From childhood, Slovaks are encouraged to participate in sports. At school, physical education is an important subject. Most Slovaks have an active lifestyle. Ice hockey and soccer are the most popular team sports.

 Slovakia has an ice hockey league made up of eight teams that compete with each other during the hockey season. The most well-known team is Slovan Harvard Bratislava. The country also has a national team that competes in the Olympics and World Hockey Championships. Many Slovaks have played in the National Hockey League in North America, including Zigmund Palffy, Peter Bondra and the brothers Peter, Anton and Marian Štasný.

Slovaks enjoy skiing, snowboarding and ice skating in winter. The Poprad-Tatry region has been a venue for winter sports competitions since 1909, when the European championships in speed skating were held at Štrbské Pleso. The area is sometimes covered in snow for more than six months of the year.
  Did you know?
Slovakia manufactures more ice hockey pucks than any other country in the world.
In warmer weather, Slovaks turn their attention to soccer (known as football). The Slovak soccer team has competed in European Cup and World Cup competitions. Within Slovakia, the First Football League has 16 teams that compete every year for the Slovak cup. Recent winners include the teams of Slovan Bratislava, Spartak Trnava, and Chemlon Humenné.

 Water sports are popular summer activities. Slovaks enjoy swimming, water-skiing, sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, rafting and fishing in rivers and lakes in the Tatras and also along the Danube and its tributaries. National parks such as Slovenský Raj Park and Tatranský Narodný Park are popular places to camp and hike.

Slovakia has basketball, volleyball and baseball clubs. Tennis is popular and the country has produced several world-class tennis players, such as Dominik Hrbatý and Karin Habsudová.
  Did you know?
Michal Martikan of Slovakia won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games for whitewater slalom canoe at the age of 17, the youngest person ever to win gold at this sport. It was also the first Olympic gold medal for Slovakia after its separation from the Czech Republic.