Updated: Sep 8, 2021
St Andrews places a great emphasis on sports, with over 60 different clubs and societies for students to try out. As part of Freshers’, a number of these offer “give it a go” introductory sessions to teach you the basics and also to have some fun whilst starting out. Many of the major sports such as football and rugby are included as part of this, but there is also the opportunity to explore ones which you may not have had played before. Here are five that are worth giving a go, and which you could potentially discover a passion for.
A fast-paced, thrilling game full of end-to-end action, basketball has rightly risen to become one of the world's most popular sports. The club here has grown rapidly in the last ten years, and has adept coaching all the way from beginners’ to its performance and development teams that compete at a national level.
Aside from the technical skills, the club also places an emphasis on working together as illustrated by its motto: “We will be the best team, we can be.” This is a fun sport with dynamic gameplay and is an ideal way to spend some time with friends.
One of the best racket sports going, squash offers the opportunity for a fun, fast-paced cardio workout.
It is great to play both casually, with many rally games to enjoy as part of a group, and at a competitive level, where the club has both men's and women's teams that compete in the regional BUCS league, in addition to more regular matches in the local league.
From a personal perspective, this was one of my favourite sports in school having taken it up, and is very accessible for beginners.
Boxing is a great test of stamina, endurance and skill. The club welcomes those looking to spar and compete as well as those who want to train hard and maintain fitness.
It has also experienced much success in recent years, seeing fighters win at the British Universities Championships and at a more regional level. If you are interested in sports which involve high intensity and lots of activity, this could be the one for you.
Another highly accessible sport, archery is a great technical exercise. The club is welcoming, and has coaching from those picking up a bow for the first time to more experienced archers.
It also provides a number of social events alongside training to make sure its members can get to know each other really well. The biggest annual event for the club is hosting the Silver Arrow Competition, which has been around for over four hundred years, and archers from across Scotland come and take part.
Another great racket sport along with squash, Badminton is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Whether you play recreationally or competitively, it is great fun to play, being lively and dynamic. St Andrews was the first university to gain Bronze and Silver Shuttlemark Awards from Badminton Scotland, a scheme introduced to recognise those within clubs wanting to develop the sport to the fullest extent.
This is a really dedicated coaching team for a high quality sport, and swinging the shuttlecock is definitely worth a try.
Sebastian Brooks - Sports Editor