Top 10 Sports for Short People

Sports for Short People

Are you a short person and wondering if you could get into sports? You’ll be more than happy to know that there is a sport available for everyone, no matter the height!

Make sure that you keep on reading this article until you reach its very end to realize that your height should not keep you from being an athlete — below, we will talk about the top 10 sports suited for short people!

It cannot be denied that athletes are some of the most influential people on the face of the planet. Such is evidenced by the fact that you can spot them even outside playing courts or fields.

You can find them in ads of soft drinks, energy drinks, fast food, sneakers, t-shirts, razors, deodorants, wristwatches, cars, headphones, and many others. No matter the sport or product being endorsed, one thing remains: athletes can change the world.

This is why a lot of people are pouring their heart and soul into their respective sports, hoping that one day they can also become rich, famous, and powerful athletes.

However, engaging in sports is not all about wanting to become an influential person one day. Most people participate in sports in order to reap its many benefits. Some of them include:

  • Boosted mental and physical health
  • Reduced levels of stress
  • Improved physical strength and endurance
  • Optimized social skills
  • Honed discipline and passion
  • Increased self-esteem and self-confidence

Speaking of which, some people do not have enough self-confidence to enter the world of sports.

Some of them are those who are not blessed with a statuesque height just like most athletes, in particular those who play in the NBA where the average height of players these days is 6’7″.

That is why short adults who grew up unhappy with their height simply focused on having careers that have nothing to do with sports.

If you’re one of those individuals who feel inadequate height-wise and believe that there is no place for them in sports, then this article is made exactly for you.

That’s because it will prove to you that you can still become an athlete even if you believe that you are not tall enough to be taken seriously.

Being tall is definitely an advantage when it comes to basketball. That’s because it allows you to block and shoot better. The same is true with volleyball — being tall allows you to hit or block the ball.

Having a tall frame is an advantage when it comes to swimming because those long limbs can help swimmers to swim faster. Being tall is also highly recommended for running because having long legs allows runners to get to the finish line faster.

Yes, it’s true that height matters a lot in basketball, volleyball, swimming, and running. However, in many other sports, height does not matter at all.

And this is what we’re going to talk about exactly — sports that you can engage in even if you’re not a tall person.

You’ll be surprised to know that there are actually so many sports for you to choose from in which you could be a star player because it doesn’t matter if you are far from being a 6-foot tall athlete.

In these sports, you don’t need to have plenty of inches — all you need to have are lots of skills, enthusiasm, and the desire to excel!

Without any more ado, here are the top 10 sports perfect for short people in no particular order:

1. Gymnastics

Are gymnasts small because engaging in gymnastics kept them from growing or because they are the best for gymnastics?

Some say that the intensive training that gymnasts go through is the reason why gymnasts are short, although others agree that it just so happens that those who participate in gymnastics are short because it makes it possible for them to do extremely well in gymnastics than tall people.

No matter the case, one thing remains true: some of the best gymnasts in the history of sports are short people.

And if you are a short person, you could end up being a fantastic gymnast yourself! However, do take note that some of the most accomplished gymnasts around have been training since they were kids.

But if you are determined to shine, then your age, as well as height, should not keep you from being a fantastic gymnast!

Take, for example, Aly Raisman, a gymnast who was a part of Team USA back in the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Would you believe that she’s the tallest gymnast in the team even though she stands 5″2′ only?

She towered over her teammates, including Simone Biles, who is only 4 feet and 8 inches tall.

Some of the basic skills required for gymnasts to have include balance, flexibility, and strength. This is why being short can be a huge benefit for someone who is into gymnastics.

Naturally, being short makes it easier to maintain balance at all times because, unlike tall people, their center of gravity is closer to the ground. And because they are able to stay balanced easily, being flexible is trouble-free.

Strength is also less likely to be an issue for short people because they need to support less mass, and that’s why gymnasts make it seem like hanging from bars and rings is an effortless task.

Tall people, on the other hand, may have an extremely difficult time twisting and turning while hanging from bars and rings, and that’s why they simply stay away from gymnastics.

2. Figure Skating

Just like gymnastics, figure skating requires both balance and flexibility. After all, they are judged based on things such as grace, elegance, and precision of movement and choreography.

Someone who is tall may have a challenging time pulling off all of these things while gliding on ice. On the other hand, someone who is short is more likely to be able to execute them without much trouble, thus allowing him or her to become a premier figure skater.

