As part of our February Fitness & Well-being features, on Thursday (21-02-19), we learned all about Walking Football.
Becoming Hugely Popular
Walking Football is growing in popularity across the country at a remarkable rate. There are Walking Football clubs running all over Scotland. The numbers are growing.
Walking Football In Irvine
Here in North Ayrshire, to give us an insight into this fantastic adapted version of football, Craig Hamilton, the Senior Football Development Officer for KA Leisure joined me in the studio, along with Tommy Spooner, who is a regular player in the group.
The Walking Football group in Irvine, started a few years ago at the Magnum Leisure Centre, just before it closed. Currently the group meet on a Thursday morning at the Portal.
Craig from KA Leisure told us that once the new Quarry Road leisure centre is complete, the group will move there. The new Quarry Road sport centre will include modern 3G indoor and outdoor pitches.
- What is a 3G pitch. – 3G pitches are artificial playing surfaces that are accredited by FIFA. The base of 3G (3rd Generation) football pitches are firm. The artificial grass is longer and the base filling uses rubber crumb.
You Get Another Chance To Kick A Ball
Tommy (65) explained to us that he has been involved in football all his life. As a player, then involved in running football clubs. Getting involved with Walking Football means he actually gets to “kick a ball again”. The general feeling is, that by slowing down the pace of the game (running football), it allows lifelong fans to continue to play on.
The group have members aged from 50 – 82. This is a great way to keep fit for those who love football. The tactics, positioning and forward thinking required in the “beautiful game”, are simply carried out at a slower pace.
Some of the key differences in the actual rules of Walking Football and football as we know, are the three touch rule and that players must always have one foot on the ground / floor.
50+ Great Way To Keep Fit
Tommy told us that despite the fact that running isn’t permitted in the rules, this sport is still a fantastic way to keep fit.
Craig, the Senior Football Development Officer for KA North Ayrshire, explained to us how the group also creates opportunities for other partners or groups to address those in attendance? – “We have had the group in Largs who have received a talk on Prostate Cancer awareness which was very well received”.
The sport is open to people of all different fitness levels. Tommy told us that “Some of the boys are on there playing with 2 new hips and new knees”.
Here is the interview in full.
At the moment, the focus is fun, fitness and of course there are the incredible social benefits from joining any local sports group. Meeting new people and as Tommy explained, even reuniting with old friends.
If you are interested in finding out more about Walking Football group in Irvine, call 01294 315164 or visit the KA Leisure website on this link, there you can find Craig’s email to make any further enquiries.
Here are some other links:
Walking Football Association Scotland – it’s like a grown-up version of the SFA.
Walking Football Rules – The laws of the game.
By Barry Reilly
Lunchtime Presenter – Irvine Beat FM
To conclude: here’s a quick video explaining the basics of Walking Football.
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