10 Disadvantages of Playing Sports

Updated on February 17, 2019
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Paul has participated in sports such as tennis, badminton, athletics, and rugby for many years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

As much as I love playing, in my experience there are also downsides to participating in sports.
As much as I love playing, in my experience there are also downsides to participating in sports. | Source

I'm been playing sports as an amateur for over forty years. For sure, I've experienced many social, mental and physical health benefits from participating in tennis, soccer, and badminton teams over that period, but I thought it might be interesting and informative to list the negatives in an article.

Below are my 10 disadvantages of playing sports.

The 10 Main Downsides of Playing Sports

  1. Injuries
  2. Sore Losers
  3. Expense
  4. Snobbery
  5. Cliques
  6. Gamesmanship
  7. Weather Problems
  8. Time Commitment
  9. Stress and Sleep Issues
  10. Repetition

I explain each disadvantage below in more detail.

1. Injuries

Unfortunately, injuries go with the territory when you play sports. They can run anywhere from minor muscle pulls and strains right through to broken bones and worse. Sometimes an injury just won't go away and keeps recurring, whatever health treatments you go through. As you get older, your recovery time becomes longer too, so even if you are not injured, you can find yourself nursing aches and pains after playing that go on for several days at a time.

2. Sore Losers

Amateur sports are supposed to be about having fun, but try telling that to a sore loser. Sore losers suck all the joy out of playing. Coping with their fragile egos, bad tempers, and antisocial behavior is a challenge. Even if you beat them fair and square, they will imply that you cheated, or make up some excuse to try and take away any sense of achievement that you may feel. It's not just a young person thing either, if anything, middle-aged men can be the worst sore losers around.

3. Expense

There can be lots of hidden expenses when participating in sports. Clothing, club fees, coaching costs, and equipment can all drain your finances over time. Tournaments and competitions out of town can result in large transport and hotel costs. I once had to fly to Arizona from Florida for a weekend because my amateur tennis team made it through to the USTA Nationals. It was a wonderful experience, but certainly not cheap.

4. Snobbery

There's always some show off who has to let you know about how they have all the best equipment, the most expensive clothing, and how they undertake all the most prestigious coaching. I've met them in every sport. It's worst when you are young, but the phenomenon exists at all ages in my experience.

Young soccer players.
Young soccer players. | Source

5. Cliques

Some sports clubs are warm, welcoming, and inclusive, but there are others that are a social nightmare. Sometimes the clubs had the same leadership and membership for years, with set roles and their own way of doing things. Alternatively, the club or team is made up of a very narrow social, economic, or age group. As a newbie, you struggle to fit in socially, and no matter how well that you play, it's difficult to get picked for the team, or feel accepted.

6. Gamesmanship

Unfortunately, the art of following a narrow and literal interpretation of the rules, while completely disobeying the spirit of them, usually by employing all sorts of dubious ploys and tactics to gain advantage is alive and well in amateur sports. For those of us who desire the fun or a fair contest, this is a sad state of affairs. I've seen more than enough bad behavior by individual players, captains, and team over the years and the effects are always negative for sport and its enjoyment.

7. Weather Problems

If you play an outdoors sport, then you are completely reliant on the weather to be in your favor. I've had countless experiences where I've planned my entire weekend around playing sports, only for the team practice or match to be moved or cancelled due to bad weather. When I lived in England, it was usually the rain and cold that caused the worst problems. Here in Florida, the extreme heat and humidity can be very challenging for much of the year, effectively meaning that it's only comfortable to play outdoor sports in the mornings (or to a lesser extent, the evenings) when it's coolest. Thunderstorms and torrential rain are also common here.

Pickle ball in The Villages, Florida.
Pickle ball in The Villages, Florida. | Source

8. Time Commitment

Practices, coaching sessions, matches, and tournaments can eat up a lot of your time, especially if there is traveling involved. Then there are the social events to attend with the team, time spent buying and replacing clothes or equipment, and time spent seeking help and treatment for injuries. If you captain or coach a team, then the time commitments increase exponentially, compared to being a player, and you can find yourself texting, emailing, and organizing almost non-stop.

9. Stress and Sleep Issues

I like to see myself as level-headed and philosophical person, but I have to admit that there have been times when sport has ruined my entire day or evening, usually because I've lost and I can't help thinking about all the mistakes that I made during the match. Other players can suffer crippling nerves or anxiety in the period leading up to big matches. It's also my experience that when I play sport in the evenings, sometimes I have trouble going to sleep afterwards because my body and mind are still buzzing. I don't deny that playing sports might be good overall for sleep patterns and relaxing, but it can certainly cause problems too.

10. Repetition

It's happened to me a number of times: I join a club or team and gradually over time I begin to get fed up with the sameness of everything. Often you are going to the same place to play the same game against the same people. It's a particular problem if you play the sport all year round, rather than just for a summer or winter season. In essence, the problem is boredom through lack of variety. The solution is often to switch clubs, or even switch sports and learn something new.

© 2019 Paul Goodman

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 months ago from UK

      We are encouraged so much these days to take up sport for our health and physical fitness. It is good to read an article putting another viewpoint. Injuries would be top of my list too.

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