The case for trying something new, with help from korfball, ultimate and octopush
As a kid, many of us dreamed of sporting glory – that winning home run, touchdown or goal. Fewer will have imagined that goal would be scored in a korf, with a disc, or underwater! It is this very fact that makes these dreams all the more possible, coming as they do from niche sports. This chance of sporting glory, along with several other reasons I’ll cover, is why you need to try a niche sport today.
First up is that aforementioned glory. By getting involved in a lesser-known sport, you have a greater chance of becoming a good player. This might just mean a chance to be good at any sport, which you haven’t had before. For the naturally sporty among us, however, this could end up with your being a top drawer player. In korfball, there are stories of beginners becoming full international within four years. In ultimate, playing at school, as opposed to college or university like most in the sport, can put you on the fast track to the national team at various junior levels. Even if you don’t make the very top, being part of a smaller sporting community can lead to ample opportunities to lead and coach, great for anyone with a taste for management.
Linked to teaching and coaching are the social opportunities your unusual prowess brings. At the very least, your sport will be a conversation starter. People are naturally curious about the unfamiliar and you can take this even further and pass on your new skills. Ultimate is great for this as all you need is a disc to start getting people throwing. I have had chuckarounds across the world, from beaches to hostels to airports!
As well as taking your sport to unfamiliar environments, it can do that for you. Playing a new sport can mean a change of scenery that will force you to work outside of your comfort zone and develop new skills. Octopush, or underwater hockey, is a prime example. In it, the oft-overlooked talent of holding your breath suddenly becomes a key attribute as you push a puck around the bottom of a swimming pool! You’ll be left breathless by the action even above water, as octopush is excellent fitness. Like ultimate, its use of regular substitutions allows for high intensity points and greater displays of athleticism from the players – a series of sprints and rests rather than a marathon!
Korfball in particular has a few further unorthodox characteristics which make it a great niche sport to try: its honing of all-round skills and its gender equality. The former arises from the lack of set positions and the fact that all players alternate regularly between offensive and defensive halves of the pitch. This gives plenty of opportunities to learn all elements of the game. Korfball is also one of the few sports where mixed gender play is the dominant variant. Rules on gender matchups (essentially, you can only mark your own gender) allow a truly equal playing field found in few other sports.
In conclusion, there are numerous benefits to taking up a new sport, especially one that isn’t as popular as the mainstream offerings we’ve all been playing since kindergarten, so go out there and try something a bit different!
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