Walking Football is like normal soccer- but with two major differences: no running and no heavy tackling. This makes it an ideal game for men and women over 50.
The biggest argument in games is whether somebody is walking or running.
The temptation if you are trying to get to a ball before your opponent is to break into a run. Foul!
The official definition is that the player must have one foot on the ground at all times - but as the idea is to stop accidental collisions - some refs simply say "if it looks like running - it is running!"
Dissent can lead to being sent off!
Inevitably if you are competing for a ball there will be some contact - but intentionally barging into another player is not allowed.
Similarly pushing and pulling is not allowed - nor is any form of forceful tackling that involves physical contact.
In effect - any contact is mainly about standing your ground - whether you are trying to win the ball or hold on to it.
Usually a game will come to a halt if someone goes to the ground heavily - which does occur - most frequently when players trip over their own feet or tread on the ball!
Players are aged over 50 - up to any age that they are still fit enough to play. Many are in their 70s and we have one player who is now 80. Cheers Woody!
Teams can also be of mixed gender - we have several regulars who have all played in tournaments as well.
But women only teams are rare - although we would like more female members to see if we can make that a possibilty.
Players tend to come in all shapes and sizes - many do not have an athletic physique at all!
The ability to walk briskly is essential - competitive games are not just a stroll in the park!
Games are kept short - in tournaments they are about 10 or 15 minutes. But teams may play up to 6 or 7 games over a couple of hours.
It's amazing though how quickly you can get out of puff - because you are constantly on the move.
Playing regularly is a great way to improve your overall fitness - because you will be using muscles you haven't used in years.
The level of skill is very varied - and due to the lack of agility mistakes are made by everyone.
In our club we tend to split certain sessions into those with different sets of skills.
With no running you nearly always pass to feet - because it is much harder to guage how far to pass in front of a player that can only walk.
So the main skill is being able to control and pass the ball.
A good first touch is useful as pitches are small and you will soon be closed down.
Being able to hold the ball and maintain possession will help your team members to find space whilst walking.
Dribbling forwards is useful - but trying to dribble past an opponent is almost impossible due to the lack of pace when walking.
Shooting is often a matter of placement rather than power.
Movement off the ball is very important as is defensive positioning.
A love of the beautiful game is vital.
Teams usually have 5 or 6 players per side.
One of these is a designated goalie, who is the only player who is allowed in the goal area - and cannot come out.
Games are played with a standard size 5 ball - but on a smaller pitch - with smaller goals.
There is no heading - and in some competitions the ball is limited to below head height.
Throw-ins are actually kick-ins.
Penalty kickers are only allowed one step.
As this is still a fledgling sport - some of the finer interpretations of the rules are still evolving.
Even in the competitive nature of tournaments there is a good spirit between the teams and the referees - most players are just enjoying themselves too much to let that matter.