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Greetings, indoor sports aficionados!

Ready to step into the world of indoor excitement?

Jump into our indoor sports list, sorted by popularity.

From seasoned players to eager beginners, there’s an activity here for everyone to enjoy!

Indoor Sports List

  1. Basketball
  2. Volleyball
  3. Indoor Soccer
  4. Tennis
  5. Badminton
  6. Table Tennis
  7. Bowling
  8. Gymnastics
  9. Boxing
  10. Martial Arts

#1 Basketball

Basketball

Basketball was invented in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical education instructor, in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA. The sport quickly gained popularity and is now played worldwide.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most prestigious professional league globally, and basketball became an Olympic sport in 1936. The FIBA Basketball World Cup, held every four years, is another significant international competition.

#2 Volleyball

Volleyball originated in the United States in 1895, created by William G. Morgan as a less intense alternative to basketball. The game is now played worldwide, with the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) governing the sport.

The FIVB Volleyball World Championships, held every four years, and the annual Volleyball Nations League are prominent international tournaments. Volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1964.

#3 Indoor Soccer

Indoor Soccer

Indoor soccer, also known as futsal, originated in Uruguay in 1930. The sport is now popular globally, particularly in Europe, South America, and Asia.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) governs futsal, and major competitions include the FIFA Futsal World Cup, held every four years, and the annual UEFA Futsal Champions League.

#4 Tennis

Tennis

Tennis can be traced back to 12th-century France. Still, the modern game as we know it today was developed in England in the late 19th century.

Indoor tennis is played on various surfaces, including hard courts, carpet, and artificial grass. The sport is popular in regions with cold climates or limited outdoor facilities.

Tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988, and major international tournaments include the four prestigious Grand Slam events.

#5 Badminton

Badminton

Badminton’s origins can be traced back to ancient India, where a similar game called “Poona” was played. The modern sport was developed in England in the 19th century.

Badminton is now popular worldwide, especially in Asia, and became an Olympic sport in 1992. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) governs the sport, with the BWF World Championships and Thomas & Uber Cup being notable international tournaments.

#6 Table Tennis

Table Tennis

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, originated in England in the late 19th century and quickly spread worldwide. It became an Olympic sport in 1988 and is hugely popular in Asia, particularly China, which dominates the sport in international tournaments.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) governs the sport, with major competitions including the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships.

#7 Bowling

Bowling

Bowling has a long history, with evidence dating back to ancient Egypt. The modern ten-pin bowling, as we know it today, started in the United States in the 19th century.

Bowling is popular worldwide in recreational and competitive forms. The World Bowling organization governs the sport, and prominent international tournaments include the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup and the World Tenpin Bowling Championships.

#8 Gymnastics

Gymnastics

Gymnastics has ancient roots dating back to ancient Greece. The modern artistic gymnastics was developed in Germany in the early 19th century. Gymnastics is played worldwide, with the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) governing the sport.

Gymanstics became part of the Olympic program in 1896, and other important international events include the World Gymnastics Championships.

#9 Boxing

Boxing

Boxing originated in ancient civilizations, with modern boxing rules established in England in the 1860s. The sport gained global popularity and is now played professionally and amateurishly.

AIBA governs the amateur boxing. Boxing has been an Olympic sport since the 1904 games, with the International Boxing Association (AIBA) organizing the World Amateur Boxing Championships.

#10 Martial Arts

Martial arts

Martial arts is a broad category encompassing numerous traditional and modern fighting systems originating from Asia, Europe, and Africa. Some well-known martial arts include judo, taekwondo, karate, jiu-jitsu, and kung fu.

Many martial arts have become Olympic sports, including judo (1964), taekwondo (2000), and karate (2020). Each martial art typically has its international governing body and global competitions.

