Team sport

A team sport includes any sport where individuals are organized into opposing teams which compete to win or cooperate to entertain their audience. Team members act together towards a shared objective. This can be done in a number of ways such as outscoring the opposing team. Team members set goals, make decisions, communicate, manage conflict, and solve problems in a supportive, trusting atmosphere in order to accomplish their objectives. Examples are basketball, volleyball, rugby, water polo, handball, lacrosse, cricket, baseball, and the various forms of association football, doubles tennis, and hockey. Team sports require internal coordination between members of the team in order to achieve success.[2]

Cricket is a popular team sport played at international level.
Ice hockey a popular winter team sport.
Based on the number of participating athletes, bandy is the second most popular winter sport in the world.[1]

Team sports are practiced between opposing teams, where the players generally interact directly and simultaneously between them to achieve an objective. The objective often involves teammates facilitating the movement of a ball or similar object in accordance with a set of rules, in order to score points.

The meaning of a "team sport" has been disputed in recent years. Some types of sports have different objectives or rules than "traditional" team sports. These types of team sports do not involve teammates facilitating the movement of a ball or similar item in accordance with a set of rules, in order to score points. For example, swimming, rowing, sailing, dragon boat racing, and track and field among others can also be considered team sports.

In other types of team sports, there may not be an opposing team or point scoring, for example, mountaineering. Instead of points scored against an opposing team, the relative difficulty of the climb or walk is the measure of the achievement. In some sports where participants are entered by a team, they do not only compete against members of other teams but also against each other for points towards championship standings.

For example, motorsport, particularly Formula One. In cycling however, team members whilst still in competition with each other, will also work towards assisting one, usually a specialist, member of the team to the highest possible finishing position. This process is known as team orders and although previously accepted was banned in Formula One[3] between 2002 and 2010. After a controversy involving team orders at the 2010 German Grand Prix however, the regulation was removed as of the 2011 season.[4]


Traces of sprinting as a team sport extend back several thousand years – as evidenced in images in the cave in Lascaux in France which depict people running after animals or vice versa; this was an issue of survival of the fittest.[5]

Ancient Greek wrestlers.
Rock paintings of humans in the cave of swimmers.

Organized athletics in Greece traditionally date back to 776 BC, with ongoing activity recorded up to 393 BC. These ancient Olympic Games tested warrior skills and consisted of running, long jump, boxing, wrestling, Pankration (combat sport), discus throw, and javelin throw.[6] In the Bayankhongor Province of Mongolia, Neolithic-era cave paintings dating to 7000 BC depict a wrestling match surrounded by crowds.[7] Prehistoric cave-paintings in Japan show a sport similar to sumo wrestling.[8] In Wadi Sura, near Gilf Kebir in Libya, a Neolithic rock painting in the cave of swimmers shows evidence of swimming and archery being practiced around 6000 BC.[9]

The term "athlete", according to mythology, derives from the name of Aethlius,[10] the mythological first King of Elis (the location of Olympia) in Greece. The practice of young athletes carrying flaming torches is also traced to the King of Elis, under whose supervision the games took place; some historians regard this as the first record of Olympic sprint racing. The winner of the race was crowned with a wreath of olive or laurel. In subsequent years monetary attractions were introduced as prize money.[11]

The present-day pattern of Olympic Games resembles the practice followed in ancient times. Sprint was the coveted event. The 200 m sprint is known in Greek as "short foot race". The 400 m race is equivalent to two stades and called diaulos in Greek.[6]

Olympic team sports

Basketball at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

All Olympic team sports include competitions for both men and women.

Summer Olympics

Sport Men Women
First edition Editions First edition Editions
Football at the Summer OlympicsParis 190025Atlanta 19965
Water polo at the Summer OlympicsParis 190026Sydney 20005
Field hockey at the Summer OlympicsLondon 190821Moscow 19808
Basketball at the Summer OlympicsBerlin 193617Montreal 19769
Handball at the Summer OlympicsBerlin 193611Montreal 19769
Volleyball at the Summer OlympicsTokyo 196412Tokyo 196412
Rugby sevens at the Summer OlympicsRio de Janeiro 20161Rio de Janeiro 20161

Winter Olympics

Ice hockey and curling are team sports at the Winter Olympics together with the bobsleigh competition where the men's event has classes for both two-man and four-man sleds, but the women's class is restricted to two persons only.[12]

Sport Men Women
First edition Editions First edition Editions
Bobsleigh at the Winter OlympicsChamonix 192424Salt Lake 20024
Curling at the Winter OlympicsChamonix 19245Nagano 19984
Ice hockey at the Winter OlympicsChamonix 192421Nagano 19984


See also



  1. Knut Audun Sørensen (4 December 2015). "Bandy versus the 50 Olympic Winter Games Disciplines". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  2. Bouthier, Daniel; Godbout, Paul; Gréhaigne, Jean-Francis (1997). "Performance Assessment in Team Sports". Journal of Teaching in Physical Education. 16 (4): 500–516. doi:10.1123/jtpe.16.4.500. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  3. "2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  4. "2010 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  5. Barber 2006, p. 25.
  6. Barber 2006, p. 26.
  7. Hartsell, Jeff. "Wrestling 'in our blood". Bulldogs' Luvsandor. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  8. Robert Crego (2003). Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-313-31610-4. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  9. Győző Vörös (2007). Egyptian Temple Architecture: 100 Years of Hungarian Excavations in Egypt, 1907– 2007. American Univ in Cairo Press. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-963-662-084-4. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  10. Compare: Harper, Douglas. "athlete". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 30 May 2018. "athlete (n.) early 15c., from Latin athleta 'a wrestler, athlete, combatant in public games,' from Greek athletes 'prizefighter, contestant in the games,' agent noun from athlein 'to contest for a prize,' related to athlos 'a contest' and athlon 'a prize,' which is of unknown origin."
  11. Barber 2006, p. 26. "Can you imagine that in today's Olympics - and the winner of the 100m gets a bunch of celery sticks!"
  12. "BOBSLEIGH". International Olympic Committee. 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  13. Sport, ComeOn. "Sports Tours and tournaments in France and Europe – ComeOn Sport". ComeOnSport. Retrieved 21 October 2018.


  • The dictionary definition of team sport at Wiktionary
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