Get out and get active with these new sports in Dubai
Time Out Dubai staff
With the Olympics now finished and the weather (slowly) beginning to cool, we think it’s high time to head outside and shake off the summer lethargy. The city’s multitude of sports leagues are now starting to rev up for the season: we’ve picked 12 of the most interesting, exciting and sociable for you to try.
American football Name of League: Emirates American Football League (EAFL).
Who can play? This league is open to men only, but there’s also a youth league (for kids aged nine and above) and a junior league (for those aged 14-plus). No previous experience required.
What to expect? Full-contact tackling (taught by certified coaches), running, jumping, throwing, catching and blocking. And touchdowns, of course.
Why play? Boost your fitness levels, release aggression and learn the benefits of teamwork.
How much? There’s a one-time joining fee of Dhs500, plus an annual membership of Dhs1,500, which includes participation in training camps, weekly practice sessions, six regular games and a chance to play for the UAE national team.
When? Starts Sunday September 16, continuing until March 2013. Practice sessions are held twice a week, with games at weekends between October and March.
Basketball Name of league: Alley Oop IV basketball league.
Who can play? Men of all abilities – Duplays runs both a recreational league (Mondays) and a more competitive one (Wednesdays). There’s also a Lady Ballers IV league for women, every Sunday from September 16.
What to expect: Fast-paced and fun ‘streetball’-style basketball with little coaching or tactics.
Why play? Depends on your opponents – games vary from friendly to ultra-competitive.
How much? Dhs475 per person, Dhs3,055 per team.
When? Mondays and Wednesdays, 7pm-10.30pm at Dubai International Academy, Emirates Living.
What to expect: While not as physically tasking as some sports, bowling does required a degree of skill. As one expert recently told us, the key to success is to relax and swing from the shoulder. This particular league takes a five-a-side format.
Why play? You’ll meet new people in a more leisurely setting.
How much? Dhs200 per individual, Dhs1,000 per team.
When? Starts Friday September 28 at Dubai Bowling Centre in Business Bay, and runs until Friday October 19. Timings are yet to be confirmed, dependent on sign-ups.
How do I join? Sign up online at dubai.duplays.com (055 224 0187).
Cycling Name of club: Dubai Roadsters.
Who can join? Anyone with decent fitness, a road bike (in good working order) and a helmet.
What to expect: Early mornings and long rides (80km and 120km).
Why join? It’s a great way to get fit, meet people and see the city (and the desert) from a different perspective.
How much? Free, though all riders much bring their own equipment, spares and water.
When? Dubai Roadsters meet at 5.30am every Friday outside The Lime Tree Café and Kitchen in Jumeirah. The first meeting of the season is the Spinneys Build-Up Ride (the first of four) on Friday August 31 (www.premiermarathons.com).
Dragon boating Name of club: Dubai Flying Dragons.
Who can join? Anyone: it’s a mixed team and no previous experience is necessary, but a basic level of overall fitness is recommended.
What to expect: Boats consist of 20 paddlers sitting in pairs. There is also one helm (or steer), and in regattas there is a drummer. No special kit is needed – take sunscreen, a sun hat and plenty of water.
Why join? This is a team sport, so you can develop your personal fitness while socialising with others. This team prides itself on being focused yet social, with a diverse mix of ages and professions.
How much? Dhs1,200 for a year for as many sessions as you want to attend. Fees include entry to regattas in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, plus racing and associated events.
When? Saturdays (beginners at 4pm; regulars at 4.45pm), plus Mondays and Wednesdays at 5.55am.
Also try Ladies can join women’s-only team CNCF Barracuda Paddlers (email@example.com, 050 738 3949). For both men and women, there’s also the mixed Dubai Dawn Patrol (firstname.lastname@example.org, 050 708 7238), or Steelcraft Dragons (050 763 4008).
Football Name of league: IFA Ladies’ League.
Who can play? This league is open to all women aged 16 and above. IFA also runs leagues for men, veterans and under-16s.
