Whether you’ve been here for a day, a month or a year, you’ve likely noticed that Australia is a country of sport fans. For Aussies, sports serve as a means of national identity and play a huge role in community bonding, making it a key part of the culture.
In fact, more than 90 per cent of Australian adults have an interest in sport. That said, the passion spans across generations, with 13 million adults and 3 million children partaking in sport every year. There’s no two ways about it: Australia is a sporting nation.
Here’s what you need to know about Australian sporting culture, including the most popular sports in Australia, how to play yourself and the benefits of playing sport.
Read more: How to Watch Sports in Australia
The top sports in Australia
Australian Rules Football (AFL)
Amongst many well-established sports leagues, Australian Rules Football is considered one of the more popular and iconic leagues. Widely known as “footy”, it is widely considered one of the national sports of Australia.
The Australian Football League (AFL) features 18 different teams that play through the season leading up to the grand final, which is one of the most significant sporting events in Australia.
Cricket is another Australian national sport. Deeply rooted in Australia’s culture, the sport is a source of great pride and entertainment for Aussies everywhere.
Australia has both men’s and women’s national cricket teams with nicknames as “Baggy Greens” and “Southern Stars” respectively. Both test cricket and one-day international cricket are widely popular – and Australia has a long successful history in both.
The legendary Ashes series, a contest between Australia and England, is one of the most internationally celebrated rivalries in cricket.
Volleyball is a growing sport in Australia, played both indoors and outdoors. The national governing body, Volleyball Australia, oversees the development of the sport across the country.
To promote the sport among young people, Scape Australia has partnered with Volleyball Australia to give residents a chance to escape their busy schedules and blow off some steam. Under the joint program, Volleyball Australia’s high-performing athletes visit various Scape locations across the country and set up Volleyball clinics.
The program highlights that volleyball isn’t just a game – it’s a collaborative, gender-inclusive sport that brings people together and fosters teamwork while promoting a balanced lifestyle.
A very prominent and beloved sport in Australia with a strong following, rugby continues to play a significant role in Australian sports culture.
The National Rugby League (NRL) is the rugby league competition in Australia featuring teams from various regions. The State of Origin series is one of the most iconic rugby league events in Australia, pitting the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons in a best-of-three competition.
Known as football in most parts of the world, soccer has a growing popularity in Australia. Both the men’s team (known as the Socceroos) and the women’s team (known as the Matildas) have made a significant impact in the country,
Australia co-hosted the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a sign of its growing passion for the sport. It also provided a home stage for one of the most beloved and decorated Australian athletes, Sam Kerr.
How and where to play sports in Australia
Are you passionate about playing sport? Want a change of scenery from your busy life? Fortunately, there are many teams and sports clubs that you can join in your city! Whether you’re eager to play soccer in Sydney or volleyball in Melbourne, you’re sure to find a club tailored to your interests.
The Australian Sports Directory is an excellent resource that can help you connect with a sporting club in your area, no matter what sport you’re hoping to play.
The benefits of playing sports
There are many benefits associated with playing sport, namely the maintenance of your physical, mental and social wellbeing.
Whether you play for fun or for competitive pursuits, sports will contribute to your overall quality of life. Some of the top benefits include:
- Forming new friendships: Playing sport often involves being part of a team or community, which promotes social connections and the development of lasting friendships.
- Reducing stress: Incorporating sports into your life can help reduce stress by boosting endorphins. This also helps in managing your energy and mood.
- Better sleep: Sports have been said to help in maintaining better sleep patterns and improve the quality of sleep.
- Building transferable skills: Playing sport instils qualities like discipline, responsibility, time management, teamwork and leadership – all of which can be applied to other areas of life, including your career.
Keen to get involved with volleyball in Australia? From indoor volleyball to beach volleyball, there are competitive and social clubs available around the country through Scape’s partnership program with Volleyball Australia.