21 types of sports: features and examples

There are many types of sports according to various classifications. The most common is to group sports according to their similarity, either because they have in common the medium in which they are practiced, the number of participants, because they require the use of a particular team, or because they are practiced at a time of the specific year.

For example, water sports include all the activities that can be done in the water, team sports include all the disciplines that require more than one participant, motor sports include motorized vehicles that are use land, sea or air, etc.

For this reason, it often happens that the same discipline belongs to several categories. For example, the surf it is an individual, water, extreme and gliding sport at the same time.

Here are some types of sports and their most representative examples.

Type of sport Characteristics Example

They are practiced in the water, either in open or closed spaces.


They are practiced in the air and include the use of light aircraft, vehicles without rifles or special equipment.

Terrestrial Any sport that is not practiced in water or air. Mountain climbing
Individuals They only require one participant to run. Athletics
As a team

They require more than one person for their execution and are evaluated by teams.

With ball

They require the mandatory use of a ball and can be individual or team.

Table / Mental

They are played on a board or board and require strategy skills.

The engine

You need a motor vehicle that can be land, air or water.

With racket or similar They require the use of a racket, bat, mallet or similar accessory to propel a ball. Lacrosse
Athletics They measure the physical capacity of the participants in terms of strength, speed or distance. Long jump
Combined tests They combine several athletics events into one competition. Triathlon

Sequences run with or without elements.

Rhythmic gymnastics
Extreme / controlled risk They involve a potential risk to the physical integrity of the competitor. Base jump
Combat Participants make physical contact with some parts of their body and there may be bumps. Boxing
Adhesion Participants make physical contact but are not allowed to fight, but to be knocked down. Greco-Roman struggle
Precision They aim for a target in a number of attempts. Archery
Sliding They run by sliding on a surface with or without the help of elements. Skate
By force They require the demonstration of physical strength during a number of attempts. Weightlifting
In winter All sports activities that require snow, ice or cold weather to run. Snowboard
Cycling Any sport that needs a bike to run. Road cycling
Mountain These are the disciplines that are carried out in mountainous terrain. Climbing.

1. Water sports

swimmer in the pool

They are all activities or practices that are done in the water, either in enclosed spaces, such as the pool of a gym, or in open spaces such as lagoons and beaches. They can be practiced individually or in teams.

Examples of water sports are swimming, the surfscuba diving or sport fishing.

2. Air or aeronautical sports

These are the sports activities that take place in the air. Depending on the discipline, they may require the use of closed aircraft such as light aircraft, non-fuselage vehicles such as ultralights, or special equipment such as parachutes.

Examples of air sports they are aeromodelling, paragliding, skydiving and aerial acrobatics.

3. Land sports

These are all practices that are performed on land. This means that it includes all sports other than water or air, so it is a very broad category.

Examples of land sports they would be mountaineering, cycling, marathons, motorsport, athletics, and so on.

4. Individual sports

They are those that can be done without the need for accompaniment. This means you don’t need a team to train, play or compete. In this case, the exercise is assessed individually.

Examples of individual sports are athletics, weightlifting, the surfclimbing, gymnastics, individual rowing, etc.

5. Team sports

These are all sports activities that require more than one person to practice. This involves everything from pair sports to team competitions. In this type of sport, development is assessed in groups, regardless of the individual performance of the team members.

Examples of team sports they are baseball, football, basketball, hockey, team rowing, and so on.

See also Difference between group and team

6. Ball sports

They are all practices that require a ball in a mandatory way because without this element, the game could not be carried out. In general, the dynamics of the sport itself involve the participation of several players organized in teams.

Examples of ball sports they are football, billiards, handball, bowling, tennis, volleyball, and so on.

7. Table sports


Also called board games, they are all sports activities that involve the use of a board or flat surface. Although they do not involve physical activity, they do require mental agility, which is why they are also called mental sports. You can involve the use of strategies or depend on chance.

Examples of table sports are chess, the Scrabblecard games, role-playing games, Monopoly, etc.

