Sport Leisure

This section explores useful terminology relating to sport, fitness, leisure and recreation in their various forms, whether you’re working in or studying them, or simply taking part.

The world of sport, fitness and leisure

What used to be called simply ‘the leisure industry’ is now firmly established as a range of very specialised industries or sectors including entertainments, events, fitness, sport and recreation , and overlapping significantly with tourism and hospitality industries. Understanding the language relating to these industries and their provision can help enormously as you work to achieve your international aspirations. Each sector, like business in general, has its own jargon. Some of this terminology is shared by people working in many countries, and some translates to a greater or lesser extent into different languages and cultures in different ways. For example, marketing to a Spanish speaker may be el marketing or el mercadeo.

Studying for a career in sport in particular could involve exploring various paths and specialisms including sport management and business – dirección y gestión deportiva,; physical activity and sport sciences – ciencias de la actividad física y del deporte; sports coaching – entrenamiento deportivo; or sports performance – rendimiento deportivo. These could lead to any of the following job opportunities:

  • Animador deportivo – sports leader
  • Director de empresas de servicios deportivos – Manager in a sports service business
  • Entrenador personal – personal trainer
  • Preparador / monitor–entrenador deportivo (club o federacion deportiva) – coach / instructor in a sports club or association
  • Monitor en gimnasios privados, o en centros de salud integral – instructor in a private gym or health centre
  • Monitor de ocio – leisure activity instructor / attendant

There’s a useful wikipedia page in Spanish on sport in Spain, which gives some background and offers an opportunity to practise and learn new vocabulary. Also, you’ll find a link to some interesting classifications of recreational activities in the section below.

Specific vocabulary

Some useful adjectives and adverbs relating to sport, leisure and studying or working in these fields, are listed below:

  • sports / sporting – deportivo/a
  • sports equipment – equipos de deporte
  • competitive/ly – competitivo/ competitivamente
  • recreational – recreativo/a
  • voluntary – voluntario/a
  • professional – profesional
  • amateur – aficionado
  • team – de equipo
  • individual – individual
  • participation (sport) – (deporte) participativo
  • paralympic paralímpico
  • minority – minoritario
  • dominated – dominado
  • closely contested – reñido
  • women’s – de la mujer
  • men’s – del hombre
  • athletic – atlético/a
  • fit – en forma / en plena forma

Sports – los deportes

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A player (in general) is un/a jugadora, and a competitor in sports terms is un/una competidora. A player of a specific sport (e.g. a footballer or canoeist) is generally described by the name of the sport plus ~ista on the end regardless of gender. So a footballer would be un/a futbolista and a canoeist would be un/a piragūista. To ‘do’ sport is hacer el deporte, or for specific sports without el/la: e.g. hacer windsurfing

‘The Olympics’ in general are Las Olimpíadas and the Olympic Games are Los Juegos Olímpicos.

  • archery – el tiro con arco
  • athletics – el atlético
  • badminton – el bádminton
  • basketball – el baloncesto
  • canoeing – el piragūismo
  • cycling – el ciclismo
  • diving – el salto (a diving board is un trampolín)
  • football/soccer – el fútbol
  • golf – el golf
  • gymnastics – la gimnasia
  • martial artrs – las artes marciales
  • rugby – el rugbi
  • sailing – la vela
  • squash – el squash
  • skiing – el esquí
  • skiiing (cross-country) – el esquí de fondo
  • swimming – la natación
  • table tennis – el tenis de mesa
  • tennis – el tenis
  • trampoline – the equipment is una cama elástica
  • volleyball – el vóleibol
  • waterskiing – el esquí acuático
  • weightlifter – un/a halterófilo/a
  • windsurfing – el windsurfing
  • winner – ganador/ ganadora
  • loser – perdedor / perdedora
  • tie-breaker – un tie-break

Recreational activitieslas actividades recreativas

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Of course many sports are played recreationally, but there are plenty of other ways to spend your time recreationally. So here are a few of the more common pastimes, whether more or less physically active.

  • aerobics – el aeróbic
  • cinema – el cine
  • cultural trips – las visitas culturales
  • dancing – bailar
  • fitness classes – las clases de acondicionamiento físico  / clases de fitness
  • mountaineering – el montañismo
  • photography – la fotografía
  • reading – la lectura
  • rock climbing – el alpinismo
  • sport fishing – la pesca deportiva
  • theatre – el teatro

Academic sport and leisure

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  • el recreo – recreation
  • el ocio – leisure
  • un/a maestro/maestra – teacher (primary) – m/f
  • un/a profesor/a teacher (secondary), lecturer / professor
  • director/a – course leader / director
  • un/una estudiante – a student (m/f)
  • un/a alumno/alumna – a student (m/f)
  • estudiar – to study
  • aprender – to learn
  • las ciencias – science
  • la sociología – sociology
  • la psicología – psychology
  • el negocio / la dirección– business

Examples of some titles for sports courses or modules:

  • Teoria e Historia de la Actividad Física y del Deporte  – theory and history of physical activity and sport. [Note that y (and) becomes e before i or hi. ]
  • Organización de Eventos Deportivos – organisation of sport events
  • Habilidades y Destrezas Motrices Básicas – Basic motor skills and abilities
  • Estrategias Para la Obtención y Tratamiento de la Información en Actividades Físico-Deportes – Strategies for gathering and handling information in physical activities and sport (e.g. research methods)

Sports venue, industry and occupational terms – la industria deportiva

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  • instalaciones deportivas – sports facilities
  • un campo de golf – golf course
  • el carril para bicicletas – cycle path
  • el estadio – stadium
  • el polideportivo – sport centre
  • la piscina – swimming pool
  • una piscina el aire – outdoor pool
  • la pista – ski slope / piste
  • la pista de patinaje – skating rink
  • la pista de principiantes – nursery slope
  • una pista de tenis – tennis court
  • la playa – beach
  • el puerto – port
  • entrenar – to coach.
  • un/una entrenador/a – a coach
  • enseñar  – to teach (a subject)
  • instruir – to teach (a skill)
  • la educación física  – physical education
  • el turismo deportivo – sport tourism
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