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Compare Sports
Compare Sports: This topic will cover the comparison of all major sports in various aspects including fun, social, family, degree of difficulty, skills, talent, cost and ease of playing, recreational, competitive, facilities, health, academics and careers in sports. 

Sports Compare Sports Balls  


All sports can be mainly classified into two categories, individual and team. Popular individual sports are golf, swimming, tennis, boxing, badminton, track and field and more. Popular team sports are basketball, soccer, baseball, american football, rugby, cricket, hockey and more.  

Different sports are popular in different parts of the world. Sports like soccer, basketball, tennis, track and field events are truly global and played in most parts of the world. 
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world both in terms of playing the sport and watching professionals play.
Some sports are very popular in some countries but are unknown in most other countries. For example, american football is the most popular sport in United States, but it is hardly known in the rest of the world.
Sports popularity varies by gender. Boys/men play and watch most (if not all) sports in general, but that is not the case with girls. Popular sports with girls/women are tennis, soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, track and field, golf, gymnastics and swimming.  Tennis is the most popular sport with females. 
 Fun, Social, Family ...           
Most important thing about sports is having fun, being active, being social and making new friends. Each sport is different and so does each person. Individual personality and circumstances dictates the best suitable sport for a person.
In general team sports offer more opportunities to have fun, be social and build better relationships with friends, teammates and peers.
However individual sports like tennis, golf, swimming, badminton, table tennis allow family members to play with each other and build better family relationships.
Team or individual sports, both offer best opportunity to have fun, be active, be social and build better family/other relationships.
 Here is a video that go through top 10 fun sports to play along with some honorable mentions.
Sports - Degree of Difficulty - Boxing
 Degree of Difficulty            
Some sports are easy to understand and easy to play and some other sports are hard to understand and hard to play. For example soccer is very easy to understand and easy to play. American football is very hard to understand and hard to play. But one thing is common to all sports, which is, it is very hard to master any sport and very hard to reach highest level possible in any sport and very hard to become a professional in any sport.
Here are the most difficult sports to compete and play in the order of highest difficulty to lowest difficulty.
Boxing, Ice Hockey, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, Cricket ...
Not surprisingly here are the least difficult sports to compete and play
Table Tennis, Golf, Archery, Billiards, some track and field events, Volleyball ...
Here is an excellent article from ESPN that ranks the degree of difficulty of various sports.
  Success Factors (Skills, Talent, Physical Attributes ...)        
Each sport is different, so does the skills or talent that is needed to be successful in that sport. Below you can find major sports and what kind of skills are required to be successful in that sport. One may not be successful in a sport with just these skills and often may need other skills to be successful. But one must have these skills in their respective sport to be successful and be good in that sport. Even with having relevant skills in a sport, it is very hard to predict future success of juniors mainly due to varying growth patterns, changes in personal interests, behavioral changes, changes in family and support system, exposure to other activities and environments.
  • Basketball - Agility, Durability, Coordination, Endurance, Speed, Height
  • Tennis - Coordination, Agility, Endurance, Power, Speed
  • Baseball - Coordination, Power, Speed
  • Soccer - Agility, Endurance, Speed, Coordination
  • American Football - Strength, Durability, Power, Speed
  • Ice Hockey - Durability, Power, Speed, Agility, Coordination
  • Volleyball - Coordination, Agility, Power, Height
  • Gymnastics - Flexibility, Nerve
  • Lacrosse - Speed, Agility, Endurance
  • Swimming - Speed, Power
  • Golf - Power, Coordination
Here is some explanation on what each skill means.
Endurance: The ability to continue to perform a skill or action for long periods of time.
Strength: The ability to produce force. Example: American Football Linebackers
Power: The ability to produce strength in the shortest possible time. Example: Baseball hitters.
Speed: The ability to move quickly. Example: Ussain Bolt
Agility: The ability to change direction quickly. Example: Soccer Players
Flexibility: The ability to stretch the joints across a large range of motion. Example: Gymnasts, divers.
Durability: The ability to withstand physical punishment over a long period of time. Example: Boxers
Coordination: The ability to react quickly to sensory perception. Example: A baseball hitter reacting to a breaking pitch.


