The Beginner’s Guide to Adult Sports Leagues

It’s no secret that sports are big in Tennessee — and I’m not just talking about football. Fans pack the FedExForum to see the Memphis Grizzlies, Nashville has the Predators, a top-rated hockey team, and Chattanooga is home to a minor league baseball team, the Lookouts.

Growing up in the Nashville suburbs, I played volleyball, softball and lacrosse. And even though I never went on to become a pro in any of those sports, I’m still playing today — thanks to the availability of adult sports leagues.

The Benefits of Joining an Adult Sports League

Although I love health and fitness, the main reason I play in adult sports leagues is to make new friends. When I moved closer to the city after college graduation and wanted to meet new people, but I quickly tired of happy hours and dinners out.

Sports leagues, on the other hand, are the perfect platform to make friends in a fun, healthy way. You’ll get to meet new people, and you may be surprised whom you bond with. For example, on my last adult volleyball team, I played with three men who were all 10 years older and about two feet taller than I was, and we had a great time.

And the added benefit of playing in adult sports leagues is that you’ll get a great workout. If you need accountability partners or find yourself in a fitness rut, joining a team and going after a goal together will help you stay motivated.

You’ll also use muscles that you probably never focus on at the gym. Even though I’m an avid runner and gym-goer, I’m always surprised by how sore I am after playing a game of rec volleyball or basketball.

How to Find a League

Ready to get started? There are tons of sports leagues in Tennessee.

  • In Nashville, one of my favorites is Nashville Sports Leagues, which offers everything from dodgeball to ultimate Frisbee.
  • Another fantastic resource is Sportsvite, which I’ve used to organize my own teams in the past.
  • The city of Memphis sponsors co-ed teams of soccer, basketball and volleyball.
  • The Knoxville Sports and Social Club has leagues in multiple sports, including flag football, sand volleyball and bowling.
  • Chattanooga Sports Leagues organizes games in basketball, kickball and softball.
  • Other resources to find leagues include your local gym, community center or church.

Join the Team That’s Right for You

If you’re looking to join a league as a single player, don’t be scared — there are plenty of other solo league players out there. When you sign up to play, try asking the organizer to place you on a team with other new solo players. Since you all signed up for the same league, you’re sure to have at least one thing in common with your new teammates, and you’ll likely start friendships that will last long after the final goal is scored.

All Levels of Experience Welcome

Many leagues have different tiers of teams based on level of skill, experience and competitiveness. It’s always best to talk honestly to the league organizer about your abilities so they can place you on a team where you’ll feel comfortable and have a good time.

For example, at 5’4”, I’ve never played basketball, but decided to (literally) give it a shot one year. At the start, I told the organizer and my teammates that I was going to be the worst player on the team, and I was right! Even though I only scored one basket all season, I had an absolute blast.

I’d urge everyone to join an adult sports league. They’re a fantastic way to make friends, stay fit and get out of your comfort zone — something that adults don’t do often enough.

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