• PE class wasn't fun for everyone, particularly girls. (PARAMOUNT PICTURES)Source: PARAMOUNT PICTURES
There are too many benefits of playing sports to let the grim memories of musty change rooms and broken equipment hold you back. Improving fitness, making friends and learning a new skill is just some of the positive reasons to forget about those daunting double-line PE lessons.
By
Sophie Verass

1 Jul 2016 - 12:00 PM  UPDATED 3 Jul 2016 - 9:25 AM

1. Do it with a friend

 

Make exercise a safe space.

PE class was an uncomfortable place for many students, particularly girls. Memories of male peers demonstrating society's deeply rooted perception that girls are bad at sport, made it difficult for a number of women to engage with an activity that they spent years feeling excluded from. 

By having the ball rarely passed to you or seeing a tight a semi-circle form around the tee as soon as a you stepped up to bat, was a disparaging message that pigs could fly further than a girl’s hit, and consequently it’s understandable why playing sport isn’t a girl’s favourite pastime.

There’s no need to partner up with the jock who took Year 9 athletics too seriously anymore.

Find a close friend who you can create a supportive environment with and subsequently, feel comfortable being yourself in front of.

Duo sports like squash, tennis, and badminton, or simply going for a run in a pair, keeps exercise intimate, so you don't have to be discouraged by cliques anymore.

 

2. Do it in good weather

 

With 6-week holidays over summer, majority of PE classes were held in colder months.

If your knees weren’t being stung by cold wind while you waited for your turn of the pitching machine, the rainy drizzle made ‘ballroom dancing’ the lesson of the day, where 19th Century steps were paired with So Fresh 'hits of 2002'. 

Flashbacks of bare legs in weather-inappropriate uniforms playing upon ice-cold dewy grass is enough to make anyone thank graduation for freeing them of frost-bitten finger-tips around well-worn equipment. 

If your knees weren’t being stung by cold wind while you waited for your turn of the pitching machine, the rainy drizzle made ‘ballroom dancing’ the lesson of the day, where 19th Century steps were paired with So Fresh 'hits of 2002'.

Take advantage of sunny days.

Loads of dynamic sports are played in hot weather like beach volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, swimming and surfing.

Many sports traditionally played in winter like football, hockey and rugby often host out-of-season ‘twilight’ games, held in warm summer evenings, and if the daunting memory of organised sports still takes you back to high school PE class, getting friends together and playing cricket or amateur football in the park or backyard is a great way to spend a summer’s day.

 

3. Make it a game

 

The competition side of PE made sport feel - at times - very unfun.

The pressure of performing and the memories of being interrogated whether you "missed that shot" or "let that goal in" by the red-faced kid on the defeated team, made those with a bad case of the 'uncoordinateds' ashamed of contributing.  

The pressure of performing and the memories of being interrogated whether you "missed that shot" or "let that goal in" ... made those with a bad case of the 'uncoordinateds' ashamed of contributing to the team.

Instead, focus on the silly and carefree elements of play while simultaneously building your skills. Something as inane as seeing how long you can throw a ball without dropping it is great way to pass time and it will improve moves used in many sports.

Similarly, shooting basketball hoops and playing games like H.O.R.S.E can be just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids.

4. Invest in what you like

 

School lessons have to appeal to the diversity of the student body.

Even though you might have enjoyed stick games like lacrosse and hockey, some other student couldn't wait for the teacher to lay out the orange cones for AFL (which unfortunately, you had neither interest, nor skill in).   

By committing to a sport for the season you're likely to experience the full dynamic and potential of a sport including, tactics, techniques, positioning and even umpiring and management...

Invest in a sport that suits you.

While club fees seem like a deterrent to playing sports, it’s actually a great incentive to get value from the expense. By committing to a sport for the season you're likely to experience the full dynamic and potential of a sport, removing the stigma of sports seeming like an adolescent hobby played in between math and English class. Instead, learn a full spectrum of tactics, techniques, positioning and even umpiring and management. 

Also, do some research of what’s out there beyond PE staples like touch footy and newcomb ball. 

Physical Education isn’t the Olympics, it doesn't reveal the whole landscape of activity out there, especially due to funding. You could be a talented ballet dancer or clay shooter, but your school didn't have the equipment or teaching staff to nurture your qualities. 

 

5. Look good, feel great

 

Welcome to the millennial, era of designer sportswear.

 

While fixating on image seems superficial and plays into negative gender stereotypes that many athletes try to combat, the available range of specialised, high-quality activewear makes playing sport a world away from the days in a frumpy netball bib that retained the musk of the Class of 1989.

High school’s polyester uniforms called for some seriously uncomfortable exercising in the courtyard. Especially during a time when hormones were haywire and perspiration was locked in by cheap viscose and loose football shorts provided no support when mother nature called.

Dozens of brands on the market are designed especially for women in play, with breathable fabrics, cuts that assist circulation and that look nothing like lost property from the late 80s.

 


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