If there’s one thing that unites most men (and many women, too), it’s sports. There is something comforting about the tribal approach of your team versus someone else, no matter where they are in the world. Above all else, sport is something that brings people together.
And this is why, if you don’t like sports, you can often feel left out. Your friends and family may spend an afternoon watching the big game, and you have no idea what’s going on, so you sit in silence waiting for the final whistle. It’s only natural to want to connect, though, so this might inspire you to get into sports. However, this can be overwhelming for a beginner, so how can you get started?
Why Get Into Sports?
You’ll Feel Better
Few things will make you feel better than an athletic lifestyle that you work hard to maintain. No matter how old you are, getting into sports and playing regularly will help maintain conditioning and fitness, and you might find that you’re more capable than you ever imagined.
You’ll Meet New People
Sports are also a great way to meet new people, whether this is at a pickup game or the bar. As everyone is there for the same reason, you have an easy way to start a conversation and build relationships, especially if you go there regularly.
You’ll Find a Positive Distraction
You will also discover that sports are a fantastic outlet for avoiding bad habits. If you’re trying to make an important lifestyle change, whether it’s quitting smoking or cutting weight, regular activity can give you a reason to stick to these changes.
What Did You Enjoy as a Kid?
If you’re unsure how to get into sports, consider what you used to enjoy as a kid. Even if you were someone who hated gym class and did everything you could to avoid it, there was likely some activity that you enjoyed more than others.
This is a great place to get started as you may already have the basics down, whether that’s throwing, catching, kicking, or climbing. As getting into any new activity can be intimidating, basic knowledge can give you the confidence you need to try it before looking elsewhere for something to do.
Watch More Games
Another great way to get into sports is just by watching the games. This should apply to any type of activity, even if you’ve never considered it before. Watching the games at home is suitable, but it’s even better to watch them with friends, especially if you want to learn more as they can provide context and explain rules to you if you are confused.
You can also look at attending live games, which are always more enjoyable (although you can’t just switch them off if your tweak is losing). You won’t get the context from commentary, but the atmosphere is enough to make anyone fall in love with the sports, no matter what type of game you’re watching.
Give Yourself Some Incentive
If you want to learn more about sports and learn quickly, you can look for ways to give yourself some incentive. Picking a team to support is a good place to start, as you’ll feel connected to them quickly. However, there are other ways for you to get incentivized to love sports.
Look at resources like NFL futures at US Leagues Betting to put money down on what you think will happen throughout the season. As you are a novice, you shouldn’t place your entire life savings, but if you win, the positive result will encourage you to pay more attention. That said, make sure you don’t overdo it and give yourself limits to prevent any financial issues.
Enter a Fantasy League
If you’re not comfortable making bets while you still don’t understand the game, Fantasy Football is a more approachable way for you to learn more and get that sweet dopamine rush of success without any of the commitment. No matter the sport, you can find a fantasy league wherever you look, and it will encourage you to focus more on the full aspects of the game rather than who scores the most touchdowns.
There is still plenty of stress associated with a fantasy league, but as long as you don’t let it ruin your weekend (as many others allow it to), you will gain a better understanding of the sport and maybe be able to pull underlying stats out to impress your friends.
Play Video Games
Video games will also encourage you to get into the sport even if you’ve never watched a game before in your life. Many people even consider the purest way to become enamored with football, hockey, or basketball, as many newcomers go in blind, not knowing about team or player reputation.
It’s a great idea for anyone who loves video games and wants to expand their horizons as you bring a team to glory. You can also look at management simulators like the Football Manager series, which is overwhelming at first, but undeniably rewarding once you topple to top dogs of the big European soccer leagues.
Find a Pickup Game
Despite all this, there is no substitute for playing the game once you become more confident with your skills. If you’ve kicked the ball against the wall with both feet one million times, you may be ready to test your skills against real players.
You should have no trouble finding a pickup game, and there are usually plenty of advertisements on social media looking for someone to fill in on a Tuesday evening. Some venues might even have a system that will automatically assign you to a certain group, which will make it easier to find a team that;’s right for you.
Don’t Be Picky
Part of the marvels of sports is that there is always something for everyone. Although most people gravitate to the most popular activities like football or basketball, you have an Olympian amount of options to choose from.
So, don’t abandon your sporting dreams just because you lack the hand-eye coordination for cricket or you don’t have the stamina to run 5K. The more open you are to trying something new, the better your chances of discovering a sport that will suit you. It may not be something you expected, but as long as you enjoy it, that doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Find People On Your Level
While sport is all about the thrill of the competition (among other things), it also needs to be fun. You will struggle to find something fun if you spend your time playing with people who are too good for you to compete with. An amateur soccer player would not go to a five-a-side league full of ex-professionals, so avoid this at all costs.
You’ll have a more rewarding experience if you play with people who match your ability, even if the ability is low. Inviting players who are slightly better can push you to improve, which is always welcome, but if they are too good, it will soon become a chore rather than enjoyable. As everyone is at the same level, you can encourage each other and learn together, and this positive team dynamic is something else to look forward to.
This Sporting Life
You don’t need to become an expert at every sport. You don’t even need to be good at anything, but this is the beauty of sports in general. No matter what you play, it will give you that positive drive to succeed and the health benefits are something you cannot ignore, whether it’s physical fitness, mental wellbeing, or getting the chance to connect with other people.