In today’s media we are constantly being reminded of a health time bomb that is about to explode as children today are not active enough.
The youngsters of today have so many choices that compete for their attention and can lead to a lethargic lifestyle including computers, video games, multi channel TV to name a few.
Soccer is the beautiful game, played by millions of young girls and boys (aged 6 to 18) across many continents; whether it’s on the beaches of Rio, the back alleys of a major city or the local park you’ll find someone kicking a football around.
In today’s society there has been a shift to more organised soccer practice for our youth players. In days gone by any piece of grass or street corner provided a pitch and clothing or a school bag served as goal posts; however, today cars rule many streets and the building boom has lead to houses or apartments being built on those same grass areas.
Having a more structured approach is both a good and a bad thing.
In the club environment youth players do get training and development from willing coaches who demonstrate the correct way to develop their skills from beginner right up to advanced play. Plus, organised small sided games wrap everything up together to provide a total learning experience.
However structured training sessions are often time restricted to a couple of hours a week so what do the children do when practice has finished?
Getting your child to participate in an organised soccer school or club can bring tremendous benefits to you and your child. Soccer can help increase your child’s self esteem that feeds their self talk which ultimately drives their performance.
Soccer isn’t the only winner, quite often academic performance can increase too!
Research shows that children playing soccer at an early age fosters a great attitude for the game and this attitude grows with them into later life.
One of the biggest reasons why kids play soccer is to enjoy themselves and have fun; if soccer is fun and enjoyable then players will want to continue playing. This benefits their overall fitness and reduces their health risks considerably.
In today’s world, Soccer is made fun by coaches worldwide who willingly give up their time to organise youth soccer practice and coach teams.
Gone are the days when soccer was an 11 a side game for the really young players with offside rules and no touches of the ball for massive periods of the game. Youth soccer from the age of 6 to 11 is typically about having fun, playing small sided matches such as 4 v 4 with no goal keepers, promoting lots of touches of the ball and player interaction on the pitch.
Through playing soccer, and encouraging children to take regular exercise, many of the risk factors that are associated with heart disease such as obesity and diabetes can be reduced significantly. Since 1976 research undertaken has shown that obesity in our children has increased by more than fifty percent, a frightening statistic.
Getting your child involved in soccer doesn’t just improve their health.
Social benefits, such as mixing with others, having to work as a team, contributing through individual effort to a collective goal, experiencing the highs and lows, picking each other up, competition, striving to be the best, aiming to win, supporting and helping others are all by products of playing soccer.
The skills that children learn while playing soccer can all be transferred into adult life. Skills such as social interaction, forming relationships, goal setting, leadership and commitment to name just a few.
Although soccer is the ideal team sport for youngsters to be involved in encouraging youngsters to play any sport will be beneficial to them, now and in later life