A comprehensive list of how we define, for purposes of the Project Play report, certain key words and terms.



How we define, for purposes of this report, certain key terms:


  • Sports: All forms of physical activity which, through organized or casual play, aim to express or improve physical fitness and mental well-being. Participants may be motivated by internal or external rewards, and competition may be with others or themselves (personal challenge).
  • Athlete: Anyone who has a body.
  • Organized sport: Rule-governed and externally structured physical activities involving competition or challenges that call for specific physical skills and strategies to achieve goals.
  • Casual sport: Informal physical activities created and controlled by participants so they fit immediate circumstances and express the interests of a particular group.
  • Team sports: Refers to the 24 sports that the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) identifies in its work (baseball, basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, flag football, touch football, tackle football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, paintball, roller hockey, rugby, indoor soccer, outdoor soccer, fast-pitch softball, slow-pitch softball, competitive swimming, track and field, ultimate frisbee, beach volleyball, court volleyball, grass volleyball, wrestling). These sports dominate the sport activity of children ages 6-12, according to SFIA.
  • Core participation: SFIA term that captures the number of people who regularly participate in a particular physical activity, in both organized and unstructured play.
  • Play: Relatively spontaneous, expressive, and unstructured physical activities created for the immediate pleasure of participants. “Deliberate play” means sport activities loosely monitored by children or adults.
  • Physical literacy: The ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life. See fuller definition as related to sports on page 8.
  • Sport specialization: Intensive, year-round training in a single sport at the exclusion of other sports.
  • Underserved communities: Those that have little or no access to benefit from programs, support, services, opportunities, resources, etc. that meet community members’ needs, wants, and/or interests.