Why playing football is a great choice for kids

With the start of a new school year, one of the many back-to-school rituals is helping your children decide what extra-curricular activities to do.
When you get the after-school clubs list in their book bag, there’s usually a range of stuff for them to choose from – arts, crafts, dance, football, and drama, to name but a few. Often, it’s down to what teachers are willing to devote their times to clubs and where their interests lie. Fortunately, primary school clubs change every half-term, so the kids have plenty of opportunities to try different things.

August Cup
                     by  woodleywonderworks  Fresh air and football - a winning combination
Of course, you’ve got to help your child choose which activities they want to do, and not push them too far down a certain path just because you think it would be good for them. But if they’re not choosing to do at least one kind of sporting activity, it’s our responsibility as parents to persuade them.
So many of our children spend the majority of their leisure time on a tablet or their phone, and although it sounds like a cliché to say it, they don’t get outside and get fresh air in the same way that we did when we were young. While running around and being active might not come so naturally anymore, it’s in their long-term interest for us to instil a love of physical activity at an early age. Sometimes the best way to do that is through taking part in a team sport such as football. For both boys and girls, there are many advantages to learning to play football.

So why choose football? Of course, it’s one of our nation’s obsessions and is considered to be our national sport. Thanks to the worldwide interest in the Premier League, the amount of media coverage means that even the most unaware child will know a bit about football. At the moment, as well as the Premier League season being in full swing, the qualifiers for Euro 2016 are taking place and, over the next few months, football will become ever more dominant in the news so it’s nice for kids to feel like they’re a part of something big. And if you’re cultivating an interest in the game yourself to encourage your child to play, and watching a few games on the TV with them, you might want to dabble in a little online football betting while you’re at it.

The popularity of the game aside, there are, of course, the fitness benefits for kids learning to play football. They’ll learn skills such as passing, throwing, aiming and dribbling a ball. As well as helping them perform well in a football match, these hand-eye coordination sills will translate to help in other areas of life. Any child will benefit from having better motor skills.

Beyond the physical benefits, playing a team sport also helps children interact with their peers and understand the importance of working with others for a shared goal. It’s often good for a child who is a ‘bad loser’ to play a team sport, as they realise that losing isn’t the end of the world when the rest of the team doesn’t feel so bad about a loss. You may even find that they develop a better sense of fair play in other games away from the football pitch. Similarly, if your child is shy and doesn’t like meeting new people, then facing that fear by joining a local football club could help bring them out of their shell. The coaches are generally great at bringing out the best in the group that they’re working with, and will know how to encourage a quieter child to participate. Your child might also benefit from having to interact with another adult who isn’t their parent or their class teacher.
Football has a lot going for it as a sport for kids – the camaraderie, the discipline and the development of physical skills and strength. If you can sign your child up for football at a local club, they’re bound to thrive on it. Of course, if they don’t happen to enjoy it, there are always other team sports that they can try instead.
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