My name is Eoin, and I am 20 years old. I have been playing football, otherwise known as soccer for the last 12 years of my life and can honestly say it is a great way to keep in shape. When I first began playing football, I was far from fit, but over the years, the more regularly I played naturally, the better shape I found myself in. Football has been such a great way for me to get a workout in, and I would strongly advise anyone who enjoys team sports to give it a try. I hope it will improve your fitness levels as much as it has mine!
Love of the Game
I play football for my local team, and I am far from playing at what is considered to be the professional level. Truth be told I never wanted to be a professional footballer. For me, football has always been something that gives me a buzz in my spare time. The encouragement you receive and feel when you do something well during a football match has had me hooked since infancy. What I love most about football is that most people play just for the hell of it. A rare thing nowadays, with most people fixed on money and other indicators of success. To play the game, I love costs me money and time I could be putting towards ventures which many would perceive as more worthwhile. The truth is though I play anyway because the satisfaction and release I get from my passion is something money or Instagram fame could never give me.
Competitive and Non-competitive
One of the most admirable things about football is that it does not have to be super competitive. Many people, including myself, thoroughly enjoy playing football when it feels like the world is on the line. That pressure and competitive edge is something I thrive off. That is not to say everyone enjoys this competitive edge and truth be told a large percentage of people feel it detracts from the fun side of things and makes it feel less like a game. If you donâ€™t enjoy taking games too seriously, then donâ€™t worry because football can also be played in a non-competitive environment and is every bit as fun. If you are looking for a fun way to get a workout in a social setting, then football in a non-competitive environment is a great option. Regardless of whether you play competitively or non-competitively football is a fun way to boost your fitness.
How to Play Competitively
If you want to play competitively, then you will need to join a team. Search, amateur soccer teams followed by where you live on social media or the internet and see what pops up. Another option is to ask friends or family even if they never played to your knowledge. You never know they might be able to help you out. Also, donâ€™t worry if you are not very good. There is a level for everyone, and you will find that most people even playing soccer competitively donâ€™t take it all that seriously anyway as they are amateurs at the end of the day.
How to Play Non-competitively
To play non-competitively organise a kick about with some friends. Arrange a time and venue then play away. If you feel as though none of your friends will want to play, then try setting up a WhatsApp group and add family, acquaintances and work colleagues. Explain to them that it is just a fun way to get some exercise and build friendships. That way, people wonâ€™t be turned off if they feel they are not very good or havenâ€™t played before. It will also make sure no one takes it too seriously and ends up ruining it on everyone else.
What to Expect Playing Football
You can expect to meet loads of new people playing football. So many cultures from around the world love the game so expect to play with people from a different culture than your own. The diverse nature of football is one of the games most appealing aspects. Regardless of whether you speak the same language or practice the same religion as someone else, you can play football with them. Not to mention, playing football will make you fitter than you ever thought possible and improve your coordination in your lower body.
Drawbacks of Football
Drawback #1 Cost
If you are playing for a team, you will have to buy football boots, shin pads and the appropriate apparel. You will also have to pay a team membership fee and make a small referee contribution come matchday. If you are playing non competitively, all you need to pay is your share of the cost of renting the venue.
Drawback #2 Time
Time spent playing and travelling to and from football will detract from time you could be spending doing something else. I would argue though it is time well spent based off of what you will get out of it.
Drawback #3 Injury Risk
With all contact sports, there is a risk of injury. I only ever sustain impact injuries which go after a few days. Donâ€™t worry though as such injuries are few and far between. Nevertheless, there is a risk you may get hurt, but you should be fine so long as you are not reckless. If you are worried about the financial implications of getting hurt, then rest assured as long as you are fully registered and have paid the team membership fee you are covered.
Benefits of Football
Benefit #1 Keep fit
Football is a great way to keep fit. Playing football requires you to sprint, jump and perform a lot of power runs, meaning it works both the aerobic and anaerobic systems of the body. After playing 90 minutes of football, you will have covered roughly 11.25 km or 7 miles. So it is fair to say football requires a great deal of athleticism and is an effective way to get your mileage up for the week. Not to mention you wonâ€™t even notice youâ€™ve run that far because youâ€™ll be too busy thinking about playing the game.
Benefit #2 Burn Fat
Playing football will mean you are covering great distances at high intensities. As a result, your body is going to be burning a lot of calories, and if you keep your caloric intake around maintenance, you are guaranteed to end up burning some excess body fat.
Benefit #3 Fulfilment
In life, performing any role well is fulfilling and boosts your self-esteem. Soccer is no different and is, in fact, a great way to obtain such a sense of fulfilment. Playing soccer means you are playing with teammates, and when you do something positive, it benefits the whole team. This feeling is exceptionally fulfilling. Likewise, if someone does something wrong, you can encourage them and give them the knowledge that they can and will do better, which can provide a sense of fulfilment for both of you.
Benefit #4 Meet New People
When I first began playing soccer, I was very apprehensive and timid. I didnâ€™t know anyone on my team, and I had come from a school with less than 100 pupils. I lived in a small rural area with a low population. It took time for me to make friends, but eventually, I did, and the friends I made are my best friends to this day. One of the best things about football is it will allow you to meet new people and form healthy relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime.
Benefit #5 Fun
Racing after a ball slipping and sliding trying to kick it before a member of the opposing team does is surprisingly fun. It is no coincidence that football is the most popular sport in the world and deserving of the title â€śThe Beautiful Gameâ€ť.
Football is a super way to become fitter and get some kilometres under your belt as an alternative to your regular running routine. You will burn loads of calories, which will result in you losing fat. It is a genuinely fun game, and you will find yourself making a whole host of new friends. I hope football proves as beneficial for you as it has me!