At what age should your child begin to play football?

Whether it’s regular football or just a kick around at the park, it’s never too early to start playing. Toddler-friendly equipment such as lightweight, soft balls are a great way of introducing the concept of the sport, and there are plenty of opportunities for young children to get involved, whether it’s at nurseries, school holiday camps or leisure centres. Even spending time at the weekend kicking the ball around the park is a nice way to introduce children to ball sports.

How young is too young?

It is thought that around five years old is a great time to start playing. Young children do not realise how much they are learning through playing, and it puts them in a good position if they decide that they want to take the game more seriously later on in life. At five years of age most children have started school and will be much more disciplined and used to listening to a teacher so coaching them is a little easier than at younger ages. In their school education they will also be taught the motor skills related to catching, throwing and kicking a ball which will all support their football skills as well.

There are groups that take children much younger than five and teach them basic ball skills all centred around the fun of playing together as a team and running around kicking a ball. These techniques will be taught in much more detail as the children get older but at younger ages it is all about instilling in them a love of playing with a ball.

For kids in particular, however, the emphasis should be on having fun. The essence of fostering a love for the sport is to let them enjoy it and learn from their own mistakes. While skill development is important, this will come if you allow the child to just enjoy playing.

Parents can help in the development of football skills by enjoying some time with their children outdoors kicking a ball around. This is a no pressure activity that doesn’t depend on a win at the end. It is about the children enjoying the game and building on great relationships with one another.

When children start at a club around the age of five you may want to look into getting some Discount Football Kits from stockists such as www.kitking.co.uk for their training sessions. You can also use this kit when enjoying your weekend kick about with them.

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