Most Athletic Indoor Sports

Top 10 Most Athletic Indoor Sports In The World

Sports are widely divided into two categories based on where they are played, indoor and outdoor sports. When we think of indoor sports, what mostly comes to our minds is a game that is played by a host of very geeky people, who might be too thin, plump, or weak to be athletic, who sit cooped up in a corner as they think and play. This is perhaps because of the use of the word ‘indoor’ with sports. If you find that hard to believe, take a look at the list of the top 10 most athletic indoor sports in the world.

Most Athletic Indoor Sports In The World

However, we forget that there are many athletic sports in the world that are categorized as indoor sports simply because these are played within an enclosed area. Such sports are hugely popular, so much so, in fact, that some of them are far from outdoor sports like lawn tennis or soccer.

10. Bowling


Bowling is a series of sports activities where a player rolls a bowling ball toward a target. The objective of this game is to knock over pins at the end of a lane in the pin bowling variations and is usually played on flat wooden or other synthetic surfaces.

The object of target variations of this game is to get the ball as close to a mark as possible. There are several variants of pin bowling, such as en-pin, nine-pin, candlepin, duckpin, and five-pin bowling. This sport is currently enjoyed by more than 100 million people in 90 countries all over the world.

The earliest evidence of Bowling can be traced to Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. The use of surface and land for bowling dates back to 1299 when it was known as the “Master’s Close.” This game surely deserves the tenth place in our list of the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

9. Kabaddi


Kabaddi is a type of contact sport believed to be originated in Ancient India. And still, it holds its place among the most popular sports in India. The formats of mainstream Kabaddi are national and international Kabaddi. The three main styles of Kabaddi recognized by the International Kabaddi Federation are Sanjeevani, Gaminee, and Amar.

The national styles are Sanjeevani style, Circle style, Beach Kabaddi, and National professional league Kabaddi which are recognized by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India. This game is also similar to several other sports, such as Hadudu in Bangladesh, Baibalaa in the Maldives, Sadugudu in Tamil Nadu, Hututu in Maharashtra, and Chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh.

Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. Kabaddi is believed to be originated in the Punjab region of India as a part of the martial tradition. This game is quite popular in Southern Asia. This one now holds its place among the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

8. Volleyball


Volleyball is a type of sport usually played between two teams of six players, each on a court separated by a net. The objective of this game is to score points by grounding a ball on the court of the opponent team. It has been a main event of the Olympics since it was first introduced in the 1964 Summer Olympic Games.

A player on one team begins a rally by serving the ball from behind the boundary line of the court over the net into the opponent’s court. The opponent team tries not to let the ball grounded and to return the ball to continue the rally. A team can touch the ball up to three times, but an individual player of the team cannot touch the ball twice consecutively.

Volleyball is usually played by hands or arms, but a participant can legally strike or push the volleyball with any part of his/her body. Volleyball now holds the eighth place in our list of the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

7. Squash


Squash is a variant of the racquet sport played between two individual players or between two teams of two players each in a four-walled court with a rubber ball which is generally hollow and small. The participants of this sport must alternate in striking the ball and strike the ball on the playable surfaces of the four walls.

It was formerly called squash racquets because of the “squashable” softball used in this game. Squash is now governed by IOC and was named the number one healthiest sport to play by Forbes in 2003. The use of stringed racquets in Squash can be traced back to the late sixteenth century in England.

Modern squash is believed to be invented in Harrow School around 1830 and later spread to other schools, thus becoming an international sports event. This one surely deserves its mention among the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

6. Badminton


Badminton is a variant of the racquet sport played between two individual players or between two teams of two players each on a rectangular court divided by a net. Points can be scored by striking a shuttlecock with a racquet in such a way that it passes over the net and lands in the opponent’s half of the court. Only one strike per turn is allowed in this game.

A shuttlecock generally used in badminton is made out of feathers and has the unique aerodynamic properties to fly differently from the balls and decelerate more rapidly than a ball. It is believed to be originated in British India during the mid-1800s by British military officers.

Badminton is a close cousin of ball-badminton, which originated in Tamil Nadu, India, and has a similarity to Hanetsuki, which originated in Japan. Badminton is also called Poona as it became popular in the British garrison town Poona or Pune in India. This one surely deserves its mention among the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

5. Futsal

Futsal Most Athletic Indoor Sports

Futsal is a type of indoor football usually played on a smaller field and referred to as five-a-side football. The name Futsal was derived from the Portuguese word “Futebol de salão,” which means “room football.” It is believed to be originated in Brazil in the 1930s and 1940s.

Futsal is played by more players than soccer but does not attract as many spectators as outdoor soccer. Many players of Futsal later became successful professional soccer players. Futsal is usually played between two teams having five players each on a hard court surface.

