The first thing they teach you is how to fall. In a game designed for wizards flying on broomsticks 30 feet in the air, that seems straightforward enough.
But, with my feet firmly planted on the ground in this real-life, "Muggle" version of the sport first imagined by Harry Potter author JK Rowling, I'm caught off-guard. How rough a landing could it be?
Then I remember the long "broom" jammed between my legs - and the six-foot-tall men charging at at me from across the field.
"You've got to be ready for a tackle," says Logan Davis, the unofficial captain of Canberra's Quidditch team, the ANU Owls, and an ex-soccer player. "Some of the guys are big. Gary over there is ex-Navy, then we've got James who's come from martial arts."
I watch Portia, a "Chaser" on the team, tackle Gary to the ground as we consider the line-up. There's long-distance runners, a circus performer and a badminton champion hailing from Singapore. Not your typical geeks on brooms then.
Welcome to the world of Quidditch, a strange mash-up of rubgy and dodgeball inspired by the iconic sport in the Harry Potter books. First adapted down on the ground by students in Vermont in 2005, today the game is played by more than 500 teams across 26 countries.
Including Australia, which last year snatched the Quidditch World Cup from the previously undefeated US team, the Giants.
Tonight, I've stepped out onto the pitch (Fellows Oval) with three of those champions. James Mortensen, Lee Shu Ying and Oscar Cozens each represented Australia in our national team, The Dropbears.
"I can tell you're new because you're the only one wearing Harry Potter merchandise," Shu tells me.
As the sun sets, about 30 players throw down their sports bags on the sidelines. A few, still nursing injuries from previous games, stay there.
This isn't just a bit of weekday fun after lectures. When I join them, the Owls are top of the NSW state ladder, having cut the head off their rival team, the Sydney City Serpents. Wth a crucial game looming ahead on the weekend, they're eager to protect their spot.
The broom I'm given is wood but it's painted pink and blue and it doesn't have any bristles ("They scratch.") Broom injuries are relatively minimal, Logan assures me, even as community player Cameron Jones proudly recounts the "giant broom bruise" he copped during his first Quidditch match in June this year.
"That's why we have to teach you how to fall," Logan grins.
Training begins with drills, as Chasers try to score goals with the Quaffle (a partially deflated volleyball) in the three hoops set up at each end of the pitch. The other team's Beaters are tasked with keeping them away from the goals - by pelting them with bludgers (or dodgeballs).
The elusive Golden Snitch, I soon learn, is actually Gary in a pair of yellow shorts with a tennis ball in a sock dangling from his bum. Tiny, winged balls of metal in the books, down on the ground, Logan tells me a Snitch is usually either a great runner or a strong tackler.
Each team sends out a Seeker to try to capture the Snitch's, um, sock, scoring points and ending the game. But it doesn't always go to plan.
"One game I was in the Snitch just did push-ups over the Seekers, and they couldn't get his ball off."
The less follow up questions I ask about that the better.
Read more of Sherryn's misadventures:
After a few more drills (and one or two sneaky goals), I'm feeling confident. Distracting the Beaters is key. But then, game play really begins.
I'm running, I'm laughing, there's balls flying, hoops toppling over; the wind is picking up and it's close. Somehow, I end up with the Quaffle but there's Beaters on my tail. The ball sails through the hoop just as a dodgeball knocks into my shoulder.
There's a lot of cheering and hi-fiving and I have no idea what happened. Logan tells me everyone feels that way.
"You should see how thick the rule book is," Cameron laughs from the sidelines. He's sitting this game out with a bad back.
Cam tells me he loves sports and he has a disability. When he played soccer, he could "barely get on the field". Here he has friends.
The pulling power of the team certainly seems strong ("It's not a cult, but it is a cult," James laughs.) The team's other community member travels all the way from Brisbane every month so he can compete with the Owls.
The game also requires an equal gender balance on field.
"It's different to other sports I've been in, where the guys might not pass to the girls," James says. "Here it's about everyone bringing their own unique ability and that's how we win."
But while Australia might be world champions at the sport, being a Quidditch player in Canberra still attracts plenty of smirks, the team tells me.
"We got mocked by people wearing full suits of armour at Gamma.Con!"
The verdict: If you don't like running, don't worry. You'll barely notice how much of it you're doing.A fun sport for people of all fitness levels (who don't mind braving the evening Canberra chill).