How to Get Your Friends to Join Your Pick-up Games

Everything's better with friends, especially pick-up games. As a player, you spend hours at a time practising, training, and playing your sport, and you share all those experiences with only a handful of people — your teammates. These experiences are what make games memorable. For more fun on the field, Javelin Sports encourages you to invite your friends to play! Here are the best ways for how to do so!


Games don’t always have to be spontaneous. In fact, spontaneous invites may discourage a friend from joining as it could appear as if you don't respect their time. You are much more likely to get them to join if you ask in advance and set a date they can visualize. That way, they can build their schedule around your game instead of trying to squeeze it in.

You can keep it semi-specific to leave room for flexibility like, “Hey, do you want to play a game of basketball after work one day this week?"

Or, you can keep it completely specific if you want to plan better, “Are you doing anything tonight? Want to play some football?"

But try to stay away from open-ended questions like, “Do you want to play football sometime?” Because we all know how that one goes. They say ‘sure’, then the both of you forget or keep putting it off. If you want your friends to join your game you have to make sure they know it’s actually going to happen.

Did you know: The Javelin App has a built-in calendar that allows you and your friends to organize, plan, and invite for your next game? Download it here!

Inform Them of All the Benefits That Come With Playing Sports

Playing sports comes with a lot of benefits. Some are obvious, like the fact that they are fun, and that they are a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. But other benefits are not so obvious. In an article written by Richard Baily, Ed Cope, and Daniel Parnell, they discuss the Human Capital Model, an idea that attempts to describe all benefits that sports and physical activity have in six different areas of life. Those six areas and the benefits they provide are as follow:

“1. Physical Capital: The direct benefits of sports and physical activity to physical health and human function, including the prevention and mitigation of non-communicable diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

2. Emotional Capital: The psychological and mental health benefits associated with sports and physical activity, including increased levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy, reduced depression and anxiety, reduced social isolation, and a greater ability to process stressful events.

3. Individual Capital: The elements of a person’s character—e.g., life skills, interpersonal skills, values—that accrue via participation in play, sports and other forms of sports and physical activity. Reported benefits in this area include teamwork, co-operation, moral and social responsibility, and resilience.

4. Social Capital: The outcomes that arise when networks between people, groups, organizations, and civil society are strengthened because of participation in group-based physical activity, play, or competitive sports. This domain of capital includes the development of both prosocial behaviours and social inclusion through participation in physical activity.

5. Intellectual Capital: The cognitive and educational gains that are increasingly linked to participation in sports and physical activity. This feature of capital focuses particularly on the effects of regular exercise on cognitive functioning, on subject-specific performance at school, and on general academic achievement.

6. Financial Capital: Gains in terms of earning power, job performance, productivity and job attainment, along with reduced costs of health care and absenteeism/ presenteeism (i.e., lower productivity among those who are «present») that are linked to regular sports and physical activity participation.”  (Bailey et al 149)

Conveying these benefits to your friends is an effective way to convince them to join your pick up games.

Answer Any Questions They May Have

After you have finished pitching them the idea of joining your pick-up game and conveying to them all the benefits that would accompany your friends may still have some unanswered questions that are preventing them from saying yes. Some of the questions you will be hearing will most likely be around the topics of scheduling, commitment, the skill level of the competition and the concern of getting injured. It is important for you to be honest with them when answering their questions, as if you lie or intentionally mislead them, there is a chance they will feel hurt or insulted, and that they will not come out to another game, and that they will discourage others from joining.

Be Respectful

Of course, when you’re trying to convince your friends to join your game you should be considerate all throughout. However, it’s especially important to know when to stop. If you’ve laid out the benefits and planned everything and they still say no, take that as their final answer.

Oftentimes, your friends just can’t make it to your game and that’s fine. Badgering them won’t get you anywhere. Let them know that it’s okay and you guys can play next time. This type of approach is especially likely to work better in your favour when you bring it up again! Remembering how understanding you were last time, a friend will likely feel more inclined to join in the second time around!

Download Javelin Sports

If all else fails, download the Javelin Sports App to find pick-up games near you!

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