An Explanation of the Nature and Origin of Sports

Sports are competitive physical games and physical activities. These satisfy the need for a physical challenge, play and competition in humans. All sports activities are potentially competitive. This is actually the main difference between games and leisure, recreation or physical education.


To classify a sport as a sport we generally use two broad criteria. The first is that the activity must involve physical contacts, such as running, throwing or competing in contact sports such as wrestling. The second is that the activity must engage the minds and bodies of participants. In this way, it is thought to be a sport because it involves physical activities that involve the use of the senses and thinking.

Sports can be divided into numerous categories, based on their general nature and the way in which they involve physical activities. One such category is motor sports, such as swimming, tennis, horse riding, golf, rugby and athletics. These have developed over time to form professional sports leagues in most countries, such as cricket, American football, Australian rugby league and soccer. Professional sports cover a much wider field than the previous ones discussed and typically involve athletes with highly specialized skills.