Football has always had opportunities for kids to play the sport whether it’s going for a kick about down at the local park or joining Barcelona’s youth academy, but there is an increasing love and passion for kids to play youth football and its only on the rise. But what are the benefits.
Fitness and Health
Football is a great aerobic activity that can be played almost anywhere. It’s a great way to improve your endurance as you need to keep at a high intensity for a long period of time and so it’s a very demanding sport, as long as you put in the effort, on your cardiovascular system. This means that you will have a lower chance of illnesses such as heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes and so starting a sport as young as possible can help prevent issues like this later on in life.
It will also hugely improve your agility and balance as you will constantly be having to change direction all over the pitch, whether your dribbling past players with the ball or defending your goal. Your overall strength and power will be increased as you make hundreds of 5-yard sprints during a single football match, meaning your strength of each stride will increase over time and this also interlinks with your overall speed/quickness.
For children who may be overweight, youth football is the perfect way to start losing it as the combination of walking, running and sprinting can amount to reduced body fats. Some people may struggle to get out for a walk or a jog as they could find it boring, but what is great about football is that if you enjoy the concept of the sport, then when you are playing it, you are not only having fun, but keeping fit!
Mental Health and Brain Development
Its recommended that children get at least sixty minutes of exercise a day, whilst most of the benefits you get from doing this are towards the fitness side of things; you also can get a boost in your mood and self-esteem by doing so. Whilst playing football, it triggers brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed and so whether you may have had bad day at school, going out to play football in the evening is a great way to blow off steam and forget about your worries.
Football also improves your concentration which is a key mental skill necessary at a young age. Concentration is needed all the time in life as whole and as football involves sharp decision making, good judgement and bringing about a high level of learning, you will notice that it is really helpful.
Many young kids suffer with depression, stress and anxiety, but football is shown to reduce stress hormones and at the same time the release of endorphins is stimulated. Being active for even just a part of the day has been shown to improve sleep habits as you are exercising at tiring out your body and mind. Without any activity during the day, you will not feel tired when your head hits the pillow and so if you can get a better night sleep, the next day you will feel much happier, however, do be careful not to engage in sports late on in the day as you could feel too energized when it’s your bedtime.
Leadership and Teamwork
This mainly applies for you if you have joined a Sunday league team. Engaging with teammates at a competitive level is a great way to improve your teamwork as together you have a win or lose scenario which brings you together so that you have to take on a task as a team. This helps with good communication as well because as a team, you have to communicate constantly to check if he’s marking the player or if you over there are working hard enough or is the defence in a shape compact enough and thy are just a few examples. Good communication like this will help give you leadership traits currently and also later on in life as being able to give out orders, being able to work in a team environment and in social situations can lead to strong leadership qualities over time.
Children often get bored just sat in the house as they are not active or entertained and so doing something you enjoy will easily get you thinking and having fun. When playing, you will be surrounded by your family, your friends or your teammates which will provide a positive environment and you also will be taking part in exercise which also is fun and when your finished you will feel proud and rewarding of yourself.
Many kids will get involved with youth football to become one professionally in the future, which I feel is a great mentality. Having a task or a goal like this is a great way to stay peaceful and no boredom, especially if school is not something that you feel you are especially great at. However, it can be tricky to follow your dreams like this as parents obviously have commitments which they could feel are more important such as work and siblings. Some academies require training 3 or 4 times a week plus a match on a Saturday on a Sunday which is a huge chunk out of their time, especially if the team you play for requires a decent travel.
Scientists have looked at how sports such as football affect student’s academic performance and the results are surprisingly promising. Football is essentially, like most other sports, a solving problem as you are getting the ball from point A to point B meaning that your visual spatial awareness is improved. It’s a fast-paced game and so it also helps children work at other activities in school at a good speed and efficiently.
Like stated above, football does also help with your mental health and mood and so at school, you will be happier to engage in learning. Playing for a youth football team is a great way to prepare for life later on as it can help with your routine. Getting up early on a Sunday morning to play for your team is structured and so gives your brain an opportunity to make plans and routines which heavily links with school as homework needs to be given in on specific deadlines.
Youth football is a great way to for children to develop physically and mentally and so you really should encourage them to get involved with football if it’s something they enjoy.