Tips For Tackling A New Sport That’ll Make You Wonder Why You Didn’t Start Sooner

The best way to fight athletic fear is to face it head-on. Whether you've dreamed of kickboxing or skateboarding, now's the time to say "yes" and take the first step toward newer and better things.

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Have you ever tagged along with friends for a round of golf but were the designated golf cart driver simply because you couldn’t hit a ball to save your life? Don’t get me wrong–being the driver is freaking awesome, but sometimes you just want to be like the other guys. You know that phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? The same applies to sports, right? WRONG! More and more people are engaging in fitness boutiques, boot camps, and group intramurals. From Pure Barre to rock wall climbing, various athletic pursuits are supplementing the in-person connections that we have lost through the advent of social media. The point is, people are building up their repertoire of “sports tried”–and you should too! Have you ever imagined what it’d be like to sink a slam dunk? How about serving up a killer spike, leaving your opponent floundering in the sand? Just because you’re out of your teens and into adulthood doesn’t mean you can’t find out. Tip #1: Private Lessons It’s pretty unrealistic to go into an activity believing you’ll be an A+ winner, but it’s also unproductive to think your feet will be glued to the ground. Best advice? Hire a private instructor. Whether you’re learning how to paddleboard on a girls’ trip or scaling Colorado’s peaks with your bros, it’s crucial that you learn the appropriate skill sets. You’ll have a far more enjoyable time and be less likely to have an injury or other mishap. And quite frankly, group lessons can be a trip. Wouldn’t you rather fall down a bunny slope with your friends than get stuck on a black diamond with adventure lords? You’ll build confidence, and it could quite possibly turn into a new hobby. Tip #2: The Sky’s The Limit So you’re poised and ready to take the plunge, but which route to take? Don’t settle for kickball–unless that’s what you want! Go ahead and take a kick at soccer or a whack at baseball. Why not try skydiving or deep-sea fishing? One tiny yet crucial detail: Let us not forget our athleticism and age. Completing a triathlon is unrealistic for some of us, but for others a triathlon may be a pregame. There’s no reason you can’t engage in competitive cycling at the age of 45, but that may be unappealing from an enjoyment standpoint. It’s a combination of factors that’ll be specific for you. If you’re hoping for more of a group friendly and lighthearted fitness plan, some options are: -Water aerobics-Tennis-Golf-Yoga-Sailing-Biking-Kayaking Whether you decide to go for adrenaline junkie status or zen, you do you. #3: Health Perks Not only are sports entertaining, they also do wonders for the heart and soul. They serve as a release, helping to alleviate emotional and mental stress. Plus physical activity prevents muscle and bone loss. Engaging in any sport helps boost confidence, improve teamwork, and enhance communication skills. And you know what that means: These benefits can transfer easily into your work and personal life. #4: Social Perks Have you ever been in a job interview and wished that you had something that would really set you apart from the masses? How about instead of mentioning your latest trip overseas, you discuss your tennis league? Not only does it show that you’re health-conscious (so you’re less of an expense to a company), it reveals that your skill sets span beyond the workforce. Plus, you may just find a mate at your next playoffs conference! You get to know more about a person on a field than across a bar or computer screen. Whatever your motivations are for checking out a sport, be sure it’s something that will be personally fulfilling and quench a fire that you’ve had burning for quite some time.

Abigail Rasminsky
Abigail Rasminsky has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Cut, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Marie Claire, among other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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