If there is one thing that I’ve learned in life it’s that sports are for everyone. Every day new sports are being created; from Slamball to Quickball. But there is one particular sport that always manages to catch my eye;
A sport developed in 2011 by the Chesterfield F.C Community Trust – Walking football is a slower version of the beautiful game. It’s straight forward and is exactly what it says on the tin: a standard game of football where players walk instead of run with rules that make it as challenging as regular football. It’s designed to help people get fit or maintain an active lifestyle no matter what their age or ability.
What people would consider as reasons not to get out on the pitch are no issue for this sport – in fact; it’s great for people recovering from injuries and those with reduced mobility. Walking football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK due to the accessibility it has to all ages and the exposure it’s getting, particularly in 2014 when Barclays used the sport in one of their adverts, since then the amount of people getting involved has skyrocketed. It’s so popular that the FA is bringing in standardised rules for all competitions. Walking football is also great for beginners and is a great form of exercise.
My first exposure to Walking Football was helping an injured friend, who had torn a ligament a year prior to the event and was playing with a group of ex-sports professionals. As though as soon as the referee blew his whistle and the first kick was made, I saw their eyes light up with a fiery competitive spirit that I hadn’t seen in years. Their faces looked joyous as they began to play in a way that I had never seen; the moment someone attempted to run the whistle was blown – it turns out that they had conceded a free kick to the other team. That to me spoke volumes; it’s harder to maintain that control, and just as challenging keeping yourself at a steady pace. It takes skill to win; in fact, it seems harder at that pace. Needless to say, despite their injuries that didn’t prevent them from showing off with a couple of tricks and stunts with the ball. A Keepy-uppy here and there. It just goes to show that there are no limits to football.
After the match was over, both teams shook hands, swapped shirts and even went out for drinks. Walking football not only brings out that competitive spirit, but proved to me that it was a great way to make friends while keeping active.
Now is your chance to rediscover the joys of football. Sessions will consist of games suitable for those looking for a bit of competition as well as those just looking to have fun. See for yourself and join in. Sessions start on Tuesday 1 November and are run by an FA coach, everyone is welcome! So come along and take part in the new season. Click here to find out more.
Post Author: Priya Devandran