More Indoor Sports

  1. Fencing: Fencing dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome and became a modern sport in the 19th century. It is popular in Europe and the United States. The Fédération Internationale d’Escrime (FIE) governs the sport, and fencing has been an Olympic event since the 1896 Games. The World Fencing Championships is a major international competition.
  2. Squash: Squash was invented in England in the early 19th century and is now popular worldwide, particularly in Europe, North America, and Australia. The World Squash Federation (WSF) governs the sport, and major tournaments include the WSF World Squash Championships. Squash is not an Olympic sport but has been proposed for future inclusion.
  3. Racquetball: Racquetball originated in the United States in the 1950s and is popular in North and Central America. The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) governs the sport, organizing the World Racquetball Championships. Racquetball has not been part of the Olympic program.
  4. Handball: Handball traces back to ancient Greece and Rome, with modern handball developing in Europe in the 19th century. It is most popular in Europe, and the International Handball Federation (IHF) governs the sport. Handball became an Olympic sport in 1936. The IHF World Men’s Handball Championship and the IHF World Women’s Handball Championship are major international tournaments.
  5. Dodgeball: Dodgeball likely originated in Africa over 200 years ago, becoming a modern sport in the United States in the early 1900s. It is popular in North America and Europe. The World Dodgeball Association (WDA) organizes the World Dodgeball Championships. Dodgeball is not part of the Olympic program.
  6. Curling: Curling has its roots in medieval Scotland and is now popular in Canada, the United States, and European countries with a strong winter sports culture. The World Curling Federation (WCF) governs the sport, and curling became an Olympic sport in 1998. The World Curling Championships and the European Curling Championships are significant international events.
  7. Ice Hockey (indoor): Ice hockey, originating from 19th-century Canada, is popular in North America and Europe. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) oversees the sport, which became an Olympic sport in 1920. The IIHF World Championship and the annual National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup playoffs are major competitions.
  8. Roller Hockey: Roller hockey, a variation of ice hockey played on roller skates, began in the early 20th century. The sport is popular in Europe, the United States, and South America. The Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) governs roller hockey, organizing the FIRS Inline Hockey World Championships. Roller hockey has not been part of the Olympic program.
  9. Netball: Netball, developed from early forms of basketball, originated in England in the late 19th century. It is popular in Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand. The International Netball Federation (INF) governs the sport, and netball has not been part of the Olympic program. The INF Netball World Cup is the primary international tournament.
  10. Floorball: Floorball, a type of indoor hockey, was developed in Sweden in the 1970s. The game is popular in Scandinavian countries and Central Europe. The International Floorball Federation (IFF) governs the sport, which is not an Olympic event. The IFF Men’s and Women’s World Floorball Championships are major international competitions.
  11. Yoga: Yoga is an ancient practice originating in India over 5,000 years ago. It has gained worldwide popularity for its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. While not a competitive sport, yoga features various styles, including Hatha, Ashtanga, and Bikram. The International Yoga Sports Federation governs yoga as a sport and organizes the World Yoga Championship.
  12. Pilates: Pilates, a physical fitness system, was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany during World War I. It is now popular worldwide, emphasizing core strength and flexibility. Pilates is not a competitive sport but is practiced in various studios and fitness centers.
  13. Zumba: Zumba is a fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in the 1990s. It combines dance and aerobic movement to energetic music, primarily Latin styles. Zumba is not a competitive sport but is popular globally in fitness studios and gyms.
  14. Bodybuilding: Bodybuilding, the practice of developing muscular hypertrophy through resistance training, began in the late 19th century in Europe. It is now popular globally, with the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) governing the sport. Notable events include the IFBB Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic. Bodybuilding is not part of the Olympic program.
  15. Powerlifting: Powerlifting, a strength sport focused on the bench press, squat, and deadlift, originated in the United States in the 1950s. It is now popular worldwide, with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) overseeing the sport. Powerlifting is not part of the Olympic program, but the IPF World Championships is the primary international competition.
  16. Weightlifting: Weightlifting, an ancient sport, involves athletes lifting barbells with plated weights. It is popular worldwide, and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) governs the sport. Weightlifting has been an Olympic sport since the 1896 Games, and the IWF World Championships is the main international competition.
  17. CrossFit: CrossFit is a fitness regimen created by Greg Glassman in 2000, combining strength training, gymnastics, and high-intensity interval training. It is now popular worldwide, with the annual CrossFit Games serving as the premier competitive event. CrossFit is not part of the Olympic program.
  18. Rowing (indoor): Indoor rowing, using ergometers to simulate on-water rowing, became popular in the 20th century. It is a popular fitness activity and features competitive events such as the World Rowing Indoor Championships, organized by the International Rowing Federation (FISA). Indoor rowing is not an Olympic sport.
