Getting ready to take the field

The best fit: Sports such as hockey require individual pieces of equipment. Try a variety of sizes and brands to ensure you get the right fit for you. Photo: Chris Seabrook.
The best fit: Sports such as hockey require individual pieces of equipment. Try a variety of sizes and brands to ensure you get the right fit for you. Photo: Chris Seabrook.

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The autumn leaves are falling and the weather is cooling down which means it’s time to get ready for the upcoming winter sports season, but what sport is the best fit for you or your family?

Both individual and team sports have their advantages. Individual sport means you can often play whenever you like, you don’t need to join a club and you aren’t relying on other people to show up for training or for games. Team sports however are a great way to have fun with friends and meet new people, and are often cheaper than individual sports as the costs are shared between teams.

When choosing a sport things such as time commitments, equipment needed, travel and of course costs, have to be considered. A game may take a short time to play but there is also training, before and after game commitments, along with travel time which can be a huge factor. Costs are another influence including registration and insurance fees along with equipment costs, and weekly match fees. 

Hitting the slopes: With equipment and package deals becoming more affordable, skiing and snowboarding are increasing in popularity. Photo: Shutterstock.

Hitting the slopes: With equipment and package deals becoming more affordable, skiing and snowboarding are increasing in popularity. Photo: Shutterstock.

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Finding a local club to join is very easy and you may already know someone in a club. If not, a Google search will find local clubs, and there is always information available on clubs’ Facebook pages.

The more common outdoor winter sports played are soccer, AFL, rugby league, rugby union, hockey and netball. Low temperatures outside mean indoor sports are becoming more popular including basketball, squash, netball, and smaller versions of outdoor sports.

The basics: Most sports simply require good footwear such as runners or boots. Specific sports may also need shin pads, a mouth guard or head gear. Photo: Shutterstock.

The basics: Most sports simply require good footwear such as runners or boots. Specific sports may also need shin pads, a mouth guard or head gear. Photo: Shutterstock.

The most important pieces of equipment needed are boots or joggers. They should be comfortable, fit well (with thick socks) and have good grip for the playing surface. Other protective gear that you may need includes a well fitted mouth guard, shin pads with ankle protection built in, and head gear.

While mainstream sports continue to be a weekly focus, winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are becoming increasingly popular. They may seem expensive but they are a huge amount of fun and can be incorporated into an excitement filled, family holiday.

Ski passes are normally available daily, weekly or a full season. If you are really keen there are also deals between local and international ski resorts that allow you to hit the snow all year round. It’s recommended that you have your own waterproof jacket and pants, beanies and gloves. Not only will they keep you warm but they will also keep you dry.

The main choice in equipment comes down to skis and poles, or a snowboard, along with a helmet and goggles. It is best to rent these items if you are only just starting to learn. This allows you to try different brands, styles and sizes without committing to an expensive purchase. Like any sport, lessons are a great idea for beginners.