When I started playing American football, I noticed that our American guy said *game *instead of match, and *practice *instead of training, which led me to the conclusion that game/practice is American English for the British English Match/Training. However, as the years have passed, watching games on TV and so forth, I’m not so sure anymore; the words seem more or less interchangeable no matter from what side of the Atlantic you’re speaking.
In short, what *is *the straight dope on game/match on the one hand, and practice/training on the other? (They *are *synonyms, right?)
Training is something you do to get your body into shape. It’s doing sprints or lifting weights. Practice is something you do to get good at the sport. It’s playing catch, batting in the cages, or running some plays repetitively.
Matches only exist in one-on-one sports like tennis (and chess ;)) Games are played between teams.
I mostly agree, though I do think there will be some subtleties. For instance, I could never imagine calling anything you do for boxing to be anything but training, even though it includes things like sparring. So I think it’s somewhere between that and what Philster said, in that there really isn’t a season in boxing but specific events so you train for each of them. Similarly, you don’t practice for a marathon, gymnastics, or many other olympic sports.
I can’t think of any 1v1 sports that are games; wrestling, boxing, mma are all matches, while most team sports are games. However, as someone else pointed out, a match is also used to refer to a series of 1v1 games like in tennis and chess. But when you carry that concept over to a team sport, like baseball, basketball, and hockey, it becomes a series.
This has been very educational. Perhaps one could say that training is Swedish träna (note the similarities); like getting fit and learning how to use your body/mind for a specific purpose by doing something over and over again; and practice would be Swedish öva, redoing something over and over again, perhaps with different tactics to meet at specific goal, as in beating somebody in a game of football or chess…? - I never thought about the differences between träna and öva, but perhaps it’d match training and practicing.