Basically, any sport will help children develop better movement skills and good physical literacy. But if you had to choose only one, soccer training for kids stands out above the rest.
Physical literacy covers a lengthy list of basic movement skills. Some of the most essential skills include jumping, throwing, running, kicking, catching, skipping, and so much more. These fundamental skills are based on the ABCs of movement. These important physical capacities are agility, balance, coordination, and speed.
So, along with teaching cognitive decision making and spatial orientation skills, what makes soccer the superior kid’s sport in terms of physical literacy and the development of such important skills?
The Benefits of Soccer Skills for Kids
- The fundamental ABCs- In early childhood agility, balance, coordination, and speed are sharply linked to a well-developed central nervous system. Young children need the right type of stimulation to help prepare the CNS for the ABCs. Teaching soccer provides the ideal stimuli to help kids develop diverse movements and quick shifts in direction. By simply playing the game physical literacy develops and blossoms.
- Running – Soccer training for kids always involves some running. Truth be told, there’s a lot of running going on during a soccer game. This is the best kind of running for pre-pubescent kids, intervals of short sprints followed by recovery breaks.
- Dodging, skipping, hopping, jumping, and galloping – Soccer skills for kids include a whole lot of dodging and jumping to confuse and evade the opponents on the field. The popular sport also requires kids to skip, hop and sometimes gallop as they alter direction, change speed and modify their stride to stay on top of their game.
- Catching and throwing – Soccer training for kids involves some hand use. Players are required to learn how to play restarts with a throw-in, and anytime the ball crosses the sidelines, it needs to be retrieved. Also, goalies are constantly catching and tossing the ball out to teammates.
- Tracking a ball in mid-air – Children must be able to track moving objects and estimate distance and speed, like a ball, in the air, to be able to catch, throw, strike with a bat, etc. This type of movement skill is learned and developed through practice and continued experience. Teaching soccer challenges children to determine trajectory, speed, and distance of the ball.
- Fast decision making – Another important skill, that is often overlooked, is the ability to make fast decisions and respond quickly. At one point in time, this might have meant seeing a lion and instantly climbing a tree to evade danger. In soccer, players need to know the right time to pass the ball or attempt to shoot a goal. Cognitive challenges arise and players need to analyze each situation and respond appropriately.
- Kicking – Kicking is what soccer is all about, and there are many techniques that players need to learn. The range can become very complex the more advanced children become in the sport.
Soccer training for kids is a great prescription for developing comprehensive movement skills in children and enhances their ability to make fast, informed decisions.