The physiological and psycho-social health benefits of recreational walking football for sedentary and unfit veteran players have been recently documented with the growing popularity of this rapidly emerging sport across the UK. Drawing on three key levels of competition, this study examines the impact of walking football and effective team strategies for high performance veteran 5-a-side players. Action research methodology was employed in a series of four 5-aside competitive game trials over a 2-month period with a successful high performance veterans 5-aside/futsal World Cup winning team from Canada. Data collection sources included team game video recording and performance analysis, focus group interviews with players, coach’s field notes, and pedometer step/distance/calorie monitors. Data suggest that, under certain conditions, walking football can have unique physiological and cognitive team-building benefits for high performance veteran football players. Effective team strategies for walking football included competitive game progressions from 3v3 to 5v5; basic positional team roles; team game-plan strategies to maximize team strengths and guard against team weaknesses; assertive team calling throughout game; full pitch man-to-man close marking; constant off-the-ball mobility during offence; rapid ball passing with a trajectory in close proximity to team mate; and rebound anticipations following defensive and offensive shooting attempts.
|Keywords:||Veteran Players, Walking Football, Action Research|
Professor, Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Senior Lecturer, Aston University, Birmingham, W. Midlands, UK