We all know how important it is for a kid to play a sport that requires some physical activity. Soccer can be that sport for them, but how do you exactly motivate your child to play soccer?
This article will be walking you through a list of things that you can do in order to get your kid interested in soccer as soon as possible.
Without any delays, here’s your list:
1- Explain the soccer rules in simple words.
The last thing that you want to do when it comes to getting your child involved in something new is to overwhelm them with a list of strict rules that they have to follow.
Over complicated rules will turn soccer from a fun activity to a turture session for your kid.
With that said, here are the 2 main rules that you should force on your kid when they start exploring soccer for the first time:
- Do not touch the ball with your hands
- Land the ball inside the goal.
That’s it. These are the most basic and universal soccer rules. If your kid knows these rules, then they can start enjoying soccer anytime soon.
But what about the rest of the rules?
Well, your kid will start picking these rules one by one later on as they play and get more invested in soccer. But first, make the entry level as beginner friendly as possible for them.
In other words, use the strategy that the video game designers use. They first introduce you to a very small number of mechanics so that you get used to the game, and then they start teaching you the other mechanics one by one.
To apply this to soccer, just start with the “no handball” rule and the “score a goal” rule, and then gradually feed your kid the other rules one by one later down the road.
2- Surround your kid with soccer related things
In countries like Brazil, where soccer is almost everywhere, one of the first things that many children get as a gift is either a soccer ball or a soccer jersey.
One of the main reasons behind the huge interest in soccer in many countries around the world is that soccer is integrated into the children’s life from the moment they are born.
I remember that most of the gifts that I used to get as a kid were soccer related gifts. These gifts were the things that I had access to in order to have fun as a kid, and that increased my soccer activity by a lot.
You can try the same strategy with your kids. For example, you can try to buy them a jersey of a great soccer player on their birthday.
If you do that, the first thing that they might want to do is to put that jersey on and go try it out. The same thing could happen if you buy them a soccer ball and so on.
So in simple words, keep your kids surrounded with soccer related things and that might elevate their interests in the game.
3- Join your child for a 1 vs 1 soccer match.
If you’ve got some free time for yourself, then it’s always a great idea to play soccer with your kid. Even if you are just 2 players playing in the backyard of your home, joining your kid for a soccer match can make them more invested in the game.
As you may already know, a kid’s role models are their parents
I personally have been heavily invested in soccer for as long as I can remember. One of the main reasons behind this was the fact that soccer was a way to have fun and spend some quality time with my parents when I was a kid.
If you manage to make soccer the main channel of connection between you and your child, they’ll be more interested in soccer in general.
4- Let them watch soccer games or soccer related shows
Watching soccer with your kids can both make them more interested in the game and more curious about how the rules work in general.
If you sit with your kid to watch and enjoy a soccer match, then your kid will most probably be more invested in soccer and their curiosity to try the things that they watched on TV will increase.
If you don’t have time to sit with your kid and watch a real soccer match with them, then you have other alternatives.
For example, you can find a good cartoon show that is related to soccer and let them watch the show. I have an 8-year-old brother who always wants me to play soccer with them just so that they can try out the moves that they have seen on a cartoon soccer show.
5- surround your kid with other kids who are interested in soccer
It’s true what they say about friendships and how they shape who you are as a person. If your kid’s friends are interested in soccer, then the soccer topic will be brought up in a lot of their conversations together, and that will definitely increase your kid’s interests in soccer in general.
One thing I remember about the group of people that I used to hang out with as a kid is that soccer was always brought up as a topic of discussion.
I used to spend more than 2 hours every single day playing soccer with other friends because soccer was the main interest of the group that I used to hang out with in general.
If you know any neighbor kids who might be interested in soccer, then it might be a great idea to introduce your kid to these neighbors and to organize some soccer matches between the neighbors every now and then.
You might not have a lot of time to spend with your kid, but their friends usually have. This means that if you introduce your kid to people who share your love of soccer, then your kid will most probably pick up soccer too.
If you don’t have any close neighbors with kids who are interested in soccer, then you can look for nearby soccer training camps or any other soccer related group activities near you.
6- Emphasize that soccer is just for fun.
It’s always good to keep in mind that your kid might lose interest in soccer the moment they feel it’s a burden on their shoulders or when they feel that it is something that they have to deal with whether they like it or not.
In other words, keep reminding your kid that soccer is all about fun and entertainment, and that they do not have to win in order to enjoy a game.
Remind them that even if they think they aren’t good enough to compete, they are just doing it to have fun and nothing more.
If you force your kid to keep pushing themselves to become a better player, they might lose their interest in the game. Instead, let their progression grow in a natural way as they play and enjoy the game.
With that said, I conclude my list of the things that you can do as a parent to make your child more interested in soccer.
As a bonus, I’ll answer a few quick questions that are generally related to the topic at hand.
Is soccer a good option for kids?
Yes, soccer is one of the best sports that a kid can learn.
Some people have concerns when it comes to soccer. For example, some people are afraid that their kids might hurt themselves or that doing a header might negatively affect your kid.
While these concerns are legit, you can work around them and let your kid enjoy the vast majority of the benefits that soccer has to offer them in general.
For example, you can just prevent your kid from doing a header kick if they are below 10~12 years old. This can be a wise thing to do. You can also make sure that the other kids who are playing with your kid aren’t aggressive in soccer.
Just to give you an idea, here are some of the benefits of introducing your kids to soccer:
- improve their social skills
- improve their decision making skills
- boost their confidence
- physical workout
And so much more. If you are interested in learning more, you can check this article that talks about 9 reasons why soccer is a good sport for your kids.
What is a good age to start soccer?
Your child can start getting involved in soccer as soon as they are 3 years old. By the time they are 3 years old, they should be able to stand still and keep their balance while attempting to kick the ball.
You definitely won’t force any “soccer rules” on them when they are 3 years old. All you have to do is just to let them kick the ball around while making sure that they do not break anything in the process.
In general, the world class soccer players start playing soccer at a very young age. For example, Lionel Messi, who is considered to be one of the best soccer players in the history of the game, started playing soccer when he was 5 years old.
Even though you most probably aren’t expecting your child to become a world class soccer player someday, it’s good to know how the elites of the game have started. You never know what the future holds.