Sporting suggestions
July 24, 2014 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Winter is coming... and I need an indoor sport to play. What sport can you recommend that is not fitness-as-sport (so weightlifting is out), not gear-heavy (hockey is out), not done totally solo (speed skating is out; interactive one-on-one competition like squash is OK), and works up a sweat (range shooting is out)?

I think quickly and have good reflexes. I am not strong and have below average coordination. The ideal sport would use my strengths and help improve my weaknesses.

Other considerations: I am a bad swimmer. I am young enough to take some bruising, but I don't want to get any concussions. I did not grow up athletic, so sports that people often start as teens and adults would be great (basketball is out).

Price: Helicopter racing is out of my range, but it doesn't have to be as cheap as running.

I know many martial arts probably meet the requirements. I would prefer ones that avoid blows to the head and don't have much skin-to-skin or skin-to-mat contact.

Indoor sports I have enjoyed: tennis, box lacrosse
Indoor sports I have not enjoyed: volleyball, dodgeball
posted by rebooter to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Co-ed 5-on-5 indoor soccer! It doesn't pass the "sports that people often start as teens/adults" criterion, but meets your other requirements.
posted by saturngirl at 9:31 AM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Squash sounds perfect. Badminton could be another option.
posted by mymbleth at 9:32 AM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Indoor climbing.
posted by Cuke at 9:32 AM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

Floor hockey
posted by AndrewInDC at 9:34 AM on July 24, 2014

Indoor soccer. Or racketball.
posted by suelac at 9:35 AM on July 24, 2014

Played indoor soccer for years - it's a great workout and teams/leagues can be found at all levels, both co-ed and not.
posted by leslies at 9:52 AM on July 24, 2014

You'd be surprised how much of a sweat you work up while sweeping, and your quick reflexes will be an asset as a sweeper while the vigorousness of sweeping will improve your strength. Your quick-thinking and analytical skills will help you strategize and one day become a great Third or Skip, and throwing 45lb rocks down a sheet of ice to hit a precise target will definitely help build your coordination.
Most clubs have gear you can borrow while you're learning, so equipment cost is very low. Also, the tradition of broomstacking means you're almost guaranteed to make new friends.
Availability of curling clubs is likely very location-dependent, but even non-traditional curling areas are starting to catch on to the awesomeness (see Atlanta Curling club link above for proof that the sport is popping up in the most unexpected places).

Curling is fun!
posted by Dorinda at 10:05 AM on July 24, 2014

posted by grounded at 10:07 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Table tennis!
posted by Night_owl at 10:14 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have enjoyed climbing and it's quite popular now, so you may find a rock gym near you. Many of them have auto-belay systems so you can go solo (or you can try bouldering which keeps you closer to the ground), but otherwise you'll probably need a partner so you can belay each other.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:25 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

in winter, I play broomball. I play outside, but they do have inside leagues too. I play in a for fun league, so it doesn't matter that I'm terrible at it.

This shows you what it's like -- running on ice with shoes on, using a stick like a broom handle to hit a small soccer like ball to your teammates / towards the goal. These guys are way better than I am, and have competence (at least as they editted the video) in shooting goals. But running around on the ice with friends is fun.

As to your requirements:
*It is a game.
*The only gear we bring are clothes to be warm / fall on the ice. that means I bought some cheap knee pads. Everything else (stick helmet ball) is provided by the league we play with.
* It's a team sport
* even on the coldest days, I take layers off at halftime from running around the ice.
posted by garlic at 10:28 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Lyn Never at 10:34 AM on July 24, 2014

Indoor soccer. Team sport, lots of running, fun and if you play in a casual league, it won't be overly competitive either so you're allowed to suck. If you are a defender, you don't really even need to be good at playing soccer (dribbling and shooting, etc.) -- you just need to be able to mark people and kick the ball away from the other team. All you need to play soccer are a pair of shin guards. Don't do any headers and your head should get no contact.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:56 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, squash or racquetball are good options depending on what's popular locally. I found racquetball to be easier to pick up as a raw beginner than tennis. It's kind of like chess in that regard: it doesn't take long to get a handle on the basics but you can spend a lifetime fine-tuning your skills. And it's fun to play even when you still suck because SMASHBOING.
posted by drlith at 11:15 AM on July 24, 2014

Rock climbing!

Indoor gym sport that can translate to outdoors (with proper instruction/guidance) if you end up enjoying it this winter. Builds great muscle (particularly upper body & core), but can be started without much strength - I had no upper body strength when I started out, which actually helps you build good technique from the get-go. It can be a good endurance workout if you choose to structure it that way by climbing several long routes one after another. As you develop as a climber there's plenty of thinking that goes into tackling the different problems (both bouldering and climbing), and quick thinking is valuable.
posted by Gori Girl at 11:58 AM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

My friends in Boston play in an indoor winter soccer league. See if Toronto has anything along those lines?
posted by maryr at 12:00 PM on July 24, 2014

Make sure you get protective eyewear if you play racquetball and squash. (If you wear glasses only, you may be kinda hosed, unfortunately - you can get expensive shields that fit over them but the underlying lenses have to be the sports-polycarbonate kind.)

Basketball might be more of an option than you think if you have a friend that knows how to play, or if you have another friend who doesn't know how to play but wants to learn. A friend of mine apparently learned only in grad school and is really good now, plays pick-up games all the time, etc. There was also a group of people at grad school called the Bad Ballerz (heh) who were a basketball league with the only rule being that you couldn't actually be good at basketball.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:03 PM on July 24, 2014

Just noticed that you're in the T.Dot, in which case my earlier suggestion of "Curling!" is even MORE appropriate!
posted by Dorinda at 12:18 PM on July 24, 2014

Seconding fencing. It's a great workout and you will work up a sweat. Many fencing studios have equipment you can borrow. Your ability to think and move quickly will come in very handy!
posted by ATX Peanut at 2:57 PM on July 24, 2014

Netball, especially if there's a mixed social league you can join.

What makes it a good beginner team sport is that each player is limited to certain zones, and there's no running with the ball - it has to be passed around. So there can be no ball-hogging like there can be in basketball or soccer and you have a good chance of being in the action. There are also different positions you can play, some of which will have more running than others. There's no real strength involved, except for balancing, but you'll develop that by playing. It's sort of non contact - they should inspect your nails before the game and if they're too long, get you to cut them or tape them up so you don't scratch people.

My only caution is that it can be hard on your knees, so maybe not for you if you have known knee issues. If you're otherwise OK, you'll be fine in a social league.
posted by pianissimo at 5:47 PM on July 24, 2014

Also came here to suggest indoor soccer, and will add that while many people have played since childhood, there are quite a lot (like me) who picked it up in adulthood and are slowly improving, especially in the lowest-level recreational leagues (usually obvious from the league name). People are mostly very friendly, and it's a lot easier on newcomers than volleyball is - if you mess up, there's a whole team that's got your back, instead of ending the play.

Note that you can play indoors in either gyms (almost a different game, smaller field=no breaks while the ball's far away, faster pace, less skills-oriented but an excellent workout) or turf (much more expensive than gyms, but more like actual soccer).
posted by randomnity at 12:49 PM on July 25, 2014

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