If you're missing your summer softball league because you can't social distance on first base, you might still be able to get your competition on. You
can play team sports during quarantine — you just have to get a little extra creative.
When you play sports on your lonesome, no one will know if you have one of those days where you can't even hit a single free throw. It will truly be just you and your sport. "It’s a judgement-free zone," says
Sara Haley, a coach for home fitness company MYX Fitness. Plus, she adds, you can take as many turns as you want (sometimes, not sharing is caring for yourself).
Want to add a competitive spice to your skill-honing sessions? Keep track of how many three-pointers you can make in a row and swap notes with your teammates. Mark how many ground balls you can throw yourself in two minutes and see who among your baseball pals gets the highest score.
Just because your team can't get together for physical practice doesn't mean that staying at the top of your game is hopeless. Maintain your love of competition and refine your skills by playing these seven
team sports all by yourself.
Head to a handball court with your glove and get ready for a solo game of catch that will get your cardio workout in, too. Throw your baseball or softball, hard, angling it down toward the bottom of the wall if you want to bounce grounders back to yourself. If you're trying to practice your throws from first to third, step way back, visualize a target on the wall, and see how many times you can nail it with precision.
If you can get to an actual baseball field safely, Haley advises running the bases with a stopwatch. See if you can beat your own time whenever you simulate sliding into second for a fake double.
Got some spare change? Invest in a
baseball hitting station so you can keep your swing in tip-top shape, all without worrying about having a pitcher or breaking your neighbor's window (again).
A handball court is going to be your friend (and new teammate) here. Grab your racket, a set of tennis balls, your favorite jams, and volley with the wall to your heart's content. If you've got a spare 15 bucks, you can also up your
solo game with a tennis rebounder — just add water. Make sure to warm up your shoulders before you do, and definitely take a break if your elbow or shoulder is acting up.
Shoot goals in a handball court or practice your fancy dribbling down an open field — whatever floats your soccer-playing boat works for this solo team sport. If you're a goalie like me, this is a great time to practice your drop kicks (and get a good sprinting session when you chase after the ball). You can also aim some solid kicks at a handball wall to send simulated shots your way — just make sure you don't do what I do and dive for the ball like you're on turf.
You can also combine your cardio-building with your power shots. "Soccer has a lot to do with endurance," Haley says, "so try running around the block first and then come back and go straight into dribbling drills or shooting a goal."
Football is equal parts strength and agility. Even though your teammates aren't around, you can still wow them (and yourself) with your quarantine progress. Don't get enough agility work in when you're around your football buds? A nearby park or your living room floor can work nicely for
footwork drills, and grab yourself a kettlebell or dumbbell to keep your strength in peak condition.
Hopefully, you don't have a rivalry with your neighbor that leads them to dump your hockey stick into a sewer grate (I was 10, but I'm clearly not over it). Assuming your hockey stick is intact, find a backstop or stoop you can take aim at to refine your shot. Strap on your roller blades to build your stamina and footwork. Just make sure that you know the concrete well, because your local parking lot probably has a lot more random potholes than your actual hockey field.
Sure, you can't get any proper scrimmages in during quarantine — social distancing is pretty much the opposite of what happens to your personal space in roller derby. Women's roller derby is setting high standards for
returning to play after COVID by placing public health first, but if you want to keep going with your practice at a distance, break out some skates to work on your high speed turns in empty parking lots. You'll also want to build core, quad, and hamstring strength, so grab a kettlebell. Working on your goblet squats and kettlebell swings can bring a level of toughness to your practice that you might be missing without opposing teams around you.
There's nothing quite like shooting hoops in a court all by yourself. Even outside of quarantine, there's something magical about just you, the thunk of a basketball, and the swish of a net. Practice your free throws by hitting as many as you can in a row. Start with two, and keep pushing your score up from there. Compete against yourself in
Around The World, and Haley suggests timing yourself to see how quickly you can rack up a certain number of baskets. If you really want to push your game to the next level, get some sprints in while dribbling with your non-dominant hand.
As with any sport that's requiring you to come into physical contact with the outside world, make sure you bring your hand sanitizer and wash your hands thoroughly before you even start wiping the sweat off your face.
Experts: Sara Haley, coach at MYX Fitness