[Weekender] Beat the heat, get sporty indoors

By Yoon Min-sik

More Koreans opting to enjoy sports indoors, such as futsal, climbing and screen golf

  • Published : Jun 2, 2017 - 17:21
  • Updated : Jun 2, 2017 - 20:28
About a century ago, a Canadian-American teacher was struggling to find a sport his students could play during the harsh New England winter.

He decided to take the activity indoors, introducing to the world what came to be known as “basketball.”

In the spirit of James Naismith, a growing number of people across the world are enjoying sports that can be done within the comfort and shelter of an indoor space.

Traditionally outdoor sports are now being carried out inside as well.

In Korea, one of the more popular indoor sports is screen golf, where the game is played via a golf simulator.

A majority of the country’s population is concentrated in the metropolitan area, making golf an inconvenient and expensive pastime. Instead of fighting the weekend traffic to get to a golf course, golf lovers can go inside a small room and shoot a ball at a screen showing a video image of a golf course. As the ball strikes the screen, a simulator calculates the length and direction of the shot based on the impact.

Another game that has expanded indoors is screen tennis.

Much like screen golf, it has the advantage of not requiring much space or money. A player uses a ball-throwing machine to practice his or her forehand and backhand, before taking to the actual court.

There is also table tennis, a time-honored indoor sport that is even included in the Olympics. As you only need a ball, paddles and a table, it is one of the most frequently enjoyed indoor games at college dorms, barracks or even lounges at some companies.

Another indoor sport that has rapidly gained popularity in the past few years is indoor rock climbing. It is an indoor activity that can be just as physically taxing as its outdoor counterpart.

Ha Jong-gu, a 41-year-old instructor of indoor climbing, says one of its biggest advantages is that anyone can enjoy it.

“It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, man or woman. Even kindergarten kids are able to try it, and they do. In some ways it can be easier for younger kids, as they are more flexible and more instinctive,” he said. “Older people can take it easy at first and slowly try more difficult courses.”

One common characteristic of indoor sports is that they are easily accessible and less affected by external conditions, which can be an advantage.

For instance, rock climbing can be relatively safer indoors as there are fewer external factors at play. But that does not mean you should be reckless.

Instructor Ha said the key thing for indoor climbing is to try a difficulty level that fits your physical condition.

“You never want to be too ambitious, or you can get hurt,” he said. “The challenge in indoor climbing is that you not only use your body, but also your mind in figuring out the best solution to overcome the obstacle at hand,” he said.

By Yoon Min-sik (

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