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Why is football so important for children in the Early Years?


4 benefits of starting football young.


Football is arguably the UKs favourite sport, both to play and to watch. Introducing children to the sport early comes with great benefits and prepares them to continue to improve even more as they grow.


Top benefits

1. Develops fundamental movement skills

From walking age right though until reception, football can help children develop fundamental gross motor skills such as running, kicking and leaping – the building blocks that later enable children to foster a complete skill set to participate in a range of sports.


2. Encourages an active lifestyle

Whether it’s a kick-about in the garden or local park, a nursery PE session or a community session lead by a coach, taking part in football encourages children to get outside, get some fresh air and get moving! Just try to stop a young child from kicking a fir cone during a woodland walk and you will see how it is their natural tendency to interact with the environment around them. Utilising this desire and making football fun from a young age means they will want to do it more often, increasing their fitness and love of sport!


3. Promotes physical fitness

Research shows an active child is more likely to become an active adult in the future. Introducing a child to a sport such as football at a young age can spark a passion for fun which develops into fitness, benefiting the child as they grow into a young adult. Hours spent playing football builds stamina and getting into a routine of regular sessions helps combat issues such as obesity and other ailments.


4. Builds confidence and self-esteem

Practicing and developing a sport or skill increases self-esteem and confidence. Learning new skills and improving leads to positive emotions around practicing and trying. This positive reinforcement encourages and enables young children to try new things and promotes a link between practice and development which is a crucial skill to take into their teenage years and young adulthood.


From a young age, children need to believe in themselves. Coaches and teachers can help support this self-belief by not only encouraging and celebrating children who are trying new skills but also reminding them to try and try again if things don’t work right away. A repeated self-assurance process will build up a future confident adult who can face and solve different issues in a proper manner. Below tips can help kids grow confidence:

  • Never fear to fail

  • Always start easy

  • Focus to do your very best

  • Always practice and practice

  • Finally, believe in yourself


When can a child begin to play football?

Walking to 2 years:

Children of this age are likely not yet ready to be scoring hattricks and sharpening their tactical knowledge. However, that does not mean they are too young to begin to develop their football skills. The main focuses at this age should be slowly introducing games to gain basic motor skills, improve hand-eye coordination, balance and spatial awareness.


3 to 5 years:

The perfect age to lay the foundations through fun and games. Key learning points include learning about each area of the foot, kicking the ball with each foot, how to interact with the ball, moving in different directions and at different speeds and improve stability and coordination.


6 to 8 years and above:

Now the core skills have been formed children can begin to understand and develop more technical football skills as well as learn how to communicate and work as a team.


Are you a parent wanting to get your little one into sport?

We are soon to launch our first community sessions at Bexley Park. These multi-sport sessions will be divided into four age groups and explore different sports each term, developing the core movements and understanding to progress into sport and may even spark a new passion. To keep up to date with announcements about the launch of these sessions, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and sign up for our community newsletter.


As always with our community sessions, we offer a trial session, completely free of charge. You can sign up here.


Are you an Early Years educator wondering how to bring football to your nursery or early years setting?

Super Star Sport DA are passionate about getting children fit, active and healthy and believe introducing them to football is a great way to achieve our mission. We are offering every nursery and early years setting in the DA postcode a free 45-minute football session. To claim yours, email info@superstarsportda.co.uk and we’ll take care of the rest!


Sign up to our monthly mailing list which is full of handy tips to get your little ones active. This months newsletter will contain a detailed session plan for a 45 minute - 1 hour football session you can deliver to your setting. It’s not strictly football either, we have a wealth of resources to share in a vast range of sport and show you how to specifically tailor each sport to the early years.


Further development

Take advantage of free materials available online. The online PE CPD for Teachers offered by the FA boot room is a great course which takes just 90-120 minutes to complete and is free. Although the course is designed for primary and secondary teachers, it builds a great understanding of how to plan sessions, progress skills through games and give you the confidence to plan and run your own sessions and even develop your own curriculum.

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