The Different Theories of Sports


Sports play an important role in our lives and help us to achieve physical fitness. They also provide opportunities for social interaction and development of life skills like teamwork, cooperation and leadership.

Sport consists of competitive activities where one or more participants compete against each other, often using a set of rules to ensure fair competition and consistent adjudication of the winner. The result of a game can be determined by a variety of factors, including time taken to complete the activity and scores awarded by judges.

Despite its importance, many people don’t fully understand what sport is. This is because there are several different theories about the nature of sport and it’s value.

Externalist Theories: These theories view sport as a reflection of the wider society and its values. These are typically influenced by Marxism and structuralism (Morgan, 1994).

Internalist Theories: These theories look to identify the distinctive goods and excellences that differentiate sport from other social practices. They tend to connect the practice of sport to the pursuit of excellence, arguing that excellence is a central principle in sporting competition.

Mutualist Theories: These theories connect the practice of sport to the cultivation of human excellence and, in particular, the promotion of human flourishing. These are teleological accounts of sport and draw on Aristotle’s understanding of the good life.

Sports are ‘non-zero-sum’ games in which everyone benefits from participation, even those who lose. This is because it allows all participants to work towards improvement and perfect their performance. They can learn to cope with failure and success and to be resilient when they face challenges in their everyday life.