How to Define Sports


Hundreds of sports exist that can help people stay healthy, form social relationships and compete at all levels.

The definition of a sport by the European Sports Charter includes a number of elements, such as the aim of expressing or improving physical fitness, social relationships and competition, the development of mental well-being, and the involvement of participants in the activity itself. However, defining sports is not a simple task.

Relationships versus competition

In order for an activity to be considered a sport, there must be a relationship between the participants of the activity. This can be a relationship between two players on the field or with the spectators watching the game, but it must also involve a competition.

Competition versus sociability

In many activities that are commonly assigned to sport, the relationship element is missing, such as movement training for rehabilitation (so-called “health sport”), jogging, juggling or dancing. These activities may involve a sociability or they may be considered a way to improve one’s physical health, but they do not constitute sport for me.

Rules-utilizing hardness

In order to be considered a sport, an activity must have rules that allow it to be contested or beaten. This includes rules for scoring, penalties, and the like. In some sports, such as ultimate frisbee, self-referees are used to keep the games fair, but this is not always the case in other games.