Are You Teaching Tourists a Sport or Activity? 6 English Topics You Should Know

If you love to do activities and sports, pay attention!

Did you know you can get paid to share your passion?

Are you really good at a certain activity or sport?

Have you been surfing or snowboarding or skateboarding since you could walk? Are you obsessed with adventure? Is riding horses as easy as breathing for you?

Do you know the mountains or forests of your country like the back of your hand? Do you want to share your talents and skills with others? Maybe you have already thought of this, but there are a lot of adventure-loving, skill-hunting tourists out there who would love to learn what you do so well. Tourists come in all kinds of packages.

Not all of them are comfortable relaxing and snoozing away their vacations. Many tourists crave action and adventure. They want to try something new and exciting on their breaks. This is where you come in.

Whether it is teaching or instructing an activity like dance, yoga or wakeboarding, this guide will prepare you to be the best teacher or instructor for English-speakers.

This guide is also helpful for guides who want to show off the beauty of their country whether that means you will be walking through deserts, trekking in forests or hiking through mountains.

If you need a refresher on English basics, check out a few of our beginner’s guides for mastering grammar, speaking or listening.

Don’t forget to also check FluentU.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

With FluentU, your pronunciation skills and your tourism and sports vocabulary will skyrocket. Give it a free try and you will become the best teacher a tourist can wish for!

Recreational Sports, Practices and Activities: What Are They?

Recreation is essentially another word for fun. Recreational sports, practices and activities are all ways to spend time having fun. Sometimes, they require physical exertion, meaning that the participants must use their bodies to move in forms of exercise.

A sport is an activity that always requires physical exertion. Sports can be competitive, meaning that playing a sport is not always just for fun, it can also be about winning and being the best. They can be individual sports such as kitesurfing, surfing, hiking, wakeboarding, snorkeling, diving, yoga, horseback riding, quad riding, rock climbing, bouldering, longboarding, skateboarding, golfing, Frisbee, hang-gliding, mountain-climbing, Zumba or dance.

This article focuses on individual recreation but many of the tips can also be applied to teaching group sports such as cricket or volleyball.

An activity sometimes takes physical exertion but it doesn’t always use it. For example, chess is an activity in which there is no physical exertion because the players are sitting in chairs the entire game. However, this article focuses on recreation with physical exertion.

A practice has more serious meaning because it can be done with an intention of becoming better. Yoga, for example, can be recreational (done for fun) but it can also be done to make oneself a better person spiritually or emotionally.

There are many more recreational sports, activities and practices, some that might only be in your country. With creativity and cleverness, you can market teaching these skills to tourists.

Teacher, Guide or Instructor: What Are You?

The difference between instructor and teacher is not always a strong one and the two terms can be used interchangeably. They are two different words, however, and each has its own meaning.

A teacher is the broadest term of the three we are using. Usually a teacher has a long-term role in imparting a set of skills on a student. A teacher uses more of a theoretical approach. A teacher is usually with their students for a long time. Student learn by reading, writing and listening to the teacher talk about topics.

A guide shows a person or a group of people around an area or to a specific area, and they will usually take the people back to where the tour began. Guides are important in places where people can get lost or hurt.

An instructor has a specific task of imparting one skill to students. An instructor uses a more practical approach and is more “hands-on.” An instructor can be with their students for a short or a long time.

Many hotels hire all kinds of teachers, guides and instructors. But you don’t have to get a job in a hotel to teach, instruct or guide. Many kinds of businesses work with tourists, and need to hire people to help them enjoy their trip.

No matter where you work, this is a great article to give you an idea of the kind of English language this industry expects from its employees.

Here we will explore the English you will need to know for the sport or activity you will teach to tourists. You will need to do some research and learn more about the specific vocabulary related to your sport or activity, but this is a very good place to start.

6 Things You Should Know for Teaching, Guiding and Instructing Tourists in English

Note: For the rest of the post, we will refer to all sports, games, activities and practices as activities. This word is very general, and refers to whatever you will be teaching to tourists.

1. The basic terms of your activity and how to use them

Watching movies about your activity can help you catch onto the lingo. Many activities have a lot of specific words.

Watching movies about your activity can help you catch onto any necessary words, phrases and idioms. For example, if you teach surfing, check out classic surfer movies like “Blue Crush” or check out this list for getting in the heads of English-speaking surfers.

You can also watch YouTube videos for lectures related to your activity. For surfing, you can visit theonlinesurfschool for ideas about what and how you can teach your students.

Search online for glossaries for your activity. Some activities are extremely technical with lots of terminology. This is a good one for kiteboarding, which has lots of unique English words used to describe the equipment and the motions used to stay on top of the water.

