The third story from the One Club Group introduces Walking Football and can be read below.
INTRODUCING AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS WALKING FOOTBALL
(If you thought your playing days were over, think again!)
What is Walking Football?
It’s exactly what it sounds like – a standard game of football where players walk instead of run. It’s designed to help people get fit or maintain an active lifestyle. Walking football is an increasingly popular format of football which is perfect for older players. Older adults are increasingly turning to walking football as a means of getting active with less emphasis on the physical attributes of the game. The rules are essentially the same as traditional football with a few changes, the key laws being that running and heading the ball are not permitted and there is no off-side rule. The game relies on accurate passing, good positional play and teamwork. Walking football is very adaptable and suitable for both male and female players regardless of ability.
About AFC R&D Walking Football
AFC Rushden & Diamonds were one of the first clubs in the county to add walking football to their portfolio of community based activities, recognising the importance of regular exercise to the health and well-being of older people. Formed in April, 2014 with just 4 players, we now have a well-established and thriving walking football scene with 37 active members. We focus specifically at persons aged 50 and above. Our oldest regular player is a mere 73 years young! Not only does regular sporting activity have proven health benefits but also provides an excellent opportunity to socialize and meet new friends. Although our objective is making fitness fun, for those who wish to play competitively we regularly participate in local friendly fixtures (there is no official and tournaments occur across the region). Our walking footballers have also represented the ‘Diamonds’ as far-a-field as Portugal. So, whether people are looking for a social kick about or to discover their old competitive edge, Walking Football has something to suit everyone.
Our sessions are held on Monday evenings between 7.30pm and 9.00pm on the outdoor 3G pitches at Ferrers School in Higham Ferrers and cost just £3.00 per session although we do have a £10.00 annual membership. Details of our activities can be found on AFC R&D’s official website at here or on the Community Teams website here. Further information is also available from Alan Wookey, our walking football lead, at email@example.com.
There is no need to book in advance. If you are 50 or over and would like to join in or, just want to have a look at what the game is all about before deciding whether or not it is for you, just come along on the night. You can be sure of a warm welcome. Because there is no recognised walking football season we play all year round. It is testament to the hardiness of our members that they turn out regardless of the weather conditions. In order to play, appropriate clothing for the weather, and footwear suitable for outdoor synthetic surfaces are required. We also insist that all participants wear shin pads. It is important that players stay properly hydrated so we encourage everyone to bring along a drink. Tick all the boxes and you’re good to go.
Doing our bit in the Community
As a club, we believe that what we do off the field of play is just as important as the efforts players make on it. AFC R&D WF actively support the fantastic work undertaken by Cancer Research UK particularly in the field of prostate cancer research and to date, have donated in excess of £1,400 via the organisations Rushden branch. We also support Sport England’s local initiatives and actively participate in BBC Radio Northampton’s annual countywide ‘Big Health Check’ hosted by Helen Blaby which encourages sporting activities and healthy lifestyles for older people. One of the venues used is Rushden’s Pemberton Centre which allows us, and other local providers to showcase our respective sports.
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused significant disruption amongst the sporting community, particularly grassroots team sports. Although our footballing activities are currently suspended, AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ walking footballers are actively engaged in supporting our communities during these difficult times by providing Marshalls at surgeries in Rushden dispensing the coronavirus vaccine. We even have a member who has made a blood plasma donations to assist in the research of the virus. We are very proud of our engagement with the community and encourage our members to become actively involved in supporting others if they are able, and it is safe to do so.