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Figures from the Football Association show that over eight million adults now play a form of football across the country, with the recent rise in female participation a welcome addition.
While many dream of scoring a goal at Wembley or lifting the Premier League trophy, in reality the vast majority of footballers simply enjoy the thrill of football for the sheer camaraderie and physical wellbeing the world’s favourite sport provides.
5 a side is a hugely popular part of the footballing community with over 30,000 teams thought to participate in organised and competitive small-sized leagues.
Setting up a team to join the 1.5 million people already enjoying a weekly local 5 a side game is relatively easy and can be successful if you follow some simple steps.
Get interest going
First be clear about your motivation to play 5 a side. Do you want to be highly competitive in a league situation, or simply wish to enjoy a regular kick about with friends? Rounding them up should be straightforward, but if you want to look further afield, start by making wider contact at work with colleagues or at university, local sports centres, through social media to reach out to potential players.
Using today’s tech
It is now easier than ever to keep in touch with players to help organise, pass on information, or simply spread the word about your five-a-side endeavours. There are several mobile apps that can help those in charge stay on top of weekly arrangements, set up games and confirm player attendance.
Over recent decades significant investments have been made to provide pitches that players can feel excited and proud to play on. Today’s high-tech surfaces, including 4G 5 a side football pitches, offer all-year round playability and are the perfect backdrop to show off your footie skills. With enclosed cages and floodlights provided at many locations, safety and the ability for all-season playing is guaranteed.
When searching for playing venues, think about the importance of changing facilities to you and your team, as well as whether you have access to a convenient socialising point like a café bar for the all-important post-match banter.
5 a side rules
Ensure from the start that everyone is clear about 5 a side football rules and how you all want to play so that enjoyment and participation is maximised. Playing periods, number of subs allowed and even rules on the number of touches, will clarify the boundaries for all and help to ensure games remain competitive and balanced.
While fine when playing together as friends, entering tournaments and leagues may require adjustments to your agreed rules of play.
Keep the motivation going
You have worked hard to gather a keen squad of players, set out the playing rules, found a great local 5 a side venue and organised a frequency of games that everyone is happy with.
The final element is to try to maintain ongoing interest, so players remain motivated to turn up each week. Setting up small incentives such as voting on the player of the week, player forfeits or creating mini- tournaments by reaching out to other teams, can provide real ongoing stimulus to what is a shared passion for the beautiful game.
5 a side pitches
Book a 5 a side football pitch at the Sports and Wellness Hub.
David Morris Content Contributor, Warwick Sport
David is an avid runner and writes about different aspects of fitness, health and wellbeing. He enjoys running, fitness classes and outdoor activities with his daughters.
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