You are a natural athlete; in fact, we all are! The problem is that you may not have found your sport yet.
You might have been told that to be an athlete, you must meet certain criteria; but there are a staggering number of different sports to be an athlete in. This does not mean that you will automatically be awesome in a specific sport without any training or practice, what it does mean is that you do have natural inclinations towards certain sports. You'll have a stronger starting point at some sports over others. Lets take a look at how your natural abilities or inclination can give you the starting edge in a sport.
If you have a lot of natural strength then something that might work well for you is power lifting, football, wrestling or boxing.
Quick and Agile
If you are a person who thinks quick on their feet and can move quickly then tennis, soccer, field hockey or basketball may be a good choice.
Are you fast? Sprint running, swimming, speed skating and cycling could work to your advantage.
If you are a “pretzely” kind of person then you would have a leg up in yoga, gymnastics, figure skating, cheer leading and martial arts.
Tenacious (Stick to it, no matter what)
Luge might be for you. It is imperative to have a lot of tenacity for Luge since it is such a brutal sport. People break many bones. Tenacity goes well with pretty much any sport you want. Tenacity is a great trait to have!
Are you the type of person who would rather take a deep breath and feel at peace? Then yoga and hiking both fit your personality well.
If you are considered graceful, dancing and fencing are both graceful sports.
Do you like structure? If knowing the rules and how everything works is important to you, then taking up a more structured sport would be good. A martial art would probably be the most structured, but you will also find structure in organized sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball and baseball.
Slow and Steady
If you have a natural stamina but are not a super fast mover then rowing, hiking or long distance hiking are good choices.
Are you someone who could just keep going no matter what task it is? If you have stamina then you may want to look into things like marathons and Iron Mans.
Good Hand & Eye Coordination
Good hand and eye coordination would help you excel at sports like fencing, tennis, basketball, volleyball, football etc.
We all have our natural strengths and weaknesses. There is a sport that will suit you perfectly; there is also something to be said for taking on sports that work on your weak areas as well. If you are naturally strong you may need to incorporate some flexibility sports into your routine like yoga. This does not mean that yoga would be your “sport” or something you would want to compete and be the best in, it just means that you are making sure that you keep your muscles limber so they have an easier time when you are doing your strength training.
You may also need to incorporate other areas to complement a chosen sport; for example, if you have excellent hand and eye coordination and you decide to take up fencing, then you may also need to do some agility and balance work. Your hand and eye coordination is still your strong point that you are working on, but using these other areas will only help you be better at your sport.
In reality many sports use multiple areas to help you along, but if you have a strength that works well in your chosen sport then you already have a natural advantage to start with; consider an example such as martial arts which combines hand eye coordination, balance, strength, flexibility and tenacity. With sports like this, you learn and build up the things that you are weaker in as you go. Adventure racing was not listed above because it incorporates speed, agility, balance, stamina, tenacity and strength; this is kind of an insane sport. Yes, many categories cross the barriers between the natural abilities you have and those you do not, but if you know your aptitudes you will be better at those sports and you can learn the rest.
Build from here.
The list of examples of sports and abilities is nowhere near complete; this is just an example of what you can look for. Be open, think of what abilities you have, listed or not, and then think of how those would work in a sport.
The great thing is there is no shortage of sports available to us. Even pole dancing has now become a sport and has competitions. If you ever have been told you were not an athlete or you never though you could be, think again. Get out there and get involved in one. You will get much healthier while having fun. It is amazing how much more incredible life is when you are healthy to enjoy it!