Being active in any form of sports is great for the overall growth and development of children and teens. Playing sports is the much needed stimuli that can aid in their physical as well as emotional well-being. Along with this, children learn a lot of useful life-skills like team spirit, respect for team members, seniors, rules as well as opponents, time management and above all, sportsman’s spirit. All this will help them face the challenges that life will throw at them in their adult life.
There are many sports that the kids can choose to play, soccer being one of the most popular choices. What makes soccer so popular? Well, that’s a discussion we will leave for some other day! For today, let us talk about the 5 benefits of youth soccer:
1. Improved Physical Health and Fitness
Playing soccer has huge health benefits for kids and teens. It can help them achieve their fitness goals and aid in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Improved cardiovascular health, muscle strength and flexibility are a few more benefits that we can add to this list.
The enhancement in physical development can definitely be counted as one of the most important contributions of soccer in a child’s life.
2. Improved Mental Health
We hear the terms stress, anxiety and depression quite often these days. Mental health issues have become quite a big problem for the society at large and it is increasingly affecting the youth too. The silver lining is that people have started talking about these issues and are coming forward to seek help.
The World Health Organization recommends that kids should get a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity daily. A game like soccer comes in as an apt partner here and can help in managing stress and anxiety levels for the children. What they also get is a huge boost in morale, self- confidence and an overall improvement in mental health.
3. Enhanced Social Skills
Soccer is a team game and playing it on a regular basis can help the kids become better at driving conversations and managing conflicts. They will learn to value the opinion of their team members, coaches and colleagues. These valuable lessons that they learn while playing soccer will help them manage relationships when they grow up and move to more complex situations.
The friendships that these children will form on-field will remain with them even if they stop playing at a later stage.
A soccer club in Dallas that we recently spoke to corroborated this fact and said that the young boys and girls form a bond that is really strong and long-lasting.
4. Better Academic Performance
It’s a well established fact that children who play any sports tend to perform better academically. A lot of it has to do with their improved physical and mental health. A child who is healthy will be able to manage his or her studies better, aided by enhanced focus and concentration levels.
The skills like goal-setting, hard work and time management that children learn while playing a game like soccer gets transferred to their studies as well. Many athletes actually do better academically – a fact that may surprise a lot of us out there!
5. Build Leadership Skills
Playing soccer, a highly competitive game, can instill leadership skills in the young players. They learn how to stay motivated, encourage team members for better performance and most importantly – learn to accept failures.
These are qualities that we all seek in great leaders. A good leader is determined, focussed and has the ability to look at the bigger picture. Also, he or she knows how to work on the strengths and weaknesses of the team members.
Well, that’s quite a lot of benefits for the youth! Playing soccer while juggling school and assignments may seem tough at times but if you look at the benefits – it’s well worth the effort.