Virtually all sports and physical activities allow children to develop physical literacy and good motor skills. However, if you were to select the one that contributes the most to developing the skills and abilities, it would definitely be soccer.
Even at the grassroots level, physical literacy includes a long list of basic motor skills. The main ones – among hundreds – are, admittedly: running, jumping, throwing, catching, kicking, hopping, hopping, galloping and dodging. These abilities form the foundation successively based on the physical abilities called ABCs of movement: agility, balan, coordination and speed.
Add to that spatial orientation skills and cognitive decision making, and you get a good overview of what characterizes physical literacy.
So how does soccer fit? Extraordinarily good, it seems.
Soccer involves a bit of racing. In fact, a lot of racing. And best of all, for kids who have not reached puberty, it’s just about the kind of race they need: short-distance sprints followed by short recovery times. Note: If your under 9’s coach is sending the team over long distances, you may be able to ask why. Studies show that trotting on a soccer field at half speed does nothing to increase the speed and recovery needed to play soccer. In addition, it does not help your prepubescent child become a better runner than if he played soccer for 10 minutes while having a lot more fun.
2. Jump, hop, jump rope, gallop and dodge
When your child plays soccer, there are many other players on the field who want to thwart his efforts to run and handle the ball. As a result, children must repeatedly jump and dodge in order to avoid their opponents. It also requires them to hop, hop and gallop when they change gears and adjust their stride to avoid players and also change direction.
3. Throw and catch
Minute! When do you have the right to use your hands in soccer? For beginners, every time the ball goes out of the sidelines. The game then resumes with a throw, each player must learn this movement. Goalkeepers, a position that all children take up at one point in their debut, are constantly catching the ball with their hands and passing it to their teammates in the style of the baseball throwing.
4. Follow the movement of an object in flight
One of the least debated aspects of physical literacy – but essential to throwing and receiving, as well as hitting something with a bat or racket – is the ability to follow the movement of an object (a ball by example) as he moves through the air. Your child’s ability to use their eyes to follow the movement and assess speed and distance is not a coincidence. As with motor skills, it must be developed through lived experience and practice. Soccer provides a great experience as the game constantly challenges players to gauge the speed, distance and trajectory of the ball.
The ability to “read the environment” and respond with appropriate decisions is another element of often neglected physical literacy. In the time of our ancestors, it was perhaps a question of deciding to climb a tree quickly after seeing a lion. In the context of a sport such as soccer, you have to decide whether you pass the ball to a teammate running to an open space or shooting a goal when the goalkeeper is not in a good position. The game constantly brings new cognitive challenges in which players must gather information about their physical environment, analyze that information and then execute the appropriate physical response.