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What Qualities does Football Promote in Children?

5 July 2023

Football is intensely physical and keeps children active. It’s a superb way to keep them off their phones and off the sofa. Kicking a ball with a mate engenders social interaction that is so much more beneficial than social media. If they join a team and play regularly they will learn how to work together for a common aim. There are a huge number of psychological benefits.

Physical Fitness

The physical demands of football are running and co-ordination. You practise peripheral vision keeping an eye on where both your teammates and your opponents are while everyone is in constant motion. This is developing spatial awareness. Players might use their heads and chest to intercept a pass, not just their feet, so it’s a full-body workout. Even at home by themselves, they can practise solo games like Keepy-Uppy. Dribbling a ball develops bilateral brain development.

As well as strong bones and muscles, the cardiovascular workout helps children‘s immunity. It gets their hearts pumping and their circulation going. At training, there are drills and running exercises to ensure everyone in the team is ready for the stop-start constant action of a match. 

Mental Agility

In football, players need to make quick decisions in the moment. They choose to keep or pass the ball and where to pass it. They position themselves to support their team members whether to move towards a goal or to help prevent one. They begin to anticipate what will happen if a certain player gets the ball and predict consequences. With experience, they can prevent bad outcomes and chase possibilities which gives them determination in life in general.


The social benefits of football come from it being a team sport. Players depend on one another and cannot shine without help from one another. Scoring a goal only happens with good passing and effort from everyone on the field. They also learn that they need to stay in their position to make sure they cover their responsibilities. If they all just head after the ball gaps appear and you let the other team through. Play can turn suddenly so mistakes hit home.


Kids learn perseverance at football. Goals are rare and the result of persistent effort and putting skills they have practised at months of training to use. They learn to pick themselves up straight away if they fall, dust themselves off and play on facing adversity.

Resilience in defeat is an invaluable life skill. Footballers learn to lift their heads up in defeat and keep pushing forward. Sharing the burden with teammates helps. Equally the sense of joy at scoring or winning is enhanced by sharing. The feeling that they achieved a win together has a breadth to it that winning alone does not. If they do not win they can reflect and deliberate on choices they made together.

Kids learn sportsmanship through football. They must be gracious when they win and noble in defeat. Football can be the making of their character.

Photo by Kampus Production

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