Walking football is top of the table across Derbyshire

Posted: Wed, 27 May 2015 12:04

Walking football is top of the table across Derbyshire

Walking football sessions are scoring a hat-trick with participants across Derbyshire – keeping people fit, having fun and meeting new friends.

The game follows the same rules as regular football but with no running, jogging or sprinting – it's merely a slower version of our beautiful game.

Before June 2014, there were just four walking football sessions across the county, but now there are more than 15, with groups in North East Derbyshire, Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales, South Derbyshire and the Chesterfield area.

Village Games Officers work with a number of partners to ensure successful Walking Football Sessions, including Derbyshire County FA, Derbyshire Sport, District and Borough councils, local councillors, leisure centres and football clubs.

There's no age limit for people to take part in walking football sessions, because anyone can play the game.

John Dacey, 66, from Marsh Lane, near Eckington, said: "I love football and used to enjoy playing five-a-side. When I retired, I did continue to play for a while but, eventually, there were less opportunities and I felt that I could not keep up with a competitive game, played at a fast pace."

"When I saw the advert for walking football in Dronfield, I was pleased, if nervous, to turn up. Initially, there were only four or so, but now we regularly have about 10 players."

"After an hour playing, I am pleasantly surprised at how much of a sweat I have worked up. Despite the early start of the session (8.15am), I love going each week. The people going share my enjoyment and it's a social event as well. It is competitive but played in a good spirit. It is one of the highlights of my week!"

Walking football sessions aren't just for Derbyshire's gents either – women are giving the sport the thumbs up across the county.

Helen Watts, 54, takes part in walking football sessions in Baslow. She said: "I was very sporty when I was at school and played a lot of football until I was around 12. But a career in nursing and then NHS management meant that time for sport was limited except for a spell playing tennis at a local club."

"A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to take early retirement and began playing bowls, took up cycling, rejoined the local tennis club and started to play netball after a 40 year gap. I became a trustee at the local sports field and got involved in the Derbyshire Village Games project and heard that Walking Football was coming to Baslow."

"Becky Bryan [former Derbyshire Dales Village Games Officer] knew I had played football in the past and encouraged me to go along. The first time, I arrived in the car park and nearly turned round to come home! But I plucked up courage with the intention of being just a spectator. However Becky tempted me onto the pitch and the rest as they say, is history."

"What I'd say to other women is, give it a go and don't be afraid of what other people might think - despite its name, walking football really isn't a walk in the park - it provides a great work out and is great fun at the same time."

Walking Football sessions take place across Derbyshire:
• Baslow Multi-Games Area – Thursday, 10am to 11am
• Matlock's Arc Leisure Centre – Wednesday, 10am to 11am
• Heanor William Gregg Leisure Centre – Wednesday, 11.30am to 12.30pm
• Dronfield Sports Centre – Tuesday, 8.15am to 9.15am
• Swadlincote Green Bank Leisure Centre – Monday, 7pm to 8pm
• Codnor Boys FC host a session at Aldercar Community Language College – Tuesday, 7pm to 8pm (venue subject to change over the summer so please be advised to ring ahead before attending). Contact Phil Moss; 07734756556 or email Philip.moss@btinternet.com
• Hasland Eastwood Park – Thursday, 10am to 11am
• Ashbourne Leisure Centre – Monday, 2pm to 3pm
• Kirk Hallam School, Erewash – Monday, 7pm to 8pm
• Sharley Park Leisure Centre, Clay Cross, Tuesday, 9am to 10am
• Alfreton Leisure Centre – Friday, 10am to 11am.

Tags: Active Derbyshire, Derbyshire Sport, Get Active, Sport system, walking football