Experts in the world of sports say that in the U.S., the average height of a female figure skater is 5’3″ only. They add that for a male U.S. figure skater, the average height is 5’10”.

This does not mean, however, that men who stand 5’10” are some of the best figure skaters out there. Because a lot of female figure skaters are short, it’s less likely for tall men to be given a chance to compete and wow the judges.

In order for the couple to look great on ice, the male should not be too tall for the girl — otherwise, they will look awkward together, plus they may have a hard time performing their choreography flawlessly.

Yes, there are also male figure skaters competing individually who are tall. This does not mean right away, however, that being tall is an advantage.

Besides, the judges do not score a male figure skater based on his height, but how he can mesmerize while gliding on ice.

Proof to this is Adam Rippon, who is a former U.S. figure skater. He is considered one of the best male figure skaters in the U.S. because of winning the 2010 Four Continents Championships and 2016 U.S.

National Championships, as well as winning bronze at the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon Province, South Korea.

Adam, by the way, is only 5’7″ tall, and his short stature is likely to be a major role player in making him a fantastic figure skater who was able to win all of those awards.

3. Diving

Earlier in this article, we mentioned swimming as one of the sports in which being tall can be advantageous.

That’s because tall people have very long arms and legs, which can help to move through the water faster than usual.

Short people can be excellent swimmers too, but it’s very much likely for tall people to swim faster simply because their bodies are designed to make them swim just like great white sharks.

For instance, Michael Phelps is regarded as one of the best swimmers at the Olympics. From 2004 to 2016, he won a total of 23 gold medals, and that’s the most number of gold medals that an athlete has won out of all types of sports. It doesn’t really come as a surprise since Michael is 6’4″ tall!

However, height doesn’t matter that much when it comes to diving, which is a sport that entails falling or jumping into the water from a platform or springboard. A diver also usually performs acrobatics before hitting the water.

When it comes to scoring, one of the things that the judges consider is the amount of splash created upon entry of the diver into the water — the lesser the splash, the higher the score.

Some of the most revered divers throughout the entire history of the Olympics are short people. For instance, there’s Wu Minxia, a female Chinese diver who won a total of 5 gold medals from 2014 to 2016. She stands 5 feet and 6 inches only.

Then there’s also Greg Louganis, who is considered as the highest-ranking Olympian diver — he is just a few centimeters away from being 5’9″ tall. Greg may not be as tall as Michael Phelps, but that didn’t keep him from being a popular water sports athlete.

So if you’re a short person, consider entering the world of diving. Because of your height, it’s less likely for you to make a lot of splash upon entering the water, which is one of the things that matter a lot.

4. Equestrian

Put simply, equestrian is a sport that involves horseback riding. You can think of it as something that involves a couple of participants: the rider and the horse.

It’s important to note that just because you love riding a horse doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an equestrian. Because it is a type of sport, there are rules to follow and scores to make.

It is definitely a must to have the right horse in order for a person to be an excellent equestrian. Having the right experience and skills is also important for the athlete who is riding the horse.

Generally speaking, short people make for some of the best equestrians on the entire planet. That’s because they tend to weigh less than tall people.

This only means that the horses they use are relieved from having to carry something heavy during competitions, which enables them to jump obstacles so much better.

On the other hand, horses being ridden by tall and heavy people may have a difficult time going over obstacles flawlessly, and this can keep equestrians from getting high scores from the judges and ultimately winning.

The highest-ranked equestrian at the Olympics is Isabell Werth. Hailing from Germany, she won 6 gold medals and 4 silver medals from 1992 to 2016. Isabell is only 5’7″ tall. It’s important to note that there are also tall male and female equestrians, but their height has nothing to do with their being good at the sport.

Horse racing is a form of equestrianism that short people may also opt for. Just like what the name says, the goal of this sport is to get to the finish line faster than everybody else while riding a horse.

Naturally, horses will be able to run so much faster if their riders are light, which is likely to be the case if they are short.

5. Surfing

While we were talking about gymnastics earlier, we mentioned that short gymnasts are able to keep their balance better than tall ones because of having a low center of gravity.

This is exactly for the same reason why short people make for exceptional surfers — they can stand on their surfboards longer.

You can think of surfing as skateboarding that is done on the ocean. Many agree that it is one of the most difficult sports on the planet because there are various elements to take into account. They include the tide, swells, and wind.

It’s because of these elements why the surfing experience is different from one day to the other.

