Herts Girls Can...Play Football | Eclectic Cake: Herts Girls Can...Play Football

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Herts Girls Can...Play Football

It's another football-filled summer but, for once, I'm pleased. The FIFA Women's World Cup is all over TV and papers, the 'Lionesses' are one of only a handful of English teams to make it to a quarter final and, hopefully, a whole generation of girls have been inspired to try the traditionally male-dominated sport.

credit Herts Girls Can

But it's not just young girls that have been inspired. On Sunday a group of women – of all ages and levels of fitness – lined up for our first taste of football with players and coaches of the Welwyn Garden Ladies FC. I'd have been intimidated to join a training session on my own but the brilliant Herts Girls Can group has taken the fear out of trying new sports with their fitness festival and organised sessions for newbies.

We warmed up with a bit of agility work on an obstacle course that looked like it was just missing a mini tunnel and see-saw before it was Crufts approved. To add a bit of urgency, we were split into teams, which automatically made the exercise super competitive. Little did we know, we'd be doing it again...and again...This was an introduction to how fit and agile you need to be to play football.

credit Herts Girls Can

It's no good running around a pitch without any ball skills and at that point I had absolutely none but a quick lesson in the hardest parts of my head, and a few misjudged head flings and I was header-ing the ball. When it came to a mini game of no-hands netball, I reverted back to being scared of the ball, lifting my arms and palming the ball away. Hand ball! But this is a reflex that will apparently fade with practise.

Kicking the ball seemed far more natural. I could even aim and fire in the same direction. That is, until I tried to run with it. My attempt at dribbling the ball looked a bit like Bambi juggling on ice but I was encouraged to try my new found skills (I use this term loosely) in a game anyway.

credit Herts Girls Can

As soon as I was passed the ball, I panicked. If it wasn't for my teammates screaming instructions, I probably would've kicked it straight back to them. As I got more and more confident, though, I started tackling the opposition, getting in the way of attempted goals (now I know why shin pads are necessary...ouch!) and even taking a shot at goal. It didn't go in but as far as I was concerned I was a football player.

credit Herts Girls Can

Rather than being annoyed that I never got to try this sport as a kid, I'm grateful that I'm getting the chance to try it now. And with women's football now in the media, excited to see how many girls are inspired to become champions of the future.

You can join in with the Herts Girls Can Fitness Festival here.

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