Football for kids is one of the best ways for them to learn how to interact with others. Social skills are just as important in life as being physically active and well educated. At football kids will learn how to introduce themselves, to talk about themselves, to talk to others and to respect authority just to name a few. In doing so they will be equipped with the skills that will stay with them throughout life. One thing I forgot, NO FIGHTING. Kids love a good play fight but this is should probably stamped out as it can lead to injuries especially if there is a large size difference between kids. Furthermore kids are very impressionable and if it is perceived to be okay at football they may think that’s ok to do it anywhere which can lead to problems at school or at home.
Football is a team sport, and even in its 5 aside form where there are less players on the court meaning individual skills may be more present you still need to work as a team to be successful. Therefore, football teaches cooperation. Cooperation is an essential social skill that enables people to work together in order to achieve a common goal. In footballs instance to score goals and prevent the other team from scoring goals as well. In the game itself there are isolated examples of individuals cooperating. A goalkeeper telling his teammates who to mark at a corner, players performing a free kick routine where everyone plays a part in order to hopefully fool the opposition and score a goal. Both are examples of players having to cooperate. This would therefore hopefully translate to there outside of football life and enable them to cooperate with classmates and work colleagues.
Football is also a great way to make new friendships. Players tend to come and go throughout a teams dynamic especially when people start getting to seniors. Life tends to get in the way whether that be family or work or something else. This means that there is a constant flux of new players coming into the team and this provides an excellent opportunity for people to create new friends. This can have other benefits too, my football team has a very wide range of occupations some are in accounting, marketing, finance your typical white collar types where as others are in blue collar occupations such has plumbing, construction and landscaping. Deadest if ever I need something fixed all I have to do is call up a teammate and its sorted. I would not have that opportunity if I didn’t play football.
At a young age as well its so important for kids to make as many friends as possible, because at that age they can manage it. As you get older its no secret that the amount of friendships that can be consistently maintained tends to dwindle. Plus a child who enters a completely new team apart from maybe 1 player who was an existing friend will hopefully gain another 6 or 7 by the end of the season depending on how many are allowed in the team. If they are completely new to a team in the junior age groups in my area, then they would have the opportunity to become friends with another 15 players.
I touched on this a little bit before, but football also provides an opportunity for people to maintain friendships as well. How often are you able to hang out with at least 10 – 15 mates if its just one team and up to 20 – 30 people if it’s a squad twice a week for roughly 6 months continuously. Not a chance you would be able to do that without football. Maintaining friendships is key to having a healthy and fulfilling life, it feels good to have friends and be a part of a team. We are social creatures after all.