I’m struggling to get my child into sport

Kids not playing blog

As a business that offers children’s football coaching in Leeds we speak to a lot of parents who understand the benefits of their children playing sport but their son/daughter simply isn’t interested.
Getting kids active through sport goes a long way to keeping our little ones healthy in both body and mind, but what can you do if your child says they don’t want to do it?
Don’t force it
First thing to understand is that if you force them into something, even if you’re doing it for the right reasons, it may result in them developing a negative feeling towards playing sport.
Age can also play a part in this. We’ve found the very young ones (4-6 years old) can take a 2-3 weeks to really get comfortable. Put yourself in their tiny shoes – it can look pretty scary for them turning up to football training with loads of other children confidently running around doing the activity.
Usually we find that confidence is the main issue. They often don’t feel good enough (for a variety of reasons) and therefore will do all they can to stay away from playing football, tennis, rugby etc.
One thing we recommend to parents in the above instances is to simply come to the session and let their child go at their own pace. Even if it means standing near the other children and just kicking a football to their child whilst the session is going on around them, it goes a long way to getting them comfortable with the environment. Once they have had some time watching other children like them doing it they can all of a sudden get a surge of confidence.
On the flip side, you may force them to go to a children’s football training session (for example) and they end up loving it. The risk of them hating it is there, though, so tread carefully.
Speak to the coach/sports provider
Before you sign your child up to a sports team or sports provider be sure to ask the coach what they have in place for absolute beginners or children who aren’t confident.
You can really help your child by taking them somewhere that caters to their needs. If you take them somewhere hyper competitive or geared towards children with high sporting ability levels then you run the risk of destroying their confidence even more.
Don’t start competitive
This leads on to competitive sports.
If your child is already showing a lack of interest then one of the worst things to do would be to take them somewhere hyper-competitive. This will not help them.
If they aren’t showing a particular interest right away then that is likely to decrease if they are thrown into an environment where every other child is competing for a starting place on the team.
This was one of the reasons we started Foot-Tech Academy. We are able to provide football coaching in a non-pressurised environment that bridges the gap between playing football and getting into a team.
We focus on kids football training in Leeds but you’ll find a host of other coaching businesses in your location that cater for other sports.
This can be a great way of getting your child into sport in a way that helps them as an individual instead of a team which needs to, a lot of time, focus on what is best for the group as a whole.
Just let it be…for now
Final thing is to not panic.
We know that sport is a great thing for children and can understand why so many parents want their child to get into a sporting activity.
Our advice is to not rush it. We have seen countless times that children can one day go from being completely uninterested in anything other than watching other children play with toys on YouTube (don’t get us started on that!) to then wanting to play and talk about nothing else other than football.
It can literally happen over-night and is often due to their friends at school getting into it.
If your child simply does not want to do anything sport-related then it is a case of making sure you keep them active in other ways whether it be trips to the park or things like trampolines etc. There are loads of different ways to keep active whereby your child has fun and stays healthy.
Foot-Tech Academy provides innovative children’s football coaching in Leeds for boys and girls aged 4-14.
We also provide specialist speed training, after-school clubs and holiday camps.
For more info check out http://www.foot-techacademy.co.uk
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Top Tips To Get Your Child To Practise

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As a company that offers children’s football coaching in Leeds we are constantly trying to think of new ways to get children to practise their football skills away from our training sessions.

 They train with us at our various venues in Leeds for around 1-2 hours per week and we know that this on its own isn’t enough to truly develop their footballing ability.

 So, what can help?

Make it competitive

We find that competition really helps engagement and encourages children to practise playing football away from their standard football team training or coaching sessions.

One way we do this is through our Monthly Challenges where we give the children a football skill to practise at home. The one who can do it the best at the end of the month wins a prize.

It is a bit of fun but it works and we can immediately see those who have actually got out and done the work!

What you can do as a parent

Parents of football-mad kids often ask us what they can do to help their child get better at football.

The only way to do this is to get them to practise more but the football practise needs to be purposeful.

‘Go out and practise’ means absolutely nothing to a young child. You need to give them something specific to do.

Some ideas

An easy-one is kick-ups.

