Improve your game 500 steps at a time.

I think soccer is a great sport, but I never really got into it, what with my lack of athleticism, physical fitness, coordination, team spirit, and competitiveness. My aversion to sunlight didn’t help either, but a new take on football is in the works that addresses at least a few of my issues.

It’s called 500-Step Soccer, and as you can probably guess from the name, it’s essentially soccer with the caveat that each player can only take 500 steps before they are removed from play.

Every one of the five players on each team is fitted with a pedometer that measures steps, counting down from 500. In the event a player runs, a quick dash can cause the meter to shoot down by five to 10 steps at once. However, if you stop moving for four seconds, you can recover one step for each second after that you remain motionless.

An additional variation is that whichever team kicks the ball out of bounds is the one that gets possession. Presumably because they need to spend steps in order to go and pick it up.

These limitations level the playing field for players of different abilities so that physically stronger players can’t just run circles around everyone else. It also adds a whole other dimension of strategy and cooperation to the game as teams must consider their available steps properly in order to keep everyone in play.

500-Step Soccer is a collaborative effort by sportswear giant Mizuno and the World Yuru Sports Association, a group whose goal is to develop sports with an emphasis on fun and inclusiveness. They already have dozens of sports aimed at everyone form the senior-oriented Kotatsu Hockey to Hand Soap Ball, which is suitable for all, because everyone sucks at it when their hands are covered in liquid soap.

▼ Hand Soap Ball

500-Step Soccer has been in development since 2019 and trial events are still being held to fine tune it before they begin a full-scale promotional push. One such event recently took place on 24 July in Osaka at the Yoshimoto Sports Festival ’22 held by the legendary comedy talent agency Yoshimoto Kogyo.

▼ It’s unclear whether the fuzzy blue ball will be the official design or not

They are also soliciting ideas for future “step” sports in the form of an Idea Contest held by Mizuno. Ideas can be submitted in any form that fits on one sheet of A3 size paper or one PowerPoint slide, but only one per person. If you want to do some personal experiments to develop your sport, or just play some 500-Step Soccer on your own, Mizuno released the official pedometer app on the App Store.

▼ Promotional banner for the Idea Contest

Entries will be accepted until 31 October and winners will be declared following a through evaluation. It’s not clear what the prizes will be, whether its merely a certificate or – dare we dream – some actual Mizuno gear. I’ll let you know as soon as I win for my idea of 0-Step Golf, which is effectively not playing golf.

Source: World Yuru Sports Association, PR Times
Images: PR Times
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