An Introduction to the History of Sport

Sports (or physical sport) is any form of actively competitive physical activity that, through organised or casual activity, attempt to employ, maintain or develop specific physical ability and/or skills in competitive environments, often providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. The development and improvement of sporting skill require a considerable amount of time, commitment, skill and practice. Although sports can be engaging and entertaining, they also require dedication and perseverance from its participant.


The early history of British sports can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. The birth of the first British sports clubs can be linked to the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the late nineteenth century. During this time period, new industrial technologies were introduced, namely, steam powered machinery, the Dutch oven, the automatic loom and, of course, the telegraph. These new technologies allowed the production of goods to be quicker and easier, both in industry and in agriculture. This, in turn, allowed greater wealth to be accumulated by the industrialised states, opening them up to international competition, with the result that many nations became involved in constant trade wars, resulting in severe limitations on national economy.

In response to the need for sports in Britain, many amateur and professional sporting organisations formed to compete in international competitions and tournaments. These organisations gave rise to the first modern national games – American football, American basketball, Australian football, European soccer, and the English league football. These sports developed into what we know today as professional sports. However, despite the similarities between modern day sports and their predecessors, there are marked differences, as well as similarities. For example, earlier sports required a great deal of running, jumping, throwing and kicking. However, these skills have become more refined over the years, resulting in better accuracy and flexibility.

During the Industrial Age, professional sports developed as a means of ensuring economic security. As the wages available for workers increased, people were willing to train for hours in the evening to try to improve their odds of making a living. As the UK began to open itself up to European trade, there was also an influx of immigrants from southern European countries, who brought with them a new style of football known as “fete football”. This type of sporting activity was generally organised and competitive, although there were also variations such as bobsled racing.

Sport in the UK has developed alongside the rest of society, with many people joining local clubs to try out new sports or challenge themselves with new tracks and activities. The integration of sports into the school curriculum has been particularly successful, allowing students to form teams to compete against other schools. A number of public sports facilities have also sprung up in recent decades, providing a variety of different sports for people of all ages. Sports in the community have had a profound influence on the way society views itself, as well as the social interaction that take place within it.

Sport in the UK is far from being static, however. In the past decade, a number of new sports competitions have emerged, particularly sports dedicated to men and women. A growing number of people are now actively involved in competitive sports such as wrestling, cycling, swimming and rugby. Some of the most popular sports in the modern world are football, golf, rugby and baseball. Despite the emergence of so many new sports, however, one of the largest forces behind modern sports is still competitive work, as evidenced by the number of workers in Britain who take part in serious competitive work, such as motorway traffic engineers, electricians and builders.