“Sailing puts a big premium on being able to sense the overall environment,” John Kircher, executive director of DC Sail in the District, said in an e-mail. “Truly good sailors will learn to connect with the wind, weather, waves, surrounding boats, balance, crew and the dozens of other things that make the boat go smoothly, safely and relatively fast.”
Best for: Multi-taskers who are able to integrate lots of information to react quickly to changes in weather and tides.
Ages: 12 and up at DC Sail; ages 8 and up at Mariner Sailing School in Alexandria.
Where to go: DC Sail (202-547-1250 or www.dcsail.org); Mariner Sailing School (703-768-0018 or www.saildc.com).
Cost: A one-week camp with DC Sail is $350. Scholarships are available. At Mariner Sailing School, a one-week, 15-hour youth basic class is $180 for one child.
Time commitment: An introductory course is about 15 hours. Competitive sailors spend one or two weekend days sailing, and possibly an evening during the week.
Trampoline is more forgiving and inclusive than gymnastics and is open to a wider range of ages and body types, said Jarka Novakova, coach at Novaks Gymnastics Center in Dumfries. Trampoline, like gymnastics, divides competitors based on their abilities and the level of difficulty in their routines.
This isn’t horseplay on your backyard trampoline, said Novakova, a former member of the national trampoline team in Czechoslovakia. In competition, athletes have to stay within boundaries on a 14-by-7-foot trampoline bed and get enough height to perform 10 skills in a set routine, including different kinds of flips. They are scored on difficulty, position and technique.
“It’s not as hard on your body as jumping rope or running,” Novakova said.
Best for: Kids who enjoy gymnastics.
Ages: 5 and up
Where to go: Novaks (703-221-5833 or www.novaksgymnastics.com); Silver Stars (www.gosilverstars.com) in Silver Spring (301-589-0938) or Bowie (301-352-5777).
Cost: At Novaks, weekly one-hour lessons are $73 a month. At Silver Stars in Silver Spring, a nine-week session of weekly one-hour classes is $240 for ages 5 and up. Ages 10 and up have a 90-minute class once a week; a nine-week session for that group is $270. At their Bowie location, the one-hour class is $205 and the 90-minute class is $225.
Time commitment: One hour a week for introductory classes. Competitive trampoline athletes at Novaks practice four to six times a week for 21
2 hours a day.
The appeal: Water polo combines aspects of lacrosse and hockey with swimming, as teams of seven players (one goalie and six in the “field”) try to advance the ball to the other team’s goal while staying afloat in deep water.
There is some contact among players going after the ball, which is larger than a volleyball but smaller than a basketball, but like anything that involves swimming, water polo is lower-impact than running, making it easier for players to stick with the sport as they age.
“One of the appeals of water polo is that you’re playing and getting your exercise, instead of doing sit-ups or running in 100-degree heat,” said Bill Rutsch, the coach at Rockville Water Polo Club.
Best for: Strong swimmers who want to try a team sport.
Ages: 8 and up at Ball Under in Arlington; 14 and up with Rockville’s club; ages 10-19 for the Navy Water Polo Camps in Annapolis.
Where to go: Ball Under in Arlington (703-344-6863 or www.sites.google.
com/site/ballunderwaterpolo); Rockville Water Polo Club has high school-age players (www.rockville
waterpolo.com); Navy Water Polo Camps in Annapolis (410-293-5558 or www.navywaterpolocamp.com).
Cost: For the four-month spring and summer season, it is $295 per athlete at Ball Under in Arlington. Rockville’s club charges between $90 and $125 per season, with the cost varying by the age of the athlete. At Navy Water Polo Camp in Annapolis, a weekend camp is $375 for overnight campers and $250 for day campers.
Time commitment: Heavy, even for the novice player. Ball Under holds practices four times a week. Rockville Water Polo Club players practice three times a week for a total of about 51
2 hours. Serious competitive players practice 15 or more hours a week.