There are many benefits to participating in an organized sport. Joining a team is a great way to make friends and can give you a sense of community. Playing a sport is a great way to stay active and take care of your body. Sports can also be a wonderful opportunity for leadership roles (which many colleges like to see) like serving as a team captain or manager. And, depending on your talent and goals for the future, it can be a great way to get an edge in the college admissions process (and perhaps save a few bucks while doing it).
Each fall at the start of a new school year, I have a few students (generally freshmen) who express interest in joining a sport, but aren’t sure where to start or what to choose. Here is an email I sent to one such student this week; you might find it helpful, too!
A great starting point is to think about your current interests and natural skills. Don’t worry about not having played a sport before. Freshmen year is a great time to start and it’s not uncommon for people to begin a freshmen sport without having much previous experience.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Do you prefer to be outdoors or indoors? For example, if you have really bad allergies, you may want to avoid a sport that is played outside in the spring time like soccer.
2. How is your hand-eye-coordination? If you don’t think you’d be great at things that involve kicking or catching a ball, running would be a great sport for you! You could consider both track and cross country. Generally cross country involves distance running and Track involves shorter distance sprints.
3. If money is a factor, you may also want to consider sports that don’t require a lot of expensive equipment: sports like swim, soccer and running tend to be less expensive, while sports like hockey and skiing require a lot of expensive equipment.
4. Do you tend to be busier during certain times of the year? If fall is your busy time consider a spring sport and vice versa.
5. Consider any physical limitations you have. Perhaps you have asthma or become short of breath frequently, then you may want to consider a sport that requires less cardio vascular activity like softball, golf or bowling (as opposed to basketball, soccer or swim which involve a lot of running and movement).
6. Because you are a beginner, you may also want to consider the sports that are less competitive at your particular high school. For example, if your high school is known for having a phenomenal girl’s basketball team that makes it to championships every year and is very competitive, that might not be the best place to start.
Let me know your thoughts and we’ll come up with a game plan from there!
All the best,
The season during which each sport is played varies by state. Though there are a few sports that are in consistent in season from state to state (football, for example, is always played in the fall).
Here is a list of possible sports to choose from (note that it’s important to check and see what your high school offers, in particular):
Indoor Track and Field
Skiing and Snowboarding
Swimming and Diving
Track and Field
If you’re interested in playing a sport at the high school level, check in with your high school and see what’s available as a great place to start!