Newcastle Uni sports teams give advice to students wanting to start a sport next year

‘Be prepared to get drowned, whacked in the face and kneed in the crotch’


Newcastle University has a wide range of sports clubs you can join, whether it’s an intramural group or the official university team.

Whether you’re at a scholarship level and are focused on the win, or you simply played it in PE at primary school and believe that it’s “the taking part that counts”, the university has got you covered.

Joining a sports society is a great way for you to meet a group of new people and enjoy the “uni” side of your degree. However, you don’t necessarily need to partake in weekly sports! As long as you pay for the membership, you can tag along to the Wednesday socials – an obligatory student night out. Watch out though, each society has its own style of introducing new members…

Whatever your preference, I’ve compiled an extensive range of helpful advice from fellow sports students that will give you a nudge in the right direction and give you something to think about over the summer.

Water polo

“Be prepared to get drowned, whacked in the face and kneed in the crotch but it makes you tougher and able to hold your own.”

I’m unsure as to whether this is actually advice, but it certainly acts as a warning. Note to self: Be physically capable enough to hold my own in the swimming pool, or otherwise risk drowning in front of my new friends. However, if the the inevitable happens, at least I get to receive the kiss of life from a hot polo player x

“We will even teach you how to swim if you need it.”

Now this sounds like my cup of tea. One-on-one sessions with a half-naked coach? Yes, please. 


“Get ready to spend an insane amount of money on a matching comp day fit … and accept the fact that you’ll be spending four hours in the gym everyday.”

Buying sports clothes is the best part of the sport anyway though, right? Count me in! On top of that, a pro of spending THAT much time in a gym that is overflowing with testosterone and protein shakes is that you certainly boost your confidence! You’d become the person that everyone aspires to be and be with: The uni gym crush.


“Invest in some paint as they tend to have a fresh no flesh rule.”

This is only helpful if you’re planning on attending the socials (which is a crucial part of hockey), yet every word is necessary advice. As a fresh, you will be a victim of many awful forfeits and sports night shenanigans. Be prepared to look like an extra silly fresher and undergo some mortifying activities that you will cringe at for the rest of your life.


“Give up everything else in your life there won’t be time for it.”

Don’t listen to this person, they just want to limit the amount of competitors that they will be up against. But on a serious note, as a rower, you will have to wake up as early as 5am for training. You have to be a heavily committed gym-goer who is partial to wearing all-in-one lycra outfits. However, you will quickly become one of the most athletic people on campus. Your friends will be jealous of your stamina, your motivation and, most importantly, your glute muscles.


“You’ll have to get over the fact that it’s probably the least attractive sport ever… especially when you’re wearing your cap. So if you’re hoping to find a man any time soon then it’s probably not the sport to choose.”

We’re not trying to find a man, we’re trying to find a sports team to join! Also, I heartily disagree. The way you rip off your swimming cap and goggles after a race is more than attractive, and let us not forget about the red lines that they leave on your face. It’s distinctive babe.


“Don’t be scared of the socials, they have a bad rep but they aren’t as bad as they make out.”

From what I’ve both witnessed and heard, I don’t believe you…

“Put your head in the right place when you’re in the scrum.”

I’m sensing some serious PTSD from this lad. 

“The rivalry with the poly is always the best time of the year.”

Ah, who doesn’t love a bit of amicable competition? Except in Rugby’s case, it’s rarely friendly, always involves 100 kilos worth of tape, and an ambulance is guaranteed to be on site.


“Hit the ball.”

That part of golf was unclear, thanks a bunch. This advice is only helpful for idiots, although if you play golf then you most likely are.


“If you need the practice, then just playing on a field with your mates is good.”

What this student was meant to say at the start is “If you’re shit at football…” There are PLENTY of intramural teams if you don’t make the trials for the uni team.  


“I just showed up to lessons and picked it up by hitting the ball. The throw is really important, so just stand and practice it.”

Looking like a melon is the starting point of every sport – especially if you can’t manage to actually HIT the ball. But like all things in life, practice makes perfect, and looking like a pro tennis player darting around the court is still possible even if you have no born talent in it.


“There are so many talented people who try out but what will set you aside from them is your showmanship!”

“Use your face to the absolute max.”

“Be a team player! Cheer is completely dependent on the entire stunt group working together.”

I’m getting the vibe that Cheer is like drama GCSE with a pinch of acrobatics, a sprinkle of flexibility and a fuck tonne of pom poms. Cheer is the CEO of joint socials and has a very large team. You’re guaranteed to become a BNOC, but that’s if you’re even accepted into the group.

American football

“Be persistent in learning the game since it’s very challenging at first but rewarding.”

American football is all about tactics and tackles. Being physically strong is also an important asset if you want to be able to hold your own against an opposition player who is wearing shoulder pads that are wider than you are tall.

Ice hockey

“You meet people you wouldn’t of without the sport, and I promise the midnight training slots are worth it!!’

Ice hockey is a very rogue sport to partake in. However, in joining the team you would firstly learn a lot of new skills (one being able to firm the embarrassment of falling flat in your face) and secondly how to FIGHT. It is one of those sports that is unknowingly aggressive and gets people very riled up, especially if you accidentally collide with another player on the rink. But these experiences quickly bond you with your players and make for a great distraction from your uni work.


“Don’t be worried about what level you’re on. If you don’t make the uni teams, there are plenty of intramural teams that you can join.”

Netball girls tend to have a rep for being bitchy, but I PROMISE they are not as scary as you think. It’s an environment in which you will have to earn respect and prove yourself. But, over time, you will become a part of a very close and supportive community. The intimidating start will lead to a fulfilling outcome.


“I haven’t gone to a single gathering. I signed up for the ski trip and the ski trip only.”

You sly minx. I’m sensing some major rah vibes, but we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because this is a very smart move. Going on holiday without even playing an ounce of sport? Count me in….

General sport advice

“You don’t actually have to do any sport, just go to the socials. And if you’re a fresh, stock up on your fancy dress!”

Wednesdays will be your favourite night out, Wonderbar is going to be your best friend, and Jägerbombs will be a godsend.

“Challenge those gender stereotypes.”

Nowadays there are plenty more opportunities for women to join teams that are assumed to be “just for men”. Have you noticed the growing interest in women’s football at the moment?! However, this also applies to men. Ever thought of setting up a men’s league in netball? You won’t get bullied for it, you’ll be admired by all genders. The idea of a mixed league is also food for thought. The world will not change unless we challenge these stereotypes!

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