(Post from SSLA Coach and Intern, Amanda)
The first Soccer Shots class I attended, I was completely blown away by the excitement of both the kids and coaches. It was such a great experience to see kids outside enjoying each other and having an amazing time kicking the ball around. When children are young, joining a soccer program might just seem like something fun to get them outside. Which is definitely true, but it is so much more.
People may not realize the excellent life lessons these children are learning from these simple 40 minutes classes. Not only are they learning how to play one of the world’s favorite sports, they are gaining social knowledge that will stay with them forever. Soccer is a sport that requires communication, teamwork, and positive attitudes.
Sounds a lot like every day life, right? Because these kids are young, being apart of a soccer team teaches them how to be social and make friends with the people around them, which will be very handy for when they are growing up. If they are able to learn how to be outgoing when they are in preschool or kindergarten, school and future life experiences will be much easier.
When I was watching the class, I noticed a little girl in the beginning who seemed shy and embarrassed to do the soccer drills. When I asked her if she was okay she replied quietly, “Yeah, but I don’t want to mess up.” Because the coaches had the other children encourage and cheer for everyone, it helped the little girl gain confidence, and she ended up having an great time and scored a goal! By the end, she was chanting the other kids names for them to score goals just as they did for her. As simple as this seems, the little girl was able to break out of her shell and make friends from that one experience. Soccer has really helped me in my life too. I started playing when I was just five years old and now I am nineteen and still loving it. All of my closest friends are my soccer teammates and we all push each other to do good in school and life.
For me, not only am I staying active, I have learned to be dedicated to everything I commit to, I am able to communicate with people very easy, and I also know how to listen to rules and follow them.
I am totally not the type of person that will go outside and run on my own, but I look forward to going to practice to be with my friends while being productive. My team (as are most teams) is required to have a certain grade point average, so that disciplines us all to make sure our school work is going good. I give soccer and my coaches a lot of the credit for who I am today.
I was so happy to see those kids playing because I know the experience they are getting. It is hard to understand how children this young can be affected so much from these classes but it will be very apparent when they are older. In my opinion, the three main qualities a person needs in life is, being social (communicate well), dedication, and having a good attitude. With those three attributes, a person is able to do well in school, make friends, and eventually get a job. Any parent worried about how their child will do in life, sign them up for soccer!!