Name: Mark Fricker
Walking Football Club Name: Barnet
Favourite Position: Midfield
How long have you played Walking Football?
Why did you first get involved with Walking Football?
I guess it was the adverts on TV, I thought I could do that.
How many times a week do you take part in Walking Football sessions?
Can you let the readers know about your Walking Football sessions in regards of which age group are they for, are they male only, female only or unisex sessions?
I play once a week on Friday, and this has been male only sessions.
The age group varies greatly from 50s to 70+.
The teams are usually of mixed age, it seems to work well.
When you play a game of Walking Football do you play to the WFA / WFU or FA rules and why did your club decide to follow those rules of the game?
I think it’s WFA but not sure.…..Shaun!…… yes mark, common sence rules of a protected area for keepers, no contact no tackling from behind etc.
Describe the buzz you get having the opportunity to play a team sport again at your age?
It’s great, it makes you forget you’re getting on in years.
What one or two things do you currently do in your training sessions that you think are important to avoid injury?
I try and do some stretching and a bit of fast walking (dare I say jogging) before we start.
Have you played competitive Walking Football, if so which tournaments / leagues?
I’ve played in the Peoples F.A cup this year, and a few interclub friendly’s, and also a couple of tournaments.
Has your diet changed since you have started playing Walking Football? If so what is different?
Not really, and apart from a rather large Calzone Pizza at the Christmas diner I always try to eat sensibly.
Do you feel fitter and healthier since you have started playing Walking Football and if please describe how?
It’s taken a while, but I’m definitely feeling fitter, I don’t puff and pant as much when walking my dogs, or when I go upstairs.
Can you describe any injuries you have suffered when playing Walking Football and can you let the readers know how they were caused?
I twisted my ankle a couple of weeks ago, which has meant missing a couple of sessions.
I think this might be due to my Astroturf boots, so I’ve got a new pair to try.
Do you always have a club member present who has had first aid training at your games and training sessions, and is there a defibrillator available if needed?
Yes, one of Barnet’s community support team is always with us and they are first aid trained. With a defibrillator and all the back up we need.
Has your social life changed since you started playing, and if so in what way?
Well I’ve got a load of new friends that I enjoy playing with, and I enjoy the after session get together in the bar.
Does your club or facility where you play Walking Football hold any social or charity events connected with Walking Football and if so what were they?
Yes, we’ve had a couple of Christmas parties, and a Charitable games night. We’ve also had a cake day for Macmillan Cancer Support.
What are your best and worst memories of playing Walking Football?
Best was scoring the equalizer against Watford’s A team in the Bobby Moore tournament, and worst is getting injured.
How else has playing Walking Football affected your life?
It’s given me a renewed interest with the game in general.
What do you like most about Walking Football?
Just being able to play football again.
What do you like least about Walking Football?
Teams/Players who want to win at all cost. To me it’s more about enjoyment, fitness and making new friends.
Do you find it difficult NOT to run and what advice could you give someone in how to remain at walking pace?
It is difficult not to run at times, especially when the ball is running away from you, but it’s just a case of trying to be disciplined, and of course the referee and opposition soon you let you know if you are running.
What are your goals for the future when playing Walking Football?
Just to stay healthy, and to play for as long as I can.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to play but is nervous about approaching a club or attending a Walking Football session for the first time?
Life’s too short to be nervous, so get on the internet if you can, or ring a sports centre (or the F.A.) and find your local team.
What do your friends and family think about you playing a sport again at your age?
They laugh, and think that I’m nuts, but then they’ve always thought that.
What are the costs involved in order for you to play Walking Football for foot ware, kit and weekly session fees?
£3 a session, and I’m afraid you have to buy your own boots and training kit, although full kit is supplied when representing the Walking Football team.