This year, one of my favorite gymnastics blogs started a Fantasy League for the NCAA competition season that runs from January to March. If you’re into football or basketball, you might already be in a league, or you might be too intimidated to join one. Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be! Here’s how to get involved.

1. Find Your Sport and Find Your League. Not all sports are created equal on the fantasy level, but nearly every sports has some sort of fantasy league system that you can join. Take me for example — gymnastics isn’t the most popular sport and I still found people to play with. This will probably take no more than a conversation with some friends who are fans or a quick google search. Here’s a few random sports I found:

Figure Skating
League of Legends?

My team for my NCAA Fantasy Gymnastics League did pretty well week 1!

My team for my NCAA Fantasy Gymnastics League did pretty well week 1!

2. Draft A Team. Each league does drafting differently. For some, players take turns selecting one player at a time round robin style. This can potentially take multiple days in an online environment, or a couple hours in real time. For my league, we each made a proxy list of 150 gymnasts ranked in order of preference. Then after we were assigned girls from our list. This made it so a program did the hard work.

Having something on the line makes the games more interesting also!Picture from slgckgc  on Flickr.

Having something on the line makes the games more interesting also!
Picture from slgckgc on Flickr.

3. Submit Line-ups. In most fantasy sports, you aren’t letting all your players compete every week. This is something that varies sport to sport, but it’s the most interactive part of fantasy. You have to keep track of your team and how they’ve been playing. I need to watch meets and see who’s been struggling. I may want to move a girl from starting to alternate if her scores have been dropping – or eliminate a girl from my line-up if she’s injured. Also, some teams get bye weeks, and you definitely don’t want to start someone who isn’t even playing. Some leagues let you pick up free agents. These are people not drafted by anyone that you can add to your team for the week.

4. Post Season. In most leagues, only a few people will make it to the post-season – generally similar to how only a few teams make playoffs in real sports. If you played really well, you might get that chance. However, don’t be upset if you don’t, especially in yoru first season!

Sometimes, it gets really competitive!Picture from daveparker on Flickr

Sometimes, it gets really competitive!
Picture from daveparker on Flickr

5. Prepare For Next Year. Watch videos of recruits. Pay attention to the draft for the actual season and especially notice who is retiring or graduating, in the case of college sports. Start focusing on who you want to lead your team next season, and cross your fingers they don’t get injured in the off season. Sometimes rookies are a gamble, but if you’ve done your research they could be a huge surprise!

So get on out there and play. Make sure that you search for a league well ahead of the actual sports season starting. It’s probably too late for you to get into a winter sport now, for example. However, if you like baseball, or any other spring/summer sport now is the time to start researching. Good luck out there!

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