See also Types of intelligence

8. Motor sports

These are all disciplines that require the use of motor vehicles, whether on land, water (motorboating) or air (aeronautics). They usually involve speed competitions.

Examples of motor sports they are motoring, motorcycling, speedboat racing and aerobatic acrobatics.

9. Racket sports or similar

This category includes all sports activities that require an accessory to drive a ball, such as a racket, a bat, a stick, etc. They usually combine speed and agility and can be played individually or in teams.

Examples of racket sports are tennis, baseball, golf, golf cricket or he lacrosse.

10. Athletics

Athletics groups several disciplines in which the physical capacity of the participants is measured through tests of speed, endurance, height or distance. The first reference to this sport dates back to 776 BC. C in Greece, making it the oldest organized sport in existence.

Examples of athletics events are the speed races, the triple jump and the javelin throw.

11. Combined test sports

These are activities that combine different disciplines of athletics in one practice. They are made individually, usually last several days and can be carried out on indoor or outdoor tracks.

An example of combined testing is the indoor track heptathlon, which combines a 60-meter flat race, long jump, weightlifting, high jump, 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1000-meter freestyle.

12. Gymnastics

Gymnastics groups several modalities that require the execution of sequences with the help of elements or without. Participation can be individual or team and evaluates the variety, quantity and technique of the movements performed.

Some examples are artistic, rhythmic, acrobatic and trampoline gymnastics.

13. Extreme sports

These are all sports practices that involve an obvious risk to the competitor. They are also known as controlled risk sports or adventure sports. They can run on land, water or air and require physical and emotional skills to manage the dangers associated with the activity.

Examples of extreme sports are rock climbing, base jumping, the kitesurfingthe BMXthe abseil, etc.

14. Combat sports

These are all disciplines that involve physical contact between two competitors, based on certain rules that allow the use of certain parts of the body. They usually have a limited duration and require a referee to ensure compliance with the rules and the physical integrity of the opponents.

Examples of combat sports are the muay thaiboxing and the kickboxing.

15. Sports of subjection

They are disciplines that involve physical contact between two opponents but do not require blows, but seek the physical surrender of the other through demolition techniques. In this type of sport, submission by the opponent is considered honorable practice and involves the immediate victory of the other opponent.

Examples of holding sports they are Olympic wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling and judo.

16. Precision sports

They are all sports that require aiming a target with the maximum accuracy in the fewest possible attempts. For this reason they are also known as aim games, and require great hand-eye coordination to get more skill.

Examples of precision sports are golf, archery, the bowlingthe paintball or billiards.

17. Sliding sports

young man using a skateboard

As its name suggests, they are all disciplines that involve sliding on a surface and may require the help of other elements. They can be executed individually or collectively.

Examples of gliding sports are ice skating, ice hockey, roller skating, the surfthe longboardthe windsurfing and the skateboardothers.

18. Strength sports

They are so named because the goal is for participants to demonstrate physical strength. Competitions in these disciplines usually have several tests or attempts and are limited by time, weight to be lifted or the speed with which strength is demonstrated.

Examples of strength sports they are weightlifting, strength athletics, power lifting or weightlifting.

19. Winter sports

It refers to all the sports activities that are practiced during this season of the year because it requires snow, ice or specific climatic conditions to take place. This type of sport has its Olympic Games, which have been held every four years since 1924.

Examples of winter sports are skiing, ice climbing, the snowboarding sledding, etc.

20. Cycling

Cycling includes all the activities that require the use of a bicycle to get around, whether in the open field or outdoors (asphalt or mountain). In general, the goal is to cover a certain distance in the shortest possible time, with the exception of certain disciplines such as BMX, in which the variety and accuracy of acrobatics is assessed.

Examples of cycling sports are mountain biking, road cycling, cyclocross and BMX freestyle.

21. Mountain sports

As the name suggests, this type of sport groups all the activities that take place on mountainous terrain. These are disciplines of great physical demand, so they require prior or final training, the assistance of a professional guide and the use of special equipment.

Examples of mountain sports are hiking, river descent, mountaineering and trail running.

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