Are Sports and Mind Sports Related?
Sports (or sport) is any forms of generally competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual engagement, attempt to utilize, develop or enhance particular physical aptitude and abilities while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. Such activities can range from the physical competition among athletes at national, international and inter-state athletic competitions to the numerous forms of games or sports practiced by individuals at home, on their own or with friends. The latter can be broadly categorized into two main sub-groups namely, indoor sports and outdoor sports. Although some sports require specialized equipment or vehicles, most forms of outdoor and indoor sports can be organized with little or no cost. Indoor sports, which include tennis, table tennis, swimming, golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, horse jumping, badminton, volleyball, softball, hockey, lacrosse, softball, football, cricket and others, are generally practiced by adults.
A sport can further be categorised into two further sub-groups namely, physical exertion sports and mental exertion sports. In the former, competitive sports such as wrestling, boxing, aerobics, weightlifting, tennis and cycling, are considered aerobic games; while in the latter, such as badminton, cricket, field hockey, badminton, soccer, tennis, badminton, table tennis, golf and gymnastics, are considered predominantly mental games. Sports that involve both physical and mental exertion include tug-of-war, kayaking, sailing, bicycle racing, motor bike racing, beach volleyball, rugby, tennis, golf and swimming. Competitions that incorporate both physical and mental exertion are termed as sportive sports.
With regard to participation in sports, humans evolved over thousands of years ago to meet the physical demands of hunting and gathering. Later, when the ability to make tools was developed, sports related to tool making and tool using were introduced. As humans developed their cognitive abilities, sports related to leadership, war, and driving were introduced. As the last stages of evolution, walking, running and using sticks or Clubs became popular. Today, golf, tennis, racquetball, baseball, softball, basketball, softball, track and field, rowing, ski, skating, hockey, ice hockey and football are the modern sports.
If we consider the most popular form of physical activity, the game of racquetball, we can draw a parallel with today’s sports. Here too, the sports involve both skill and strength, and the verdict is out for all the games that require physical ability. The best example of a game that combines skill with strength is squash. Squash is an indoor game, though it is played on an outdoor court. As with most sports, the winner is the player who scores the most goals. To score, the player needs to hit the ball into the corners or the opposite side of the net.
If we consider the most popular form of mental exercise, then it is probably sitting and reading a book. Few people will argue that sitting quietly reading a book takes the mind off the monotony of work and the pressures of performance. But to be the best at it, one would need to possess not just physical skill, but also intellectual skills. Today, computer games are modified for the brain, and require intense concentration. In the end, computer games are very similar to sports, since the winner requires the most skill, not just sheer physical exertion.
The fact is that sports and mind sports are closely related, even though they are slightly different in form. Both require mental effort, and both require strong, well-developed muscles. It is said that “the winner sits on the throne, but the race is not won by the muscles, but by the mind.” Therefore, if you want to excel at sports and mind sports, you need to develop your mind as well as your body.