Set them a target of, say, 5 kick-ups in a row on Monday and they need to beat their record by the end of the week.

A great one is to show them their favourite player doing a football skill on YouTube and then challenging your child to be able to do it by the end of the day, weekend, week.

If you’d like some free examples of various skills then head over to our YouTube channel and take a look at our videos.

The language you use makes a difference

How you ask your child to practise has a huge impact on if they will do it not. Check this example –

 ‘Why don’t you go out and practise’

 Or

 ‘Do you think you could do this skill?’

 See the difference? The second ones gives them some purpose and a challenge.

 Another good example –

 ‘I wonder if you could beat your keepy-up record before Sunday’

Be mindful of how you ask them to practise and you’ll find they’ll be outside with a ball at their feet a lot more than they currently might be.

If all else fails then good old bribery can be used as a last resort! ‘Do 10 kick-ups by the end of the week and you get…’.

It isn’t how we like to do things but it can be effective!

Please feel free to comment below with your success on this. We are always eager to learn new ways of getting children to practise their football.

Foot-Tech Academy provides children’s football coaching in Leeds through our weekly football training sessions, after-school clubs and holiday camps. For more info on what we do please visit www.foot-techacademy.co.uk

Football Academies & Time Frames

We are often asked by parents about pro academies and what their player needs to do to get selected by a pro club. There are three things we explain:

The first answer is always the same – PRACTICE. Football is a skill that needs to be developed if you are to reach pro-level. Just as a budding guitarist will spend hours with a guitar; a budding footballer must spend hours with a football.

The practice, of course, needs to be purposeful i.e. 3 hours of ‘hoofing’ a ball 30 yards isn’t going to be as effective as 3 hours of practicing close control skills and kick-ups (see our Videos and YouTube page for some ideas).

The second thing is time. As amazing as it may seem for a young player to be selected for an Academy at 5, 6, 7 years olds it doesn’t always mean that hope is lost for players who are older.
This is a very important point. Many elite footballers of today didn’t get into an academy until their early teens.

Their rise to pro status is often put down to the fact they simply were allowed to enjoy their football, experience new sports and were of an age where they could deal with the pressures of academy level football, trials etc.

One HUGE example of this is Bastian Schweinsteiger. He has won pretty much everything there is to win in the game, including the World Cup. He was Germany’s Captain, arguably one of the best ever players in the Bundesliga and signed for Manchester United in 2015. He was picked up by Bayern Munich at……THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!

So, what we are saying is, there is no rush. Let them play and practice.

Lastly; above anything else – the players must be allowed to enjoy it. The second they lose interest or don’t have the desire for football anymore they must be allowed to chose what they would like to do instead – whether that be other sports or a less formal version of football (just play with friends instead of teams for example).

Enjoyment is what makes practice fun. No enjoyment means less practice. Less practice means less chance of making it.

Let them play and don’t worry about age – you may have a little Schweinsteiger of the future!

As always we are on hand to offer any advice or guidance on training, practice techniques and ideas.

www.foot-techacademy.co.uk

The Multi-Sport Benefit for Young Footballers

2016 was a great one for sport. The blend of football (Euro 2016) and the Olympics over in Rio has got us thinking about the proven benefits of youth footballers playing other sports.

To master a skill it is said that 10,000 hours of purposeful practice must be undertaken (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26384712). Practice is something we at Foot-Tech continuously encourage but does it only ever need to involve a football?

Looking at the elite players it is clear that they are experts with a football but they are also athletically advanced in terms of running speed, balance, coordination, agility, overall fitness and flexibility.

Just playing football will of course help in all of the above areas but a lot of evidence is suggesting that playing other sports can significantly advance a young players’ ability on the pitch.

Let’s consider some of the examples of players who were involved in other sports growing up:

Wayne Rooney says his boxing really helped his football development

Gareth Bale played rugby alongside Sam Warburton (Wales Rugby Union Captain)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a black belt in Taekwondo

Joe Hart played Cricket for Worcestershire and could have gone pro

James Miler represented his school in long-distance running

Theo Walcott set a 100m record at his high school

The list goes on and, unfortunately, we see this as something that is not viewed as important in a child’s overall development. Some academies in the UK even forbid their young players from participating in other sports and, understandably, parents go ahead with it believing it to be the right thing.

