High-speed sports for the attention challenged
No time? No worries. These trimmed-down social sports are perfect for the patience-poor
Marathons not your thing? There are plenty of short, sharp sports to love
tTeam sports: sure, they seem like fun, but freeing up a three-hour chunk of your packed weekend ain’t always gonna to happen. Not when you’ve got food prep to do, brunch with your mates, plus that Bumble date to lock into an already packed diary. According to an Australian Sports Commission study, 28 per cent of women say they don’t have time for the whole team thing. But what if you could play an entire netty game, plus shower and change, all in your lunch break? Or tick off a footy match after work? Enter the hot new breed of speedy sports that actually fit into your life.
THE LOWDOWN Standard cricket rules have 50 overs (each over has six balls) and it can take all day (standing in the sun for six hours!) to get through a game. Twenty20 is the quickfire version. With only 20 overs, the aim is to whack each ball as far as possible and score as many runs as you can. Not only does this mean there’s always something exciting going on but also “in making [the big hits], more people get out, which means everyone gets a go [at batting],” explains
Meg Lanning, captain of the gun Aussie women’s cricket team, the Southern Stars. That’s unlike regular cricket, where you can spend the entire innings on the bench.
SKILL UP Batting is great for hand-eye coordination, especially in the game’s shorter format when you really have to go for every shot. Don’t feel comfortable bowling at first? No problem! Only five of the 11 players in a team have to bowl. So you have space to practise before taking centre stage. Win!
PERFECT IF You don’t have the brain space for sports tactics.
“You don’t have to be too tactical about [the game], you just go in there and try to score as many runs as you can,” says Lanning. “But the longer the format you play, the more tactical it becomes.” Have a whack at playcricket.com.au
THE LOWDOWN Take six-minute quarters and five players and you have enough for a game of Fast5. Although most rules are the same as standard netball, there are some changes to make the game more dynamic. Think: rolling substitutions (which means you can sub on and off whenever you like), multiple-point shots based on where you shoot from, and each team gets to pick a “Power Play” quarter, during which they earn double points.
SKILL UP Feeling overwhelmed? “The rule where you can sub on and off is definitely useful if you’re just learning the game, [because] you can sub off, sit back and watch,” says Sam Poolman, who represented Australia in the 2017 Fast5 World Series.
PERFECT IF You’re a risk taker. “[People] who are happy to take the long shot do the best at Fast5,” says Poolman. “When shooters [get] the three-pointers it’s awesome; the whole team just lifts.” Take a shot at playfast5.com.au
THE LOWDOWN No fear of getting your teeth knocked out with this one: unlike rugby league, touch is tackle-free. How it works? Each team fields six players at a time, who run the ball to the touchdown zone to score while avoiding being touched by the other team. Each half is a speedy 20 minutes, so it’s all over in the space of a Suits episode. SKILL UP Having to dodge touches means you’ll boost agility, speed and ball skills. Plus, “the ball is smaller [compared] to rugby league, so it’s a bit easier to get the use of,” explains Jillaroo Maddie Studdon, who also plays touch for the Wests Tigers.
PERFECTIF You love a high-intensity workout but can’t always gather the motivation to do it. “Instead of going to the gym you can go down to the park and play touch – it’s really fast and fun, so you don’t realise you’re getting fit at the same time time,” says Studdon. Run wild at touchfootball.com.au