Invasion sports: what they are, characteristics and 10 examples

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Invasion sports are those in which two teams compete for possession of an object (usually a ball) in order to drive it to the goal, which can be the goal or basket, in the opposing field.

Points are scored, therefore, by invading the opponent's defense space: hence the origin of the name of this category of sports.

In addition to trying to score points, teams also need to defend themselves, so as not to allow the opponent to invade their field and score points.

Thus, to win the game, a set of skills is needed, such as teamwork, leadership and strategy, for example.

1. Football


Currently with more than 260 million players spread across all continents, football is by far the most popular sport in the world.

Practiced and watched by people of all ages, genders, social classes and creeds, sport powers a multibillion-dollar global industry. It exerts a powerful influence on popular culture and even politics.

Modern football emerged in England in the 19th century. However, there are indications that similar modalities would have been practiced for at least five millennia in China.

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The game consists of two teams with eleven players each disputing, on a grassy field, the possession of the leather ball to lead it to the opponent's goal. And as the name implies, it is predominantly performed with the feet ("fut" is a corruption of foot, "foot" in English).

2. Handball


Handball is a team sport created in 1919 by German physical education teacher Karl Schelenz. In its origins, it was practiced only by women and was equivalent to a kind of variant of football, only played with the hands (hand = "hand" in English).

The sport did not take long to become popular and spread across the globe. In 1936, less than twenty years since its creation, it was already being played at the Berlin Olympics.

Throughout the 20th century, handball developed and became professional, undergoing several changes until reaching its current format. However, its dynamic remains very similar to that of football.

The game is played on an indoor court in both women's and men's modalities, with the ball being a little larger in the latter modality than the one used in the first modality.

Each team is made up of seven players, and the duration of the match is 60 minutes, divided into two 30-minute halves, with a ten-minute break between them.

3. Basketball


In 1891, Physical Education teacher James Naismit decided to create a sport that could be practiced during the harsh winter in Massachusetts, USA. That's how basketball was born, today one of the most popular team sports in the world.

The game is played on a court by two teams, each with five players, who face each other for possession of the ball to throw it into the opponent's basket.

The game fell into popular taste and quickly spread around the world, conquering the status of Olympic sport in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics.

From the first game on the court of the Springfield College, with peach baskets serving as hoops, the rules, instruments and ways of playing basketball have evolved a lot, making it increasingly dynamic and enjoyable to watch. The inclusion of tables and three-point baskets are examples of these improvements.

Many of these transformations are due to the influence of the North American professional basketball league, created in the first half of the 20th century. XX, the NBA (National Basketball Association), responsible for the promotion and development of the sport, which transformed the creation of professor Naismit into a global industry that moves billions on and off the court.

4. rugby


In a football match in Rugby School, located in England, in 1823, the player William Webb Ellis would have taken the ball with his hands and with it crossed the base line of the opposing field. From this irregular play of football, rugby would have emerged.

Initially practiced only in English universities, rugby gradually became professional. The first set of rules appeared in 1845, but the sport was only consolidated in 1871, with the creation of the Rugby Football Union, the first entity responsible for managing the sport, formed by 21 clubs.

Rugby is a team sport of extreme physical contact, in which two teams, in two halves of 40 minutes, try to drive the oval ball to the back line of the opponent's field.

Players in possession of the ball may be grabbed and thrown to the ground by the rival team (tackle), The number of athletes per team varies according to the modality:

  • rugby union or rugby XV: 15 players
  • rugby league: 13 players
  • Rugby Seven: seven-player Olympic sport derived from the rugby union.

The rugby field has a shape and dimensions very similar to football, with "H" shaped beams, where players try to kick to score points. Practitioners can run with the ball in hand, but the pass is only allowed if it is backwards or to the sides.

There are four ways to score in rugby:

  1. try: when the player supports the ball in the opponent's goal, with simultaneous contact between the athlete's hand, the ball and the floor of the opponent. in-goal. Worth five points.
  2. Conversion: after try, the team that scored is entitled to a shot on goal. The ball must pass between the vertical posts and above the horizontal post. It's worth two points.
  3. Penalty Kick: Shot on goal after a serious infraction. It's worth three points.
  4. drop goal: Shot on goal during the game, the ball having touched the ground before the shot. It's worth three points.

5. Water polo

water polo

Created in the late 19th century in London, England, water polo was one of the first official team sports of the modern Olympics.

The game is very similar to handball, only played in a swimming pool. It is played by two teams with seven players who seek to throw the ball into the opponent's goal.

Water polo has some fundamental rules. Are they:

  • Aside from the goalkeeper, no player can hold the ball with both hands.
  • The ball cannot be sunk in water.
  • The goal can be scored with any part of the body, as long as it is not with a closed fist.
  • Only the goalkeeper can punch the ball.

Players wear colored caps with numbers and ear plugs. Goalkeepers wear red caps.

