Proficiency in ball sports recommended for the Naval Academy?


Jan 31, 2017
I received an appointmet just today to the Naval Academy, with my LoA arriving on just the second of this month. Though I am very physically active (preparing for State Swim Championships coming this weekend, among others) I have no experience in ball sports (basketball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, football) and have the skills of an elementary schooler. I don't even know the games' rules. My BGO told me that at his time at the academy, all of his classmates loved to spend almost every second of their free time doing some sport. I started receiving a crash course in basketball from my friend, and will likely be learning the ropes for the others soon. Should I be putting in a greater effort to learn these sports for the sake of being able to play them, and will participation in these sports be a significant portion of time at the Academy?

I'm a Mid with 2020.

Short answer: Proficiency is not a necessity but nice to have.

USNA has two main large sports groups: Athletes, and NARPs (Non-Athletic Regular Person).

Athletes obviously spend a lot of time with their respective varsity sports.

NARPs, on the other hand, participate in Club/Intramural sports. My classmates usually play some form of team sport on their own but only Fridays usually after the Pro-Quiz. Saturdays everyone is either sleeping or on liberty so it is pretty rare and difficult for one to organize a sports game. Sundays everyone is preparing for the upcoming week.

If you're a recruited athlete, proficiency in a ball sport will be the least of your concerns during your time here. I never see my sports classmates because they are always at practice or at a tournament/game.
Thank you so much for the speedy reply!

During plebe summer and just your academic year overall, were ball sports a part of the physical fitness regime?

I guess now my question would be: I have not yet contacted the Naval Academy about trying to swim or run track there. Is there a possibility that some point in the year I could try out as a walk-on? Thank you again.
(I'm personally a NARP btw)

Ball sports is a physical fitness regime as a NARP. USNA Intramurals offers dodgeball, soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, that sort.

In order to try out as a walk-on for either sport, you usually do it during Plebe Summer.
Thank you! I'll be looking into those as well. If I choose to do ultimate frisbee for my intramural, will I still end up at some point be playing basketball, football, or anything else?
If you google USNA intramurals you can see some of the sports that are offered each intramural season.
Interesting question...and have never given it much thought. Bottom line, everyone at USNA is engaged in sports or some kinda, whether varsity or intramural. There are plenty of intramural sports to choose from...some "ball sports" and others that aren't (sailing comes to mind). I think that the intramural teams, and even pick up games, are an integral part of the comradery that makes USNA special. I still remember going out for a pickup Ultimate Frisbee game with my company mates on one particularly nasty, dark ages afternoon. The athletic fields were wet and cold, and the game kinda of deteriorated into a bit of a mudbath.. imagine 10 MIDN (I think it was First Class year) tromping back into the Hall, wet and muddy. Our Company Officer met us at the door, and laughed. (Fortunately, he was a pretty cool Marine Major, a Mustang who was not as uptight as some of the other Company Officers who would have had a fit). The moral of the story , and answer to OP -- don't sweat it, but couldn't hurt to get a rudimentary knowledge if you want to go out and roll in the mud with the guys.
I don’t think you’re alone as far as your familiarity with sports goes. My DS’s experience with catching and throwing objects extends to Frisbees, snowballs, and a well-practiced ability to throw a basketball on her knees. (I was the one retrieving the ball in the snow and mud--I should know.) Super Bowl Sunday I tried to teach her the basics of football. With the score 28-3, I finally got her to sit down by the fire long enough to explain the basics and diagram the plays with a whiteboard. She lasted four minutes.

I think you and my DS will share more similarities with your peers than you may imagine. The years of competitive swimming, cross-country, and track; there wasn’t the opportunity to participate in ball sports. And if you’re going surfing, skiing, or flying in your free time who the hell has time to sit in front of the tube and watch sports. Best of luck.
If games are mandatory attendance (football & others?), it would help to understand more of the game. Our regional admissions officer said she was a swimmer but ended up as a gopher and trainer for the football team and loved every minute.
Will echo some of the thoughts above. DS is a plebe and a NARP, though he played ball sports throughout high school. He's been active in intramurals (flag football and now the infamous field ball... and, oh, the pics of the bumps and bruises from that glorious enterprise are spectacular.) He's enjoyed those sports for the physicality and competition, but much more so for the opportunities to engage and create friendships with his company mates, particularly the upperclassmen. Out on the field/court, the barriers of formality and structure that are the hallmarks of USNA apparently fall away (even if for only a little while.) Proficiency isn't required by any stretch (though it certainly helps), but all the other things that go into positioning yourself for success at USNA come into play: teamwork, a sense of humor, competitiveness, putting yourself out there...
I never see any mention of the 'Basketball Throw' team at USNA. Is that a club sport or a varsity sport?

I thought that is why they did it for the CFA to determine who should be recruited for this growing sport.
I never see any mention of the 'Basketball Throw' team at USNA. Is that a club sport or a varsity sport?

I hear AWP is sending a few girls & boys to throw basketballs at USNA on Saturday (02/18). It should be quite a spectacle.
I never see any mention of the 'Basketball Throw' team at USNA. Is that a club sport or a varsity sport?

I thought that is why they did it for the CFA to determine who should be recruited for this growing sport.
And here I thought it was still a longshot for the Olympics...
My 2/C son is a varsity athlete at USNA. He stays pretty busy. He has never been very good at the ball sports you describe.
If walking and dribbling a ball at the same time or catching a fly ball was in any way critical to his success at USNA, he'd
be long gone by now. You'll find your niche.
You will probably be surprised how many Mids have not played many ball sports since they were fairly young. You will be fine. Not an issue. As a Plebe sports are one way to get out of the hall and relax some. That is either playing with your classmates or watching them. You will pick up a lot of it just watching. If you are half way coordinated, you will be fine in intramurals.