Sports refers to any physical activity performed for the purpose of amusement or exercise. It is also used in a broad way to refer to any physical activity performed for competitive advantage, either for pleasure or for gaining some status or reward. Many types of sports can be categorized broadly, depending on the kinds of equipment used and the degree of participation of the participants. The word ‘sport’ itself comes from the Latin phrase – ‘sportum’, which literally means ‘play’. In English, however, the term sports is often used in contexts that do not refer to actual physical contact with the object of the game – as in the case of tennis and cricket.
Sports is widely known as a physical activity, often requiring strenuous exertion, and involving the use of the entire body. Sport is commonly defined as a structured competition, including all the equipment necessary for that competition and a degree of physical activity. Some sports may also involve non-physical activities, such as mental stress or strategy. Professional athletes in many sports regularly participate in extra-curricular activities, in order to increase their skill levels and performance.
There are many different kinds of sports. Most sports are organised professionally, with teams and leagues, with referees to determine the outcome of each match. Professional sports events include ice hockey, American football, Australian rules football, American football, cricket, rugby, Australian soccer, softball, Australian basketball, motorball, American football, Australian rugby, American soccer, Australian rugby league, and motorcycle racing. A high level of skill is required in most sports, and many sports involve very difficult manoeuvres. A wide variety of equipment is necessary for most sports, including protective gear such as helmets, padding, elbow pads, shin pads and shin guards. Disabled Sports Australia (DSA), a non-profit organisation in Victoria, aims to promote improved participation in sport by people with disabilities.
Disabilities often affect the operation of certain parts of the body. Activities which require fine movements, such as diving, motorcycling and walking, can be very painful for people who have physical limitations. It can be difficult for people with these conditions to engage in any kind of competitive sporting activity, and physical activity can often be impossible.
The importance of participation in sport can also extend to non-physical aspects, such as mental preparation. Sport allows people to master one particular skill, such as swimming, kick kicking a ball or playing basketball. They develop the ability to concentrate and be aggressive in achieving their goals. Sport can also teach children about concentration and perseverance. The physical aspect of the sport encourages overall health and fitness, while the mental and non-physical elements allow participants to concentrate on their routines without distraction from the outside world. This can be particularly beneficial for children with special needs.
The development of special needs and physical limitations means that people must consider all of the options available. Parents, coaches and teachers should work together to ensure that sport is accessible and enjoyable for everyone. In the long run, participation in sport can be as much for the development of the mind as of the body. For children and adults with special needs and physical limitations, mind sports can provide an avenue for improvement and growth.