Despite this, one thing remains true: the surfer has to be able to stand on his or her surfboard. Such requires a lot of balancing skills, and short people have lots and lots of those because of their stature.

And when it comes to choosing the right surfboard length, the weight of the surfer is the one considered and not the height.

If you are into surfing, then it’s very much likely that the name Kelly Slater rings a bell. An American professional surfer, Kelly is considered by many as the greatest professional surfer ever.

That’s because he’s the only one to have won a total of 11 world surfing championships. He may be an unbeatable surfer alright, but he’s only 5′ 9″ tall. Compared to today’s standards, that height is not impressive for a male.

Then there’s also Lena Yada, a Japanese-American professional surfer who stands 5’4″ only. You may be very familiar with her especially if you love both surfing and wrestling — Lena is a World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE backstage interviewer and wrestler, too.

6. Table Tennis

Also known as ping-pong, table tennis is a sport played by hitting a ball across the table with the use of small rackets.

It’s just like tennis, but everything takes place on a table measuring 9 feet in length, 5 feet in width, and 2 feet and 6 inches in height. Based on the given measurement, the table used for table tennis is not that high.

It’s due to this exactly why it can be very easy for short people to excel in table tennis. They’re nothing like tall people who need to bend down all the time throughout the game, which can certainly put a lot of strain on the lower back.

Short players of table tennis, on the other hand, need to crouch just a little or stand completely straight if they are really short in stature. So, in other words, their bodies are more suited for playing table tennis.

Definitely, having long limbs is a huge advantage for those who are playing tennis. That’s because it allows them to run faster to go after the ball, and also hit the ball easily with their rackets.

Having long limbs is of no use when playing table tennis since the ball is within reach of the player at all times due to the size of a table tennis table.

Speed is one of the most important skills that table tennis players need to have if they want to be good at the sport — having lightning-speed reflexes matters a lot.

Flexibility is also a must-have skill since the table is only 5 feet in width. It’s also important for anyone who is into table tennis to have superb endurance because it’s a very fast-paced game.

One of the most well-known table tennis players on the face of the planet is Ma Long. Actually, back in 2019, the Chinese athlete was declared as the greatest table tennis player of all time due to the fact that he had broken all existing table tennis records. And by the way, Ma Long is only 5’9″.

7. Weightlifting

Have you heard about Naim Suleymanoglu?

He’s a Turkish weightlifter who is also an Olympic champion. Back in the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea, Naim set a world record by lifting 420 pounds while performing the clean and jerk. He went on to win more gold medals not only in the Olympics but also in World Championships.

There’s one more thing about Naim that will surely leave you impressed: he stands 4’10” only!

It’s for this reason why he is nicknamed the “Pocket Hercules.” Despite being very short for a male athlete, he was able to lift like a giant! This serves as clear proof that height doesn’t matter when it comes to weightlifting.

Yes, there are many tall weightlifters these days. However, the majority remains to be composed of short and stocky men. Experts are not surprised because their height makes them more efficient at lifting those immense barbells.

Short weightlifters have shorter arms than tall weightlifters. This allows them to hold the barbells closer to their body, which makes it so much easier for them to be lifted.

So, in other words, the shorter the arms, the less effort needed to lift a barbell. This is why it’s not unlikely for short weightlifters to set records better than tall ones.

If you are a short person and you are looking for a sport in which you can do extremely well despite your height, feel free to give weightlifting a try.

However, do take note that having massive muscles can give the illusion that you are shorter than your actual height. The good news is that it’s less likely for you to lose your self-confidence by being bulky as nothing can be more masculine than having bulging muscles as well as being able to lift massive barbells!

8. Soccer

Passing, dribbling, shooting, tackling, shielding, trapping, goalkeeping — these are some of the most important skills that anyone should have in order to be able to play soccer professionally. Then there’s also running, which a lot of tall people tend to be very good at because of their long legs.

However, according to a European study, there is a tendency for 11 of the most preferred soccer players in a squad to be shorter compared to the rest of their teammates.

In addition, some of the most admired and accomplished soccer players all over the planet are short.

Take, for example, Xavi Hernandez Creus, a former professional soccer player who is now a manager of a Spanish football team: considered widely as one of the top midfielders all over the planet in the early 21st century, he only stands 5’7″. 

Andres Iniesta Lujan, who is credited for the winning goal of Spain against the Netherlands during the 2010 World Cup final, is just as tall as Xavi.

