How many sports are there? (Answered!)

According to the World Sports Encyclopedia, which was compiled and published in 2003, there are over 8,000 sports and games in the world. All of them were developed in various regions of the world. They are divided into physical sports, mind sports, and competitive model sports. In this article, we will talk about all types of popular sports and a little bit about their origin and history.

There is a lot of discussion about what can be seen as a sport. Some activities have a physical element but are not competitive. In more narrow definitions, this isn’t a sport. Marching band is for this reason often not considered as a sport. Ballet can in some instances be a sport but not always.

Sports are also divided based on these categories- Air sports, athletics, endurance sports, goal sports, skating sports, snow sports, strength sports, table sports, wind sports, target sports, and team sports.

Apart from that, there are electronic sports that are played on computers, smartphones, or any other electronic gadget like Nintendo, Play Station, etc. Fictional sports are played using fictional characters which became popular in movies or TV series. For example, Fizzbin is a fictional character from Star Trek, and multiple card games, racing games, and board games are created around that character.

Understanding the main categories of sport

1. Air sports

Banzai skydiving, bungee jumping, and hot air ballooning are some of the forms of air sports. Since falling from a great height or being at a great height plays a huge role in these sports, one needs to be extremely fit to try them out.

2. Athletics

They are also known as track and field sports. Steeplechase, cross country, high jump, triple jump, long jump, pole vault, Discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw, shot put, and race-walking all are included in this section. Most of these sports are recognized in the Olympics, and once in four years athletes from all across the globe participate in these sports during the Olympic games.

3. Endurance sports

Chariot racing, cross-country skiing, cycling, iditarod, long-distance running, rowing, swimming, wheelchair racing, and wood chopping fall in this category of sports. As the name suggests, these sports need a lot of stamina to participate in competitions.

4. Goal sports

Types of sports in which there is a goal post, a goalkeeper and the way of scoring points is through scoring a goal are known as goal sports. Basketball, football, rugby, soccer, handball, hockey, polo, water polo, lacrosse, and quidditch are some of the popular ones in this category.

5. Skating sports

Ice is often involved in these types of sports. Aggressive inline skating, artistic roller-skating, figure skating, ice dancing, inline speed skating, ice skating, and synchronized skating are some of the types of skating sports which are popular across the globe.

Freestyle slalom skating is not that popular, however, is played in many parts of the world. Since the performer needs to show tricks wearing his/her roller skates, it is not that easy. Rink ball, roller derby, roller hockey (inline hockey, inline skater hockey, and rink hockey), roller skating, and short track speed skating too are quite popular in colder regions of the world.

6. Snowsports

Boardercross, freestyle snowboarding, snowboarding, ski flying, skibob, snowshoe running, and skiboarding are some of the popular snow sports that players play outdoors on the natural snow. The difference between skating ports and snow sports is that the former is played in closed enclosures with artificial ice and hence rinks can do them throughout the year. The snow sports need natural snow and are possible only on mountaintops where snowfall happens.

7.  Strength sports

Most of these sports require two players, and one needs to show more muscle power than the other. Arm wrestling, thumb wrestling, and toe wrestling fall in that category of sports. Tug-of-war happens between two teams with an equal number of participants and they have to pull a rope.

In wood chopping and wood splitting competitions, skilled contestants who mostly work in those domains try to be the first to cut or saw through a log. The first contestant who splits or chops the block of wood is declared as the winner.

Strongman competitions became popular in the 19th century where the performers took up multiple disciplines to show their muscle power. It included weight lifting, bent press, arm wrestling, wrestling with ‘’gada’’ (a metallic weapon used in the Indian sub-continent- mention found in epic Mahabharata) etc.

CrossFit is a branded fitness regimen founded by Greg Glassman initially in Santa Cruz California, U.S.A., and now has become a registered trademark. There are franchises across the globe and these centers train the participants on various strength-building exercises.

Bodybuilding and weight lifting too are strength sports and in the competitions, the participant who can lift the highest weight wins that match.

8.  Table sports

Air hockey, beer pong, connect four, billiards, checkers, dominoes, headis, janggi, mahjong, scrabble, subbuteo, table football, table hockey, table tennis, teqball, are some of the types of popular table sports. All types of card games like backgammon, poker, flash, bridge etc. too fall in this category. Ludo and all types of dice games too are table games.

9. Wind sports

Various types of wind sports include kite flying, parachuting, hot air balloon racing, etc. Wind plays a huge role in playing these sports, and anyone playing these sports should know how to manoeuvre their gear in strong wind. For example, if you do not have the requisite skill, your kite will not fly in the air no matter how favorable the wind is.

10. Target sports

Archery, axe throwing, bowling, cue sports (like snooker), darts, golf, knife throwing, archery, rifle shooting are some of the popular types of target sports. There are many other types of target sports played across the globe.

11. Team sports

Any sport which requires a huge team like football, basketball, cricket, bowling, polo, handball, volleyball, hockey, rowing, etc. fall in this category. The team members need to have a good understanding amongst themselves as it requires coordination in passing the ball in most cases to win.


It is a good habit to play some kind of sports on a regular basis. If you live in an apartment complex, then you will have basketball and tennis courts inside the community areas. You may go for a healthy swim during the summer months and play badminton or table tennis with your children too. Wishing you a happy and healthy life!!!