How do I get my child into football?

We Make Footballers
29 January 2024

Initiating your child into the exciting world of football involves thoughtful steps and considerations. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of getting your child into football, from gauging their interest to finding the right program and ensuring a balanced approach to their newfound passion.

Before we get into the guide, we do have to stress the foundation of 'positive environment'. Some parents don't need to do anything to get their children to love the sport, purely because the environment they build around the game is so positive. Other families struggle to get their children to adopt their beliefs about the game. Each child is unique and we strongly recommend adjusting your approach based on your child's needs.

So, where to start?

  1. Assessing Interest: Begin by having a conversation with your child about their interest in football. Explore whether they enjoy watching the sport, playing with friends, or have expressed a desire to join a football team. If they show interest then great - go full steam ahead. If they are on the fence, you can spend more time softly introducing the game like playing in the garden, watching it together on tv and generally making the football environment 'fun'. If they don't like it, forcing a child to enjoy the game just because you do is not likely to produce the desired results. Ultimately, you have to be ok that your child may never be into the wonderful game. We recommend building a positive relationship with your child over pushing a sport or interest on them. You could try swimming, tennis, ping pong or even bird walks - the priority is getting them healthy, active, outside and away from screens. You never know, they might come back to football later.

  2. Researching Local Programs: If they are interested, look for local football programs, youth training sessions, or clubs in your area. Evaluate their reputation, coaching quality, facilities, and costs to determine the best fit for your child. You'll want to ensure there are safety measures in place and a good long list of positive reviews. You aim to build their interest by getting them to play and have fun in a positive environment. 

  3. Contacting Local Providers: Reach out to the identified football providers and inquire about the possibility of your child attending a taster session. Ask all the questions you can about the type of training they do, what their coaching philosophy is, how regularly they train etc. While getting a sense of whether the coaching is suitable for your child through a Q&A is helpful for shortlisting, doing a taster session gives you firsthand experience and will help both you and your child assess the suitability of the program.

  4. Choosing Beginner Programs: If your child is new to football, opt for beginner programs that focus on teaching the fundamentals of the game in a fun and supportive environment. These programs lay a solid foundation for enjoyment and skill development. If any coach recommends highly competitive and rigorous training at a young age or at a beginner level - it is our belief that this isn't the right approach. We advocate for building a foundation on play, self-expression and fun (within a guided framework). 

  5. Supporting Weekly Training: Once your child is actively participating, ensure they have the necessary equipment such as proper footwear and shin pads. Support their training by encouraging practice at home and providing positive reinforcement for their efforts. It is said that enjoyment of an activity goes up the better you are at the skill and we are strong believers in this. 

  6. Building a Love for the Game: Foster a genuine love for football by encouraging your child to watch matches and play the sport with friends. This not only enhances their game understanding but also instills a passion for the beautiful game. Do they have a team yet? Try and rally around who they want to support (very difficult for some loyal households).

  7. Maintaining Balance: Strive for a balance between football and other aspects of your child's life. Ensure they have ample time for schoolwork, rest, and other activities they enjoy. A holistic approach contributes to a well-rounded and fulfilling childhood. Football can generate some great traits such as perseverance, teamwork, discipline and communication. It teaches children the benefits of delayed gratification which can have huge impacts on their future opportunities.

Getting your child into football is a rewarding journey that involves understanding their interests, researching local opportunities, and providing ongoing support. By following these steps, you'll not only introduce your child to the joys of football but also help them develop valuable life skills and a lifelong love for the sport.

If you would like a free session at We Make Footballers sign up today at your nearest football training academy.