Futsal was first invented by a teacher from Montevideo, Uruguay, Juan Carlos Ceriani Gravier, in 1930 as a recreational sport in YMCAs. The rule of this game was first published in September 1933. Futsal currently holds the fifth place on the list of most athletic indoor sports in the world.

4. Table Tennis

Table Tennis

Table tennis, often referred to as ping pong, is a type of sport played between two or four players by hitting a lightweight ball back and forth on the ping pong table using a table tennis bat. The hard table used in this sport is divided by a net. And the players must allow a ball only one bounce on their side of the table.

The players also need to return it in such a way that it bounces on the opposite side. Table tennis is regulated by the International Table Tennis Federation, established in 1926. The official rules of this sport are specified in the ITTF handbook. Table tennis has been part of the Olympic Games since 1988.

Table tennis originated as an after-dinner parlor game usually played among the upper class of England during the 19th century. ITTF changed several rules of this sport after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney to make it more entertaining for the television audience. This one surely deserves the fourth place among the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

3. Boxing


Boxing is a type of combat sport where two individual players or boxers fight against each other while throwing punches at each other in a contest that is about strength, speed, reflexes, and endurance. Modern boxing is usually played with gloved hands. The objective of the game is to knock down the opponent player.

Boxing is a common event in most international games and is also an Olympic and Commonwealth sport. Boxing also has its own World Championships. This sport is supervised by a referee in a series of rounds at one- to three-minute intervals. The earliest evidence of this sport can be found in Sumerian relief from the 3rd millennium BC.

The very first evidence of fighting with gloved hands can be traced to Minoan Crete, dating back to 1500 BC. Boxing matches started to be organized in rings during the Roman gladiator period around 393 AD. Boxing now secured the third place on the list of the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

2. Martial Arts

Martial Arts Most Athletic Indoor Sports

Martial art is a tradition of combat practices mainly for the purpose of self-defense, physical fitness, competition, and entertainment, and by many for physical and spiritual development. Even if the term martial art is now associated with the fighting arts of Asia, it actually originated in Europe during the 1550s.

The term martial art is derived from a Latin word that stands for “arts of Mars,” the Roman god of war. The first evidence of martial art can be traced back to 3400 BC in paintings from Ancient Egypt. It can also be found in the reliefs and poems from Mesopotamia dating back to 3000 BC.

In some sketches from Vietnam dating back to 2879 BC, it can be found images of a combination of fighting with the sword, stick, bow, and spears. Chinese martial art was first developed during the Xia Dynasty more than 4000 years ago. This one surely deserves the second place among the most athletic indoor sports in the world.

1. Basketball


Basketball is a sport that is played between two teams of five players, each on a rectangular court. The objective of the basketball is to throw the ball in an 18-inch diameter hoop mounted 10 feet above the ground, attached to a backboard at each end. If a basketball player throws from behind the three-point line, it will achieve a score of three points.

But, if a player throws from in front of the line, then it will be a two-point. Basketball surely deserves the top place among the most athletic indoor sports in the world. Usually, the tallest basketball player on a team is called a center or power forward. And the short but agile players are called small forward.

The player with the best ball-handling skills is called a shooting guard or point guard. It was invented by a Canadian physical education professor and instructor, Dr. James Naismith, in early December 1891 at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.


These indoor sports require the same physical fitness, speed, agility, etc., that are required by outdoor sports. The players who participate in these sports have to invest similar rigor and diligence in practice and exercise. Popular athletic indoor sports fetch as much popularity and earnings to the athletes as outdoor sports do.

Most Athletic Indoor Sports – Infographics

Most Athletic Indoor Sports - Infographics
Infographics: Most Athletic Indoor Sports

FAQs Regarding Most Athletic Indoor Sports

Basketball is the most popular indoor sport. It is undoubtedly one of the most played and favorite games; it is also enjoyable, exciting, and fun. The sport can be played indoors and outdoors. A rectangular court is used to play the sport between two teams of five players. Putting the ball inside the hoop is the main objective of the game.

Q. What sport takes the most athleticism?

Boxing takes a lot of athleticism. One must put so much effort into this sport in order to be the best and strongest. Researchers, athletes, and journalists evaluated the level of athleticism needed to compete in 60 different sports a few years ago.

Q. What sports are in athletics?

The sport of athletics includes track and field events. Walking, running, and jumping are all included in track events. Throwing and jumping events are field events.

Q. Is badminton an indoor game?

Competition badminton is always played indoors because shuttlecock flight is affected by wind. The game of badminton is also played outdoors as a casual recreational activity, usually on the beach or in the garden.

Last Updated On: May 2024

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