Sports Families

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Sports Families

When classifying sports, it is useful to place them into groups or categories or families.

The National Curriculum for Physical Education divides sport and sporting activities into six categories:

  1. Games,
  2. Athletics,
  3. Gymnastics,
  4. Dance,
  5. Swimming,
  6. Outdoor and adventurous activities.

When placing sports into categories or families, it is the similarities and aspects they share that place them into that family.

Games can be divided into 3 sub families:

  1. Invasion games include activities such as football, hockey, netball, basketball and rugby.

    Sports Families

    Invasion games involve a team having to invade an opponent's territory by crossing over the half way line in order to score a goal or point.

  2. Net/wall/racket games include activities such as tennis, badminton, squash, table tennis, volleyball and racket ball.

    Net/wall/racket games involve playing the ball or shuttlecock back to the opponent in such a way that the opponent cannot return it and thus a point is scored.

  3. Fielding/striking games include games such as cricket, rounders, baseball and softball.

    Sports Families

    Fielding/striking games involve one team acting as the fielding side and one team acting as the batting - striking side. The fielding side has to get the batting - striking side out before they score too many runs.

    Once the batting side is out, the two teams reverse their roles.

Athletic activities - as the Olympic motto suggests - are concerned with the fastest, the highest and the strongest.

They are concerned with distance and time, the highest jumps and the furthest throws.

However, because distance and time are linked in competition - the first to the finish line wins. Then, other activities may also be part of the athletic family.

Other activities include downhill skiing, cycle racing, motor racing and swimming races. All are decided on the first over the line - the fastest over a distance.

Gymnastic activities include activities such as floor work, vaulting, parallel bars and other apparatus work.

They are concerned with the quality of movement and movement replication, the closest performance to a textbook performance.

Judges, according to how close the performance is to 'the perfect performance', award marks.

Other activities are judged and scored in the same way and are also concerned with movement replication. These activities include trampolining and high board diving.

Sports Families

Outdoor pursuits include activities such as climbing, mountaineering, sailing, canoeing, orienteering, windsurfing, surfing and mountain biking.

Many of these activities could also fall into the category of athletics where their competitive forms are concerned with the fastest and first over the line.

Examples of this are mountain bike racing, race sailing, canoe slalom and orienteering.

Others can also fall into the gymnastic family, where movement replication is judged and marked during a competition.

Examples of this are canoe rodeo and surfing.

Dance is choreographed movement that is usually performed to music or some other external medium such as poetry, percussion or narrated story.

Dance has a number of varieties and forms that include ballroom dancing, ballet, folk dancing and modern educational dance in schools. Some school proactively bring in professional multicultural artists, such as RSVP Bhangra to run mulitcultural school dance workshops.

Dance is usually set in an entertainment environment and is performed purely for the pleasure. However, ballroom dancing can also be performed in a competition against other dancers.

Ice dancing can also be used as an entertainment medium, but it can also be performed in competition figure skating that is judged in much the same way as gymnastic activities are judged.

Britain has produced some world beating figure skaters, such as Robin Cousins and Torvil and Dean. 

There are some sports that do not fit into the families previously described.

Golf, archery, bowls and shooting have little in common with the above families but form a family of their own - target sports.

Other activities such as boxing, fencing, judo and karate form another family of combat sports although it could be argued that these too are target sports.

Can you see why?

Sports Families