There are lots of different reasons you might want to participate in sports. In addition to getting in some exercise, sports offer opportunities for you to have fun with friends. Team sports including hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and soccer are all played in different ways, each with its own set of rules and regulations. A variety of sports leagues let everyone from kids in elementary school to professional adults play the sports that they love. Learn more about The Science Behind Sports & Exercise here!
Whether it’s played on a grassy field or on the ice, hockey provides players with a chance to get physical and score points. Armed with a stick and, in some cases, a lot of padding, players attempt to move through the defense and score goals. At the same time, teams want to set up their own defense and keep the other team from scoring. The game is fast-paced, and each player has a different position with duties that fit their strengths on the ice or in the field.
- Hockey Basics: Learn more about the history of hockey and its introduction into the Olympics.
- USA Hockey (PDF): The official rules of ice hockey include information on things like body checking, roughing, and hooking.
- The Science of Hockey: From the ice to the equipment, science plays a huge role in the game of hockey.
- USA Field Hockey: Check out these Field Hockey Hall of Fame inductees.
- Illegal Hits: Research shows that learning more about hockey and playing by its rules can reduce head injuries.
- Do You Believe in Miracles? The Ultimate Cold War Faceoff: In 1980, a group of college players made history on the ice.
- Basics of Hockey Skating: Learn more about how to get around the rink when playing a game of hockey with these instructional videos.
- Field Hockey Basics: Details about the game and the equipment show how field hockey is different from ice hockey.
Often called America’s favorite pastime, baseball is also a team sport. While the game is slower-paced than some other games, it takes a lot of skill to pitch a ball, catch a ball, and take a turn at bat. Players on offense bat one at a time with the goal of bringing everyone around the bases and back to home plate before the team gets three outs. At the same time, the defense works to pick up any balls and get offensive players out at any one of the four bases. Once three outs occur, the teams switch places, with the offense moving out to the field and the defense switching to one person batting at a time.
- Baseball Batter Helmet Safety (PDF): Wearing the right equipment with the right fit can help prevent injury.
- Official Baseball Rules (PDF): Major League Baseball explains the official rules along with any recent changes.
- Baseball Timeline: Ever wonder how baseball started? Check out this timeline from PBS.
- All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association: As the men went off to World War II, women stepped in to pick up America’s favorite pastime.
- Dressed to the Nines: A History of Baseball Uniforms: The National Baseball Hall of Fame makes it possible for you to choose different leagues, locations, and time periods and see what the uniforms looked like.
- The Physics Behind America’s Favorite Pastime: Science plays a huge role in baseball, including the physics surrounding the trajectory of the ball.
- Making the Diamond Less Rough: Even though baseball isn’t a contact sport, there are still risks involved. Check out these safety tips applicable to all players.
- Major League Legends: The videos and text here detail the success of Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Lou Gehrig, some of baseball’s greatest players.
- History of the New York Yankees: The team became a sensation after its relocation from Baltimore, Maryland to the Bronx, New York in 1903.
Much like hockey, football can be played several different ways. Traditional football finds two teams facing off in the field. The best way to get the ball so you can score points is to tackle a member of the other team holding the ball. This means that there is a lot of physical contact between players, so the sport has special rules about how to tackle to keep people from getting hurt. Also, special equipment, including a helmet and padding, helps protect players. Another variation of the game is called flag football. Here, instead of tackling other players, the goal is to remove a flag attached to the opposing team’s player carrying the ball.
- Introduction to American College Football Rules: After evolving from the game of rugby, American football made its own set of rules and plays.
- Football History and Basics: Along with information about how football works, this site describes how the game is scored and how professional football got started.
- Is Football Safe for Kids? Check out this page about the benefits and the drawbacks to kids playing tackle football, including information on how to keep athletes safe.
- Protective Equipment for Football: Because of the amount of contact that occurs in football, it is important for players to have the right equipment to keep themselves safe while on the field.
- Super Bowl Sunday (PDF): One of the biggest sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl started in the 1960s as the National Football League and the American Football League set out to compete with each other.
- Flag Football: All of the fun without the contact, flag football has its own set of rules.
- Football Safety Tips: In addition to the right equipment, it is important for players to understand the rules of the game and how to prevent injuries.
- Football Player Positions: Football players have specific positions on the field based on their skills.
At first, it sounds simple: Get a ball into a hoop and score points. But basketball involves a lot of running and a lot of strategy. Traditional basketball has five players on each team. The only way to move from one place to another with the ball is to dribble the ball. Each team has a basket to protect. On offense, shots can be taken from a variety of places, and some are worth more points than others. On defense, teams match up man to man or cover a zone in order to prevent the other team from scoring. Rules vary according to the group playing, and some people play three-on-three using either the full court or just half of the court.
- Basketball Court Diagram (PDF): This chart shows all of the lines on the basketball court and explains what each one is for.
- History of Basketball: Dr. James Naismith is credited with inventing basketball in the late 1800s.
- Passing the Ball: Getting the ball to others on the court is an important part of basketball. Check out these different passing options.
- Wheelchair Basketball: A disability doesn’t mean that a person can’t still play.
- American Basketball League: While most people know about the NBA, few know about the short-lived success of its competitor, the American Basketball League.
- National Basketball Association (PDF): Check out this information on the history of the NBA along with some of its most notable players, including Wilt Chamberlain.
- Safety Center: Basketball: These safety tips can help players of all ages enjoy the game and avoid injury.
- Three-on-Three Basketball Rules: Unlike other sports, basketball can be changed slightly so you can play with fewer people.
It’s easy to get a little confused when it comes to soccer. In certain parts of the world, it is often called football or “futbol.” Much like in football, two teams take the field and look to move across the field to score at the end. But one rule makes soccer different from other sports: You aren’t allowed to use your hands to play unless you’re the goalie. Players use their feet to dribble the ball along the field, and they can use their chests, knees, and even their heads to move the ball. Soccer requires a lot of running, and players have different positions that allow them to move in certain parts of the field.
- Basic Soccer Rules (PDF): In addition to not being able to use their hands, players must understand how to throw the ball in, how goals are scored, and what happens if a player is off sides.
- FIFA Laws of the Game: While there are many soccer leagues, most base their rules and regulations on those laid out by FIFA.
- The Structures and Policies of FIFA: Learn more about the international governing body of soccer here.
- Rules, Positions, and Skills (PDF): In order to understand the game of soccer, players and spectators alike need to be familiar with the rules, the positions, and the skills necessary to be successful.
- Soccer Safety Tips: Because of the injuries that could happen while playing soccer, players should have the right equipment and have a full understanding of how to play the game correctly.
- Tips for Soccer Moms and Dads: Fundamental Skills Development: It’s important for kids to understand the basics of the game and practice certain skills to get better at soccer.
- Instant Activities: Drills to Improve Soccer Skills: This site offers several types of soccer drills that kids can do with teammates, mainly focusing on dribbling the ball with the feet.
- Where it All Began: ESPN looks at the history of Major League Soccer in this piece.