How to Find Friends Through a Shared Love of Sports

young men playing football
Westend61/Getty Images

If you're looking for friends, joining a sports team is a great way to connect with people. Often many of our first friendships were formed through sports activities. Things like participating in intramurals or joining your school's sports team provided you a way to socialize with other people who enjoyed the game as much as you do. ​

Why Sports Help Foster Friendships

There are many reasons why sports provides a good icebreaker for new friends. First, you and your team are all working together and playing by the same set of rules. You need to trust each other (because you're thinking 'Will he make the play or will she have my back when I miss?') and as you get to know one another you play off each other's strengths.

Also, sports brings out a variety of people, so you'll share a common point of interest. You don't need to worry about making small talk in order to bond because the play you're involved in will help you do that. As a result, you'll have more to talk about after the games and practices.

But make no mistake, sports also helps you get along socially. If you're someone that struggles with social grace, sports can teach you about interacting with other people, listening, and letting someone else have center stage. You'll learn to take the spotlight without arrogance when you win like a champ, and handle losses with humility.

As you and your teammates play, you'll understand the benefits of giving other people the chance to shine. All of this is invaluable when it comes to making friends. Playing a sport of some kind is also a good way to keep in shape.

Sports activities are great for kids and adults who are looking for more friends. Here are three reasons you need to be involved in a sporting activity of some kind.

Tips for Kids

If you're new to the area (or the school), it's easy to make friends when you join a sports team. You're all working towards a common goal, and things like a tough coach or rotten play can actually help bond you all together.

Let's not forget, it's also fun! As a "new kid in town," you'll have an instant sense of belonging when you do sports. Other activities, like after-game meetings and parties, will extend your social time and allow you to find friends you really click with.

Tips for Adults

If you're an adult, don't forget about sports as a way to meet people, also. It certainly isn't limited to just the kids. Community centers, park and recreation departments, and places like all list adult sports programs.

There are plenty of adult sports teams for things like:

  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Field Hockey
  • Kickball
  • Soccer

Even sports that require partnering, like tennis or racquetball, can be a good way to meet people. Health clubs and gyms often have signups or regularly held events that you can attend alone and get partnered up with someone. This can help you join a group or find a workout buddy that will keep you motivated. 

Even if you're out of shape, joining or watching sports can help you meet new people. You can chat with the other people watching the game, for instance, and find out their story. Many people are looking for another person to go on regular walks with or even just have a cup of coffee with from time to time. 

Keep in Mind

Remember, when joining a sports team the goal is playing fairly and treating others with respect. You might be competitive, but you're also trying to make friends, so brush up on etiquette before you join a team. You can be friends as well as rivals and maintain a healthy relationship even if you're on opposite sides of the court or field.

Another tip to keep in mind? Don't take yourself so seriously. If you're trying out new sports, you might not be good at the skills required for the game right away. You might even learn a few different sports before you settle on one you like. Have patience with yourself and others, it will go a long way toward building a sense of accomplishment and also forming new friendships.