The Benefits of Football for Kids
Tue 20 November 2018
Football course benefits
There are so many sports out there for kids and parents to choose from and these choices can often be difficult to make. All sports will give your kid transferable skills, however, the most important thing is that children are active and enjoy the sport of their choice as this has a lasting impact on their development. In this article we will discuss the benefits of football and all the different advantages your kid can gain from playing the beautiful game.
Why do kids need sport?
It’s no surprise that sports and exercise are an integral part of a child’s development and growth, the benefits are both physical and mental. Every child needs exercise. However, not every kid is getting the exercise they need to develop fully in our current cultural and health climate. Physical activity is even more important in the early stages of life as it sets up a foundation for the development of a child and contributes to their life experience shaping them for the future. Each sport will have an array of benefits and skills that kids learn through practice.
Kids can benefit from both academics and sports:
Performing the appropriate aerobic activities as children has shown to increase brain development in all areas, decrease stress, promote concentration and boost confidence. Sport has been shown to benefit children on an academic level.
In many schools across the world sport is secondary to academics forcing children to choose between them. Although school in the classroom is important, for young kids, going outside and moving around is just as important. There is so much research out there on how even minimal activity can boost brain function and enhance socialisation, however, sport can be downplayed so that teachers can reach academic demands. As a result, there is a lack of focus on developing children’s physical literacy, with more kids staying indoors rather than playing outside. In addition to this, with the rise in popularity of technology, kids are also choosing sedentary activities over physical activities within their own free-time meaning that they are missing out on the benefits of sport.
So Why Football?
It’s our job to make sure kids are allowed to grow to the height of their potential and experience new challenges contributing to their development. This is why enrolling your child in a sports club or extra activities is so important.
But why football and not anything else? What are some of the main benefits and advantages in football? If children need activity aren’t any plain or multi-sports okay? Of course, all sports have their advantages and they will give kids transferable skills helping them in multiple fields of physical development. But, the truth is, football is arguably one of the most well-rounded sports when it comes to ticking off important boxes for physical literacy, social development, and cognitive development. On top of being the most popular sport in the world, in the UK knowing “football” is a useful advantage for many social situations leading to new friendships, participation in social activities and events.
Developing Physical Literacy through football:
Physical literacy is all about developing fundamental physical skills in children. Basic skills like running, jumping, throwing, catching, kicking, and hundreds more that fit in the even broader categories of agility, balance, coordination, movement and speed - the building blocks of physical activity.
Running and Jumping:
It’s no secret: football has a lot of running. And not just “running”, it’s all types as well. Endurance running for long periods, sprinting, quick changes in speed, multi-directional running, anything you can think of football has it. This short interval sprinting with recovery is exactly the type of running a child needs to develop their endurance and develop speed simultaneously. Overall fitness and running for footballers is taken very seriously at WMF as our training sessions are designed to constantly engage your child in varying activities and keep them moving to develop these skills.
Jumping, dodging and hopping:
Though it doesn’t seem like there would be much jumping, besides the obvious jumping for headers and jumping in goal, a player spends a lot of time with both feet in the air. Sliding into tackles, quickly stepping to track attackers, jumping into position, and jumping to avoid players and to dodge defenders… All of these movements will develop a kids physical development without them even realising it! Practicing football skills and tricks also lead to benefiting a player’s agility, spatial coordination, reaction times and balance.
Throwing and Catching:
Yes, football is a no hand sport. However, as a younger player, everyone has a chance of being in the goal, and everyone is required to learn how to throw off the side of the pitch accurately. So even in the sport what handling the ball is foul play, throwing is a big part of the sport. Learning to take “throw ins” correctly can benefit a child in other sports too, making giving them a well-rounded skill-set. Players also need to know how to throw into the right space for teammates, who in turn have to trap and “catch” the ball. In addition to this, when players are starting out in younger age groups, many games/practices start of with the ball in their hands and progress to a version of the game/practice with the ball at their feet. This ties into hand-eye coordination, the ability to concentrate and stay mentally engaged for periods of time and a less talked about skill, of tracking objects in flight; which develops depth perception and spatial awareness.
Kicking is the best part! Learning to control all areas of your feet, generating strength in your legs and feet by sending objects into motion, and gaining superior control of the lower limbs are all things football is remarkable at of course. Kicking is a full body movement as it will benefit the player’s core strength and stability. The mobility, agility and speed of movement required to kick a football becomes a physical life skill contributing to the development of a kid. This main aspect of the sport is what really sets it apart as a well-rounded activity.
Developing Cultural and Social advantages:
Football is fun and engaging, and a great environment for kids to make friends. Not to mention that it’s the most played and talked about sports on the planet. Knowing how to play immediately benefits you as you are put into one of the largest sports communities in the world, and can become a point of reference to so many people in life. Football can give kids so many advantages as friendships and social connections can be formed through simply taking part in the sport.
Creating cognitive challenges help your kid develop:
A big part of Sport is that it forces decision making in complicated or high-stress situations. It’s all about gathering and processing information in the best way possible and this comes through practice and exposure to these situations. This is especially true for football. Learning to predict outcomes and take the most efficient course of action in short amounts of time is the building problem-solving skills that children need and can apply to all aspects of life. This, combined with the need for effective communication in football, makes it perfect practice for a growing child who is still cultivating these skills.
In addition to all the physical benefits of football for kids, there are so many things football can help teach: ownership, resolving conflict, managing emotional responses, taking constructive criticism, respect for others, building motivation etc.
Sport is essential to society and can give children so many benefits, and football is one of the best ways to incorporate it into your kid’s development. The most important thing is that kids enjoy their sports, gain benefits from participating in them and fufillment. We hope this article has helped pinpoint some of the main advantages and skills your kid can get from playing football, however, if you would like to see these benefits for yourself, come a along to a free football session with We Make Footballers! Our comprehensive programme develops a wide range of social, mental and physical skills highlighted above and our experienced coaching team will ensure your kid is getting all the benefits out of football to help their development!