Rule number one: One foot should always touch the ground. Rule number two: No mistake! Or as walking footballers put it:
“That one refrains from physical contact because most of them have physical limitations such as heart attacks, heart attacks, strokes, joint injuries, artificial joints, etc.”
But walking football is not entirely bodily either. Players accidentally fail because they are limited in their movements due to their age.
The Berlin football club FV Wannsee has had a walking football division since 2019. It was created by Michael Raetsch, 77. Due to various physical disabilities, he had actually decided to hang up his football boots.
“But then the doctor diagnosed me with diabetes, and it requires a lot of exercise again, and that’s how I got into walking football.”
He found his teammates through a newspaper ad. And now has a squad of 22 men, the youngest 60, the oldest 78. Among them absolute beginners like Michael Pons.
“Secretly it was always my desire to play on a football team, I was not allowed to do that as a child because my parents were against it, and now in old age I saw the chance, I was obviously excited, I said: take it. Gather courage, do it, and then I said: It’s actually the right thing to do: I’m on the ball, I’m in a team, and therefore: It’s just fun. ”
“I’m still short of breath, I have problems with high blood pressure, and when I really step on the gas, it does not work anymore. I have been a coach for years, 20 years as a youth coach, an active football player for 50 years and at some point. way, of course, you ask yourself afterwards: What else can you do as a sport? So go-to football: It’s great that it exists. ”
The German Football Association awarded the FV Wannsee Sepp Herberger certificate this year. In recognition of services for the integration of disabled footballers, as set out in the explanatory memorandum. Treasurer Miriam Röser is proud of her walking football players.
“I’m totally impressed with what the men are doing here, and the presence they have and the attention they get for this new kind of football, I think it’s really great.”
Seven teams now play walking football in the capital. Not as many as in the UK, there are about a thousand there, but growing slowly. The Berlin Football Association promotes the establishment of walking football teams. Philipp Reis, until recently the association’s inclusion manager, offers short training courses on, for example, walking football.
“You can still learn in old age, and technique, passing is the most important thing in walking football. It means: passing exercises are a part of every training session, and then always something when everyone is very much on the ball.”
Do not run free, he explains to the participants that walking freely is a top priority. A pass into the free space or into the interface of the defense: in vain.
“A moment ago I was playing a ball down the race, my poor colleague could not get it, go, you have to start a little from scratch.”
Stefan Sielschott, 43, had to give up football at a young age due to knee and hip problems, and now he dares to do it again.
“I happened to see something on TV about walking football and thought it might be something for me, tried it once in Mariendorf, it was a lot of fun, and then it made sense to say: Yes, yes, maybe I can do it in our home club, in front of my door in the neighborhood, maybe we can start something there and also build a group. ”
He has now acquired the necessary skills in the short run. His club, BSC Kickers Schöneberg, can be happy. And football coach Philipp Reis is convinced: Walking football will inspire many more.
“Then you think: You go for a walk, play the ball back and forth. And it’s not fun. And as soon as you try it yourself, and after ten minutes of play and go fast across the court, you are out of breath, and when it is just as fun to score goals as it is in regular football, kind of set it in motion for me.And then I thought: If it’s such a big success in England, why should it not be such a big success in Berlin ? “