Tired of reading long blog post looking for just a simple answer? In this post, I am going to answer some common questions asked by parents who want to introduce soccer to their kids.
It is understandable for parents who are not familiar with soccer to ask these questions. My answers are aimed at giving you guidance for you to make up your mind and clear up some misunderstandings.
To make it easier for you, I listed the questions I am going to answer below :
Table of Content
- What is kids soccer?
- What is the best age to start playing soccer?
- Is soccer a dangerous sport?
- Can girls play soccer?
- Can soccer help at school?
- How long should you practice soccer a day?
- Do soccer players train every day?
- Can parents enjoy soccer?
- Can soccer help in improving the parent-child relationship?
- What are the benefits of playing soccer?
Question1: What Is Kids Soccer?
As the name suggests, kids soccer is a version of soccer purposely designed for children. In the US rules are administered by the US Youth Soccer and they are modified with more emphasis on fun, safety, and learning for both parents and their kids.
In 2016, it is estimated that 3 million kids play soccer in the US, slowly surpassing softball. A lot of parents are now participating in soccer with their children and networking with other parents on the sidelines.
Worried about soccer rules?
Don’t worry you are not alone, most parents started learning about the rules at the soccer field. I have compiled a list of basic soccer rules for parents like you here.
Question 2: What Is The Best Age To Start Playing Soccer?
Give your toddler a plush toy soccer ball and she will start her first training. Seriously, soccer is all about getting a feel of the ball and discovering that it can roll. No difficult requirements at all.
She will slowly learn how to hold the ball in both hands and maybe started throwing it around the house. As she grows older she can learn to kick and catch the ball with your help.
Between the ages of 3 and 5, you may start to introduce more soccer-like training at home. At this age your kid may already develop some balancing, can run, and jump. The key is to let her have fun and run around with the ball and dribbling.
Make sure to use light balls as they will not injure your child and do not be tempted to buy those size 3 balls yet. Your kid needs to develop strong muscles, especially in her lower body in order to kick a standard size ball.
By 8 – 10 they should be ready to play with other kids and follow the instructions. But never force her to join unless she is ready for the training because she will be participating with different kids and coach.
I have laid out a basic soccer drill list here where you can coach your child in the privacy of your own backyard. In the early stages of soccer, the mums and dads are the coaches.
====>Read About Soccer Ball Information Here<====
OK, I love playing soccer and I am tempted to downplay the fact that injuries do happen but really serious injuries do not happen every day at the field.
I need to say it as it is, as the guy who played soccer since the early 1980s with bare feet and usually under the blazing equatorial sun. It was hot and humid and we played unsupervised throughout the afternoon, between breaks we gathered around the water tap to re-hydrate ourselves.
The injuries I sustained those days were small cuts under my feet, toes, legs, grazed knees, swollen shin and few fingernail scratches on my body. These injuries can be avoided if I wear proper soccer cleats, socks, and shin guards.
Two major injuries I sustained later in my adult life is when I sprained my ankle when I was 20 and tore my hamstring when I was 40. Those were the worst injuries I can remember and could have been avoided if I warmed up properly.
Sprained knee and torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), broken bones are serious but not common. A concussion is a potentially serious injury to the brain and I suffered a concussion after falling off a tree and I was hospitalized for 3 days.
It was a frightening experience because I couldn’t recognize my own family. I also broke my left wrist at high school as well but not related to soccer at all.
Concussions in soccer normally occurred when two players collide and hit their heads together, or hit their head on the goal post, or receiving an elbow to the head.
Studies in the US show concussion is higher in soccer compared to football. Also, girls are more prone to concussions and ACL injuries.
Fortunately, these injuries can be minimized if parents, players, and games organizers apply soccer safety rules. For example, parents must encourage their kid’s fair play, players must wear protective gears, referees must have zero tolerance for reckless playing.
US Youth Soccer has set out rules and regulations regarding the safety of players. These rules and regulations must be adhered to by all soccer associations and clubs in the US.
As a parent you should be concerned but like I said if safety rules are applied it can be minimized.
You can read my post about injury prevention here for a better understanding.
Question 4: Can Girls Play Soccer?
Yes, yes, and yes. The girls who played soccer some 20 years ago are now in the US Women’s National Team, the world’s reigning women’s champion.
The USWNT won 4 World Cup titles and 3 Olympic Gold Medals as compared to the men’s soccer team.
As I am writing this post on June 2019, the USWNT has just beaten France 2-1. Just watch the current Women’s Soccer World Cup and you will agree that girls are exciting to watch.
The myth that only boys can play soccer is simply not true.
All the stuff about girls being not physically and mentally strong is not true either. Several studies show that girls are actually stronger than boys.
For example, a study shows that girls handled stress better than boys and under extreme circumstances, girls have a higher chance of survival. That is just how nature made them be.
Soccer is a game that requires a combination of skills, fitness, and intelligence which all girls are capable of. I am very sure girls who are passionate about soccer can achieve their dreams just like the boys.
Soccer helps young girls in developing skills that will teach them to become better adults and parents. Besides improved mental and physical health, I am talking about teamwork, leadership, confidence, and sportsmanship.
Therefore, do not kill your daughter’s dream for soccer because she will live to regret it. Please read my post about the benefits of playing soccer here.
Question 5: Can Soccer Help In School?