The match is divided into four periods of 8 minutes of useful play, that is, ball in play. If the team in possession of the ball does not shoot it on goal within thirty seconds, possession of the ball passes to the opposing team.

6. Football


American football is the most popular team sport in the US. It emerged in the 19th century in college games as a variant of English rugby. Between 1876 and 1920, however, the sport underwent several changes, which gradually moved it away from the European model and gave it its own characteristics.

The game is played on a 100-yard field by two teams of eleven players each. The object of the game is to get the ball to the end zone of the opponent, to attempt a touchdown, which is worth six points, followed by a extra point with a shot on goal. This is accomplished by moving the ball across the field in a series of plays, called downs.

Advancement can be gained by air, by a pass of the quarterback to the recipient, or by a running back, who runs the ball across the field.

To maintain possession of the ball, the offense must advance for at least ten yards every four plays to thus have the right to four more plays and continue walking until end zone opponent.

If the defense manages to avoid the ten-yard advance, the offensive team must return the ball to the opponent with a punt (kick). Or, if you're close enough, try a shot on goal between the Y-shaped posts, the field goal, which is worth three points.

After four 15-minute periods of useful play, the team with the most points wins the game.

7. futsal


Futsal is an adaptation of football for the courts. It was created in 1930, in Uruguay, by professor Juan Carlos Ceriani Gravier, who called it indoor football. However, it was in Brazil, where it was christened "indoor football", that the sport developed and had its first official set of rules published in 1949.

The dynamics of the game is very similar to football, with the same objective. Each team has five players, with the match lasting 40 minutes, divided into two 20-minute halves.

In the 1990s, there was a dissidence between representative entities that led to the separation between futsal and indoor soccer. Today, the modality represented by the World Futsal Association (WFA) is called indoor soccer, while the modality represented by the International Football Federation (FIFA) is called futsal.

Futsal is now considered the most popular sport in Brazil, surpassing soccer, which remains the most popular in the country.

8. field hockey


Field hockey is considered to be the oldest stick and ball sport in history. There are records that it was practiced more than two thousand years ago in Persia and about 4 thousand years ago in Egypt.

The organization of the game as we know it today came from England, with the creation of the first rules in 1852.

The objective of hockey is to score goals on the opposing team. For this, players use the stick, kind of club to drive the ball.

Each team has eleven players. The game is played on a grass field with dimensions similar to football and lasts for four 15-minute halves.

The goalkeeper wears a helmet, arm and chest protection, as well as special gloves and shin guards, and can use his whole body to defend the ball.

Shots, which are shots on goal, can only be performed inside the area.

Only the bat can touch the ball. If the ball touches the player, a foul is called and possession of the ball goes to the opponent.

The ball can only be touched by one side of the club. When driving, the putter must always be in contact with the ground.

O push is the pushed pass, which is used when the teammate is close. already the push hit, move the ball away from the club to make a hit, it is used when the teammate is far away and also towards the goal.

There are other types of hockey, such as ice hockey and roller hockey.

9. Korfball


Korfball is a team sport played mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium. It differs from other similar sports in that it is played by mixed teams, formed by both men and women.

The sport emerged in the Netherlands in 1902. It was invented by Physical Education teacher Nico Broekhuvesen. The Dutchman was inspired by a game called Ringball, which he had met in Sweden. After making some changes, the professor named his creation Korfebol ("ball to the basket" in Portuguese).

The object of the game is to throw the ball into the opponent's basket. Each basket is worth one point.

Matches last one hour, divided into two 30-minute halves. The field is rectangular, measuring 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. The teams are made up of eight players each, four men and four women, distributed between defense and attack.

10. Lacrosse


Lacrosse is a team sport played by Native Americans for at least a thousand years. The first record of the game was made by the Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf in 1637, who described in a book a game in the Iroquois tribe, in Canada, naming the sport as the cross ("the stick" in Portuguese).

In 1856, Canadian dentist William George Beers adapted the game to modern sports dynamics, creating its first rules. The sport gained a lot of popularity in Canada and on the east coast of the USA, becoming an Olympic sport in 1904.

The sport is played with a lacrosse stick, which has a net at one end, called a "head". Players use the clubhead to drive, pass and throw the ball into the opponent's goal.

Each team has ten players, one goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards. Due to intense physical contact, players use some protective equipment, such as helmets, for example.

The dimensions of the field are very similar to those of football. The match lasts one hour, divided into four 15-minute halves.

There are also other modalities of the sport, such as box lacrosse and women's lacrosse.


  • MASS, Marcel. Introduction to team sports. São Paulo: EACH/USP, 2020.
  • NETO, Francisco P. M. Sports marketing: sport as a modern marketing tool. São Paulo: Bestseller, 2020.
  • TURBINO, Manuel. what is sport. Sao Paulo: Brasiliense, 2017.

See too:

  • what are sports
  • 7 types of sports
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