In sports, a goal is a physical structure or area where an attacking team must send the ball or puck in order to score points. In several sports, a goal is the sole method of scoring, and thus the final score is expressed in the total number of goals scored by each team. In other sports, a goal may be one of several scoring methods, and thus may be worth a different set number of points than the others.
The structure of a goal varies from sport to sport. Most often, it is a rectangular structure that is placed at each end of the playing field. Each structure usually consists of two vertical posts, called goal posts, supporting a horizontal crossbar. A goal line marked on the playing surface between the goal posts demarcates the goal area. Thus, the objective is to send the ball or puck between the goal posts, under or over the crossbar (depending on the sport), and across the goal line. Less commonly, as in basketball or netball, goals are ring-shaped. The structure is often accompanied with an auxiliary net, which stops or slows down the ball when a goal is scored.
In some sports, the goal is the sole method of scoring. In these sports the final score is expressed as the number of goals scored by each team, with the winner being the team that accumulated more over the specified time period.
In other sports, a goal is the primary, but not the sole method of scoring. In these sports, the goal is worth a set number of points, and there is another method of scoring which scores fewer points (often one point). In these sports, the score is expressed as the number of goals plus the number of alternate scores and the combined total of points with the winner being decided on total points. For example, in Australian rules football the score may be expressed as follows:
Sydney 10.4 (64) def. Brisbane 9.12 (66)
In this example Sydney scored 10 goals (at six points each) and 4 behinds (one point each) for a total of 64 points. Brisbane scored 9 goals and 12 behinds for a total of 66 points. Despite having fewer goals, Brisbane won the game.
Other sports may use multiple methods of scoring, with the points earned for each type of score varying. In these sports, the object of the game is to score a greater number of total points than the opponent. Scores are expressed solely as numbers of points.
In many games, at each end of the field of play, there are two vertical posts (or uprights) supporting a horizontal crossbar. In some games, such as association football or hockey, the object is to pass the ball between the posts below the crossbar, while in others, such as those based on rugby, the ball must pass over the crossbar instead. In Gaelic football and hurling, in which the goalposts are similar to those used in rugby, the ball can be kicked either under the crossbar for a goal, or over the crossbar between the posts for a point. The vertical supports are usually called goal posts and the horizontal top is usually called the crossbar. A goal in these games normally requires that the ball or puck be sent between the posts, under the crossbar and completely behind the goal line.
Rugby goal types and points values
||Scored from open play.|
||Place or drop
||Place or drop
|Goal from mark
||Abolished in 1922 in league and 1977 in union.|