 Cost of Playing (Fee, Gear, Training, Travel ...)         
  Thapos - Cost of Playing Sports
Professionals are paid to play sports. Rest of the people have to pay in some form or another to play sports. For regular people the cost to play includes but not limited to team/club/league fee, equipment and apparel expenses, training expenses, travel expenses, fee to use facilities. Each sport is different so does the cost to play a sport. Also the cost varies from country to country and also from region to region with in the same country.
In USA, as per survey of huffington post, here are major sports from most expensive to least expensive in that order
American Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, Soccer, Gymnastics, Golf, Track & Field, Volleyball, Swimming.
In the United States, parents spend about $670 on average per year per child to cover the costs of uniforms and the hefty fees charged for registration, lessons and coaching, and at least 1 in 5 ends up spending over $1,000 per child per year.
 Ease of Playing (Facilities, Time, Travel, Team ...)      
Different sports present different challenges when you want to play or practice that sport. Team sports often need more people to play. To play a team sport, somebody need to coordinate and pull together people at the same time and same place.
Individual sports don't have that issue as you may just need one more partner to play the sport with you.
Then you need facilities, equipment and officials to play the sport and these needs vary by sport.
So the four components that are needed to play a sport are players, facilities, equipment and officials.
Let's see how the major sports fare in those 4 areas to make the play happen.
Ease of Playing Sports
Sport Players Facilities Equipment Officials
Basketball Medium Medium Easy Easy
Tennis Easy Medium Medium Medium
Baseball Hard Medium Medium Medium
Soccer Medium Easy Easy Medium
American Football Hard Hard Hard Hard
Ice Hockey Medium Hard Hard Medium
Volleyball Medium Easy Medium Easy
Swimming Easy Hard Easy Easy
Golf Easy Hard Hard Easy
Sports Activities
 Recreation Sports, Competitive Sports          
All sports can be played for recreational purposes. But some sports offer more recreational opportunities than others. 
Here are the most popular recreational sports in that order.
Golf, Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, Cycling, Running, Volleyball, Billiards and Table Tennis.
Competition varies by country and region. Some sports are more competitive than others. Usually the more number of people play a sport, the more competitive there is, except in few cases like boxing. 
In general, here are the most competitive sports in the world in that order from highest competition to lowest competition.
Soccer, Basketball, Tennis, Golf, Baseball, Swimming, Volleyball, Cricket, American Football and Rugby.
Physical, mental and social benefits can be realized by participating in both competitive and recreational sports for all participants.
 Weather Conditions, Indoor, Outdoor           
Weather can affect outdoor sports and the performance of participants can be improved or reduced greatly under different weather conditions. Temperature can have significant impact on the performance of athletes. Some sports like Baseball, Cricket, Tennis will not be played with any level of precipitation. The other weather factors that can affect outdoor sports are wind and visibility.
Most of the sports are played outdoors except few sports which are considered indoor sports. Popular indoor sports are Basketball, Ice Hockey, Volleyball, Badminton, Futsal, Boxing, Chess, Table Tennis, Bowling, Billiards, Squash.
Most of the outdoor sports are played in normal to hot weather conditions with exceptions to few winter sports. Popular winter sports in the cold weather countries are Ice Hockey, Skiing, Snowboarding, Ice skating and Sledding.
Most popular summer sports are Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Cycling, Soccer, Volleyball and Swimming.
 Health, Injury, Medical Conditions ...           
Playing sports will help both physical and mental health. Sports in general will help your mental health by taking out stress and by refreshing your mind. When it comes to mental health, there is not much difference between various sports.
When it comes to physical health, it is a totally different story. Some sports offer much better physical health benefits than others. Usually sports with lot of movement offer more health benefits.
Here are the major sports with most health benefits in that order with higher benefits sports coming before lower benefit sports.
  • Most Benefit -  Soccer, Basketball, Hockey, Swimming, Tennis, Lacrosse
  • Medium Benefits - Baseball, Cricket, American Football, Rugby, 
  • Lower Physical Health Benefits - Golf
It's not a secret that while playing sports one can get injured. Some sports are more injury prone than others. Contact sports usually results in more injuries for obvious reasons.
Here is how the major sports spare when it comes to potential for injuries.
  • Highest Injury Prone Sports -  Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Basketball
  • Medium Injury Prone Sports - Baseball, Cricket, American Football, Rugby, 
  • Lowest Injury Prone Sports  - Golf  



Sports and Academics


 Academics, School, College, ...          
For most students academics comes before sports. Students have to balance their schedule such that playing sports does not affect their academics negatively.

In fact, playing sports helps kids in academics as

  • Kids develop better concentration and focus
  • Kids develop higher self-esteem, fitness, fun, social relationships
  • Kids develop potential for earning scholarships

Physical activity increases oxygen flow to the brain, which increases brain neurotransmitters which helps better learning, memory, and higher thinking. So high activity sports like soccer, basketball, hockey, tennis, running, swimming, cycling helps students more than low activity sports like golf. Still playing low activity sports is better than not playing any sport.

Here is a relevant study on this topic:


 Career Opportunities         
There are career opportunities in all sports. Number of, kind of and quality of career opportunities depends on the popularity of the sport. In general popular sports present more career opportunities than less popular ones. Professional athletes of popular sports are usually paid more, actually much more than those in less popular sports.
Some careers like trainers, coaches are very sport specific and requires extensive knowledge about the sport. Other careers like event coordinator, sports photographer are very generic in nature and are not limited to any one sport. Then there are some careers like sports dietitian, sports administrator requires some sport specific knowledge but also allow to work with other sports. Lot of kids dream of becoming a professional athlete in their respective sport only to find out later how difficult that is. Some of them still stick to their sport by taking on some career opportunities available, while others move on to other careers.
Sports Career Opportunities
Quiz Time        
  1. In which sport players run for longest distance during a match?
     Volleyball  Basketball  Soccer  Tennis
  2. Which sport in general cost most to play regularly?
     Golf  Volleyball  Table Tennis  Soccer
  3. Which sport is most injury prone?
     Cricket  Tennis  Field Hockey  American Football
  4. What is the most popular sport in the world?
     Soccer  Tennis  Baseball  Lacrosse
  5. What is the most difficult and physically demanding sport to play?
     Boxing  Basketball  Baseball  Rugby
  6. Which one is the most popular recreational sport?
     Boxing  Hockey  Rugby  Volleyball
  7. Which one is the indoor sport?
     Soccer  Basketball  Tennis  Baseball
  8. Which sport will help you most with fitness?
     Golf  Baseball  Boxing  Soccer
  9. In which sport all the players in the team will play all the time during a match?
     Baseball  Golf  Hockey  Cricket
  10. Which one of these sports is a contact sport?
     Basketball  Baseball  Swimming  Track and Field







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