Team sports shy

Originally Published: December 30, 2011
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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 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, kickball, volleyball, and even disc golf (also known as Frolf). 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.
  • Local community colleges also sometimes offer sports lessons to the community, either in group or individual sessions.
  • Google is a great resource for finding out if there are lessons in your area and for finding local leagues.
  • If you're feeling confident, Sportaneous is a very cool resource that you can use to locate or create nearby games with people in your neighborhood.

If you've learned the basics but don't feel ready to play on a team yet, you can always ask a trusted friend. He or she 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. Time to get the ball rolling!