With the FA Cup final on this Saturday, we thought we’d take a look at the world’s most popular sport and why it’s so good for children to get involved in this fantastic game.
Football is played by hundreds of millions of people in many countries, popular with children and adults, it can be played almost anywhere and you can make a makeshift football if you don’t own an actual ball. Belgian photographer Jessica Hilltout has taken some amazing, inspirational photos of footballs made from everyday things in Africa where many kids and adults are unable to afford real footballs.
The rules of football are fairly simple to understand and as soon as young children can walk, they seem to instinctively know that a football on the ground is inviting them to play.
As a not-for-profit organisation, the FA generates revenue from the England teams, The FA Cup and Wembley Stadium in order to invest in grassroots football up and down the country, which supports the philosophy that football is for everyone and can be played anywhere and everywhere.
We talked to Ian, who is one of the brilliant volunteers who give up their time to help children learn and play football together in their local communities, through grassroots football. I asked Ian to tell me about his role as a kids' football coach.
My son was 5 and I took him to football training. I found that some of the younger boys couldn’t play because there were too many big kids so I started helping out. I said to myself 'I'd like to do this because my dad did it for me and the enjoyment we both got from it was immense, real quality time together.’
It’s about providing fun games with a football element. It’s important to let kids be kids, and enjoy themselves, then their enthusiasm for the game will grow and hopefully they will develop a lifelong enjoyment of the sport. We try to get the kids to use their right and left sides because this develops their co-ordination skills.
The number one thing is social skills. It’s about meeting with different kids and encouraging communication at a young age. I’ve seen young kids grow in confidence and that’s great. The children also develop listening skills and how to put instructions into action.
The under-fives like to chase the ball and as they get older and more confident, their awareness on the pitch develops and by the time they are seven or eight, they are using the whole pitch and lifting their heads to find a player to pass the ball to.
You need patience! We have a lot of training to help us do the job, like level 1 FA coach training where you are shown how to create safe, fun and engaging coaching sessions through building, developing and extending a series of linked practices.
I like seeing the children grow in confidence and it’s a great way to spend time with my son. I have another son who is going to start football sessions in September and we are both excited about that!
We're all about happiness and creating a better world for our children through learning and imagination. We've even got a personalised football song in our Happy Songs album, where your child is the star of the match! It's a song that celebrates the joy of playing football and supports learning to count to 5!
Comments will be approved before showing up.