Adult sports teams you can join in London
In London, team sports for adults are becoming increasingly popular, enhancing social lives, motivation levels and fitness
Taking part in a team sport can also greatly enhance your quality of life, whether it be your social skills, motivation levels, focus, mood, or, of course, fitness. Rekindle a youthful zest for life and reap the health rewards in the process.
What are the benefits of team sports?
Whilst a trip to the gym ticks many fitness boxes, it is a personal, sometimes gruelling and soulless experience. Team sports, in contrast, offer all the fitness gains of a gym session, and social interaction too. There is nothing quite like the bonding experience of belonging to a sports team: egos are banished and friendly competition is encouraged. But, most importantly, it’s about getting together with a group of like-minded people and having fun while you’re at it. Post-match drinks, celebrations (or commiserations), and match tours to different parts of the country are all part and parcel of the lifestyle.
Playing a team sport can be exhilarating and challenging. It demands focus, dedication and effort, all of which will help to distract you from the stresses of daily life. Exercise is also a great mood enhancer – the rush of endorphins created by expending energy and the feelgood factor of fresh air (if you are outside) will contribute to a real uplift in spirits.
The mere thought of letting your team down is likely to motivate you to arrive (on time) and do your best whatever the circumstances. The better your team performs the more motivated you will become and vice versa. Concentration, communication, team spirit, maximum physical and mental input, and learning to cope with disappointment or failure are all qualities required on the field, and ones that will stand you in good stead in many other areas of life.
Most team sports give you a really good all-body workout, and combine heavy-duty cardio exercise with focused and intense muscle toning. ‘Going the extra mile’ in a match seems more bearable when you are competing with and being egged on by your teammates. A team sport will inject variety – different opposition, different locations, different match strategies – and plenty of fun into your fitness regime.
What’s going to keep me hooked?
When it comes to team sports commitment is key. So, it’s important tochoose a sport that appeals to you personally and plays to your strengths. Check the location of the club or venue that offers your sport, as the nearer it is to your home or work, the more likely you are to regularly attend regularly. Before signing up, it would be wise to check the timings of training, as they must fit with your day-to-day lifestyle. Meet the coach or teaching professionals to make sure you see eye to eye – you will perform better if you like their style – and partake in a trial session to make sure you get a good feel for the sport. Last but not least, match your sport to your financial budget. If you are feeling the strain at the end of the first month, you are unlikely to keep it up.
The best team sports London has to offer
The choice of team sports is almost endless, we know, but, to make your life a little easier, we have scoured the capital for 13 very different but equally rewarding options. In each case, we have recommended a reputable club or league. Cost will vary according to commitment, travel and equipment, but most are surprisingly affordable.
It’s a very physically demanding sport that requires muscular strength, power and anaerobic endurance (short duration, high intensity exertion), as well as guts – injuries are always a risk with hockey. Vitality, the giant health and life insurance company, is re-pledging its sponsorship of a ‘Back to Hockey’ scheme that has inspired 1000’s of people to take up the sport whatever their ability and prior experience. ‘Back to Hockey’ sessions are available at clubs all over London.
Playing netball builds excellent hand – eye coordination, is a great upper body workout and the nimbleness needed to move around the court helps tone the legs, and strengthen the core. Practising the short sharp movements will make for sharper reflexes. Power Play have fantastic netball clubs scattered across 13 London locations. Single sex or mixed teams play indoors or outdoors, in a competitive but friendly and inclusive atmosphere.
The bat and ball game much loved by 11 year olds and PE teachers across the country has, in recent years, garnered a loyal following of new fans looking for new ways to let off steam. There are now 40 leagues and 190 rounders teams tailored to all levels across the country. Go Mammoth offers the biggest social rounders leagues in London, with locations in Battersea Park, Clapham Common, Regents Park and Wandsworth Common.
Volleyball has many fitness benefits, and challenges the whole body. Jumping and weaving across the court is excellent cardio, hitting the ball helps tone your upper body and the balance required during the game works wonders for your core – you can burn up to 800 calories in an hour. The most comprehensive information of volleyball clubs and venues is offered by Volleyball England.
Table tennis has become increasingly popular following its integration into schools, social clubs and sports centres. ‘Ping England’ has set up hundreds of tennis tables, both indoors and outdoors all over the UK to encourage people to pick up a bat and play for ‘the sheer fun of it’. Head to one of the many tables listed in Central London where, as an added bonus, you can play for free.
The fast and hard stick and ball game played by teams of 10 people challenges both the mind and the body – as with many sports, strategy is key to success. ‘Central London Lacrosse’ is the only women’s lacrosse club to found in the heart of the capital (matches are played in Regent’s Park), and it has three senior teams as well as courses for beginners and intermediate players.
This form of ruby involves six players per team, which can be mixed or single sex. GoMammoth organises touch rugby leagues with experienced referees in 8 locations across London, all year round. All levels of ability are welcome and plenty of post match beers are to be expected. It’s great for cardio exercise and a well-known social game for men and women.
Often played casually outside or on the beach, badminton has become increasingly popular across the capital as an indoor team sport. Badminton has many of the physical benefits of tennis but is a marginally lower impact sport – the actions are similar but the shuttlecock is very light so impact with the racquet is less. The speed of the game is also slower, making it less onerous on the knees and hips. ‘Meet up’, the group events organisation, offers social and professional badminton club membership at locations across the whole of Greater London.
Open-wheel go-carts come in all shapes and sizes, from motorless models to high powered racing machines which can reach speeds of up to 40mph. ‘Team Sport’ has 5 tracks with circuits of up to 800m, located at sites across London. Team Sport can format races for every occasion, whether it be for a corporate jolly, a special celebration, or regular race meets. For a turbo-charged adrenaline rush and great social interaction it’s well worth a go.
Although not technically a team sport, Ceroc is convivial and good exercise (you can work up quite a sweat on the dance floor), and induces a great ‘feel-good’ factor among its dancers. Ceroc’s fusion of various well-known dance steps is easy to pick up, but, don’t panic: teachers will be on hand to assist with any difficulties you may have. Ceroc venues are dotted around London and classes range from beginner level to advanced – turn up to their classes by yourself (you will dance with scores of other learners during dance nights), with a partner, or with a group.
Football is now the most popular team sport among women in the UK. ‘Social Sports Mix’ organises 7 or 11-a-side mixed gender football leagues on pitches across London. If you are over 18 and looking to play fun football on a casual basis, this is the company for you. Plus, it is normally free and not super competitive, so expect a spirited run around with like minded individuals wanting to let off steam and enjoy themselves.
For those who don’t fancy ball sports, but love the water, synchronised swimming is a great option. Combining swimming, dance moves and gymnastics, it is a first class way to keep fit, well toned, and make friends.
For those who yearn for some time in the saddle and are prepared to commit serious time and money to get it, polo may be the answer. At Ham Polo Club, right beside Richmond Park in South West London, no previous experience of polo is necessary and horses can be rented – teaching is available onsite. Be prepared to ride ‘chukkas’ (practice matches) twice per week and play in formal matches every weekend. It is a fast paced, exhilarating, strenuous game that will also develop your core, leg and upper-body strength. The lifestyle, which is very sociable, can become all embracing, but it comes with a hefty price tag.