Football is a great way for kids to keep fit and enjoy themselves, as it is for adult players. But, for kids there are additional benefits to playing soccer. Grassroots football provides children with the opportunity to develop vital social and professional skills for the future.
Child health is a massive concern at the moment as child obesity has soared over the last few decades and this will have serious consequences for these children in adulthood. It is recommended that children do at least 1 hour of physical activity each day. Exercise will improve bone strength as well as cardiovascular and muscle strength and regulating weight – not to mention helping kids sleep better. Sports such as football also have the added advantage of improving co-ordination, spatial awareness and reactions.
Perhaps less obvious but also extremely important, Saturday morning football gives children the opportunity to develop skills that will help them at school and later in the work place. These transferable skills include co-operation, motivation, leadership and above all – teamwork. A player will normally only spend a few minutes of each game actually kicking the ball. The rest of the time is spent supporting team-mates.
Soccer is also a valuable tool for making friendships and learning about social interactions. Beyond simply meeting people, playing in a football team creates a strong sense of camaraderie and community as well as providing a shared interest.
Kids soccer teams are organised by age e.g. Under 10s etc. Clearly, this is necessary from a physical point of view to group together children of similar physical abilities but it is also necessary from a mental point of view. As children move through different stages of their mental development, they will have different coaching requirements.
For many parents, volunteering and coaching for their child’s team is an extremely rewarding experience. Coaching courses are run by the County FA.
No doubt now you are wondering how to go about signing your child up to a kids team so they can start having fun while enjoying these health and personal development benefits. If you don’t already know of local junior teams, get in touch with your County FA and they can advise you of suitable teams in your area.