Sports (or athletic activity) is any form of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual participation, attempt to employ, improve or maintain particular physical capability and abilities while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. This may take the form of a singular event such as a track and field match or an international athletic competition, or it may include a collection of games, such as soccer, American football, basketball and tennis. Some forms of sports may also involve using equipment and participating in gamesmanship. Sports can be competitive or non-competitive, with the term ‘relay’ often used to describe competitive sports. Relay running is an example of this type of sport.
The evolution of modern sport has placed much pressure on athletes and their training and support staff to produce athletes who are not only highly competent, but who possess mental and emotional toughness to engage in potentially uncomfortable and physically demanding sporting activities, and who know how to properly perform in such events. The increased competitiveness of modern society also places added pressures on sportspeople. In many ways, sports have become a kind of business, with sports organisations placing increased financial strain on their teams, players and even the coaches and trainers who try to create a competitive edge. As well as creating a competitive edge, sports organisations need to develop a financial strategy to maximise their revenue potential and profitability; and this financial strategy should take into account the skills of the team or individual athlete.
To ensure fair competition, sports organisations and athletic organisations want to provide opportunities for its members and supporters. To this end, many sporting bodies offer scholarships to athletic or professional individuals who demonstrate particular athletic ability or commitment, or who demonstrate an interest in particular sports. A popular sport for many is tennis; however, tennis is a sport that does not require high levels of physical skill, unlike many of the more popular sports. A common misconception is that athletes who excel at certain sports automatically excel at other sports; however, it is important to ensure that all forms of sporting endeavour are equal.
In addition to providing opportunities for students to improve their own abilities through participation in sport, many colleges and universities offer extra assistance to students who wish to pursue a career in a particular sport. For example, certain colleges and universities offer scholarships to varsity athletes who wish to pursue a career in track and field. The scholarships do not require excellent physical fitness, but are designed specifically for the student’s commitment to the sport. Another example of this type of scholarship is provided by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA provides financial support for the cost of attendance and living for college athletes who participate in the sport. Some students who are interested in improving their skills and knowledge of sports may be eligible for scholarships offered by the university.
The types of scholarship that are available depend on the nature of the sport – for example, if track and field are the major sport, the student may be eligible for both a scholarship towards track and field as well as a scholarship towards a related area of study. The student must have a good academic record and an impressive athletic achievements list. The student should also be interested in the chosen sport. However, there are some sports where the required athletic performance is not great enough to qualify the student for a scholarship. For instance, football players who play on special teams usually do not qualify for athletic scholarships.
There are many reasons why students choose to participate in a specific sport. In addition to the monetary rewards, participating in sports helps to develop leadership, teamwork, and other essential life skills. A well-rounded athletic program boosts confidence, self-esteem, self-image, and helps to build social skills and become more tolerant of others. Sports also help individuals to participate in physical activity and to build stamina. If a student is interested in improving his/her physical dexterity through training in sports, then a student should try to find an appropriate sport program that will maximize these efforts. After all, a sport that develops all of these characteristics is likely to provide a better experience.