A study has shown that kids who play soccer performed well at school by 30%. In fact, any kid who played sports has physical and mental fitness that enabled them to do well in their school exams.
Because exercise binds brain cells that improve memory, attention span, better focus and stress relief. Children who played soccer also learn self-discipline and time management.
In addition, kids who played soccer have higher school attendance than those who do not play in any sports. Therefore, soccer is not a waste of time for parents and kids.
Exercise has a lot of benefits other than good school grades.
Question 6: How Long Should You Practice Soccer A Day?
Over-training comes to mind, it can produce negative results in kids health and soccer development. Generally, kids can practice four to five days a week but always keep in mind to avoid over-training.
Remember it’s all about fun for the kids. If you start pushing, her reaction will be different.
Kids under eight can train to a maximum of 50 minutes with 10 minutes breaks in between or no more than 3 days a week including matches. Anything longer than that the kids will lose interest and get bored.
For kids under 12, the maximum duration of practice should be around 65 – 90 minutes and no more than 4 days a week. That is including warm-ups and training itself.
Over-training can be a result of parents and coaching pushing the kids too hard in training which will lead to mental and physical stress. Especially when all they cared about is winning trophies.
Remember, it’s not time to push your kid to train harder for the next game. You should concentrate on smaller goals and allow her to thrive.
And any joint pain lasting more than a week should be checked by a doctor.
Please read my post on pregame and post-game diet here. They help reduce injury and boost recovery after soccer training.
Question 7: Do Soccer Players Train Everyday?
Training every day may lead to over-training the kid and will cause health issues. However, kids at 12 can do their personal training apart from the main training.
These personal training are for refining ball skills and techniques and may take up to 30 minutes every day. Generally, personal training should not be as intense as the team training.
It’s not for all kids but for those who are serious about their soccer careers or those whose skills need to catch up with the rest of the team. Personal training can be done in your backyard.
In my youth, my personal training regime includes jogging every morning for 1 hour before my whole family wakes up for breakfast. This has improved my level of fitness, strength, and performance in games and I don’t run out of breath too easily.
Question 8: Can Parents Enjoy Soccer?
Most definitely, I played soccer when I was young and my dad was a soccer referee. I must confess when your dad is a ref you are not a popular guy.
But my dad always takes me to the soccer games on weekends. But I just have to close my ears from hearing the spectators shouting at the ref, poor me.
Parents who are involved with their kid’s soccer training are bound to enjoy soccer in a variety of ways. Maybe you will be a referee someday.
Actually, you have to figure out why are you signing up your kid for soccer. If you just trying to get rid of him so you can have some “me time” then it is going to be worst for you.
Kids soccer is a community, it requires a lot of help from parents and it will be a perfect opportunity to get involved if you are passionate about volunteerism. You might discover a new hobby to escape the work-related stress that we carry the whole week.
Don’t be surprised that you are feeling a bit fitter than 4 months ago. All the drills you involved with your kid in the backyard has benefited you as well.
If you cared about your kid then soccer will definitely be the glue that further bonds you together. You got to spend more time with him in the backyard, the road trip to and from the training, and cheering him at the field.
Nothing beats the moments you spend with your kid seriously discussing soccer like 2 buddies. A break from the repetitive talk about too much time in front of the TV.
It will also be a good time to finally convince him to eat the vegetables he despised. Maybe the family diet will improve as well.
So yes, it will be fun for parents, you will learn something new and great bonding times will come. Remember you are investing in your child.
Question 9: Can Soccer Help In Improving Parent-Child Relationship?
Yes, we have just discussed this above. The more time you spend with your kids the better.
I have 5 kids on my own, although it’s a challenge I love every moment of it. You must understand that they are actually little people themselves.
They have their worries and opinions, they do have stress as well. They have their own issues in their lives in their own little world.
If you see them as dumb human beings who know nothing about life, then I call it child abuse. Pure and simple.
You will be amazed to hear what they have to say. They are not stupid and if you listen and understand their issues, it will open a flood gate of trust and love.
You mums and dads will be the person they confide in. In the long run, your lives will be so much easier.
Question 10: What Are The Benefits Of Playing Soccer?
Playing soccer brings many benefits and some have already been discussed above. The following are some that I did not mention.
Soccer helps reduce the risk of obesity and other nasty diseases because of the exercises and training involved. Your child will spend less watching too much TV or playing video games.
Your child will develop cardiovascular fitness resulting in strong heart and lung. It also makes the kid develop strong bones, ligaments, and muscles.
Your kid’s social skills will improve as he interacts with other kids and adults that can lead to trust, confidence, and teamwork. Leadership traits might start to appear in your kid to be the team captain.
General improvement of your child’s development such as agility, balance, and speed when they participate in soccer drills and exercises.
Soccer promotes healthy eating and discourages junk food that will cause tooth decay and obesity.
Your kid will eat more fruits, vegetables and a lot of healthy foods that you cook at home.
So there you go guys, soccer, or any other sports is not that scary. Yes, kids get injured physically and as parents, we take action when things don’t look right.
Talk to other parents, or the coach, the school about your safety concerns.
To be honest, guys, if you think soccer is just not worth the risk, get your child another sport. Or a new hobby like camping or fishing. Exercise is good for the whole family.
Like I always said, common sense is your best friend. I hope you learn something from this post.
Do you think soccer is fun and safe for your kids?
===>read my GOALKEEPER GLOVES here<===
Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below: