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Children's Football

Children need to play multiple sports

Given the way Physical Education is delivered in schools, it can be difficult for parents to ensure their children are being exposed to a sufficient range of movement skills.

Sometimes, it’s not easy to work out what physical literacy skills a child learns from a each sport. The image below can help better explain this.

Fundamental movement skills needed to develop physical literacy

However, this list isn’t a definitive list, as programmes can change all the time. Also, not everyone agrees with which sport programmes help best develop which physical literacy skills.

Making sure that all children have the opportunities to develop physical literacy will always be a challenge. This is particularly true for children that come from background traditionally underrepresented in physical activity, recreation and sport. These underrepresented groups have typically included:

  • Children with disabilities
  • Girls
  • Disadvantaged inner-city children

Parents need to demand that schools, preschools and sports clubs are making physical literacy a priority. This means making programmes child-development centred, rather than sport centred. Furthermore, programmes to develop physical literacy need to be child centred, parent driven and club, school and community supported.

“In children’s football, it’s all about experiencing different sports which involve a range of activities that engage the body’s muscle groups in various ways. Ideally for growing children, engaging in play enables them to improve their Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed and also leads to a healthy mind overall.”

– Biby Thomas, Technical Director FC, Mangalore

There are implications for many sport programmes in the move towards developing these skills rather than sport-specific skills. Specifically, sport programmes need to:

  • Incorporate a wide range of fundamental movement skills into warm-ups, drills and cool-downs
  • Teach fundamental sport skills to all participants regardless of the event or position they might play or compete in
  • Ensure that children have access to a wide range of sports and don’t specialise in one too early
  • Partner with other similar sports to provide a broad introductory experience.

Coach Shailesh is a AFC 'B' License, AFC Futsal L1 and FA Level 2 Coach. An AIFF Lead Tutor and AIFF Match Commissioner, his work in the field of Grassroots Football earned him a nomination in the AFC Grassroots Awards 2019 for 'Best Grassroots Leader in Asia'

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