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Page updated 20 May 2022




In walking football, just like “mainstream football”, there is one glaring fact - possession is king!

Forget the “clever statisticians” who preach transition (or counter-attack as we used to call it!), there is one undeniable set of facts in football - you cannot score without having the ball and your opponents cannot score if they don’t have the ball!!

In my experience of walking football, l I get very frustrated by the way that my teams concede possession and I’ve looked at why, with a view to helping my teams improve in this area.

Before I start, let’s make it clear - players who play the game of walking football are not Glenn Hoddle (the best passer of a ball that I have ever seen!), and even if they could do what he did technically, walking football does not allow this, as you cannot pass above head height! 

So, the first thing to remember is to KEEP IT SIMPLE and make sure that when you do pass, you pass to a teammate, no matter how far away they are - 100% pass success rate to a teammate has to be your target!  But passing square for the sake of it is of no benefit at all!

So, how to improve your pass rate? 

Here are my tips!

- Don’t gamble! 

If there is no obvious pass on, it’s usually because you cannot hear your teammates, don’t just try the “killer” ball. The technique for this (the killer ball) is too difficult, to thread the ball through a crowded defence (without the option to hit the ball over the top), you’d have struggled “back in the day”, but with the over head height limit in walking football, you’d definitely struggle nowadays!

- Listen to your teammates and trust them.

If a teammate calls for the ball, it’s mainly because they can see the “bigger picture” and have a better vision of where your opponents are, so this is where you MUST trust them and release the ball. Remember, if you don’t pass it to them, they will stop calling for it, and soon you will have no option but to keep it, under pressure, and may get dispossessed!  You’ve been warned!

- Practice your technique

Knowing what to do is half the battle, but actually doing it is another story!  So practice passing, practice again and keep practicing till you do it without thinking about it! 

You CAN “teach an old dog, new tricks”!!!

- Make sure teammates call for the ball.

If your teammates don’t call for the ball, to HELP YOU OUT, then you have to be brave and tell them that you need their help.  In reality you will be concentrating on keeping control of the ball, so you will be looking down at it, so it’s vital you use your ears, but even that will be useless if your teammates go “mute”!!

If they aren’t calling, they aren’t helping - so be a “leader” and tell them to call!!

- When you’ve passed it, that isn’t “job done”! 

Move to become a receiver ASAP and stay involved!  If you pass it and stand still, your team cannot progress towards goal. So, walking football isn’t just about “the here and now” and your job isn’t over if you pass the ball then just watch. It’s also about thinking “I’ve passed it, now where can I move to get it back and get my next pass ready”, it’s like chess, or snooker, think two steps ahead and you’ll be a better player, and, more importantly, a better team mate!!

- Pass quickly and early. 

One of the most frequent, and dangerous, things I see in walking football is “dallying on the ball”. This is dangerous because it allows opponents to close down the space, without tackling, and reduce your passing options (this is not just outfield players, it’s often keepers too!). So, it’s vital to make a quick decision (as a passer or receiver) and get the ball moving as quickly as possible. The longer you “dally” in possession, the more your opponents can organise their defence (including a high press) to recover the ball (and remember - you ONLY score when in possession!!)


- In summary


Make sure every pass you make goes to a teammate, and once you’ve passed it, look to get involved again as soon as you can!


If you are waiting for the ball from a teammate, call for it - it’s football, not “hide and seek”!!


You cannot score without a ball, so keep it at all costs, if a pass to a colleague isn’t on, keep the ball and ask for help!


You cannot concede with possession, so to ensure you never lose, keep the ball.


Silence is not “golden”, it is the enemy of the good walking footballers, so get “mouthy”, it will help your team massively!


Finally, football is much more fun when you have the ball, if you just want to chase (without running) the ball, give up walking football and join a walking club!


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