The 5 Best Indoor Sports

Indoor sports are those that take place in an enclosed building. Take a look at the most popular indoor sports out there and learn what makes them so fun.
The 5 Best Indoor Sports

Last update: 06 September, 2019

Indoor sports are those that take place inside an enclosed building. In many cases, they’re an indoor version of another discipline, in order to be able to practice them during winter or on rainy days. We’ll tell you more about them in the following article.

What are indoor sports?

As a first step, it’s necessary to define what indoor sports are. According to the Royal Spanish Academy, indoor sports are sports that take place inside an enclosed structured, with ceilings and walls.

However, they shouldn’t be confused with ballroom games, those very popular during the Victorian era. Ballroom games were held in the halls of a house during a meeting and weren’t very ‘physical’, but rather mental or technical. For example, they were card games, darts, etc.

Indoor sports have the distinctive feature that judges or referees must wear long pants and, in some cases, even bowtie. Among the most important indoor sports we highlight:

1. Boxing

This sport in all its categories is one of the best known indoor sports. Boxing always takes place in a closed building, with the quadrilateral placed in the middle of the room, and seats all around for spectators and press. Often the fighting takes place during the afternoon and throughout the night.

The ring is easily disassembled; because of that, fights can be organized in any venue, such as a theater or a stadium. The quadrilateral is mounted on a platform so that the fight or fights can be observed from all corners.

2. Basketball

This sport is one of the most entertaining indoor sports because of the dynamics of the game: four periods of minimum 10 minutes each that can be extended indefinitely, since the clock stops when the ball isn’t in motion.

Basketball is always played indoors, in venues specifically designed as basketball stadiums, with a rectangular playing field painted orange or brown, with baskets placed at the end of the field.

3. Volleyball

Played by amateurs and professionals, volleyball is one of the most popular indoor sports. The playing field is 18 meters long by 9 meters wide and a 3-meter free zone all around. Right in the middle, a net is placed to separate each team, consisting of six active players.

Volleyball emerged in 1895 thanks to the Christian Youth Association -YMCA (its acronym in English) as another alternative to basketball, although it’s less intense. Although it’s also played outdoors -for example, beach volleyball– it’s mostly an indoor sport.

4. Handball

Handball is a ball sport played in an enclosed area, and its main objective is to score goals in the opposing basket. The two teams are made up of seven players -six field players and a goalkeeper- and the ball must be carried by hand, as the name implies.

The origins of handball date back to Ancient Greece. However, as we know it today, this sport dates back to the beginning of the 20th century in Europe. It’s part of the Olympic Games since 1976 and the pitch is a rectangle 20 meters wide by 40 meters long, with a goal at each end.

indoor sports are fun and can be very competitive

5. Futsal, one of the fastest-growing indoor sports

Futsal is a ball sport in which two competing teams of five players each face each other. Although it was inspired by ‘traditional’ soccer, it also takes some rules of handball -the size of the goals-, basketball -the number of players and playing time, 40 minutes- and water polo -the rules concerning the goalkeeper-.

This sport arose in the 30s, following the ‘soccer fever’ after the first World Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay. Youths wanted to practice soccer all the time, but they didn’t always have large outdoor terrains.

To conclude, other indoor sports are ballroom dancing, billiards, bowling, basketball, chess, and table tennis. There are those who include swimming in this category. The alternatives are many and are suited for all tastes!

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  • van Bottenburg, M., & Salome, L. (2010). The indoorisation of outdoor sports: An exploration of the rise of lifestyle sports in artificial settings. Leisure Studies.