If you need a ball sport that you can do anywhere and with anyone, football should be your first port of call. Football is played the world over, both at club and recreational level.
We'll explain the reasons why and the story behind its success, as well as the rules of the game and the equipment you need to get started.
Are you just kicking off your football training? Find out all about the benefits and attributes of football!
What is Football?
Football was invented in England in the 19th century.
At the time, each public school had its own version of this team sport. While the elites of the town of Rugby decided to carry the ball in their hands, others were inspired by the Cambridge Rules to make the game as simple as possible.
And it paid off! The principles of the game and the ease of playing absolutely anywhere have made football one of the most widespread and most played sports in the world. Have you ever played a match using backpacks to mark out the goal? Or just had a bit of a kickabout or played keepie uppie with friends? Well it's the same the world over! Football is universal and by far the most popular sport in Europe, Africa and South America.
Want to find out more about the famous rules of the game? We'll explain how:
Football is a team sport where the aim is to score more goals than the opposite team. To move the ball, which is round, you have to use your feet. Or your head. Or your legs. Or your torso. Whatever you do, you mustn't use your hands. Unless you're saving goals. Got it?
It can be played absolutely anywhere, at any time, and can even be done indoors on 5-a-side teams: Futsal is played on a hard surface on pitches that are similar in size to a handball court. Five-a-side football is played on a smaller pitch with synthetic grass, and the panels around the edges can be used to bounce the ball off.
The Rules of Football
For those of you who'd rather play a match than juggle, here are the basic rules.
Matches are 11-a-side, with 10 field players who cannot use their hands, and 1 goalkeeper who is allowed to catch the ball inside the penalty area.
You must always tackle the ball, not your opponent.
Games are split into two 45-minute halves and the winner is whoever scores more goals than their opponent in the given time. To score, you have to send the ball into your opponent's goal.
The offside rule is what spices things up: you cannot be closer to the goal than the last field defender when receiving the ball from your partner.
What are the Benefits of Football?
Besides being a sport that's easy to pick up, football brings numerous benefits for you and your health.
It's a sport that involves a lot of running and sprinting. This will train your cardio fitness and your endurance.
It's also a game that stimulates your coordination, balance and muscle tone thanks to the variety of movements you perform.
And in case you had any doubts, it's fun and helps your personal development. Football builds your sense of team spirit. You'll learn that solidarity and team effort outweigh individual talent.
Don't forget to consult your doctor before starting to make sure that you won't suffer any medical complications!
Is Football for you?
Yes! Football can be played at any age and doesn't require any particular abilities. Because it's so popular, you'll always find a set-up that suits your age and standard.
The numerous positions and formations on the football pitch mean that there will always be a role within the team that suits your fitness, your ease with the ball and your pitch awareness.
If you like running and team sports, the football pitch is where you belong!
As a defender with the typical defender's build, what's the best way to stop a small, quick, explosive, dribbling striker? And how do you do it without resorting to dirty tactics like the notorious throat/neck tackle?