It’s recommended that the average adult gets one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week, or seventy five minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. While the vast majority of us will head to the gym, spend time with a personal trainer, run, jog or cycle to hit these goals, more and more of us are deciding to get into sports. This can prove to be great fun. After all, these activities tend to be more social, see you learn a skill that you can show off (generally speaking, people find watching someone shoot hoops, perform a gymnastic flip or do hundreds of keepy-uppies much more entertaining than watching someone on a cross trainer for half an hour). But if you want to get the most out of your activity, it’s always a good idea to see how the pros do it. This is where spectator sports come into play. Watching the best of the best perform in games and matches can be a great source of entertainment, as well as an opportunity to learn better technique, new moves and more impressive skills. So, here are a few different areas you might want to try out!
“Football” (if you are British) or “soccer” (if you are American) is a huge game in the United Kingdom. Most kids grow up supporting a team, sporting their team’s shirt and heading along to their team’s matches. People are often able to name players, know which team they play for now and who they’ve played for in the past. There are also international matches, such as during the World Cup where teams from around the world play it out to see who’s best. A typical football match will consist of two rival teams, each with eleven players (this comprises ten outfield players and one goal keeper who keeps the ball out of their goal). The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match (by kicking or heading the ball into their opponents’ goal) is deemed the winner. Each match lasts ninety minutes. It’s played in two halves of 45 minutes each. There is a fifteen minute break in the middle of each half. This break is referred to as “half time”. For a goal to count, the whole ball needs to be over the line of the goal’s mouth. Your hands cannot touch the ball and it is passed up and down the pitch by kicking the ball from one player to another or by a player running while kicking the ball along with them (this is known as “dribbling the ball”. A referee oversees the match to ensure a fair game is played. They can issue yellow cards or red cards. A yellow card is a warning – each player can have one yellow card, but once they receive their second, they will be sent off. A red card is for worse offences and results in a player immediately being sent off. When players are sent off, they can’t be replaced by substitutes, bringing their team down one player and putting the team at a significant disadvantage.
If you’re trying to choose a team to support, it’s a good idea to get to grips with the English League system. This is a hierarchy of different clubs. The Premier League is the top league, consisting of the best clubs. Below stands the Championship League. Below that is League One. Below that is League Two. Any club can progress up and down the league system by winning matches during their season. Going up a league is known as being promoted. Going down a league is known as being demoted. Some of the most popular clubs to support include Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Hockey is another sport composed of two teams. Put simply, players maneuver a puck around using a hockey stick and attempt to hit it into their opponent’s goal. There are various different types of hockey, including Bandy hockey, ice hockey (hockey played on ice while wearing ice skates) and more. But the most popular form tends to be field hockey, played on dry land in a field. There are some pretty big tournaments, but the most popular tends to be the Stanley Cup. You can find out more about this here!
Now onto a more American sport – baseball! Baseball, while being largely based in American sports, still holds the title of being one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. The premise of the game is pretty straightforward. It is a field sport, consisting of two rival teams. A player from one team will throw a ball to a player in another team who will then try to hit it with their bat. The player who hits the ball with their bat will then run around set marks in the field. These points are called bases. The player’s aim is to go round all the bases. While they do this, players from the other team will try to retrieve the ball and throw it to the base that the original player is running to before they reach it. The initial player can stop at a base if they think they’re going to be caught out, but once they’ve left a base, they have to make it to the next one without being caught out. If they’re caught out, they’re sent off. It’s as simple as that! What many people love about baseball is that it can be relatively unpredictable. There’s always the opportunity for underdogs to suddenly rise.
These are just a few different spectator sports that you might want to consider. There are plenty more out there, including more niche sports. At the end of the day, you won’t know what you’re into until you watch a little yourself. If you find something you’re interested in, stick with it! You could find a new lifelong passion!