Whether spectator or player, we all know that the standard eleven-a-side football game is a serious athletic endeavour. Players can run a distance of 10 kilometres during a game, and need to be fit and flexible for all the twists, turns and jumps. Five-a-side is also gruelling, despite being played on a smaller pitch.
There are less well-known versions of the game, which will exhaust you less in the heat but are no less enjoyable – how about one of these for your next kick-about?
This version of the game is a recent development and was designed for those no longer able to play the ‘full-size’ game. The official laws of the game were only implemented in 2017 and so are still in flux, but the main rule is that there is no running. The ball must not go above head height, there is no offside rule and the game is strictly non-contact. Teams are between 5 and 7, the duration of each half or quarter is shortened and the game is played on a smaller pitch. Although it is aimed at those 50 and above, it is taking off with all age groups as it is very accessible.
This variation gets players out on the golf course, using a large cup as the hole and enjoying the same terrain and views that the golfers do. There is no referee and the winner is the person in the group who gets round the course in the fewest shots. All you need is clothing acceptable to the golf course, trainers (no boots) and a football.
While this is probably not for those seeking a serious workout, it is very high on the fun meter. The ‘table’ is an inflatable with several bars inside. Players hold the hand-holds on the bars and so can only move left or right to kick the ball in conjunction with the others on the bar. It may not be the toughest team sport in the world but a good time is guaranteed!
We have done foot golf and it was great fun - definitely recommend it, and it certainly helps if you are a good shot.
I'm not a big fan but even I've got the earworm from your title... 'when I get older, I will be stronger...' - which on reflection is a great fitness motivator! (and I do like the idea of human table football)