Last updated 29th June 2016
Tired of football? Tired of kicking? Tired of being slide-tackled? Tired of shooting wide of the goal? Despair not! There are many other ways to kick a ball around on a grass pitch.
Today, I will teach you a fun physical activity based on a simplified version of International Rules Football, adapted to be suitable also for soccer countries.
You can assume that everything that you know in soccer, remains absolutely true, except when otherwise is said here. That means that goalkeepers, outfielders, round balls, rectangular goals, kicking, and light clothing is still here.
There are however some differences to sprite up the game a lot.
- If you score a goal, it’s 6 points. If you shoot above the goal, it’s 3 points. If you shoot slightly to the sides of the goal, it’s 1 point. In this way, it’s like shooting a giant dart table with 6-3-1 on it. The most points at the end of the match, wins. No “last goal wins” stuff here.
- You are allowed to pick up the ball in your hands and run around with it, but on certain premises. For every 4 steps, you have to bounce the ball like a basketball. You may never throw the ball, but you can punch or kick it. Flathand punches are allowed. Opponents can snap the ball from your hands, except during free kicks, which there are tonnes of. Which leads us to…
- If you kick the ball more than 15 meters, and it is picked up by either team before the ball touches the ground again, that team receives a free kick for the good play. Free kicks may be kicked from the ground, or from a drop kick.
- In every other pass situation, the ball is free for everyone to kick, punch or grab.
- Slide tackles and gripping tackles are strictly forbidden. You must use shoulder-to-shoulder or other non-hand pushes if you wish to tackle the ball carrier.
- Balls are recommended to be a bit more soft than regulation soccer balls (Deflated soccer balls do not make it any better), but must also be slightly sturdier than a volleyball.
- No offside rule. Yay!
And that’s it. You’re now ready to play International Rules Football.
Once you get used to it, you can add exotic twists to further spice up your matches:
- Irish twist: No free kicks for catching someone’s kicks. No points for shooting to the side (6-2-0). 1 in every 2 ball-bounces must bounce off of your foot, instead of the ground.
- Australian twist: Use an oval ball (Preferably a rugby ball, even better if it’s a size 5). Shooting over the goal also counts as 6 points (6-6-1)
There are also many ways in which the activity is a lot more convenient than playing organized soccer.
- You don’t have to wear leg protection, due to much fewer slide tackles. You may opt to wear a scrum/fegis helmet if you’re really afraid of taking a battering, but this should not be necessary under normal circumstances.
- A player may wear a singlet on warm days.
- Technically you can have a lot more than 11 players on each team (Yay for large gym classes!). However, the officially larger team sizes were designed with very large sports pitches in mind.
- If you’ve got users of very light or motorized wheelchairs, they can very well join along too! Not that I’ve tried playing with one yet, but as an initial rule of thumb, they can carry the ball while having to throw it a bit up in the air every 4 meters.
So go out there and have it fun while playing football again!