Euro soccer camps Life Skills for Kids .
As a soccer coach, that means I need to empower kids to make good decisions on their own. That means teaching them how to handle many different situations in practice and talking about how to quickly assess a situation so they can choose the right response. It also means asking kids to reflect and evaluate afterwards about the results and if there were any other decisions they could have made.
Yet as much as we try to prepare kids to make the right choice, it really comes down to them on the field. It’s tremendously empowering for kids to know that they’re in control. Plus, since they quickly see the results of their decisions, it teaches kids how to make better choices.
2. Social Problem Solving
swarmed by the other team. Players realize that they have to depend on their teammates to make anything happen.
When kids play as part of a team, they also begin to see how to leverage people with different skills. Perhaps one kid is really fast, while another has a long, accurate pass. At some point, the light will go on and they’ll realize that “If we get the ball to X on defense, she can pass to Y, and he’ll be able to run past everyone to score a goal.”
When kids first begin playing soccer, it’s very common to see every single one chasing the ball in a pack around the field. Yet as they gain more experience, they realize they’re more effective as a team if each person plays a different spot. It’s always fun to see the moment when each kid realizes, “This is my position. I have a responsibility in this area and against these opposition players. I need to be ready to support my team-mates. Only one kid can kick the ball—I need to be in my spot.”
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As kids gain experience playing soccer, they begin to hold a picture in their mind of where their teammates are and where the ball is in relation to their goal (and the opposing goal). This special awareness helps kids learn to “read the game” and anticipate things that haven’t happened yet. For example, they may notice that a teammate is open and start planning where they need to go if that player gets a pass.
A major benefit of developing this spatial awareness in a game situation is that it teaches kids anticipatory or perceptive thinking. Kids get immediate positive feedback when they correctly adjust to where the play will go, which encourages them to anticipate solutions for potential problems in real life situations. This is an important life skill for leaders to develop because it gives them the ability to be proactive about solving potential problems.
The legendary Pele once said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
When kids play soccer, they learn that success isn’t easy. Unlike basketball where the scores reach into the double digits, soccer is not known for producing many goals. As a result, there’s always a sense of elation when the ball actually goes past the goalie and into the net. In soccer it’s a massive accomplishment to score. So many things have to fall in place that it feels like a significant achievement.
Soccer also teaches kids how to literally pick themselves up when things aren’t going well. Since they’re still developing their coordination, kids often trip over their own feet or accidentally get knocked down in the heat of the moment. When that happens, we help them jump back up and get back in the play.
Kids learn that getting knocked down or getting scored upon isn’t the end of the world—what matters is that they keep trying.
When kids discover that losing is part of soccer, they also become better sports. Players on the losing team learn to congratulate the winners for a job well done (while secretly resolving to work harder so they can win next time.) At the same time, players on the winning team know how it feels to lose. This gives them the empathy to accept congratulations gracefully.
The Beautiful Game Sets players Up For Success
When kids learn to play soccer, they’re not just learning a physical skill. Soccer teaches kids skills such as teamwork, perseverance, and decision making, that they’ll be able to apply to all aspects of their life. It also helps them learn to weather the ups and downs of life, anticipate opportunities and how to work with their peers to solve problems. In addition, they’re learning to play a game that connects them with millions of children all over the world.