Finding a sport for me
As well as a large number of local clubs you can join and facilities you can use there are also national organisations which promote sport for young people like Sport England. There are also national funding programmes like the National Lottery which can give young people an opportunity to develop their sport. This section concentrates on these organisations. Almost all of them will be able to put you in touch with a local organisation. This section also includes information on being a spectator and supporter.
Most people’s experience of playing sport begins at school, either in the playground at break time or in games lessons. Some people love school sport and go on to play in their spare time. For others it is a weekly chore and the sooner it is over the better.
If you never really liked sport at school you probably wont feel very enthusiastic about taking it up later. But sport is a very broad term and just because you had a miserable time doing cross country at school doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy archery or rollerblading for example. Perhaps you’re just not so good at running but you might have a really steady arm for snooker!
Some of the most popular sports are easy to play without much equipment The most important thing about sport is being able to participate in it. The more you play the better you get. You may find that you want to play in a team and compete with others and this is the point when your sport gets more serious and questions about equipment, access to facilities and travel costs become more important.
Sport is also a great way of getting to meet people. If you’re stuck at home or feeling lonely, joining a sport club can give you an excuse to meet new people. In the section on different sports we’ve included information on how much it costs to play the sport, where to go for a local contact and what kind of opportunities there are for disabled people.
Where can I play sport?
All local authority leisure departments provide sports facilities in their area. The Government has introduced new Sport Action Zones to enhance community sports across England. The programme is intended to run for 10 years. Call your local authority to find out what is available for you locally.
You don’t have to play sport in a sports hall or recreation centre, kicking a ball in the park, walking the dog or practising yoga at home are all beneficial sporting activities. You and a group of friends may like to form your own football team, running group or perhaps even a Frisbee challenge team! All of these activities can be enjoyed informally. If you want more details about any sporting activity, contact one of the sports organisations in our listing.
Are you getting enough exercise?
The Health Education Authority (now the Health Development Agency) published a very useful leaflet called “Getting Active – Feeling Fit”. The guide encourages you to make exercise part of your weekly routine. They have the following advice for young people:
“When you’re young, it’s easy to think that you don’t need to bother exercising. But it’s vital to keep active to keep yourself in good shape. Not only will you look and feel better but you’ll be less likely to store up health problems for the future.”
The leaflet suggested you do some or all of the following:
-Join a local leisure centre;
-If there is a particular sport you enjoy, make enquiries with your local sports centre to see if there is a club you can join;
-If you prefer individual activities, try cycling, walking or jogging. You may know someone who would like to train with you;
-There may be discounts available to young people in your area. Find out from the local council if schemes like this operate in your area;
-Don’t forget dancing… A night on the dance floor can use up as much energy as a full workout!
Contact the HEA if you would like to receive a copy of their leaflet.
There are a number of organisations in the UK promoting sport in general or the development of a particular sport. Here we have included details of organisations promoting a general interest in sport, including the Sports Council, National Coaching Foundation and the Sports Council Lottery Fund.