Walking football – more than an opportunity for football and clubs

Race? Not allowed with or without ball Physical contact and tackles? Also forbidden. headlines? No problem, the ball must not be played above the goal height (1 meter) – if it does, it will be penalized with an indirect free kick. And: Goals may only be scored on the opponent’s half of the field.

What sounds like strange rules is the basis of walking football. This type of walking football originated in England in 2011. The idea behind it: The elderly or people with reduced mobility must continue to be able to practice their beloved sport together. The given framework conditions significantly reduce the risk of injury, the physical strain remains moderate. Meanwhile, walking football is also a topic in this country. The Swiss Football Association has included the project in its program because it increases the chances of more football players returning to the field. This fits the motto: “Football for everyone – games for life.”

Among other things, physical contact is not allowed (Photo: Meienberger Foto).

For more and more football players, their age and physical condition limit their participation in competitive football. The reasons lie in the lack of fitness, injuries sustained or out of respect for further serious injuries.

Walking football offers an alternative way to continue to indulge in the beloved sport of football. Walking football is growing in popularity in the UK, the Netherlands and elsewhere. This new form of sport is suitable for women and men who are interested in continuing to be active on the football field and in the usual club environment. On the other hand, walking football is also attractive to people with reduced mobility, including those who are unable or unwilling to participate in club football due to injuries.

The team sport of walking football is well adapted to the needs of these people and can help to improve physical, mental and social well-being. Walking football is characterized by the fact that football players are only allowed to walk during the match and physical contact is prohibited.

Traditionally, walking football has been considered a game for men and women over the age of 50. But that is not the case. Walking football is open to all people of all ages and genders. Walking football is suitable for anyone who is no longer 100% fit for regular football due to a decrease in physical performance due to age, lack of fitness, health problems or a previous injury, but who still wants to continue playing on a team and participate in club football.

Research from Solent University suggests that walking football has physical benefits for its players. Even if players do not run, they must go at a fast pace, stop, change direction and go backwards. This improves players’ cardiovascular capacity, coordination, balance and muscle tone. In addition, football skills are required of the players to control the ball and maintain an accurate passing game, as the teammate must not run fast (one foot must constantly touch the ground).

Walking football also promotes social coexistence. The players identify with a community that consists primarily of their team. This aspect is promoted by «3. Halftime », which is an elementary part of walking football. Together, there is the opportunity to exchange ideas over a meal and to cultivate camaraderie. The most important conclusion is that walking football is the ideal team sport for people who no longer have the right conditions to play football and still want to continue to count on their emotions, desire to play and team spirit. Less physical stress for more fun to play with like-minded people.

Walking Football in Central Switzerland is backed by Suva, the largest accident insurance company in Switzerland. The commitment can be explained by the fact that Suva’s business model not only includes insurance, but also the prevention and rehabilitation of accidents in leisure time and at work. Every year, 45,000 accidents happen in football – more than in any other sport. Above all, older people who try their hand at football get injuries that sometimes take longer to heal. A study shows that the number of serious injuries increases with age.

“Hiking football is an opportunity for anyone who wants to play football without injuries in old age,” says Raphael Ammann, football campaign manager at Suva win win situation. After all, if you leave the field without an injury at the end of the game, you win in the end! “

32 teams can now sign up for the four pilot tournaments in Central Switzerland, and there are virtually no restrictions for participants. Anyone over the age of 20 can participate. Participation in the tournaments in Erstfeld, Littau, Ebikon and Goldau is free and catering is provided in the form of a dinner. All further information and a registration tool can be found on the official website.

More at: www.walking-football.ch

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