Sports and activities have a wide range of positive benefits for children and teens. Participation in a team sport can introduce and foster character growth in your child, as well as provide for their physical and emotional well-being. There’s certainly a lot of sports out there to choose from, however, so making the decision of which one to encourage your child to take up can be daunting.
Traditionally, in the United States, youth team sports are generally thought of as split between Little League baseball or Pop Warner football. Youth sports in the rest of the world generally mean something else, however, as outside of the United States, soccer, or as they call it, football, is the most popular sport. All over the world, kids join together to talk about soccer, play against each other, and hone their skills.
Enrolling your children in youth soccer will not only spur their development and build their character and skills, it will induct them into the community of soccer players around the globe. With a background and education in soccer, your child will be gaining cachet in the world around them and experiencing a cultural touchstone that will give them common ground with the citizens of any country they may find themselves in.
Over the course of this article, we’ll explore in detail the various positive benefits and advantages of an education in soccer.
BETTER EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Playing a sport is a great way to loosen up and relieve tensions and frustrations. Numerous studies and researchers have shown that physical activity releases the neurotransmitters that are responsible for regulating moods and happiness.
The nature of sports, as well, teaches children valuable lessons about struggling and triumph in the face of adversity. As life is unpredictable and sometimes unfair, dealing with the occasional disappointing call by a referee or unfortunate loss of a match provides children and teens a good practice model for the various difficulties of the real world. While it’s very unlikely that your child’s team will win every game, losses will teach the children the importance of perseverance.
IMPROVED PHYSICAL HEALTH
All sports increase your physical activity, to some degree, but soccer offers unique benefits in that arena, especially when considered alongside other sports. Unlike baseball, where there are long periods of inactivity while waiting for a ball to be hit into your section of the field or waiting for your turn at bat or time to run to base, or football, which requires a large degree of physical toughness and a high potential, soccer offers sustained and safe physical activity.
Soccer requires fitness and agility. The game’s long periods of unbroken playtime are marked by jogging, running, and sprinting after the ball, which both requires and builds tremendous reserves of stamina and vastly improves overall cardiovascular health. Over the two 45-minute halves of a soccer game, the average player runs 5 to 7 miles, keeping heart rates up and improving aerobic capacity.
Because soccer is a sport that uses the whole body as well, bone density and muscle development increase throughout the body, not just in one part or half of the body. The strength, speed, and agility of the lower body are built up through sprinting, changing directions, twisting, turning, jumping, and kicking. The upper body is built up through shielding the ball, throw-ins, holding off opponents, and more.
IMPROVED CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM
Sports are a great way for children to build confidence and improve their self-image, as well. Through working hard, winning, and coming to know their own abilities and capabilities, confidence and self-esteem in your child will soar.
The increased coordination that comes from regular sports practice and training will do wonders for your child as well. Regular exercise will improve their posture, help them to develop a leaner, more trim figure, and will help them with maintaining a positive self-image.
Studies have shown that players of competitive sports such as soccer tend to have higher grades overall and lower rates of depression and to participate less in risky behaviors such as taking drugs or drinking alcohol. Players tend to see their hard work and perseverance pay dividends on the field with their sports performance, and they learn to apply those lessons to the other areas of their life as well.
- Playing a sport is a great way to loosen up and relieve tensions and frustrations.
- Soccer, unlike many other sports, is one the most self-directed team sports there are.
FORGES SOCIAL BONDS AND TEACHES TEAMWORK
Soccer is a team sport and, as such, it teaches children how to work with their peers toward a common goal. Working as part of a group and spending time with their peers will help them with making social connections that stay with them throughout their life.
Whether they play with the same group of teammates throughout their soccer career or they go off to a youth soccer academy to hone their skills, they’ll be learning how to contribute to a common goal, manage their time, take direction and commands from a team leader, and more.
An international soccer academy can help children to form friendships and bonds that they may have otherwise never experienced. Becoming friends with a teammate from another country can expand the horizons of a child and introduce them to the broader world around them.
Soccer academy schools are all over the world, offering children and teens a unique chance to experience the world around them, in a way unlike camps focused on sports that are more popular in the United States. Because of soccer’s international appeal, many countries all bring their own unique cultural spin to it, bringing a fresh and different take on the game to the table.
BUILDS LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Not only does participation in a youth sports activity teach the best way to follow commands and take direction, it also provides players with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership themselves.
Soccer, unlike many other sports, is one the most self-directed team sports there are. Unlike football, where the quarterback receives constant communication from the coach in the form of plays, which are then communicated to the rest of the team, in soccer, there is no such thing.
Players can decide for themselves on the field the best course of action to take during the 90 minutes of game time. The fact that players are forced to respond intuitively to changes in the game and on the field as they happen fosters a higher level of trust, understanding, and respect than in other sports.
The sport of soccer is also not position-driven. Unlike in baseball or football, where one side is on offense and the other is on defense, and they take turns switching off, soccer is a much more dynamic game. Possession of the ball can change in an instant, and, thus, whether an individual player is playing defensively or offensively can and will change many times over the course of the match.
This produces players who are much more well-rounded and adaptable, able to think quickly on their feet and to develop a plan of action. It should go without saying that these are very desirable traits for players to bring with them in their lives, aiding and assisting them not only throughout their time as soccer players, but also in school, work, and their relationships.
IFX Soccer is proud to connect youth and teen players with international soccer camps all over the world. IFX maintains strong partnerships with clubs and teams in many regions and countries, offering an experience unlike one you’d get anywhere else, with cultural immersion letting you play and live alongside your teammates in their own country. Contact IFX today for more information.
Choose the best international soccer immersion program combining international education and football!
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