I am often asked if football is a good sport for our youngsters to play. I have been involved with running football clubs for years, seeing children start at five or six years of age, and developing sometimmes into profesionals by their mid teens. As with many things in life, it is not easy to give an answer that is not a little bit yes, and a little bit no. Football has a lot of write up room in the press, so is one of the most popular choices for children to get into when they get involved with sport. Footballers, well the top professionals, are now majot celebrities, famous around the world. Many of the players read about in the daily papers, are just normal lads who have managed to showcase their talent on a very big stage, for very good money. I like to think there is more to inspire youngsters, in football, than just the desire to be rich and famous.
We are living in times of high numbers of children suffering from child obesity. Sports, like football, inspire these children to get fitter, and be more healthy. Because football is so popular, it always has a lot of children trying it out as a hobby. The amount of running involved, and associated exercise, in becoming a good footballer means that any children who do play football, whatever their skill level, will be keeping fit and healthy. The amount of cardio vascular exercise is high. Ths means that players will get fit and keep weight down through playing the game. Beacuse of how the game flows, players are naturally encouraged to run about, to get the ball, make tackles, get into position to be passed to. This all helps keep the child fit, and encourages the child to mprove their fitness in order to make bigger impacts in the game, and recieve the appreciation of their team mates.
Socially football is a great way for children to make friends, and be part of a team. Children have to learn to work together as a team in order for them to win. This is a valuable skill to have in life, as many will have to work as part of large teams when they go out to work. Making lasting friendships is also important for children to develop social skills. Cheering others who score, and encouraging team mates can build empathy and leadership qualities.
There is also a lot of opportunity to install disciplin. making sure the children encourage each other, and not put down their team mates, means that the children practice making positive contributions to what they are doing. By making sure children respect the referees decision, we can encourage a respect for authority, and also encourage children to control their anger and communicate alternative views appropriately.
Football can offer so much for our youngsters. Discipline, friendship, and the feeling of being part of a team. As well as many other benefits not noted here. For me it is the perfect sport to promote to our children, to keep them fit, and help them develop into positive happy and healthy individuals.