2. What you will be expected to explain

What are the things a beginner must learn about your activity?

What do you need to do to have fun with your activity?

What needs to be done for this activity to be totally safe?

You should be able to explain all procedures in a simple, step-by-step description. Surfing, for example, has many different parts which can be explained individually for simplicity and clarity, such as how to stand up, how to read waves, how to paddle, how to move through waves, how to stay safe, how to turn and how to generate speed.

Here is a rough example of a clear and concise way to describe how to stand up on a board. Notice the use of modifications which help the student to check if their form (how they are standing and moving) is correct. The modification appears after “Make sure” in the following example.

First, paddle. Make sure your feet are correctly placed.

Then, place your hands directly below your shoulders, palms flat on the board. Make sure your chest is as broad and pushed up as possible.

Next, put your front foot forward in between your palms. Make sure you use your back leg to push your body upwards.

Finally, push up on your feet to stand, using the back foot for balance. Make sure you keep your shoulders facing in front of you and your right arm at your side for balance.

WikiHow is a great website to provide step-by-step instructions. Here is one for jumping on horseback. Just go to this website and type in the name of your activity to search for information about it!

3. The directions to locations where the activity can be practiced

Your students are likely to view you as the expert of the activity you teach. They will expect you to know all of the best places to practice.

If you teach someone rock climbing, they will ask you where they can continue the sport. If you teach someone surfing, they will ask you where the best beaches are.

Make sure you can give good directions to many places. Get a map of the local are or look at one on Google Maps. You will want to know how to arrive at a variety of good destinations when leaving from your business’s office. You may also want to look up directions from the hotel where the tourists are staying.

Then you need to actually give the tourists the directions! Check out this page for some basic English on giving directions.

4. Your gear

Some of your students will be completely clueless about the names for the various equipment you will be using. If you are able to give them the names for everything, they will be impressed and are sure to refer their friends to you as an excellent instructor.

Make sure you are able to explain the different effects of the gear, and how the clothes should fit. While the practice of yoga does not require much gear (just a mat and tight-clothing), other sports and activities like camping or kiteboarding have a lot of gear. You should know all of the words in English and their purposes. Check out gear and clothing stores online to learn the proper vocabulary such as the REI website.

5. Phrases for giving positive feedback

Many students need to know when they are making improvement. Positive feedback assures your students that they are on the right path to learning.

It also helps you connect with your students and they will think you are friendly and encouraging. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of quotes about giving feedback.

Phrases like, “You’re doing great!” or “Perfect!” tell the student he or she is correct. Staying positive when your students make mistakes is also important. You can say, “Nice try, let’s try it again!” or “You almost had it!”

Check out this teacher’s resource for a list of positive vocabulary and phrases. True, it is made for children, but you can think of your adult students as being children in their new skill. Or maybe you are teaching children how to do the activity, too. Either way, feedback is important.

6. Synonyms for everything

Tourists are lazy—they are on vacation! So they might not think to change their words if you do not understand them. There are many ways to say one thing in English and the more you know, the easier you can communicate. For example, these phrases are all saying the same thing:

1. How should I position my body?
2. What should my position be?
3. How do I stand?
4. How should my form be?

The best way to know as many different ways to say one thing is to know as many verbs as possible. You will be able to grasp the meaning when the grammar changes, but if you do not know the meaning of a verb you will become confused. Use a thesaurus to look up all of the verbs you know to learn their synonyms.

Visual Thesaurus is a fun tool for exploring similar verbs. It works like a regular thesaurus, but is also an interactive tool that draws maps showing lines between related words. You can also see different definitions for your word. For example, if you type in the word “row,” you’ll see “propel with oars” and “ride in a boat on water.” Exploring these maps will help you get familiar with all the words you need to know!


Those are all the big tips about what to learn in English! To keep you learning even more, try out these three extra tips.

Learn a new sport.
This is the best way you can understand what your students will want to know. You will be literally placing yourself in their shoes.

Be clear, concise and as brief as possible.
The simpler you can explain how to do things, the better. However, you must also be able to go into detail when students ask for more information.

Be positive.
Use positive feedback and a positive tone. This will give you a good image as a teacher and your students will appreciate this. I promise.

Now, get out there and start having fun with those tourists!

Cassie Lahmann is a freelance writer and a teacher of both English and yoga. Since getting her bachelor’s degree, she hasn’t stopped traveling. She puts her travel photography and writing on her blog

And One More Thing...

If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:


If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

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For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:


FluentU lets you tap to look up any word.

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FluentU helps you learn fast with useful questions and multiple examples. Learn more.

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If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.

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