Some will argue for and some will argue against. We are dedicated football coaches and love the game but we believe a combination of sports can help a young footballer. Clearly football would need to be the primary sport (or does it?) but adding other sports can be so beneficial.

Combat sports and martial arts are great for stamina and coordination, gymnastics is superb for core strength and flexibility, rugby helps with the development of team understanding and interval running…….we could list almost any sport and explain how they could help a young players’ football development.

So, if you don’t already, consider encouraging your child/children to participate in other sports. They’ll move their bodies in new ways, learn new things and, most importantly, have another hobby in their lives to enjoy.

Who knows – if they don’t get the chance to play in a Euro’s in the future they may just get the chance to go win a Gold Medal elsewhere!

If you would like any advice on the sports we recommend please speak to any of the Foot-Tech coaches or send us an email to foot-techacademy@outlook.com

www.foot-techacademy.co.uk

Keeping Children Active in Winter

The dark nights and poor weather can make winter a tough time for keeping your child active. Mid-week school nights are pretty much a no-go for playing out and the cold weather can mean that outdoor time on a weekend is sometimes substituted for something more ‘comfortable’.

But what can you do to help ensure your chid has the chance to keep fit, healthy and get outdoors until the Spring arrives?

Utilise the Weekend

Yes is may be cold, wet and miserable but the weekends are so important as they are possibly one of the only times your child will have chance to be outdoors getting some fresh air. With some schools preferring to keep them indoors if the weather isn’t great through the week, the weekends need to be utilised.

Wrap them up and get to the park, go for a kick-a-bout etc. Even just 30 minutes will be great for them and give them opportunity to get off the computer and run off some energy.

If your chid is in a junior football team then match days/training are perfect ways for them to get moving even in the bad weather. Do your best to resist any moans and groans about it being too cold – they will thank you for it later when they have had a great time playing football with their friends!

Foot-Tech Academy will be open all through winter (save for frozen pitches etc) as we know the value of children playing sport in ‘poor’ conditions. Aside from the health benefits, you’ll see a big positive shift in attitude when your child realises they soon warm up when they start moving. This is a great thing from a character perspective plus who doesn’t like getting muddy whilst scoring some goals!

For those in teams winter training is a great way to learn how to play matches in bad conditions. Unfortunately our country isn’t blessed when it comes to sunny days so learning how to play in the rain, cold and wind is a very useful thing.

All of our sessions are adapted to ensure all the players are moving and static time is kept to an absolute minimum.

Get Mid-Week Creative

Allowing children outdoors through the week during the dark nights isn’t always possible. This is when you can get creative and have some fun with your son/daughter.

Some of our basic football skills can be done indoors should Mum and Dad be ok with it! Toe-Taps, Side to Sides etc can all be done with a small ball or even a sponge ball (if you want to be extra safe!) so challenge your child/ren – how many can they do in 1 minute? How many can they do in a row with their eyes closed?

Things like this are great for keeping them moving as well as continuing their football development.

How about some balancing work? Get your child to balance on one foot then throw a rolled up pair of socks for them to catch. Throw it higher/lower and swap feet. Great for core strength and increasing hand-eye coordination.

Also have a think about things like press-ups, air squats, lunges and planks. We are not saying that they be worked like a Marine(!) but low sets and reps of the above are fine and it gets them using their bodies in different ways. How many can they do on Monday and can they beat it by Friday? There are loads of variations and the key is to keep it a challenge so they remain interested.

Even just 15 minutes on an evening is worth it and it all adds up over the weeks/months.

We’ll post some ideas for you in the coming weeks.

Keep Warm & Dry!

It goes without saying that weatherproof kit for your child is essential at this time of year. We don’t need to dwell on that.

But as parents (and coaches) we can do our bit by showing the players that the weather doesn’t bother us. This transfers to the children in a big way – if they see us shivering they will start shivering!

So invest in some thermals because we’ve got a brilliant winter programme coming up at Foot-Tech. We guarantee those who continue their training through the winter will see the benefits.