Team sports shy

Originally Published: October 10, 2014
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Hi Alice,

So here's my question. As a child, I always stayed away from team sports. I considered them a waste of time and energy. As a result, I missed a lot of the bonding with other guys that comes out of playing sports. I feel inferior to other guys who are able to play team sports, and I feel it's keeping me from having a good sense of self-esteem.

I'd love to do something about it, but I'm much older now, and though there are many teams around for people to play, I don't think most people expect a 25-year-old to know nothing about basketball or football and want to learn. And I don't think I'd be very good at it either, so I couldn't just "pick it up.”

What to do?

Longingly yours,

Sports Shy Guy

Dear Sports Shy Guy,

Whether you're a beginner ball player or a perfect pitcher, getting involved in a new team sport can be intimidating. Thankfully, there are a lot of resources out there for both learning and playing team sports — no matter your experience level. Plus, once you get involved, team sports can bring tons of awesome perks: friends, fitness, and fun!

You're in luck — there are plenty of team sports other than football and basketball. Many other team sports have become popular with adult sports leagues, including ultimate Frisbee, soccer, baseball or softball, volleyball, and even a few playground favorites such as kickball and wiffle ball! All of these sports can be played at all levels, ages, and as coed teams.

So how do you get your foot in the door when you have no experience? Try checking out the following list of places where you could get involved:

  • Your local department of parks and recreation. They may offer sports lessons or amateur sports leagues where you could learn to play the sport.
  • Your local YMCA or gym may also offer sports lessons.
  • ZogSports is an organization that brings young professionals together to play sports, get social, and support charities. Several chapters can be found in major metropolitan areas, but the list of locations seems to be growing.
  • If you can’t find a group or organization in your neck of the woods, Meetup is another great resource to find others with similar interests. You can either join an existing sports group or start one of your own. (As a bonus, Meetup isn’t only for sports nuts — there are lots of other non-athletic interest groups to explore and join on the site, too.)  

If you've learned the basics but don't feel ready to play on a team yet, you can always ask a trusted friend to be a ball-game buddy. S/he may be able to offer you some pointers or practice time so that you can get the basic idea and feel for the sport before you try playing in a group setting. Sounds like it’s time to get the ball rolling!

Alice