What is the Best Definition of Sports?

Sports (or sports) can be broadly classified into two main sub-groups: physical and mental sports. Physical sports are those that require the participant to use strenuous physical energy to engage in a particular activity such as running, wrestling, weightlifting, and cycling. Mental sports, on the other hand, are those in which the participants engage in mind-based activities such as chess, puzzles, crossword puzzles, card games etc. While it is widely accepted that both types of sports are useful in building up the fitness of the body, it is often forgotten that they are distinctly different from each other. While physical and mental sports help develop the overall condition of the body, the extent to which they are beneficial for an individual will depend on the type of activity undertaken and the competency or state of mind of the person in question.


In the pastime of golf, polo and tennis, for example, the competitors all generally had similar skills and attributes. However, there was a clear demarcation between the different types of sport. Golf was for the gentlemen, polo and tennis was the game for ladies. The first sports to incorporate a competitive nature were, naturally, tennis and golf; today the list includes rugby, hockey, swimming, boxing, horse racing and ice skating. As time passed by, other sports, including football, hockey, softball, ice skating, tennis, basketball and even cricket, incorporated some form of competitive nature into their play. The competitive spirit in these sports helped to promote physical fitness and conditioning, increased speed, improved physique and a better self image.

It is now believed by many that chess is one of the oldest sports to have been around since ancient times, and perhaps the first game to introduce the competitive spirit into games. Chess also teaches players to be patient and not to give up until the game is over – something which all of us can learn from, especially when playing non-physical games such as chess. Although chess doesn’t necessarily require a lot of equipment or resource, it can get very competitive, with the competitor trying to accumulate the most counters, files and more pieces than the other person, or trying to defeat their opponent’s file. For this reason, it has become increasingly popular among those who play non-physical games such as chess.

Another type of sport that requires physical dexterity besides sprinting and lifting weights is table tennis. Table tennis is played on a table, much like a billiards table, and players use either a stroke or a spin to hit the ball back and forth between the table and its rail. This sport requires an incredible amount of hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity. There are several different styles of table tennis, and each style incorporates different strategies. Although table tennis is a relatively safe game to play, it is still considered a sport by many because of the physical exertion required.

Basketball is a sport where the most significant competitions occur during the games’ opening minutes. Throughout the course of a game, there are constant possessions – fouls – and timeouts. In order for a team to secure a possession or call a timeout, they must physically perform a series of actions. This definition of sports competition includes all the actions necessary to “take the floor” and start the game. The definition of that action often changes depending on the circumstances, but that definition is what causes most competitors to feel like they’re taking the floor at the beginning of every game.

One could make a case that a sport is any physical activity that a group of people engage in for enjoyment. If you look at most sports, though, the defining element is skill. You have to be good at something in order to participate in a sport. A good definition of a sport would be a contest involving skill rather than physical ability. It would be very hard to argue that chess is a “sport” because it doesn’t involve physical skill.