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Alright. So for a bit of backstory I am 16 and until this point in my life I have been a rugby player in the UK, and honestly a very good one. I truly believe I had a shot at a professional career, and was lined up for some scholarships. However a recent seizure led to me being taken to a hospital where it was discovered I had a partially inoperable benign brain tumour. It is above the brain mass that controls movement on the left side of my body and as I am left handed they want to avoid surgery at all costs unless my seizures become more frequent, so basically it stays and I take pills forever. At my age even if I did get surgery (which they don't want) it would be a minimum of 2 years before I'd be allowed to play rugby again. That basically means I've missed my shot and I won't get another, pro rugby is done for me.

Now it took me some time but I've accepted it and moved past that fact, and I've decided I need to find a new team sport to play, as although I enjoy cycling it misses a certain thing that I love in competitive team sports (I'm not trying to go pro in a different sport, don't worry). As a result I've looked at joining a five aside football team, but I know very little about football. As in I probably have about 200 minutes combined time on a football pitch my whole life. Never played it with my family, got out of it at school, played rugby with all my friends, etc. So I am clueless. I've been googling the rules for the last 45 minutes.

I've tried to ask friends and PE teachers, but I am an anomaly in England, someone who managed to just never play football is very, very rare.

I know I've gone on but basically what would be the essential things to learn before even trying to join a five a side team if you were absolutely, completely new to the sport?

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    Also I have been suggested touch rugby by people as it is non contact, and as much as I appreciate the support from people I am a very heavy prop forward and am simply not fast enough to play touch rugby, I've tried. – WSlater Apr 21 '16 at 16:55
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    Could heading a ball make things worse? – Don_Biglia Apr 22 '16 at 6:57
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    Maybe don, who knows. So far I haven't actually had anything happen from contact, its been from submersion in cold water, so I have no idea why I can't plug rugby, but whatever. I guess I'll find out when I try header a ball. – WSlater Apr 22 '16 at 20:10
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  1. The rules/laws and regulations you'll be playing under. This gives you a sense of the structure behind the game, and for example, why it's being kicked in from there instead of here, or why that player got a card when this one isn't, and an idea of what you can or can't do, when and where.
    Full rules/laws can usually be found on official international governing body websites, with national and local changes often on their respective association websites.
  2. Basic skills. How to move in possession, how to pass, how to receive, how to shoot, how to dispossess opponents, how to block shots.
  3. Basic tactics. These can vary by code and by team structure, but some universals include switching play, counter attack, offside trap, set-play positioning and motive.
  • As addendum to reading the rules/laws: I mean the full rulebook itself and the official guidance that accompanies it. Ignore anything a commentator, journalist or pundit says (the few that know are never the ones asked about it). – Nij Apr 23 '16 at 21:52
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    Alright, thank you. I will try and get a hold of a copy of the official rulebook. – WSlater Apr 23 '16 at 22:53
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Coming from Rugby football, you've got at least a head start compared to someone completely new to team sports. A couple of things you can take with you are

  • Passing. Like Rugby, if a team mate is in space pass him the ball. Then try to support him by getting in space to get a pass back.
  • Defending as a team. You need to account for all opponents, avoid getting beaten 1 on 1, and support each other when possible.

  • Playing as a team. You can make up for a lack of skill by playing unselfishly (pass when possible), tracking back and playing competetively.

There are many skills you need to learn, and you need to find a team that practice regularly and will give you time to learn from them. Passing, receiving a pass, shooting and tackling are all obvious things that any player needs to do.

But coming from Rugby I would suggest two things that may be alien at first

  • Jockeying. My image of a prop-forward moving to football is something like this: rush the player with the ball. But any half-decent player who can see you coming will be able to sidestep you, and move past you. It is often better to try to jockey the player with the ball, and wait for him to make a mistake or until you have a chance to take the ball

  • Shielding the ball. Not a good idea in Rugby, as some heavy prop forward will slam into your kidneys within a couple of seconds. But in football, you can't tackle from behind, so it can be a good way to buy some time until you can find a teammate to pass to.

  • Thank you. I will try practicing some of these things and I will look for a team who are ok with me being terrible. – WSlater Apr 22 '16 at 20:10

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