Five sports to turn your hand at this year

If the idea of school sports lessons used to conjure images of an old man in tracksuits blowing a whistle at you and ordering your dripping wet body to run faster, push harder or kick further, then you may be feeling that your arrival at university is the perfect time to shelve your sporting participation and move on to other activities.

However, you should not be so hasty in making such a decision because university sport can offer so much more than the staple school diet of rugby, football and netball.

Instead, the Edinburgh University Sports Union offers a range of over 60 different clubs with which you can pursue sporting excellence, ranging from motorsports to weightlifting.

While some club’s membership fees may seem steep at first glance, others offer well-priced opportunities to keep active and try your hand at a new sport. In fact, even the most expensive clubs offer a good price for the services that they offer.

In order to help you survey your options, The Student has compiled a list of five lesser heard of sports clubs that you can join to chase your sporting ambitions at The University of Edinburgh.

Korfball: A sport that originated in the Netherlands, korfball combines skills from netball and basketball to create a high-octane sport of mixed gender teams in which players aim to put the ball through a 3.5 metre high ‘korf’, small basketball hoop. Teams are made up of four men and four women, although players are not able to mark opponents of a different gender, and with players unable to move with the ball, the sport creates a strong team bond in which people are forced to work together.

The Edinburgh University Korfball Club is made up of three teams, with two made up nearly entirely of beginners, which enables new players to take up the sport without fear of embarrassing themselves. If the sound of this appeals to you then make sure to go along to the club’s taster session on September 15 at St Leonard’s Sport and Exercise between 3pm and 5pm to try it for yourself.

With a membership of only £38 a year or £25 for the first semester and a social side to the club that involves events such as a ‘Real Ale Safari’ and a ‘Tied to a Korfer’ social, korfball may be the sport for you to energise your time in Edinburgh.

Kendo: As opposed to many self-defence martial arts, kendo is a martial way that aims to improve the people that practice it, or kendokas, if you want to use the technical term. Originating in Japan, kendo can be literally translated as ‘the way of the sword’ and is focused around the use a ‘shinai’, or bamboo sword, rather than any kicking or punching.

Do not worry if you have no prior knowledge or experience of kendo because the club is always willing to accept new members and provides all the equipment that is required to practise the sport, aiming to take members who are learning the sport from scratch to competing in competitions within their first year.

Membership only costs £40 for the year or £20 for a semester and enables you to attend any of the four training sessions a week, with taster sessions also available within the first two weeks of the academic year which make it easy to discover whether kendo can be your newfound passion.

Ultimate Frisbee (Ro Sham Bo): While many people have heard of ultimate frisbee, few have taken the time to go along to a training session or aim to learn the rules.

However, with the friendly Ro Sham Bo club at The University of Edinburgh, which often performs well in nationwide competitions, there is no excuse to not go along to one of the three welcome events that they put on in Freshers’ Week, including the club’s show game and barbecue which takes place on Saturday September 15 between 1pm and 3pm on The Meadows.

With training sessions taking place twice a week and membership starting at £20 a year for beginners, ultimate frisbee offers an enjoyable outdoors sport in which you can meet teammates of both genders, both on the pitch and at the weekly socials at Finnegan’s Wake. So, start practising your frisbee throwing skills and prepare yourself to try your hand at ultimate frisbee with the Ro Sham Bo this year.

Curling: You may have seen curling on your screens once every four years as Great Britain teams compete for Winter Olympic medals, sweeping ferociously as they strive for success.

Yet, the Edinburgh University Curling Club offers you the opportunity to try your hand at this Scottish sport that has been played for over 500 years since its invention on the frozen ponds of the country. On September 26 and October 3 between 2:30 and 5:30pm, the club is offering two taster sessions at the Murrayfield Ice Rink, which can be easily reached by bus.

The £70 for a year’s membership may seem expensive compared to others on this list, but it does provide access to all training sessions and internal competitions, as well as coaching from all four of the club’s trained coaches. So, if you think that curling may be your thing, then start learning the difference between your hog-line and your skip and get ready for some fun on the ice.

Gliding: For the thrill seekers among you, the Edinburgh University Gliding Club may be the one to satisfy your adventurous desires. Using air currents rather than engine power to stay in the air, gliders provide an exhilarating way to view the world from above.

However, while taking charge of an aircraft without an engine may sound daunting at first, the university’s club is always willing to take on beginners, offering a trial lesson along with membership, for just £60. After that, flights only cost £16, including insurance, offering the chance to learn this exciting new skill with one of the best-equipped university teams in the UK.

Such costs may seem a lot to freshers starting out with a meagre student loan, but they give you the chance to fly at a price much cheaper than most gliding or aeroplane-flying clubs. Meaning that, if floating like a bird above the Scottish countryside appeals to you, then seeking out the gliding club during Freshers’ Week should be top of your things to do.

As can be seen, university sport is not the narrow corridor offered by schools, but rather a vast expanse filled with hidden wonders. Yet, do not be put off if none of the above appeal to you, there are many other clubs at the university that can feed your sporting appetite, meaning that the Sports Union offers something for everyone.

So, make sure to go to the Sport and Fitness Fair at The Pleasance on September 12 and 13 to explore, sign up and start your university sporting adventure.

Image: Andy Sidders via Flickr

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