2015/16 Let The Kids Play

Whether you are a parent, coach or player there are many reasons to love kids football. There is an absolute unquestioning desire for youngsters to play and as a parent or coach there is massive reward as it is possible to see great strides made in a player’s ability in a relatively short space of time.

Government health advisors have moaned for years about the inactivity of the younger members of our population but it is quite clear that most youngsters, given the chance, are desperate to play sport. With school budgets being squeezed and sports grounds being sold off for development the opportunity to be involved in meaningful sports at school is diminishing. This means that the onus is put increasingly onto the shoulders of parents to involve their children in physical activity. It is infuriating that whoever the incumbent government is they seem to have short term vision on certain issues. It would make long term economic sense to encourage schoolchildren to participate in sports as this would not only improve the health of the nation but also have the added bonus of reducing crippling NHS costs, as a healthier population would require less medical attention.

While boosting health and fitness are often promoted as the key benefits gained from increased physical activity, the potential impact across all areas of life must not be ignored. The nature of team sports can have effects on ­improved confidence and ­­self-esteem and also lead to an improvement in academic performance. The aim is to inspire young people to succeed in whatever they choose to do by demonstrating the importance of hard work, sustained effort and learning from mistakes. The lessons learned help to increase pro-social behaviour and help develop fundamental life skills. Not only physical but social and emotional development can result from participation in team sports. A sense of moral behaviour and community spirit is acquired through the positive social interaction that occurs whilst playing footballl. Positive peer relationships can contribute to social inclusion among young people, offering equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnicity or ability. The good news is that up and down the country football clubs are starting up more and more girl’s teams.

So next time you see a group of kids kicking a ball about, take a moment to reflect that you are not simply watching them play a game, you are witnessing them develop into decent, respectful members of our community.

image

Artwork courtesy of Bravo Sierra Designs.

Originally published in ‘Swans Confidential’ the official matchday programme of Newport Pagnell Town Football Club.
NPTFC 0-1 Kirby Muxloe
United Counties League Premier
10th October 2015

© Andy Gunn

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