Flag football is one of the fastest growing youth sports, currently on its way to becoming a college sanctioned sport. Tackle football fields over 1 million high school student-athletes each year. No matter which way you look at it, our love for football runs deep.
While extensive research is being conducted to better understand football safety, it’s still a game that comes with many physical and emotional benefits. Need proof? Here are five great benefits for kids who play football:
1. Health benefits: Football is a fast moving game with a lot of variety. Players run, jump, quickly change direction, and stop and start, which improves cardiovascular health. Practice drills, complex running routes and defensive techniques all encourage speed, strength, and stamina. And these activities also engage motor skills, specifically hand and eye coordination. Plus, a recent study found that playing football has positive effects on bone strength.
2. Teamwork: Youth football teaches kids accountability, leadership, and the impact of positive sportsmanship. Every position has a purpose and to execute a play successfully, each individual needs to fulfill their responsibility, while working together—a skill that’s valuable both on and off the field.
3. Discipline: Learning routes, repetitive drills, and executing proper technique take a high level of discipline—and football players do it time and time again. Each practice is laying the foundation for a strong work ethic that kids will use throughout their lives. And this is one of the biggest benefits of football.
4. Mental toughness: Sports are a great platform to build mental toughness. Whether it’s making a mistake on the field or needing to comeback from a major upset, setbacks are bound to happen. And to move forward, players must learn how to persevere. Football provides a lot of opportunities to improve mental toughness, from remaining calm under pressure to focusing during chaotic situations.
5. Socialization: Football teaches kids how to effectively communicate and work well with others. After all, one player can’t do everything. They rely on each other—what a better way to make long-lasting friendships? Layer this with learning to respect and receive direction from authority (aka coaches) and you have a range of socialization skills.