No wait! Don’t skip this article. We know, we know, if the word sport appears in any article title, dreary PE memories are dredged up from the past. Flushed cheeks, stitches and the beep test. Um, no thanks.
No matter how many burpees you had to do in a minute, don’t let secondary school’s idea of physical education dictate your perspective of sport. Trying a new sport at the beginning of this new academic year may be one of the best things you do.
Despite the shudder you may feel at the idea of digging out your old exercise bag, there’s a surprisingly long list of reasons why everyone should start a new sport this year.
Reason To Start A New Sport…Confidence
Gulp. We’ve all been there. When you have to read aloud in class and suddenly your mouth is drier than the Sahara. Or when algebra is looking closer to Egyptian lettering, but you don’t want to ask the teacher to explain it again. Everyone needs a little bit more confidence in life, from toddles to CEO. Sport is amazing, because it works almost subconsciously, building up your self-esteem and confidence.
Whether it’s catching a particularly hard throw, or returning a volley you would’ve missed a few months previously, the longer you practise the sport, the more you’ll improve, and the more your confidence will shoot up. As one of our fav authors John Green says, you’ll be on “a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend”.
Reason To Start A New Sport…Talent
Did you know that there are as many as 442 variety of sport? In the Olympics alone there are over 50 different areas of competition, from equestrian to rugby to skating. You don’t have to limit yourself to just track and pool (although they’re arguably the most popular sports practised). With over four hundred different sports to choose from, you can easily find one that plays to your strengths. Are you quick on your feet? Maybe fencing would suit you. Good reactions? Try Ultimate frisbee. Even basic things, such as being a good team player, can stand for you when you’re playing a sport.
Reason To Start A New Sport…Fun
Did you know that the word sport comes from Old French, meaning ‘leisure’? Now, we know those long PE lessons involving running drills and icy rain seemed about as far from leisure as you can get, but if you’ve ever found yourself grinning after your team scored a good point, you’ll know that sport can be incredibly fun. From making close friendships to silly training drills and team parties, sport expands your social circle so much. It’s about time someone put the leisure back into sports.
Reason To Start A New Sport…Balance
It seems kinda counterintuitive that to take hours away from study actually will help you academically, but research has time and again showed that getting away from the books for an hour or two every few days not only helps you relax, but actually improves your chances of getting a high grade. If you read any of the interviews with students who achieved top grades in the Leaving Cert, every single one said that having a good balance between study and extracurricular activities helped hugely.
Exercising is a great way to release all the tension your muscles have gathered up through studying and provides a fab way to arrive back to the desk refreshed and with a mind ready to absorb those pesky Hopkin’s quotes.
Reason To Start A New Sport…Health
One of the key reasons to start a new sport is obviously health. Sports has the ability to improve every aspect of your health – both physical to mental. By having a healthy combination of nutritional food and exercise, you can improve your levels of concentration, your quality of sleep and your overall general health. Sport is also hugely beneficial for mental health. There’s nothing better than whacking a sliotar after a stressful school day. Likewise, if all that’s on your mind is that big German test coming up, sport can give you an escape from all that tension.
So, whether it’s joining your local running club, to going to try-outs for the school’s hockey team, to signing up for ultimate frisbee practise, the benefits of sports outweigh any worries or fears you might have when trying a new sport. Most team players are excited when somebody wants to try out their sport, and are more than welcoming to any beginners. We really hope you give sport a try this new academic year and hope the beep test hasn’t spoilt running for you (too much!)
Are you going to start a new sport this year?