Sports are great. Playing sports can help you to stay fit and healthy. It can be a great way to burn off negative energy, improve your mood, and boost your mental health. There are countless benefits to regular exercise, and it can be a fantastic way to meet new people, make friends, and have important social interaction, fighting off loneliness and building confidence. Even if you never play sports and you only watch them, there are benefits.
But, it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. You might only watch one sport, and this can get boring after a while, especially during the off-season or when your team isn’t doing particularly well. Finding new games can help to give you something new to think about and do. It can get you out of your comfort zone, provide you with something new to think about and boost your fitness levels and mental health.
So, how do you get out of your sporting habits? How do you try new things when you haven’t for a long time? Here are some tips to help you.
Think Of Sports You Enjoyed as a Kid
There’s often a point in our mid-teens, perhaps before, where our love of playing sports begins to fade. Suddenly, sports are becoming more competitive. We’re being forced to play team sports that we don’t enjoy in gym lessons at school. People are starting to take things more seriously, and if you previously just enjoyed having fun with your friends, you can start to feel pushed out.
This is often the point where many people who loved running around and trying new things as children start to develop unhappy habits and associations around sports. They are something to be forced upon us, not something to be enjoyed.
For many, these unhappy gym memories are the crucial element in their current relationship with exercise. Many have never put sports shoes on again after that enjoyment has been lost.
But as an adult, it doesn’t have to be like this. You can practice sports or exercise for enjoyment, without any interest in going pro or getting noticed. You can watch sports on TV and develop a fresh enthusiasm for something that you turned your back on a long-time ago.
When trying to find new sports that you enjoy, it’s often worth going back and thinking about things that you might have liked as a child. What did you play in the park with your friends? What sports did you watch on TV with your parents? What did you genuinely enjoy?
Read the News
Sports are in the news all of the time. There are stories about new players, big games, upcoming tournaments, and articles about the best fights and matches. Check the news, read about sports, and try to find something that grabs your attention. Look for the most interesting stories and things that really speak to you and then try to learn more about them.
Let Your Friends Take You to a Game
Ask your friends what sports they enjoy, either watching or playing. Some of them might be part of a team, or regularly attend matches. Ask if you can go along and get a feel for it, or at least let them tell you about it. There are plenty of different sports out there, and some of your friends might be keen to recruit new fans or participants to a rarer, less popular sport that they are interested in.
Look for Local Teams and Clubs You Could Join
If you are already a member of a gym or sports center, ask about what else they have to offer. There may be other teams or classes that you could join or even exercises that you can have a go at. Community centers, online groups, and other local spaces are also great places to find out more about what is on in your local area.
Don’t Put Pressure On Yourself
If you don’t enjoy something, you won’t stick with it. That goes for both playing sports and following them. Don’t try to force yourself to like something just because other people do, or you feel like you should. This will just bring any of those bad high-school memories flooding right back. Give things a chance, give yourself time to understand the game, and to adjust to training if you are playing yourself, but if it becomes clear that this particular sport isn’t your thing, move on to something new.
At the same time, if you like the sport you’re trying now, remember not to push yourself too hard and take it too far. Your body is still adjusting to being more active. If you push your limits too far, you may get injured. Take breaks and rest days, and consider using a kinesiology tape during practice and plays to support your muscles. In case you experience muscle pain, take a rest day to help your body recover. You’ll perform better if you’re in top form.
Try Something Totally New
\There are the traditional sports that we watch and play in school, that everyone knows about. Your American football, baseball, and basketball types. But that certainly isn’t everything. You could try something less well-known or popular. This is often a great way into the sport as fan bases will be smaller and more community-minded, and teams will be made up of beginners, looking for ways to build fitness and try new things. If there is a sport that you are interested in, but no teams in your local area, why not try to start your own?
Or Something Not That New At All
Alternatively, why not try something, not that new at all. If you like American football, why not give Aussie rules, or soccer a go? If you’ve always enjoyed watching baseball, but don’t play well, what about softball? If you love spending your summers on the beach, try surfing or beach volleyball. Think about things that you already enjoy or ways that you already spend your time, and look for related sports that you could have a go at.
New sports are like new hobbies. They add something new to your life. A new passion and interest. They can give you a new outlet, and something new to enjoy, which is never bad. Try some new things and see how you get on.