16 September 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Getting started……football

February 18, 2008
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Fancy starting a new sport but don’t know where to begin? Let Sportsister’s Getting Started guides inspire you to get out there and try something new. We’ll tell you everything you need to know to give it a go. Here’s Sportsister’s guide to getting you out on the football pitch.

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What is it all about?

Football invloves two teams of eleven players each, consisting of two 45 minute halves, with a strictly no handling of the ball by any player (minus goalkeeper), at any time. The key concept, to get the ball into the opposing teams net, couldn’t be simpler!

For games in the winter months, gloves and long sleeves are recommended, but the long socks worn all-year-round, prevent chattering knee-caps. The summer months are a joy; an hour and a half out in the fresh air on a summer’s day will maintain a well bronzed, healthy looking glow, and earn a thoroughly-deserved long drink to cool off those red-faces.

Am I fit enough?

Football does require a moderate level of fitness but that can be built up once training with a team. Whether a beginner or a pro, all players are important members of a team and everyone will discover their role.

What position do I play?

There are four main types of position on a team, the goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and strikers. To judge your best position all comes down to the individual.

Tall? Opt for a defensive position, heading the ball is a key part of any defenders job and height is always a great advantage.

Small? There are no disadvantages from being short when you’re a striker, a low sense of gravity is a plus when skipping around big clumsy defenders and getting into the penalty area looking for bobbling balls to tap in.

Average? A perfect fit for a role in midfield. Helping the defence and feeding the strikers this person needs to be strong on their feet and able to stand their ground.

And if none of these seems to suit you, why not try goalkeeping? If you live without fear and have quick reflexes then goalkeeping is ideal. A shot stopper, ball kicker, rallying up team-mates – the goalkeeper serves a vital purpose and if you have only ever dreamed of being a boss, now is your chance. The goalkeeper commands all that’s in front of her, defenders, midfielders, even strikers, and the penalty area is your ‘office’.

If you still aren’t convinced football is right for you then go along to a training session and see for yourself. With football being the largest growing sport for women in the UK there must be a reason for all the fuss, and just imagine the sheer horror on your male friends’ faces when you are explaining the off-side rule to them!

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Where can I give it a go?

Starting out couldn’t be easier, ladies teams can be found all over the country and you won’t be short of choices of where to join, especially in and around London.

For your nearest team simply go to; www.thefa.com/girlsunited/ , type in your postcode and take a look at the information and contact details on your nearest ladies’ teams. There are also some great pictures and information on the England Women’s team who travelled to China last year for the Women’s World Cup.

Football may not be everyone’s cup of tea as it does require a certain level of motivation to get out to training on the cold and dark evenings, and match-days can involve a tussle with the duvet when the weather’s raining men! However if you are keen to start but need an added incentive I suggest starting off when the evenings are lighter, towards the end of spring. It is far more invigorating to run around in the daylight compared to the sometimes uninspiring floodlit training sessions. Join with a girlfriend or by yourself and be part of a team full of ladies who like to keep fit and love to be social.

Teams are constantly looking for new members to join this ever-growing sport. Once in a team there can be great social benefits, there is often the opportunity for post-match lunches at the ground, or tagging along to an all-female night on the town!

If keeping fit is your main criteria for selecting a new hobby, then football can be a great choice. It is a great work-out for the heart, as it combines anaerobic as well as aerobic exercise – light jogging followed by short bursts of pace are a combination of these two types of exercise used when playing.

Is it expensive? What do I need?

Membership fees for joining a club are an annual registration fee which covers insurance, kit, and league registration. Costs will vary depending on the size and facilities of the club.

Football boots aren’t a necessity for beginners but astro-turf boots are. These have the versatility to be used on grass and astro-turf pitches as they have good grip and are easy to run in. Astro-turfs can range from £10 to £30+ depending on brand and size. For a good buy go to your nearest Sports Direct store http://www.lillywhites.co.uk/, (previously known as JJB) and find a range of brands at great cut-down prices.

Shin-pads are a must if you wish to prevent colourful shins, the game can be as competitive as any league derby, not so many reckless tackles, but certainly mis-timed ones can be an unfortunate occurrence.

Finally, a pair of long sports socks to keep shin-pads in place and sweaty-feet well absorbed. No specific colour code, just whichever complements your sportswear.

Glossary

Penalty area – The 18 yard box which is the goalkeeping area. The goalkeeper is allowed to use their hands on the ball anywhere inside this area. A foul committed by the defending team inside the penalty area results in a penalty kick.

Penalty spot – The spot from which a penalty kick is taken. This is placed 12 yards out, in-between the 6 yard box and the edge of the 18 yard penalty area box.

Free-kick – When a foul is committed the team fouled is awarded with a free-kick. This can be taken directly (shooting), or in-directly (passing to a team-mate before shooting).

Yellow/ Red cards – A yellow card will be shown to a player who has committed what the referee sees as foul play. A more serious foul will result in a red card, where the player will then be sent off and not allowed to take any further part in the match.

Offside rule – When an attacking player is past the last defender of the opposing team when the ball is played forward to the attacking player.

Harriet Edkins, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

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