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Sports can be many things to many people.

For some, sports are a hobby to be enjoyed during their free time. For others, sports are a competitive endeavor undertaken with great seriousness.

So can sports be considered a hobby? Let’s take a closer look at what defines a hobby and how sports fit into that definition.

What Makes Something a Hobby?

A hobby is generally considered to be an activity or interest that someone pursues for pleasure and relaxation, usually during their leisure time. Hobbies are voluntary and not professionally pursued as a main occupation. They should have personal appeal to individuals based on their interests and personalities. Hobbies allow people to exercise skills and talents they might not use in their work.

Hobbies may become very involved interests that individuals devote considerable time to, but the defining characteristic is that hobbies are mainly for enjoyment. Some key elements that characterize hobbies include:

  • Voluntary participation – No one is forcing or obligating you to do it.
  • Personal interest and satisfaction – You do it because you want to.
  • Leisure activity – Done during free time as opposed to professional pursuits.
  • Opportunity to develop skills – Allows you to learn and gain expertise.
  • Non-professional – Not your main occupation or source of income.

So in summary, hobbies are recreational activities we engage in voluntarily during our free time for personal enjoyment and fulfillment.

Can Sports Qualify as a Hobby?

For many people, playing sports very much fits the definition of a hobby. Participating in athletic pursuits like golf, tennis, skiing, cycling, running, soccer, basketball, and more provides a fun recreational outlet separate from work obligations. Sports participation happens voluntarily during leisure time and allows people to exercise physical skills and talents.

However, competitive, organized sports can sometimes blur the lines between hobby and professional pursuit. Professional athletes who play sports as their full-time job and source of income fall outside the realm of hobby. But what about the many amateur adult sports leagues, clubs, and associations around the country? This level of play still requires serious commitment, training, and time, even if not done as a career.

Even youth sports may feel like more than just a casual hobby to kids and parents. The amount of practice, games, travel, and dedication don’t always align with the notion of voluntary free time activity. Burnout is a real issue among young athletes today.

So while sports may start as a fun hobby for kids, competitive youth leagues can sometimes transform it into an overly demanding endeavor.

Benefits of Playing Sports as a Hobby

While too much competitive pressure can detract from the enjoyment, playing sports as a true hobby has many benefits. Here are some of the key perks:

  • Enjoyable exercise – Sports provide a fun way to be active.
  • Social connections – Bond with teammates and like-minded individuals.
  • Learn new skills – Gain physical abilities and sports knowledge.
  • Self-esteem – Playing well helps create a sense of pride and achievement.
  • Reduce stress – Focusing energies on sports serves as an outlet.
  • Escape – Provides a mental break from daily worries and routines.
  • Healthy competition – Matching skills against others can motivate.

Maintaining a non-professional, hobby mindset helps maximize these advantages. Focusing more on having fun than intense competition keeps sports in the appropriate recreational realm.

How to Get Started Playing Sports?

Interested in picking up a new sports hobby? Getting started is easier than you may think. Here are some tips:

Choose a sport of interest – What sports did you enjoy playing or following in the past? Want to try something new and different? Selecting a sport that aligns with your interests and abilities makes it more likely you’ll stick with it.

Find a recreational league – For team sports like basketball, softball, soccer, and more, search for recreational leagues in your area at various skill levels. These offer a casual competitive outlet.

Look into clubs or meetup groups – For individual activities like running, cycling, hiking, tennis, and more, joining a club or networking with like-minded enthusiasts provides built-in community and support.

Enlist friends or family – Sharing experiences with friends enhances enjoyment. Get them involved too!

Set small goals at first – Don’t overwhelm yourself starting. Allow your skills, fitness level, and interest to gradually build over time.

Focus on fun first – Maintain the perspective that you’re playing for enjoyment and exercise. The outcomes and scores are secondary.

See Also: Is Watching Sports Considered A Hobby? Here’s Why

Choosing the Right Sport

With so many athletic pursuits to choose from, how do you select the right sport for you as a hobby? Some key factors to take into account include:

Your Interests

Do you love watching a certain sport? Have fond memories of playing a sport growing up? Follow your passions to choose something you’ll genuinely look forward to doing.

Time Commitment Realities

How much time do you realistically have to devote to sports? Some require set practices and games, while others allow more flexible scheduling. Make sure to choose something that fits your current life responsibilities.

Physical Attributes and Abilities

Sports place different physical demands on speed, endurance, strength, agility, and flexibility. Pick sports aligned with your innate abilities.

Personality and Temperament

Some sports reward aggressive competitiveness, while others focus more on finesse. Select sports suited to your natural temperament and style.

Social Component

Certain sports require teamwork and interaction, while solo pursuits test your self-motivation. Decide how much social element you want in a sport.

Facilities/Space Needed

Factor if you have easy access to requisite facilities or training/playing space for a given sport near where you live.

By weighing all these points, you can hone in on one or two great sports hobby matches. Be open to trying new activities until you find your best fit.

