Soccer for Kids
Soccer for Kids - Unlock the Potential in Your Young Athlete
Some parents, especially those who have never been athletes, may think that sitting on the sidelines in lawn chairs, eating snacks, gossiping and cheering their seven year old on now and then, fulfills their duty where soccer is concerned. Any coach can tell you that’s just not so.
The soccer coaches and volunteers at Camp Ohana can teach children the rules, the plays, and the strategies of the game, they can coach kids to a win, or through a loss; but young athletes need so much more to reach their full potential. As a parent, you have the ability to ensure your child's success.
Help your young soccer player to:
Love the sport - A child won’t excel if they don’t love what they’re doing. But, don’t expect love at first sight. If your child is playing soccer for the first time there are all sorts of reasons she may not like it. Maybe, she’s shy, the coach is scary, she doesn’t know the rules, and/or the other kids are strangers. But, if by the middle of the second season she still doesn’t enjoy playing, it might be time to look for a new sport.
Develop Cognitive Skills - Experienced soccer players are good at multitasking. They make high-speed decisions, and have superior focus and concentration. They possess better attention spans and memories, and can track targets better than non-athletes. Overtime, these skills are gained on the field, but cognitive exercises can accelerate these valuable talents. Video games are great at teaching target tracking. Matching games improve memory. Board games, improve decision making. Building blocks, Legos, or 3-D puzzles teach spatial reasoning. Help your child find fun ways to increase his cognitive prowess.
Keep Things in Perspective - Soccer for kids should be fun. If any sport plays too big of a role in your child’s life, it affects his ability to be a well-rounded, interesting individual. When a sport becomes “all” important, the pressure to excel can damage a child’s self-esteem as well as his performance. Soccer should be just one of many interests in a child’s active, fun-filled life.
Control Emotions - People feel emotions 200 milliseconds after an event happens, and think consciously 500 milliseconds later. That accounts for an awful lot of emotion on the soccer field. At least 14 kids are experiencing thousands of emotions and making decisions based on those emotions; while running at full speed up and down the playing field. Once a game is over, encourage your child to talk about what he felt while playing. Take advantage of this one on one time to teach your child to set anger, frustration, and disappointment aside, until after the game, when you can help him understand why he feels the way he does.
Deal With Ups and Downs - Losing is a natural and expected part of sports, and your child needs to know and understand that he’ll win some and lose some. Focusing on losses hurts a child’s ability to stay positive and motivated. Sometimes there is a cause for a slump, and changes are in order, but at other times it’s best of put the loss behind you and just focus on doing your best.
Sidestep Negativity - A negative teammate can sap the energy from the entire team. No one should be teased or subjected to negative comments and pessimistic views. That goes double for a young child who is trying to give their all in a soccer match. Children don’t possess the social skills needed to counteract a negative teammate in a productive manner. And, since negativity is a learned response to stressful situations, the negative teammate is most likely unaware that he is doing anything wrong. Watch how teammates engage with each other on and off the field, and report any negativity to the coach. You’ll be doing the whole team a favor by addressing negativity before it has a caustic effect.
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Chairman and CEO
Camp Ohana Foundation
October 29th 2014
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