Formal/ informal sports classification systems analysis

PhD A.V. Generalov1
Dr.Med., Professor P.S. Turzin2
PhD, Associate Professor K.E. Lukichev3
A.S. Evseev1
1Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow
2State Budgetary Institution «Research Institute for Healthcare Organization and Medical Management of Moscow Healthcare Department»
3Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow

Keywords: sport disciplines, classification, athletes, regulation.

Background. Presently the global sports are estimated to include at least 200 key disciplines with their specific competitive formats, athletic skills ratings and rankings, success strategies, rules of competitions etc. The disciplines may be classified into direct/ indirect contact ones; by the competitive procedures/ routines; rival’s resistance free/ limited ones; Olympic and non-Olympic ones; national/ ethnic sports; extreme sports etc.

Objective of the study was to outline the role and influences of the sport classifications with their concepts and design logics.

Methods of the study. We used the general and specific research methods driven by a dialectic-materialistic approach to logically come to the detailed findings.

Results and discussion. As provided by many study reports, one of the core missions of the modern physical education and sport systems is to facilitate people’s physical, spiritual and ethical progress via improved accessibility and affordability of mass sports. The physical education and sports popularizing and other initiatives often need to be based on an efficient sport classification system [3, 6].

As provided by valid IOC classification, the modern Olympic Games include 28 summer (42 disciplines) and 7 winter (15 disciplines) sports, with the number of sports corresponding to the number of the relevant international sport federations. Some of the sports within the IOC classification are combined into classes by their affiliations with some international sport federations, for example: water sports (swimming, diving, water polo, synchronous swimming); skating sports (figure skating, speed skating, short track); gymnastics (artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline); ski sports (cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, Alpine skiing, ski jumping, freestyle, snowboard) etc.

It is still traditional for Russia and some CIS countries to rank some sports separately rather than combine them into classes. Such classification concept (see the official website of the Russian Olympic Committee), for instance, qualifies 41 summer and 15 winter disciplines with the Olympic sports.

It should be mentioned that the inconsistencies in the existing sports qualification systems give rise to some problems in designs and classifications of the modern competitive events. The national sport theory tends to basically rely on the Olympic sport classification driven by the competitive and training logics and similarities of specific disciplines [7]. It should be also emphasized that many theoretical and practical research projects and medical/ biological systems geared to support competitive and training processes often demand, develop and apply their own sport classifications as required by their missions and goals.

Thus, one research group offers a sports classification system driven by the competitive result metrics [4] as follows: Group I sports with measurable results; Group II sports where the performances/ achievements are scored in points for the artistry, difficulty level, accuracy and overall performance quality of the competitive routines; Group III sports including martial arts and sport games; and Group IV combined sports where the total achievement and rank depends on success in every individual sport discipline.

One more sports classification system is governed by the subject matters for competitions and physical activity classes to group the existing sports in the following 6 groups [5]: Group 1 sports prioritizing the individual physical qualities and skills, with the accomplishments totally depending on each athlete’s gifts and abilities (track and field sports, swimming, wrestling, sport games etc.); Group 2 sports with competitions in some vehicle control skills (motor races, yachting etc.); Group 3 sports with competitions in shooting skills (rifle shooting, archery etc.); Group 4 sports with competitions in design/ modeling skills (aero-modeling, automobile modeling sports); Group 5 sports with competitions in abstract/ logical thinking talents and skills (chess, checkers); and Group 6 combined sports (biathlon, all-round events, orienteering sport etc.).

One of the existing sports classifications is driven by the core movement grouping logics i.e. the key bodily functions claimed by the sport disciplines, as follows [1]: Group I acyclic sports (weightlifting, athletic throwing etc. sports); Group II cyclic sports (mid- and long-distance races etc.); and Group III combined sports (sport games and martial arts).

We should also mention the proposals to classify the existing sports by their effects on the musculoskeletal system, joints and tendons (with an emphasis on the core muscular groups mobilized by the sport-specific movement sequences) into the symmetric, asymmetric and combined sports [2]. More specifically, the relevant sports classification system driven by the musculoskeletal system effects spells out these three groups as follows: Group 1 symmetric sports where the right and left body parts are evenly mobilized to perform simultaneous and/or synchronous movements, with the trunk, abdominal and limb muscles evenly loaded in the process (artistic gymnastics, skating, track running events, cross-country skiing, swimming, weightlifting etc.). Group 2 including asymmetric sports, where two parts of the body are unevenly loaded by counter movements; with the dominant posture being clearly asymmetric; one part of the body loaded much heavier than the other; and the muscles forced to develop in an imbalanced manner. The asymmetric sports (badminton, boxing, throwing, shooting, table tennis, fencing etc.) generally imply the frontal body balancing pattern being unstable. And Group 3 unites combined sports with the core postures alternating in a fast manner, with both body parts making rapidly changing symmetric and asymmetric movements. As a result, the trunk, abdominal and limb muscles are developed in a balanced manner (all wrestling sports, volleyball, all-round events, rugby, handball, football, ice hockey etc.).

Conclusion. Nowadays sport communities apply a few formal sports classification systems governed by the relevant legal and regulatory provisions. There are also many informal sports classification systems that are widely developed and efficiently applied by the coaching teams and sport medicine to solve a variety of the research, practical, medical and biological issues coming up in the training and competitive processes; facilitate the health, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs; support modern training systems; contribute to the motor activity research projects; work out the relevant health/ training recommendations; study, on an integrated basis, medical, biological and psychophysical issues of the modern competitive processes to improve the training system efficiency etc. It should be underlined that the versatile informal sports classification systems make it possible to effectively employ and customize the research, practical, medical and biological provisions for success of the training and competitive activity.

References

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Corresponding author: Lukichev.lkl@gmail.com

Abstract

The article analyzes the main existing formal and informal sports classification systems with an emphasis on their practical design logics and basics. The study overviews the formal sports classification systems regulated by the relevant legal provisions versus the informal ones. The informal sports classification systems are widely developed and efficiently applied by the coaching teams and sport medicine to solve a variety of the research, practical, medical and biological issues coming up in the training and competitive processes; facilitate the health, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs; support modern training systems; contribute to the motor activity research projects; work out the relevant health/ training recommendations; study, on an integrated basis, medical, biological and psychophysical issues of the modern competitive processes to improve the training system efficiency etc. It should be underlined that the versatile informal sports classification systems make it possible to effectively employ and customize the research, practical, medical and biological provisions for success of the training and competitive activity.