Examples of Athletic Hobbies

Is Sports a Hobby? Here's Why

Athletic hobbies provide a fun way to stay active and pursue your interests. Here are some popular examples of sports and activities that can be enjoyed as hobbies:

  • Running
    • A flexible hobby that can be done anywhere.
    • Train for 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, or just run for enjoyment.
    • Join a local running group for motivation and socialization.
  • Cycling
    • Road biking, mountain biking, BMX, etc.
    • Ride bikes outdoors on trails or race tracks.
    • Stationary cycling indoors is also an option.
  • Swimming
    • Perfect solo hobby to do laps at your own pace.
    • Join a community pool to swim with others.
    • Train for triathlons if you want a challenge.
  • Tennis
    • Play singles or doubles matches for fun.
    • Compete in local tournaments if you want to be more competitive.
    • Great social hobby to meet other tennis enthusiasts.
  • Golf
    • Relaxing solo or group hobby.
    • Play at driving ranges or local courses.
    • Train yourself and play in club tournaments.
  • Fitness Classes
    • Try high-energy classes like aerobics, spinning, and Zumba.
    • Yoga, Pilates, and barre are lower-intensity options.
    • Mix up your workout routines by taking different classes.
  • Team Sports
    • Join a recreational soccer, basketball, volleyball, or hockey team.
    • Play just for fun or find a competitive league.

The beauty of athletic hobbies is that you can participate at your own pace based on your goals and lifestyle. Stay active while having fun!

See Also: The Ultimate List of Sports Hobbies to Try Today

Finding Sports Teams and Groups

One of the best ways to pick up a new sports hobby is by joining a ready-made team, league, club, or recreation group. Here are some options to connect you with like-minded sports enthusiasts in your community:

  • Local recreational sports leagues – Many towns have casual adult leagues for sports like softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and more. These provide scheduled games and built-in opponents.
  • Community education classes – Your local school system likely offers intro and basic sports classes through community education. Provides equipment and instruction.
  • – Search this site for sports-related meetup groups in your area. Joins individuals interested in specific sports.
  • Sports clubs and organizations – Many larger fitness gyms, YMCAs, colleges, and community centers host sports clubs.
  • Outdoor shops local events – Specialty stores that sell gear for outdoor sports like kayaking, hiking, running, cycling, etc. often organize group events.
  • Friends and colleagues – Rally a group of friends, neighbors, or coworkers to start your own informal team or activity group.

Social support and camaraderie are big advantages of joining existing sports communities. It helps motivate you to maintain a fun, healthy sports hobby!

How Does Participating in Sports Contribute to Personal Growth?

Participating in sports is a valuable avenue for hobbies and personal growth. Engaging in physical activities not only fosters discipline and teamwork but also enhances self-confidence and resilience.

Through sports, individuals learn to overcome challenges, set goals, and develop essential life skills such as time management and dedication.

Moreover, sports provide opportunities to build friendships, promote a healthy lifestyle, and cultivate a sense of belonging and community.


Sports can certainly qualify as a hobby so long as you maintain the proper perspective and approach.

Focus on enjoyment over intense competition. Embrace sports as a way to pursue a passion, learn new skills, stay active, and socialize during your leisure time. With so many sports options to explore, you can find one that fits your abilities, lifestyle, and interests. 

Just get started, set small goals, and have fun! Sports hobbies provide tremendous physical, mental, and social rewards. Get in the game and make sports a lifelong leisure pursuit.

FAQs – Is Sports a Hobby?

Is sports a hobby or interest?

Sports can be considered either a hobby or an interest, depending on how someone participates. As a hobby, sports involve actively playing for fun during leisure time; as an interest, sports may be something someone enjoys watching or following as a fan.

What counts as a hobby?

A hobby is an activity someone does regularly for enjoyment in their free time, often to relax, learn a skill, or socialize. Hobbies are voluntary activities that people are intrinsically motivated to participate in.

Is watching sports a hobby?

Watching sports would not be considered an active hobby in itself, but it can be an enjoyable interest and part of being a sports fan. Pursuing hobbies involves active participation.

Are playing sports a hobby?

Playing sports can qualify as an active hobby that involves skill-building, exercise, competition, and recreation during free time. Participating in sports is a hands-on leisure pursuit.

How do you define football? Is it a sport, hobby, or both?

In general, we can define football as a sport, because it involves physical activity, and competition, and requires a certain type of skill to play. It is a game that you can play not just for fun, but also competitively in an organized setting. However, it can also be seen as a hobby, especially if you play sports or watch sports like football in your free time for relaxation and enjoyment. Therefore, whether football is a hobby or a sport can depend largely on how seriously you want to take it.

What is the difference between sports and hobbies?

The main difference between a sport and a hobby lies in their purpose. A sport generally refers to an activity that requires physical prowess and skill and is used for competition or exercise. A hobby, on the other hand, is any activity that a person takes up for leisure, enjoyment, or relaxation.

Tom Velasco

Tom Velasco

I'm just a regular guy who loves hobbies. I'm also the creator of Hobbyist To Riches, where I've spent the last 15 years trying out all kinds of hobbies that make life happier and financially rewarding. My adventures have taken me around the world to immerse in different cultures and their diverse pastimes. I love sharing this journey of discovering new passions!

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