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Guest blog: Four ways to get involved in sports as an adult

Hi friends,


Today, we are so excited to have Elise Vue, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach at Play Gap, take over the blog! Play Gap is a nonprofit that expands awareness, accessibility and support for women’s sports opportunities. With that in mind, Elise is here to share some of the ways that you can get involved in sports at any age! Read on and don’t forget to follow Play Gap on Instagram.


 

From iconic women’s college basketball showdowns to the increased investments in women’s professional soccer, there has been a surge in mainstream popularity for women’s sports. This attention isn’t going anywhere and it has left many former athletes to reminisce about the glory days of their youth. Like most of us who didn’t go pro, they’ve shed their athletic identity for corporate jobs and family roles, but the longing for competition remains.


Many women still wonder if it’s possible to regain the feelings of confidence and camaraderie that come from playing sports. Just like the media has neglected women’s sports for decades, they especially overlook recreational women’s sports and the impact they have on the health and wellbeing of our communities. We’re here to tell you that regardless of your age or ability, there are sports opportunities accessible to you! Let’s take a look at four of the ways you can get back into sports as a working adult, outside of just working in the industry.

 

Play

Most cities have numerous women’s only and co-ed sports programs for adults, but they aren’t always easy to find. We recommend starting your search with your local recreation centers, gyms, or Google, which often offer soccer, volleyball, softball, basketball or pickleball programs. One of these could be a good route for you. However, we know that as busy women, we don’t commit to anything unless we know that it will be worth our time. Is it a relaxed culture with drop-ins or is it more organized with a formal time commitment? Will it be welcoming of our age, skill level, or abilities? Outlining these factors and additional questions to ask before joining, Play Gap’s free Best Fit Guide is a great resource to help you find your next sport.



Play Gap also hosts a centralized database of women’s sports opportunities that we’ve vetted to ensure that they are inclusive, safe, and upfront with their expectations of participants. Our partners include the more conventional sports but also others that you might not have considered before, such as roller derby, rugby, squash, dodgeball and quadball. Many of these adult leagues don’t require any prior experience so it’s never too late to play! Play Gap started in Northeast Ohio, but is seeking partners across the country to expand their connections to all women seeking a sports community.



Coach

If you want to get involved in the sports world, have you considered coaching? Many youth and adult recreational sports are seeking volunteer coaches and do not require previous experience. Heck, you can coach a youth team in a sport you’ve never played before! The internet can help you with the sport-specific knowledge, so you can trust your own leadership skills and passion to carry you the rest of the way. Multiple coaching organizations offer resources, including educational articles, step-by-step drills, and webinars to improve your coaching knowhow.


Volunteer

Coaching isn’t for everyone, but sports organizations are always looking for volunteers, whether you have experience with finance, marketing, or are just good at talking to people. Contributing time for one event or in an ongoing manner is welcome. One-day volunteers could sell raffle tickets at a game, direct traffic at a tournament, or photograph a sports clinic. Ongoing volunteer opportunities might include Board Member positions or roles where you assist with larger tasks, such as event planning, fundraising, or managing a social media account.If this route seems more up your alley, look at smaller local teams and sports-related nonprofits to find one that aligns with your goals. Simply contact them and share your interest. Most groups would be thrilled at the offer and welcome any extra help you can provide.

 



Spectate

Even if none of these resonate with you, you can still be a part of a sports community by simply showing up. Teams of all competitive levels are looking for more fans in the stands! Cheer at an in-person game, spectate from a local bar, or host your own watch party. However you choose to watch your favorite team, your support is always appreciated.  

 

And remember, no matter how you get involved, you're awesome and you belong here!




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