Not all nerdy kids fit the stereotype of the scrawny, anti-social recluse. There is a growing category of people who enjoy many of the typical nerd-related activities, but also have a penchant for engaging in competitive sports. If you’ve got a sporty nerd in your life, or you’re looking for a sport to involve your child in that’s more fitting for his or her activity level, here are some ideas to get them involved in the world of sports.
Beginning the list with one of the most active, yet still nerdy sports, Tennis is an excellent sport to get any cerebral kid involved in. It’s no wonder that many self-professed nerds play professional tennis. While tennis is foremost a great cardiovascular exercise, it is also a battle of wits, forcing one to outsmart their opponent and read their movements. An excellent sport for developing crucial brain training while also getting a full workout, Tennis makes for an excellent choice for the more active nerdy kids looking to break into the world of sports.
For those who aren’t quite into tennis, but still want a similar experience, ping pong can provide. Ping Pong is widely considered the nerd-sport of choice, as almost any kid who doesn’t necessarily identify with sporty players has hit a ping pong ball sometime in their life. Setup is easy, usually in a basement or at a rec center, and ping pong can actually get hectic at times, leading to quite the workout. Ping Pong is great for developing hand-eye coordination, and hey, it’s an Olympic sport, so your kid could be an Olympian if they stick with it long enough!
This one I admit to having a slight bias for. I took a few years of fencing back in college, and I loved it. What’s more cool than playing a sport with swords? Fencing is actually quite the physically demanding activity, but not so much so that there’s a large barrier for entry if your child isn’t the most physically fit. Fencing relies primarily on planning, forethought, and anticipating your opponent’s movements. It’s a sport of agility and reaction, which are often the physical traits that nerdy sports hopefuls have. Smaller people also benefit from being a more difficult to hit target, though it doesn’t hurt to have both reach and flexibility.
However, if you’re looking for a more head on, action-packed sort of sport for your kids, paintball might be the answer. Apart from likely having their interest the moment it’s suggested, paintball is actually a very safe, controlled sports environment that helps develop strategy, hand-eye coordination, and teamwork. There’s quite a bit of thought and planning that goes into a successful paintball match, making it the perfect solution to someone looking to add intellect into their sport. And, considering that a near obsessive attention to technical details is a hallmark of the nerdy disposition, paintball has a lot to offer. Take a minute to search YouTube for videos of paintball aficionados going into endless details of their marker’s various custom components if you aren’t convinced. If paintball is outside your comfort zone, laser tag may be a more appropriate choice that still maintains many of the traits that make paintball enjoyable and great for exercise.
Similar to football or soccer, Ultimate is played by two teams on a field, using a Frisbee as the equipment. If you’re looking for a sport for your kid that’s similar, but isn’t nearly as full contact or as potentially hazardous as the above sports, Ultimate might be a good choice. Ultimate is recognized as a World Games sport, so there’s even a competition aspect to the game, if your child is a competitive player.
If none of these appeal to you or your child, or even if physical exercise is not an option, E-sports may be what you’re looking for. E-sports is a rapidly growing and increasingly popular sport almost entirely occupied by nerds. Many video game genres are recognized by the E-sport community, including real-time strategy games, first-person shooters, and MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas). E-sports share many of the positive development traits of video games, such as coordination, response time, and critical thinking, while also adding a valuable team play dynamic, as virtually all E-sports are played on teams. Throw in the fact that multiple world-level tournaments are held with lofty cash prizes, and you’ve got a fantastic developing sport for your child.