Whether you’ve just renounced the couch-potato lifestyle or your punishingly competitive season has just ended and you’re looking for something a little different to keep you fit over the downtime months, the first hurdle you often have to jump is actually finding the sport – and subsequently the club – for you.
Lots of sports have clubs in every town across the world. I don’t think I’ve ever visited a city that’s failed to squeeze a tennis club in there somewhere but many sports are localised to specific countries and – upsettingly – often specific regions within those countries. Kubb, for example, is hugely popular in Scandinavia and the city of Eau Claire in Wisconsin but hasn’t yet spread much further afield.
If you’re a fan of more niched sports it can take a bit of luck sometimes as to whether or not there’s a club within easy driving distance.
Universities and colleges are often a good place to start. With such a heavy emphasis on keeping western youngsters active and healthy, universities are granted gross funds to enable the buying of equipment, field rental and hiring coaches. If the training takes place off-campus (which is pretty often the case) then a quick word with the captain might be enough to get you in the door and attending the only korfball sessions for miles around.
If nothing else, they might be able to direct you to someone who can help you find an actual club.
In the UK, most local councils have part of their website devoted to leisure and wellbeing; this includes lists of local sports, contact info and motivation titbits encouraging you to go along! In countries without abominable obesity rates, I can only imagine that the emphasis on engaging with sports is even more ingrained.
Lastly, if you can’t find an established group or club which runs the sport you want to learn – or that you play already – then form one yourself. When I moved to Bristol a couple years ago a colleague and I created an ultimate club within the company. Similarly a friend of mine wanted to play spikeball so he bought a set, taught us the rules and forced us to play with him; turns out spikeball is great fun!
There’s a plethora of great sports out there – many of which you can play for free in the park, on the street or on official pitches when no one is looking – and if you want to get involved in any of them, it’s just a matter of looking around and finding a way to get going. Remember, if you’re interested in a sport, it’s a certainty that others nearby are interested too!