It's actually incredibly easy to learn Spanish words for different sports as an English speaker

Want to play a bit of fútbol? Fancy a quick round of golf? If you understand both of those words in bold, you already know a bit of Spanish vocabulary about sports. It’s actually incredibly easy to learn Spanish words for different sports as an English speaker, as a lot of them are very similar with pretty much no falsos amigos (false friends) to worry about. Here are just a few:

Spanish English
El fútbol Football
El golf Golf
El baloncesto Basketball
El tenis Tennis
El voleibol Volleyball
El hockey Hockey

Let's construct a sentence with the verb jugar (to play)

That’s easy, isn’t it? Now we just need to construct a sentence to say which of these sports you actually play, and for that we need the verb jugar (to play). This verb has a stem change in that the “u” becomes “ue” when we use it to talk about certain people. Let’s have a look at what that means:

  • I play = Juego
  • You play (singular) = Juegas
  • He/she plays = Juega
  • You play (plural) = Jugáis
  • We play = Jugamos
  • They play = Juegan

Then, to make a full sentence with this verb, we always add a + noun and now we can start having a proper conversation! If I want to say I play football I should say Juego al fútbol. Or, if I’m talking about my friend Juan, then I would say Juan juega al fútbol. Simple! But, not all sports are “played” obviously, and so we need to learn some other verbs to expand our vocabulary.

Spanish English
Practicar To practise/do
Hacer To do (in this case anyway!)

Both of these verbs can be used with different sports to give us the chance to speak about many more activities. For instance:

  • Hago/Practico boxeo = I do boxing
  • Hago/Practico natación = I do/go swimming
  • Hago/Practico bicicleta = I do/go cycling

Once we’ve established which sports we do, maybe you’d like to tell people how often you do things. Again, this is fairly straightforward in Spanish as you simply say how many veces (times) per day/week/etc. So, I can say Juego al baloncesto dos veces al día/a la semana/al mes/al año which means I play basketball twice a day/week/month/year. You can simply swap out the word dos for any other number you like.

So, to sum up so far, we can now say which sports we play or do and how often we do them. It might be useful at this point to also mention how we can ask other people for this same information. Here are the questions you’ll need to start chatting about sport with your Spanish-speaking friends:

  • ¿Qué deportes haces? = Which sports do you do?
  • ¿Con qué frecuencia los haces? = How often do you do them?

Try and get speaking to some native Spanish speakers, or your classmates on your course at Hablamos about which sports they like to do and when!

Vocabulary for different sports

You might also like to know some specific vocabulary for different sports, so here are some lists of the most common words for a variety of activities. Why not try using them next time you’re out and about to strike up a conversation?

El fútbol – Football

Spanish English
Marcar un gol To score a goal
El golaveraje Goal average
El árbrito Referee
El delantero Striker
El centrocampista Midfielder
El defensa Defender
El penaltí Penalty
El campo de fútbol Football pitch

El tenis – Tennis

Spanish English
La pista de tenis Tennis court
La pista de hierba Grass court
La raqueta Racket
La pelota Ball
La red Net
El árbrito Umpire
El saque Serve
El jugador Player

El golf – Golf

Spanish English
El campo de golf Golf course
El palo de golf Golf club
El hoyo Hole
Golpear la pelota Hit the ball
Un hoyo en uno A hole in one
La bandera Flagstick
Una vuelta A round
La puntuación Score

La natación – Swimming

Spanish English
La piscina Pool
Estilo libre/crol Freestyle/front crawl
El estilo espalda Breastroke
El estilo mariposa Butterfly
El salto Dive
El fondo de la piscina Bottom of the pool
Un largo A length
El flotador Armband

And there you have it – a guide to how to start speaking in Spanish about sports and some useful vocabulary for when you’re learning how to read and listen in Spanish to information about different activities.

Why not try to get talking with some Spanish speakers about this interesting topic to practise your speaking skills? Also, come to Hablamos and we’ll teach you tons of useful vocabulary for this and many more topics!