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The Benefits of Playing Junior Football

10 Benefits of Playing Junior Football

There are many benefits of playing junior football. Chances are that if you were a junior football player yourself, you would want and even expect your child to follow in your footsteps and play the game. Indeed, many parents naturally expect their own children to follow in their footsteps and go into junior football. However, if you are a newcomer to the world of junior football, you may have some reservations about what you are letting yourself and your child into by playing for a local junior football team.

It is a big commitment – both for you and your child. It may seem like a big drain on your time with all those training sessions and weekly matches. However, scratch under the surface and you start to realise some of the benefits. Your child’s involvement in the game offers up a number of life lessons and good habits that will serve your child well as they mature into adults.

Let’s take a look at ten of them…

Fitness

The most obvious benefit to playing junior football comes in the form of fitness. Football requires good levels of fitness to be able to play. Even playing for a short time is going to have a substantial and beneficial effect on the overall health of your child.

Playing football at an elite level requires the ability to run intensively at speed. Furthermore, it is important to build up stamina and endurance which occurs naturally the more you play.

Football is full of short burst twisting and turning motions. It helps build strength and muscles through the core of the body and elsewhere. A strong bank of fitness in their formative years helps to make for healthy adults.

Social skills

Football throws your child in with a whole new section of friends. Often, it’s a different cross-section of peers from a range of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

One of the key benefits of playing for a junior football team is that your child is going to meet new people. In turn they will make new friends and be offered a broader perspective from different people of their own age.

Learning to be part of a team

This is a highly sought after skill in modern life. Playing Junior football helps your child to appreciate collective responsibility. Furthermore, it provides a their role within a team of people striving to achieve the same collective goal.

Your child will have their own responsibilities within the team environment. Their ability to deliver and take pride in their own contribution to the team’s success is an important life skill. In fact, that’s sure to be important for the rest of their lives.

Dealing with disappointment

Anyone who has been involved with football will tell you that disappointment is never too far around the corner! Football has the habit of dishing out regular life lessons. These come in the form of disappointments and setbacks. By playing junior football, your child will develop the mental strength to be able to cope with them and will help strengthen their character.

Being able to use disappointments in a positive way and build on them to respond appropriately is a fantastic life lesson.

Dealing with success

By contrast, football also throws up opportunities to celebrate success. These great memories can stay with you for life. Furthermore, dealing with success in a mature and magnanimous way is again a highly important life lesson.

Discipline

Discipline plays a key part – whether in training in games, or having the ability to stay focused despite many other distractions. Furthermore, your child will be expected to maintain their discipline on a football pitch at all times. Discipline is required in the face of adversity. Junior football encourages high levels of discipline. Indeed, all players must respect the authority of the referee otherwise they are not allowed to play.

Coping with with pressure

Again, the ability to cope with pressure is a key part of life. There are many different examples where this is needed on the football pitch. This can really help to develop character and maturity in young people.

Although it is a team game and encourages everybody to play their part, there are times when all eyes will fall on your child. Inevitably, they will carry the hopes of the rest of their team.

Responding in a positive way does not always come naturally to young people. However, the benefits of playing junior football will enable them to grow and be strong in the face of pressure situations.

Competitiveness

Despite what may have been reported in the media, a healthy sense of competition still exists in junior football. Although, results and league tables aren’t published until they reach a particular age. Nevertheless, there remains a strong desire to win football matches amongst parents, coaches and clubs. Wanting to win is a key driver of achieving anything in life. Junior football draws this out of young people in a healthy way.

Self-esteem

A word of encouragement or a pat on the back plays such a significant role in the emotional development of any child and football offers up countless opportunities for this. Savvy coaches are quick to praise all their players for good play or as they develop as players, and they also support them through the tough times with words of encouragement too.

Junior football and the people within it supports young people in building their self-esteem. Equally, It can really help with mental health.

Pride

Giving your child something that they are contributing to and that they can be proud of is a huge boost to their own confidence and sense of worth. They may be struggling  in other areas of their young lives, at school for example. The opportunity to be proud of their achievements in their junior football team is a terrific way of building them up.

Contributing to the wider success of their team can help boost their confidence and overall outlook on themselves.

Summary of the key benefits of playing junior football

To summarise, it’s important to bear in mind the multitude of physical and emotional development benefits of playing junior football Many of these only present themselves when you are actively engaged in it. Even if you don’t feel it at the time, one day you will thank yourself for the opportunity.

We have tried to illustrate some of the key benefits. Playing junior football develops very well rounded young people. Many of these go on to achieve all sorts of things in their lives, not just within football but in the wider world as well.

If you are interested in finding a club for your child, take a look at some of the clubs here. Alternatively, you can see by the FA Counties page here. You may also find the website of the Football Association, a useful guide for information.

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