  19. Indoor Cycling: Indoor cycling, also known as spinning, is a form of exercise that simulates outdoor cycling using stationary bikes. Although not a competitive sport, it is popular worldwide in fitness centers and gyms.
  20. Swimming (indoor): Indoor swimming is a competitive and recreational activity, taking place in indoor pools. Events range from sprint to long-distance races, including freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) governs the sport, with the FINA World Swimming Championships (Short Course) being the primary competition for indoor swimming. Swimming has been an Olympic sport since 1896.
  21. Diving: Diving, an aquatic sport involving acrobatic dives from a springboard or platform, began in the late 19th century in Europe. It is popular worldwide, and the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) governs the sport. Diving has been an Olympic sport since the 1904 Games, and major international competitions include the FINA Diving World Cup and the FINA Diving World Series.
  22. Synchronized Swimming: Synchronized swimming is a hybrid of swimming, gymnastics, and ballet, emerging in the early 20th century. It is popular internationally, with the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) governing the sport. Synchronized swimming became an Olympic sport in 1984, with the FINA World Aquatics Championships also featuring the event.
  23. Water Polo (indoor): Water polo is a team sport combining elements of swimming and handball. It originated in Scotland in the late 19th century and is now popular in Europe, the United States, and Australia. The Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) governs the sport, and water polo has been an Olympic sport since 1900. Major international tournaments include the FINA Water Polo World Cup and the FINA Water Polo World League.
  24. Snooker: Snooker, a cue sport, was developed in India in the late 19th century as a variation of billiards. It is popular in the United Kingdom, China, and other Commonwealth countries. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) governs the sport, with the World Snooker Championship being the most prestigious tournament. Snooker is not an Olympic sport.
  25. Pool: Pool, also known as pocket billiards, has origins in 15th-century Europe. The sport is popular worldwide, with various games like eight-ball, nine-ball, and straight pool. The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) governs the sport, organizing the WPA World Championship series. Pool is not part of the Olympic program.
  26. Foosball: Foosball, also known as table football, was invented in the United Kingdom in the 1920s. It is a popular recreational game that simulates soccer using miniature players attached to rods. Foosball is not an Olympic sport, but the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) governs the sport and organizes the ITSF World Championships.
  27. Air hockey: Air hockey, a recreational game typically found in arcades, was created in the United States in the 1970s. Players use mallets to hit a puck across an air-cushioned table, aiming to score in their opponent’s goal. Air hockey is not a competitive sport and has no Olympic or international governing body.
  28. Darts: Darts, a competitive precision throwing game, has its origins in medieval England. It is popular worldwide, particularly in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. Two major organizations govern the sport, the British Darts Organisation (BDO) and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). Major tournaments include the BDO World Darts Championship and the PDC World Darts Championship. Darts is not an Olympic sport.
  29. Shuffleboard: Shuffleboard, a game where players use cues to push weighted discs along a long, narrow court, originated in 15th-century England. It is popular in the United States and Europe as both a recreational and competitive sport. The International Shuffleboard Association (ISA) governs the sport and organizes the World Shuffleboard Championship. Shuffleboard is not part of the Olympic program.
  30. Bocce: Bocce, also known as bocci or boccie, is a ball sport that originated in ancient Rome and remains popular in Italy today. It has gained global popularity, particularly in countries with significant Italian immigrant populations, such as the United States, Australia, and Argentina. The sport is governed by the International Bocce Federation (FIB). Key tournaments include the Bocce World Championships and the Mediterranean Games. Bocce is not an Olympic sport but is included in the Special Olympics.
  31. Cornhole: Cornhole is a lawn game that originated in the midwestern United States, specifically in Cincinnati, Ohio. It has seen a recent surge in popularity across the U.S., with organized leagues and tournaments governed by the American Cornhole League (ACL) and the American Cornhole Organization (ACO). Major competitions include the ACO World Championships and the ACL National Championships. Cornhole is not an Olympic sport but has been televised nationally in recent years.
  32. Croquet: Croquet is a sport that originated in the 19th century in England. It is popular in Commonwealth nations such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK, but also has a significant presence in the United States. The sport is governed by the World Croquet Federation (WCF), with major tournaments including the WCF World Championships and the MacRobertson Shield. Although Croquet was briefly an Olympic sport in 1900, it has not been included in the Olympic Games since.

FAQ

What are the most popular indoor sports?

The most popular indoor sports include basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, tennis, badminton, table tennis, bowling, gymnastics, boxing, and martial arts.

How many different indoor sports are there?

Our indoor sports list includes 42 unique indoor sports.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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