What to expect: Matches are 40 minutes in length, played in teams of seven on a reduced-size floodlit pitch. Expect a fast-paced game.
Why play: To get fit, make friends and show the men who’s boss.
How much: Roughly Dhs350-400 over an average of ten games per season.
Also try Gentlemen can join one of Dubai Amateur Football League’s 11-a-side and seven-a-side leagues for all levels. For more information, see www.dubaifootball.com.
Indoor hockey League name: Mighty Ducks.
Who can play? This league is open to both men and women in teams of six – each team must have a minimum of one female player.
What to expect: An indoor hockey league; expect fast-paced fun and a few bruises. It’s open to all levels, but a degree of confidence when wielding a hockey stick will come in handy. Field hockey players are also welcome.
Why play? Meet new people and add a cardio workout to your routine.
How much? Dhs187 per individual, Dhs1,355 per team.
When? Starts Wednesday September 19, 7.30pm-9.30pm and runs for four weeks until Wednesday October 10. Emirates International School, Umm Suqeim.
Also try Dubai Netball League offers four popular women’s leagues, ranging from fiercely competitive to informal and fun. For more information, see www.dubainetballleague.com.
Running Name of club: Nike Run Club Dubai.
Who can join? Anyone, from beginners to seasoned runners.
What to expect: Every session is different, but they follow a similar format: the coaches lead a group warm-up before setting the task for the session (sometimes it’s several laps of a 2km or 3km circuit; other times it’s shorter bursts of running interspersed with exercises).
Why join? Running in a group is more fun than running alone: it’ll motivate you to push yourself further. And for every ten sessions you attend, you’ll get a free Nike T-shirt.
How much? Free!
When? Sessions are due to resume in mid-September, depending on the weather; there will be several sessions a week in locations including Downtown and Festival City. Keep an eye on Facebook for details.
Also try Other local running clubs include Dubai Road Runners (who are limbering up for the Iftar Challenge on September 19, www.dubairoadrunners.com), ABRaS AC (who train every Monday and Wednesday at 6.30pm, www.abrasac.org), and Desert Hash House Harriers (join them at 5.50pm on Sunday August 26, www.deserthash.org).
Rugby Name of league: UAE Rugby Premiership and UAE Rugby Conference.
Who can play? The majority of the nine leagues in Dubai have teams for men, women, social players and veterans (older gentlemen, if you will).
What to expect: The UAE Premiership is a hotly contested league, which means training sessions are hard work (often hard hitting!) and games are of a high standard.
Why play? Each club offers something for everyone in terms of on-pitch and off-pitch entertainment. Training sessions provide a good workout, while off-pitch activities are a lot of fun and a great way to meet people.
How much? Joining fees vary from club to club, but for a season’s subs, expect to pay between Dhs700 and Dhs900.
When? Most clubs train on Monday and Wednesday nights, while games are on Friday.
How do I join? For contact details, prices and training times.
Softball Name of league: Sandlot IV.
Who can play? Men and women of all skill levels.
What to expect: Whether your team is batting or fielding, expect to do a lot of running. The league tends to attract a fun bunch who will be whooping and cheering you on.
Why play? Get fit, release pent-up aggression when it’s your turn to bat, and make new friends.
How much? Dhs349 per individual, Dhs3,490 per team.
When? The ten-week league starts on Wednesday September 19, 7pm-10pm, and runs until Wednesday November 21 at the softball pitch next to the old Metropolitan Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Who can play? This mixed league is open to anyone keen on recreational play.
What to expect: With plenty of wrist-flicking and flying saucers, the aim of this low-level contact sport is to score points by passing the disc to players in the opposing zone (similar to football and rugby).
Why play? Partake in a team sport without getting your lights blown out and improve your frisbee-throwing skills.
How much? Dhs362 per individual, Dhs2,900 per team.
When? The ten-week league starts on Monday September 10, 7.30pm-10pm and runs for ten weeks, until Monday November 19 at the old Metropolitan Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road.