According to the FA, Walking Football is like the game you love, played in new way (thewfa.co.uk). This definition certainly works for Nick Wake. Nick, a keen footballer in his younger days has discovered, much to his surprise, that walking football can be great fun. Now, is his late fifties, Nick was invited around a year ago to join a group for a regular game on a Tuesday night on the Astro Turf at Tring Sports Centre. He was stunned at how much he enjoyed it: “To be honest my expectations were low. I thought it would be embrassing. A ball bouncing off a bunch of old boys. I couldn’t have been more wrong”.
Surprising skill levels
Nick was pleasantly surprised at the skill levels on show and the level of fitness needed to keep moving for an hour. Now, like every other member of the group, he is reluctant to miss a week, in case he can’t get back into the seven a side squad until someone else also drops out. As well as playing every Tuesday throughout the year, the group also meets socially for a beer after the game. The group also eats out twice a year. Nick comments: “it’s fun, great for fitness and good for mental health – a topic openly discussed among the group.”
Walking Football, which was founded by John Croot in 2011 and is now so popular in the UK that it has its own association: The Walking Football Association. Paul Carr, the CEO, sums up the attraction of the game as being about 3 Fs: Fun, Fitness and Friendship. Those wanting to know all about the detail of the game, can download this comprehensive guide.
Walking football was conceived as a sport to be played by the over 50s in men and over 40s in women. According to the FA there are now thousands of players up to and including people in their 70s and 80s playing on a regular basis.
The rules allow the game to be played safely by participants in older age groups. Principally one foot on the ground at all times and no contact.
With the warmer and lighter summer evenings now here, there’s never been a better time to have a crack at Walking Football. If you’d like to give it a go, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lorenzo at the centre: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t be worried about the idea of not knowing anyone – that’s all part of the attraction. You will meet new people who, like you, just want to have fun, stay fit and perhaps even make some new friends.