In a world where every human can fly, what would a popular sport look like? What would be the goals, the main rules and the necessary equipment?

To be precise about human capabilities:

  • Flying is a psychokinetic activity: humans don't have natural wings, nor do they need an artificial device.
  • Flying is very similar to walking and running:
    • It'is learned early during the child development, at the same time toddlers learn to walk.
    • It isn't cognitively heavy, just as simple as walking.
    • It's energy-consuming: even if you stay immobile in the air, you'll make an effort similar to a jogging.
    • The maximum speed and acceleration when flying are just a bit greater than when running.

By the way, in order to be popular, a sport should fulfil some criteria:

  • It can be played by kids during the school playtimes, which means that the sport isn't dangerous, the rules aren't too complicated and the game duration can be easily adjusted.
  • It doesn't require any specific equipment, at least in a simplified form: see for instance how one just need a ball and nothing else to play (association) football.
  • It's enjoyable to watch, which means that both spectacular individual actions and great collective game should be possible.
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ Quidditch. Without brooms. $\endgroup$
    – Scimonster
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:36
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @Scimonster and more sensible rules. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ Take any game and add a third dimension to it. 3D football, with the gate just above the ground. 3D basketball. 3D tag of war. $\endgroup$
    – L.R.
    Jan 24, 2016 at 20:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @L.R. You've probably spent too long playing computer games. All real sports take place in 3D. $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2016 at 21:45
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Long jump would become really boring. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


All existing sports would stay the same, and new versions of many of them, called "Flying (sport name)" would be created, along with brand-new sports.

In most sports, players are barred from doing many things which they are physically capable of doing: for example, picking up the ball in Soccer. So, the addition of new physical abilities simply adds to the list of things which aren't allowed in that sport.

People would experiment with flying versions of the sports, and in many cases would need to adapt the rules of the game to try to capture the same sort of "spirit" of the old game. Some adaptations would be more popular than others, but in all cases the old ground-based version would survive intact.

  • $\begingroup$ There will certainly be some sports that take advantage of it. In soccer, players aren't allowed to use their hands, but not in handball or basketball. Likewise, some sports will ban flying, but others will be centered around it. Saying that sports won't look any different is, to me, plain wrong. $\endgroup$
    – ahmed
    Jan 26, 2016 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ And the flying version of handball would be much, much more enjoyable! $\endgroup$
    – ahmed
    Jan 26, 2016 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ @ahmed - i didn't say "sports won't look any different". I said that the existing sports would stay the same and new sports would be invented. $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2016 at 8:34

Full-contact sports like American Football and Rugby would remain two dimensional* because being knocked senseless while flying might cause a fatal fall.

Most other sports would become three-dimensional*. Soccer and Basketball would both require more players on the field so that defenders can cover the much larger attack zone. Height and leg-length would become less advantageous in these games.

Airsoft and Paintball would mimick the Ender's Game with floating barriers made out of helium baloons at the professional level.

Because your players can only levitate themselves and not the ball, hybrid games would evolve where some of each team's players remained on the ground while others fly; something like how an Airforce cooperates with and augments the offensive power of Infantry ground forces.

* To clarify for the perfectionists in the crowd, references to dimensionality in this answer are referring to the medium on which strategies can be easily rendered. Non-flying football for example, use a flat plane of paper inscribed with X's, O's and arrows to depict various plays. Quidditch and other flying sports would require some three dimensional medium to describe strategies.

  • $\begingroup$ Seriously, what dimension are you people living in? All sports in modern times, and ancient times, take place in 3D. $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2016 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but not many of them take full advantage of it. $\endgroup$
    – JesseTG
    Jan 24, 2016 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ @JesseTG What do you mean? It is literally impossible to not take advantage of it. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 1:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why are soccer fields flat, then? Why do race tracks not bend up, down, and sideways like in F-Zero? $\endgroup$
    – JesseTG
    Jan 25, 2016 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ Because people's bodies and the ball itself are in 3D. And that is impossible with modern technology. $\endgroup$ Jan 25, 2016 at 13:28

I am imagining a game similar to the Irish games, Hurling or Gaelic Football, both of which have a ball that uses a lot of air-time. I can picture either of them converting to 3-D quite easily. Also, Lacrosse which is sort of similar to Hurling as far as I know. Basketball could also work with some rules and strategy changes.

Also, I could see team-versions of Tennis and Squash being quite workable.

I would think that ground based games like Rugby or American football wouldn't really convert well.


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