Sport is a social phenomenon which is historically developed and changes constantly. I it's present form, as a total unit or in aspects like callisthenics, gymnasitic, play, dance, etc, it can be understood better on the basis of this historical development. Sport history is on one side special history and on the other side theory field of sport science. Sport history deals with the presentation and explanation of the development of sport, with physical activity and physical education in a broad sense.
Sport history attempts to analyse and explain the past ; based on this it develops an objective and rational presentation , explanation, and interpretation of the present situation of meovement, play and sport. Finally, historical knowledge should contribute to influence the future development of sport in a reasonable way.
The following issues are examples representing the body of knowledge of sport history : Greek antiquity; Roman Antiquity; physical activity in the middle ages; the time of enlightenment (1680-1800); history of movement, callisthenics, gymnastics, play and sport; reform pedagogy.
BECKER &LANGENFELD (1983, 345-346) define sport history in the following way:
"Sport history is part of sport science, but in principle also of general historical science; it deals with research and presentationof historical forms of physical activities of historical systems of physical education (of all people and times), and of their ideological, organisational, and institutional development. ... Within the Federal Republic of Germany an attempt was made (after 1945) to conceptualise sport history as culture, motive, universal, problem and recently aslo as structural history with the aim to overcome an understanding of history, which has been predominantly chronological. ... In the German Democratic Republic the concept of history was developed on the basis of dialectic and historical materialism in line with the communist party and its dogmatism; this was a history of physical culture which saw it as a social-political phenomenon in close relation to the development of productivity. ... Within sport history the schemes dividing history into periods should not be oriented solely on data of political history, but rather should consider the conditions of the the social, economic, cultural, and human developments and their mutual relationship".