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WALKING FOOTBALL SAVED MY LIFE

(Well, it gave me my life back!!)

In my presentation (“Regain the Brain”) I talk a lot about the loss of my “regular life” as a result of my brain injury and, that it seemed that I spent ages trying to reproduce what I had in my pre-accident life.

This was especially true when it came to football, and, as a result, I took on a number of roles that were clearly unsuitable for me, but I took them on because I was desperate to get back to being “me” (and football was a “stable” in pre accident Tim)!

 

This continued until I started playing walking football in mid-2019, and this became my “EUREKA MOMENT” as I found exactly what I had been looking for in terms of physical activity and support, whilst also allowing me to regain my mental strength in an area that I feel I know better than anyone (football).

 

Not only that but I found a game that suited all my skills in football, even better than the mainstream game that I’d left behind and yet, still yearned for!!

 

To explain – when I played the game, I was less than 10 stone (and the same height as I am now, so wasn’t thin, I was skinny!!) but I still had the speed of the “fat kids”.

 

Technically I was merely competent, but not exceptional, I was a player who could do everything but only to an adequate standard.

My strength in football was that I could read the game, communicate well, and understood the game as well as anyone I know!

I think the expression that best suited my football ability was “jack of all trades, but master of none”!!

 

TO ILLUSTRATE:

The good players were either

  • Extremely fast

  • Extremely skilful

  • Big & tough

  • Fearless

  • Didn’t overthink the game that came naturally to them

But I was

  • Slow

  • Could control a ball

  • Skinny

  • Able to do all parts required of a footballer but to a limited ability

  • Too thoughtful about the game and risk adverse!

 

But then I discovered walking football and the game suited the things that I did well, more so than the mainstream game, if I’m being honest.

 

What does the good walking footballer need?

Essential

  • Good communicator

  • Reads the game

  • Passes & does things simply

  • Has the ability to control a ball and use it to good effect

Desirable

  • Extremely fast (but only walking)

  • Extremely skilful in moving the ball

  • Big & tough in a front on tackle

 

SO, SUDDENLY I’VE FOUND A VERSION OF THE GAME I LOVE THAT ACTUALLY SUITS ME!!

 

My confidence (on and off the pitch) is suddenly restored and I have a purpose to my life, not just as a manager/coach but, to my total joy, as a player!!

And Tim Richens is able to work on his physical AND mental health in an environment that he knows and loves!

 

Simply put, I’ve got my life back!!!

 

 

SO ………………………………… WHAT IS WALKING FOOTBALL?

Walking Football is primarily intended to help people sustain an active lifestyle. Not only is it a gradual introduction to returning to sport, but it can also help people get back into playing traditional football if they have stopped due to age or injury.

 

However, beyond that, it’s simply a fun way to meet new people and try something “new”.

 

There are many health benefits to Walking Football, physically - mentally, and socially.

 

Physical health benefits:

As we age, many of us may struggle with our balance, strength, stamina and potentially weight too.

This, in turn, may impact our confidence and self-esteem.

 

However, in time, Walking Football will bring improvements to resting heart rate as well as hypertension, body strength, mobility and weight loss.

It truly can change lives – and, thanks to its slower pace and less contact, there’s a reduced risk of injury in the process.

 

Mental health benefits:

There are numerous psychological and mental health benefits to Walking Football too – from building confidence, to helping you meet new people and avoid feelings of isolation.

Specifically, it can boost personal reward and satisfaction, while also reducing stress. It has for me!!

 

Social benefits:

Walking Football provides an often-isolated sector of the community with the possibility to get involved in something they really enjoy, while, at the same time, meeting new people, re-connecting with old friends, creating long-term relationships with like-minded others and boosting quality of life.

 

And for those wishing to take a back seat, there are plenty of positions they can get involved in behind the scenes too, while still enjoying the community feel – whether that’s organisational or administrative roles.

As well as being a team player, refereeing, organising social events, arranging fixtures, or being involved with a management committee of a club can help keep people mentally engaged and provide them with a legitimate sense of purpose and belonging.

 

Walking football has become increasingly popular over the last few years – and for good reason.

 

Initially aimed at adults over 50, walking football has social, mental and physical health benefits, as stated above, that suit a while range of people, often irrespective of age, or gender!

 

Personally, I think its's a great idea, you get the camaraderie, the friendship and I know people who have lost weight, one of my mates lost a stone and a half playing walking football; he told me that “going to the gym was boring and I lost nothing, but playing walking football I lost pounds, while having fun still”

A diabetic club member (who wears a “Fitbit watch”) said that he did 7,000 steps while playing but didn’t realise he had (until he checked) because he was more concerned with the football than the steps!!

 

I accept I used to be a pest trying to get friends to play but not because I wanted the club to grow its numbers, but because, as their friend, I knew they’d love it, like me and the others who play, and hated them missing out!!

 

While I’ve been writing this my walking football group message has been going mad, “buzz, buzz” etc, but with grown men (who normally don’t show emotion) gushing about how much the club means to them and how Thursdays are now their favourite day of the week – our session night!

 

As the organiser I am so proud that I put hours into this, because it makes the efforts worth it; and, as a player, I just agree with every comment they make.

 

So, I will say that, without fear of contradiction, walking football has indeed given me my life back, restored my confidence, given me a purpose in life and, most importantly, something to live for!!

 

See this article at my web site www.regainthebrain.co.uk or get me to talk to you about it!

Call 

123-456-7890 

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