Experts say that the reason why short people make for the best midfielders, as well as forwards, is because they are usually nimbler than taller individuals.

What’s more, they have better control over their legs, which matters a lot in a game of soccer — it lets them dodge their opponents very well.

However, it’s important to note that a bunch of short people won’t necessarily make for an excellent soccer team. In soccer, there are different positions with different roles.

For instance, a tall individual will generally make for a better goalkeeper than a short one because of his long arms and legs. Needless to say, having a nice mix of short as well as tall players is important for a soccer team.

9. Archery

Definitely, tall people are best suited for sports where there’s a lot of running and jumping involved. Thanks to their long legs, it’s very much likely for them to become excellent players and admired athletes, too.

Not all sports, however, require the players to run really fast and jump really high to earn scores and awards. As a matter of fact, some sports require athletes to remain in place. One very good example of such is archery — a competitive sport that involves the use of a bow to shoot arrows.

The goal is to shoot the arrow into the center of the target, which is referred to as the bull’s eye. The more arrows are shot into the bull’s eye, the higher the score as each one is worth 10 points.

A higher score is given to the player, who is called a bowman or an archer if his or her arrow hits the lines drawn on the target. Everything may seem so simple, but the fact is archery is a very challenging game even though it involves no running or jumping.

Some of the skills necessary for a person to be very good at archery include superb hand-eye coordination, focus, concentration, patience, and discipline. Because there is no need for a bowman or an archer to run or jump, even short people can participate in it and actually excel.

As a matter of fact, some of those who are widely considered as the best Olympic archers of all time are short people.

For instance, there’s Simon Fairweather from Australia who won a gold medal during the 2000 Summer Olympics held in his hometown, Sydney — he’s only 5′”9.

Then there’s also Korean female archer Kim Soo-Nyung, who competed in the Olympics from 1998 to 2000 and won a medal each time — she’s only 5 feet and 5 inches tall.

10. Shooting

Last but certainly not least, there’s shooting, which is a sport that requires control, accuracy, and speed.

However, the speed that the sport calls for is nothing that can be provided by having long legs. Rather, it is all about being able to fire a gun, such as a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, at lightning speeds and with precision, too.

This is exactly the reason why if you are a short individual, you may consider getting into shooting as a form of sport.

Despite not being blessed with a lot of inches like some of the tallest NBA players out there, it’s still very much possible for you to be a fantastic shooter. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter what your height is.

One of the most well-known shooters internationally is Vincent Hancock, who stands 5’8″ only. He is an American shooter who won a medal during the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, and also another one during the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London.

Another one is Kim Rhode, an American who is regarded as the most successful female shooter at the Olympics due to the fact that she’s the first female Olympian to win a medal in 6 consecutive Olympic games, as well as the first one to win 6 individual medals at 6 consecutive summer games.

It’s impressive to know that these are the achievements of a woman who’s only 5’4″ tall.

Fret not if you are not a fan of using firearms. That’s because it is still possible for you to engage in shooting even without firing a gun.

There are alternatives that do not require you to use an actual firearm — a replica firearm is all that you need to arm yourself with. Some really popular examples are paintball, airsoft, and laser tag.


Refrain from assuming that you can’t get into sports and become a world-class athlete just because you are not a tall person. As you can see, there are various types of sports where being short can work to your advantage.

So go ahead and start participating in any of the sports discussed above and do your best to be a star athlete!

But instead of simply sticking to the sports that we have talked about in this article, why not try to break the rules and engage in sports dominated by tall people?

Just like what’s mentioned above, the average height of today’s NBA players is 6 feet and 7 inches. Throughout the history of the NBA, there were players who wowed everyone despite being short.

One excellent example is Tyrone Bogues. Called Muggsy by everyone, he is only 5’3″ — he is the shortest NBA player ever! He was drafted into the NBA after college and went on to become a star for 14 long seasons!

So go ahead and be like Muggsy, who never allowed his height to keep him from being a respected and well-loved basketball player!

Follow your heart and be very good at the sport that you would like to participate in, even if you’re not the tallest person on the face of the planet.

What’s Next?

If you are looking for my story and want to know how I got taller, I recommend checking the my article:

How I Grew 3 Inches Taller

Image by skeeze from Pixabay


Hi, I am Greg. In 6 months I was able to grow by 3 inches. I was 5″7', and now I am 5″10′!

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