While watching this week’s final of Soccer’s Copa America which was held in New Jersey a colleague of mine turned every so often to confirm one or two of the rules and then returned to watching. As I explained particulars of the rules such as offside, what exactly constituted a foul throw or a back pass and how the penalty shootout worked one thing became clear… Soccer has a lot of rules. Now let’s remind ourselves that this was soccer, a game many refer to the beautiful game for its ability to provide enchanting and free-flowing entertainment and not say Football (of the Grid Iron persuasion) or Hockey (both ice and field) or even track sports. Soccer is a game that is supposed to be fast paced with the games rules set up to keep the game flowing and yet explaining the rules kind of got in the way of enjoying the game.
The point is that sports have their rules and structures at the elite end of the game and these have a habit of trickling down through the professional leagues to the amateur ranks, local clubs and even general games played between friends and colleagues, a level of playing where perhaps this shouldn’t be the case.
Contrast this to when you were a child, when rules that were part of games were simply invented to enable a mild structure of understanding of the game, not to hinder it. There is a good reason why children from all over the world, from different cultures and backgrounds ‘invent’ variations of the game ‘tag’ where the only real focus is to run around and have some fun while enjoying a game. Children understand that rules should never get in the way of fun and, in fact, should be designed to maximise the impact the game.
Pick-up and Play
Pick-up games are a fun and convenient way to play a game without the need for rules, regulations, referees, leagues, subs and the rest of the scheduled obligation that comes with playing in a league. There are many reasons why pick-up games are more convenient than traditional league formats.
Let’s face it, modern life and careers make it pretty difficult to commit to schedules that might take four months (or much more in some sports leagues) to complete. Many leagues too ask for their subsidies to be paid up front meaning you could well be out of pocket if you are unable to attend games or training sessions, not to mention the feeling of letting down your new team mates.
Speaking of team mates, often organized leagues allow you to submit your own team into a league rather than join an existing team (which may end up being unfeasible). This in itself means that you are obligated to find 9 or more other players who are committed to playing, and with it the hassle and headache of organising schedules, payments, jerseys, training times etc. Before too long the ‘idea’ of playing a game for fun or fitness is lost among the rules and schedules.
Pick-up games bring that fun factor back as games can be played such as touch football or pick-up basketball with far fewer players than a league match. You don’t always have to have the same set of players each time and players can swap teams as they wish. All that really has to happen is a general commitment and a time and games can be made smaller or bigger depending upon who turns up. And all in the name of fun.
Pick-up games can be seen as a ‘way in’ to regular leagues too if you are unsure about your potential commitment at the very beginning. They are also a great way of honing and improving those skills and general fitness levels ready for stepping up to a league environment.
Step Up to the Challenge
And speaking of stepping up… Steps challenges are also a great way to improve that general fitness level whether you are training for involvement in games or you just want to raise your fitness. Our free steps app allows you to get right into the fun part of fitness and steps tracking.
Because with Cardio Legend steps tracking is not the end game. In fact, it is just the beginning. We have a number of steps challenges set up which are designed to make achieving steps fun and engaging, helping you to develop healthy fitness habits in a less demanding ways.
The Steps App is very similar to the engaging aspects of pick-up games where rules and regulations are tossed aside in favour of the joy of the game itself. Our app’s challenges are designed so that steps are never dull and with games that can vary in length across 3, 7 and 10 days it makes the challenge more manageable so that they fit in with your daily and weekly schedules.
Each new game however comes with its own set of criteria and rewards so there is always something to gain and so ‘fitness boredom’ is never a factor again. And, of course, the rules are there to be followed for the purpose of fun and fitness, not to make steps a chore as they often can be.
So if you are picking up fitness for the first time, preparing to join a local sports league, have hit a steps wall from your current regime or just want to step up your general fitness levels then the Steps App could well be for you.