With about 3.5 billion fans, soccer (or football, if you prefer) is the most popular sport in the world. One of the things that makes it so popular is that all your need is a ball and a couple of teammates to get started.
Even better, is that the game can be adapted to suit almost any age group _ there’s no physical contact and you don’t need to be a certain height to score a goal.
Obviously, a soccer game with pre-schoolers is not going to be a tense nail-biting battle of skills worthy of the World Cup, but there’s a lot of merit in getting them playing early.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- Getting Active It’s important to to make regular physical activity a habit as soon as possible, whether it’s participating in a program, or just playing kick in the park. Being active has a host of health benefits including building stronger bones and muscles and improving endurance. Children who are active are less likely to be overweight or develop Type II diabetes.
- Develop Motor Skills Any physical activity is good for developing a child’s motor skills, but soccer is great because it covers so many bases. One game of soccer involves running, kicking, jumping and controlling objects, not to mention requiring a bit of co-ordination and balance. The more children practice, the better they will get.
- Building Social Skills When children play a team sport they discover how to work with others to achieve a common goal. They will get better at communicating with others and that develop that all important skill of taking turns.
- Increase Self-Confidence Studies have shown that, provided it’s in a supportive and nurturing environment, sports can be a great way to build children’s self-esteem.
The idea of getting little ones playing team sports such as soccer so early is not about giving them a head start so they can be the next Tim Cahill. Instead they’re develop lots of great skills that will serve them in all areas of their life.
Of course, the children don’t know that, which is why they get the most from playing sport when they’re far too busy having fun to notice that they’re learning. Whatever sport you decide your children should play, the most important thing is that they’re playing it in a way that’s appropriate for their age group, with realistic expectations of what they’re capable of and no pressure to succeed. Not only will you be building their skills, chances are you’ll be building a life-long sporting fan.