • Skateboarding – Skateboarding is a popular sport where participants use a skateboard (a specialised board with wheels) to race each other or complete various courses.
  • Longboarding – Skating on an elongated, modified skateboard called a longboard.
  • Sandboarding – Usually played in desert lands, players ride the dunes on sandboards without wheels.
  • Snowboarding – A well-loved adventure sport, participants use a snowboard to skate down snowy hills.
  • Skiing – In Skiing, athletes use long runners called skis to glide down a snowy mountain or hill.

Tag Sports

  1. Kho Kho – Kho Kho is a game of team tag originating from India. Players from the chasing team crouch in a line through the middle of the playing field while the other team is allowed to roam. The objective of the chasing team is to eliminate as many players as possible within nine minutes.
  2. Kabaddi – In Kabaddi, a single player from a team (referred to as a raider) tries to tag as many players from the other team and return to their side of the field without getting pinned or tackled.

Target and Weapon sports

  1. Archery – Archery is a sport where competitors use bows and arrows to shoot at fixed or moving targets. Target Archery (where a single target with rings representing different points at a specific distance) and Field Archery (with targets at different distances on an open field) are the main forms of competitive archery.
  • Bowling – Bowling is a game where the objective is to knock down bowling pins using a weighted bowling ball. When all ten pins are knocked down by a bowling ball at the start of a frame, it is known as a strike.
  • Crossbow Archery – This sport is similar to traditional Archery, with crossbows being used in place of bows and arrows.
  • Darts – In this game, players throw pointed darts at a dartboard, which has a specific design. It can be played competitively or as a recreational sport.
  • Fencing – Fencing refers to three disciplines of sword fighting – foil, epee, and sabre. In fencing, points are scored when the weapon makes contact with the opponent.
  • Knife Throwing – A target sport where competitors throw knives onto a painted, usually wooden, target.
  • Arms Shooting – Several types of arms shooting games exist, where participants use rifles, shotguns, or handguns to shoot at stationary or moving targets.
  • Skittles – Often played on lawn fields, the objective is to knock over miniature bowling pins called skittles.

Track and Field Sports

  1. Discus Throw – Discus throw is a track and field event where a participant attempts to fling a heavy disc (called a discus) farther than their competitors.
  2. Hammer Throw – This sport involves throwing a hammer, a weighted ball on a string, with proper technique as far as possible.
  3. High Jump – In this sport, athletes jump over a horizontal pole at a specific height, taking care not to dislodge the pole from the stand.
  • Hurdles – Hurdles are a type of obstacle racing where athletes run on a measured track with fence-like hurdles.
  • Javelin Throw – In Javelin, athletes throw a long, pointed spear known as the javelin to the farthest possible distance such that the spear gets lodged into the ground.
  • Long Jump – It is a field game usually played over a sandpit, where players take a running approach and leap as far as possible from the takeoff point.
  • Pole Vaulting – In Pole Vaulting, players use a flexible pole to launch themselves over a horizontal pole at a fixed height.
  • Race Walking – Race Walking is a unique sport in which participants must race each other without running, i.e. it is mandatory to keep one foot on the ground at all times.
  • Running – In competition, players race each other on a track of a fixed length in the minimum amount of time.
  • Shot Put – This sport involves flinging a heavy ball called the shot to the furthest distance on a graduated field.

Other Sports

  1. Aquathlon – A combination of Wrestling and Swimming, players wrestle each other underwater to take off a ribbon tied to their opponent’s ankle.
  2. Chess – A strategy board game with pieces having different moves. The goal of the game is to capture the opponent’s pieces to ultimately checkmate the opposing king.
  3. Chess Boxing – It is a mixed sport where competitors play a round of chess followed by a round of boxing.
  4. Tennikoit – Also called Ring Tennis, this game is played with a rubber ring called a koit on a field with a net.
  5. Shovel Racing – This unique sport involves competitors racing each other down a snowy hill riding on shovels.

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