The great debate

He’s running‘. You’ll hear that at almost every session of walking football up and down the country, it’s the most contentious issue in the game. In fact, go on YouTube and search for walking football, you’ll see running during most (if not all) games.

Most of the running is done off the ball, and if you’re reffing a game it’s really difficult to pick this up because you’re focused on the player with the ball and the players close to him, you’re watching for fouls, the number of touches, and of course, running.

Most of the running is down to the fact that the vast majority who play walking football have played football at some level before and the competitive edge still remains with the player; it’s all about getting to the ball first, and at that moment, they forget that they’re playing walking football.

Some of the running happens over just a few steps, in my own opinion, it’s still advantageous to the team in possession. Most of the players don’t even know that they’re running, they’re caught up in the game and the competitiveness takes over.

It’s up to the players to check themselves, if you think you’re running, you almost certainly are. If the ref tells you that you’re running, just accept it and get on with the game. If you’re running and know you are, maybe you should consider playing a game of normal paced football.

I can’t remember who said this, might have been during a friendly I was watching, but it made me laugh – ‘can we not drop this obsession with running and just get on with the game?’ Erm, it’s walking football.

Enjoy the game, folks. Feel free to add your tuppence worth.

8 thoughts on “The great debate

  1. A view from south of the border from a player/club official/ referee.
    Don’t give in to players enjoying the game so it’s okay. Don’t allow we are all fitter now through playing this great new game so it’s alright to play faster.
    Referees need to use their whistle and set the tone during every game and every recreational session. Referees need to punish players with blue cards who constantly run, including the 3 step runners who just intercept a pass and think that because they slowed down upon reaching the ball hadn’t run to get there!
    Players just need to try and stop running and jogging. Get on your heels.
    Remember Play Slow Play Fair Play Well

  2. Very emotive subject – and valid points made. Without at least 2 referees, someone will always play the game on the “edge”. Having been sidelined for the past couple of weeks & refereed a couple of our sessions my focus on running is concentrated on players who cannot hide the fact they are running. It is my opinion that our sessions are played at a franetic pace & what concerns me more is some of the contact between players that could cause an injury that may take a while to recover from.
    As I said, it was becoming an obsession to the point that it was not enjoyable when club members were constantly arguing about players running. Thankfully that has not been the case for a while, I think we’ve all got better at accepting the referees decision & dare I say some of us are slowing down in our old age 😇😇

    • Ahhhhhh! It was you. You’re right, the contact thing needs to be sorted out. It’s not so much the injury, it’s the time it now takes for us old duffers to recover from it.

  3. If an at attacking player is two yards a head of a defender there should be no way the defender will overhaul the attaker. Am l right or wrong?

  4. Frank, some people can walk pretty fast. Factor in age difference as well.
    But I do know what you’re saying, it’s frustrating at times when you stick to the rules but others don’t and they get away with it. Strong qualified referees are the answer.

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