All forms of physical exercise are beneficial, no matter your age. However, team sports for children, including football, netball and cricket, can provide a range of life skills that are especially relevant. Team sports have as much to do with mental aptitude and working cohesively with others as they do with physical ability and development.
Young children, in particular, have much to gain from taking part in team sports like soccer because such activities call for certain levels of commitment and reliance on their team mates. One of the biggest benefits that football provides to younger players is the understanding that no matter how proficient or gifted they may be as players, they cannot achieve wins without the rest of the team.
Learning the important lessons of being accountable
Team sports help children learn that they are relied on by their team mates. When your kids grow up and start working, they will be part of a team environment, whether they’re an office, a workshop, studio, store or a warehouse. They’ll need to be able to get along with others and remember that if they don’t fulfil their professional responsibilities their colleagues may cop the flak. The “letting the team down” ideology is exceptionally important for children as they learn that their actions affect others. Take a day off sick at work and someone else may have to pick up your slack, deadlines may not be met and your whole team may be impacted. Don’t turn up to training and you risk lagging behind the others and you are less likely to learn important on-the-field skills and strategies at play. Another important factor is learning to lose graciously as this is key to being accountable when your kids become adults.
If you want to achieve a dream, you have to work for it
The modern world of social media is awash with people aspiring to greatness through celebrity. Yet, this instant glamour appeal hides the hard work behind the scenes. If you have an aspiring Messi or a budding Beckham, the biggest lesson these kids will learn is what it takes to be great – and it doesn’t happen overnight. Impressionable children need to learn to apply themselves if they want to improve. One thing that playing soccer at a young age can do is to illustrate that achievement is a smoother process when the principles of teamwork are applied.
Learn to solve problems and conquer hurdles
Putting points on the board may be exciting but learning how to manage the emotions that come with defeat is all part of growing up. Problem-solving and the ability to overcome challenges is something that every child has to learn at some stage. As much as we’d love for our kids to never experience disappointment, protecting your little ones from the hardships of failure is not good for their development. Team sports like soccer call for the kind of collaboration and problem-solving through both attacking and defending positions. It’s also a great space to encourage your kids to have fun in a safe environment, while finetuning their motor skills.
Understanding authority and trust
Children need to learn boundaries and by associating with aspirational authority figures, who they look up to, is an important part of the process. Skilled football coaches – especially former S.League players and coaches – who have experience with young people are great at manoeuvring the fine balance between friend, mentor and authority figure. Children who are exposed to these aspects of team leadership at an early age are much more likely to develop respect and trust in teachers and mentors as they progress throughout life.
Overall fitness and improved wellbeing
There are real physical benefits from regular exercise and the improved fitness that football training provides for children of all ages. Young bodies are designed to move often and soccer is a great way to ensure lots of physical fun.