Get ready to run, swim, jump, swing, hit and kick

Sport has always been a part of Australian culture and identity. Whether it’s challenging your mates to a game in the backyard, or playing competitive matches for your club, there are many benefits to playing sport.

The first decision you need to make for yourself or your children is whether you want to try an individual or team sport and both types have their advantages.

Team sports are great for meeting new people, making friends and becoming part of a wider club community, and they are often cheaper than individual sports with costs spread across a larger group of people.

Individual sports mean you can train when you want to and can often choose when you want to play or compete. You also do not need to rely on other people taking part or to make up enough numbers for a team.

Both types of sport are great for boosting confidence and building social and communication skills. They also help increase fitness and both mental and physical health.

When choosing a sport things such as time commitments, equipment needed, and of course costs, need to be considered. A game may take a short time to play but there is also training, before and after game commitments, and travel time which can be a huge factor, especially in regional areas. 

Costs can include registration and insurance fees, along with equipment costs and weekly or seasonal match fees. Often clubs will have discounts on family or student memberships so be sure to ask when joining.

Given the wide variety of sports to choose from it may help if you already know someone in a local club. If not, finding one to join is easy. A quick Google search can help find competitions and clubs and Facebook pages always have a wealth of information including registration and training days, age groups, and fees.

After choosing a sport ensure you have all the equipment you need. While some equipment is provided by clubs such as jerseys or match balls, most of the items you will need to provide yourself. 

The most basic equipment such as boots or joggers should be worn in, comfortable and have good grip for the type of playing surface. Other equipment needed for different sports items can vary greatly.

It is always a good idea to borrow things such as clubs, racquets, bats and other non-personal items to find a size and style that suits yourself.

Buying second hand online can also be a handy way to reduce start up costs.

For more individualised items it’s always best to get some expert advice before you purchase, especially with things such as mouth guards, shin pads and head gear.

Any time of year: Sports such as netball, soccer and hockey are becoming more popular to play all year round. Photo: Chris Seabrook.

Any time of year: Sports such as netball, soccer and hockey are becoming more popular to play all year round. Photo: Chris Seabrook.

Jumping in the deep end: Swimming is one of the cheapest and easiest sports in which to take part. You can swim for fun, fitness or competitively and it's a great way to beat the heat. Photo: Shutterstock.

Jumping in the deep end: Swimming is one of the cheapest and easiest sports in which to take part. You can swim for fun, fitness or competitively and it's a great way to beat the heat. Photo: Shutterstock.