That’s really a good question to ask! Lately there has been much emphasis on kids’ sports, and we’ve seen many prestigious institutes which are developed especially for transforming young kids into the star athletes of the future. The arising question is: how many times should kids be practising football? And the answer to this question is what we will discuss in this blog.
There are no sure-shot formulas for estimating sports activity time for specific ages of kids, it’s always relative to the respective aspects of the child in question. It also depends on their mental and physical capacities and also the passion they feel for the game. Don’t worry, we’ll get into more details as the conversation will grow. Before we dive deep into finding the answers to the questions popping up in your minds right now, there’s something that should be understood; practise and repetition are what make a good soccer player. But the criteria for practice is different for every age, since we’re talking about delicate young athletes, it’s going to be a tricky job maintaining both the practise and interest of your kid at the same time. Here are a few things which will determine the intensity of practice or training your kid should do:
Age of Your Kid
We’re not stating any statistics and strict timings right now, it’s just to keep the age of your kid in an account. There are 2 factors which determine the level of training required.
The first one is the involvement of your kid. If you will impose intense training hours on your kid, they will slowly lose interest in the game they enjoy the most, and you certainly don’t want that. Let it be fun for them till they reach adolescence. Once your kid is over 13, then it’s time to put in the work.
The second factor is the nourishment of your kids. Physical activity is good for kids, but intense physical activity is a danger zone for children under 13 years of age. Let their bodies nourish naturally with the right balance of physical activity. 1 or 2 training sessions a week are perfect for the kids under 13, and after that, you can increase the intensity.
Your Kid’s Physical Attributes
When making a soccer training routine for your kid, it’s necessary to pay attention to the physical capacity of your kid alongside his age. The human body works in a very systematic way, it tells us when it’s pushed beyond its limit. And you don’t want your children to feel burned out. If you will make a plan while keeping in view their physical capacity, you will see your child having fun while at the same time learning and getting better at soccer. There’s another side to it, the physical progression of each child is different from another. Some children show rapid physical progress, while others show a little delayed progression. But in both cases, their bodies shouldn’t be pushed beyond their limits.
Interests of Kids
When kids find something fun, they tend to become more involved in that particular activity. It happens in soccer too. If your kid is immensely passionate about football, it’s hard to take them away from the football pitch. On the contrary, if they don’t find it entertaining, they will take time to develop an interest in football. The intensity of kids practising football varies for both extremes. You need to take this into account when planning their routine. You can plan more training sessions a week if your kid enjoys the time with the ball. And if he doesn’t, give them time and ease them off with a smaller number of football practices until they develop a fondness for the ball.
That’s it with the theories. Here are a few recommended training times for kids practising football, of different age groups. We will discuss each age category and its recommended training intensity one by one for a clearer idea.
Kids Below 7 (Under 7s)
It’s the most delicate age group when they are just getting started to be familiar with the ball and the grass. At this stage, the recommended number of the training session is once a week. The time span of the training session should be 40-45 minutes which is considered the optimum. If you will push your kid beyond this optimum level, there can be bad effects on the physical health of your kid.
Kids Below 9 (Under 9s)
By the age of 9, children start getting the idea of working hard and they start understanding the sense of competition. That’s when you can increase their training intensity for better results. The suggested number of the training sessions is also once a week in this age group too, but you can increase the period of the training session. Make it around 60 minutes per session.
Kids Below 13 (Under 13s)
Your kid is getting closer and closer to the competitive football and it’s time to start putting in the work. Here the idea of practice and repetition comes in the scenario. Now they should start working hard to increase their skillsets and their understanding of the game. For that purpose, you can plan up to 3 training sessions a week maximum, with each session being 75-80 minutes long.
Teenagers Below 17 (Under 17s)
As they get closer and closer to competitive football, the intensity of work increases and football becomes a lot more than just a fun thing. In their teens, they start getting a sense of responsibility and their bodies tend to be stronger. Thus, now they can bear high-intensity trainings and practices, both mentally and physically.
At this stage, you can schedule up to 4 training sessions a week, while each session can be safely between 1-2 hours each.
Keep an Eye on Your Kids!
While you implement all the statistics we mentioned above, it’s better to watch out and analyse your kids. See if there are any signs of burn-out, which usually from kids practising football, too often, that is, over-trained.
Here are the few symptoms of a kid being over-trained.
- Watch if your kid is losing interest in the training.
- If your kid feels lethargic all day, it might be the time to reduce training intensity.
- If your kid is having pains, it is because he’s physically exhausted.
There are many more logical symptoms that you can observe yourself, but the main idea is to prevent your kid from going into the red zone of mental and physical exhaustion. Their growing bodies need proper nutrition and physical activities. Being over-worked and over-trained can leave physical strains on their bodies for life.
Kids practising football, is a very sensitive area to talk about, and you may want to seek medical suggestions before making training schedules for your kid. We have given general ideas and optimum levels for each age group. Like we mentioned in the start, all of these info may vary from child to child as each one is different from the other. The core idea is to make football more entertaining for your kids and preventing them from physical exhaustion so they can keep enjoying and developing their skills of the beautiful game.