Sports refers to any contact sport involving contact with a ball or other enclosed object. Sports is often defined by the amount of physical effort required to win a game. In the UK, there are many different types of sports which people can participate in, most of these being associated with one of the four major sports: football, rugby, hockey, and soccer. The term sport can also be used to describe non-contact sports, including horse racing, ice skating and swimming.
Sports competitions occur whenever there is a need to test the abilities of people in a particular field of interest, for example, motor racing, motorbike racing, rugby, hockey, baseball, etc. There are sports which require very hard labour, and therefore only professional athletes, i.e. football players, cyclists, boxers and tennis players are usually regarded as sportspeople. Competitions may take place for various reasons, for example, to show the abilities of a person or to show the skills of an athlete, the aim of a sports competition is usually to produce a winner.
Sports are normally divided into two categories: competitive and unprofessional. A competition takes place when two or more competitors are trying to win an award, either for the winning position or for some other particular prize. For example, in basketball, a player may compete to make the team. Competitions in tennis can be split between the singles and doubles, with the winning conditions varying for each. Competitions in cricket can be broken down between matches played individually, or between teams.
The term non-physical sport refers to any type of physical activity not requiring the athlete to stand or move. Most common examples include swimming, cycling, wrestling and weightlifting. To ensure fair competition, certain guidelines must be followed. For example, in swimming, water must be of a certain depth at all times, and in order to measure this, the International Olympic Committee will place buoys at strategic places around the track.
Sports that fall within the non-physical category are known as mind sports. The most obvious example of this is chess, which requires strategy and the application of knowledge in order to win. Other popular examples include billiards and poker. Other less-known sports include chess tournaments, puzzles and crossword puzzles, which are often governed by governing bodies.
Chess is an incredibly popular sport, especially in America. However, it is a form of gambling, which attracts people of all ages. The sport also originated in India, as is evident from the names Indian Association Football and British Association Football. Gambling is illegal in most countries, but the governing body for chess, the FIDE, has encouraged players to play the game by setting up inter-linking competitions. The game has seen growth both as a professional sport and a popular form of entertainment. Although the association football still sees widespread popularity, it is obvious that other sports will continue to gain ground.