The social benefits of football for children
Fri 21 June 2019
Football training for children has many benefits. There are the obvious ones such as the physical exercise it involves which helps to keep them fit, active and learn fundamental transferable skills such as balance, agility or coordination. Mentally, playing football can help improve concentration, engagement, boost mood and reduce stress levels.
One area that often goes unconsidered are the social benefits of playing football. Over the last few years, the FA have been working hard to raise awareness of the social side of football and its importance in coaching. Coaches are developing a more in-depth understanding of how vital the sport can be to players and how social nuances impact a player’s development.
Participating in Football training for children can help to teach them social skills that go far beyond the playing field; skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
Here are just some of the ways in which playing football can be socially beneficial.
Improving as a player develops self-confidence
Football training for children can help improve confidence in them. By completing a pass with their weaker foot, learning a new skill, dribbling/keeping the ball under control or scoring their first goal, their self-esteem can receive a real boost, making them a more confident individual.
As they practice more, their footballing ability will improve in small incremental steps, however, so will their self-confidence. Some children begin their first session crying and scared of taking part, however, a few weeks later, once they get used to the session format they will become a confident member of the group who knows what is expected at football.
The game teaches children how to deal with setbacks
Unless your child is the next Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo or playing as part of a school-age version of Manchester City, then they are going to experience losing whilst playing football. Learning how to deal with and overcome setbacks is an important skill, seeing as life rarely runs smoothly. Facing challenges and setbacks will also show a child the value of learning from their mistakes.
Learning through trial and error is a fundamental part of the game, ensure that your child plays in a comfortable environment that encourages them to try new things as this will improve their development.
Building cooperation and working in a team
No football team can function effectively without cooperation. By playing as part of a team or taking part in a football class, a child will learn how to operate around others. Coaches will often talk about respect, teamwork and patience in practices. Playing in a group will increase their social awareness and understanding of others.
Improving communication skills using matches and games
Taking part in a group activity, playing in a team or going to a weekly football session will require communication. A child who plays football in a safe, fun and friendly environment will feel more open to communicating, socialising and interacting with their peers. Playing the game is an indirect way of connecting with other children, a vital social skill to have when it comes to building friendships.
Making friends at football
Speaking of friendships, joining a football training for children programme is a brilliant way for a child to meet other children who have a similar interest and thus increase their social circle. Weekly football classes are also an easier commitment to make for parent than playing in a team and are less of an initial challenge for the child.
Kids will bond over a shared love of a club or individual, be it because they are both Arsenal fans or because they both want to be the next Harry Kane. Because these friendships are built on the bonds of football, they are often relationships that are strong enough to last a lifetime.
Football teaches discipline
Football can teach and instil discipline into children in two different ways. Firstly, the game is governed by a very specific set of rules which they have to abide by or it cannot be played. Secondly, there is the discipline that comes with being part of a group at training and completing different practices - doing as a coach or manager says, listening to instructions, following practices and displaying self-restraint when asked to fulfil a particular role or position.
Leadership in football
Playing football could be a child’s first real exposure to the concept of leadership. Chances are that the adult figures in their lives so far will have been family whom they love or teaches who they look to as a source of learning. Their football coach meanwhile is a leader who tries to improve their ability and manage the group to be the best they possibly can. Through looking up to them, a child learns just how important the idea of leadership is, along with the value of respect.
Football teaches empathy
Empathy is one of the most underrated feelings that a child begins to discover through playing football. Because they are part of a group, they’ll learn to care about the well-being of their peers and friends. They’ll support, help and motivate each other. That empathy helps a child to see the world through someone else’s viewpoint, overtime, they will learn what it is like to be an attacker and a defender!
Playing football changes lives and part of our mission at We Make Footballers is to improve the football experience for everyone involved. By boosting a player’s social skills and enjoyment of the game from a young age, this increases their chances of developing a positive relationship with the sport in the long-term. Book a free session today to see if your child would like to start playing football in a fun, safe and friendly environment!