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How to Help Your Child Develop Their Football Skills

Are you searching for ways to level up your child's football skills? They are probably new to football or have some experience playing the most popular sport. Either way, as a supportive parent, you want to help them excel. I mean, who wouldn't, right?

Well, lucky for you, we will share some effective ways that will make your MVP ahead of the game.

First and foremost, football should be fun. Although there is no reason for us not to dream big for our little footballers, playing football for fun and pleasure should still be the most important thing—everything else follows.

Football is both a tactical and technical sport. It cannot be either one. You cannot fully understand the tactical concept without getting a grip on the technical aspect. On top of that, techniques in football are not cramped to just one area of the game. You have to possess a number of skills in different areas of the game if you want to compete at a high level—think of Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Once your child conquers the technical and tactical aspects of football, he'll be on his way to playing false nine on the field.

So how does your child improve their football skills?

First, break it down into steps!

Most people feel overwhelmed when they try something new—kids are like that too, especially if they find it difficult. And they get more frustrated when they notice everyone else can do a certain skill but them. Help them overcome this by breaking down the steps to football skills; impart this information to your child gradually.

This may sound really simple, but often, parents become impatient and expect their kids to learn the skills the first time. If you want to see improvement in your child's football skills, try breaking down each skill into easily absorbed steps.

Practice makes permanent

Vince Lombardi, perhaps the most inspirational American football coach of all time, once said: Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

It is not realistic to achieve perfect practice. Perfection is not always in the cards. Practice does make you better at something. Focus on the permanence of practice. It makes a permanent habit when we practice something consistently. It is about forming habits.

According to studies, children must practice something at least 70 times before they can learn it. Well, breaking down a football skill into steps is all well and good, but what's the use if you don't keep practicing it?

Our brain stores information with every practice. Repetition is the key to getting to your brain to build solid habits. The goal is to build a box of skills you can take out in a heartbeat without even thinking. Okay, it's just like driving a car. Ever wonder why you can overtake, apply gas, hit the brake, or change direction without even thinking about it? 

Well, you have done it so many times, that's why!

The same method applies when you want to improve your child's skills in football. Help them build habits by repetition, and in addition to breaking the technique into easy steps, they will definitely reap the rewards!

But let's not forget how young children often say the words 'this is boring.' To conquer this, why not make repetition fun? Be creative in teaching them the skills. There's no limit to one's imagination!

Throw in some pressure

This is what coaches normally do when they train their athletes. They call this fully-opposed, formerly known as semi-opposed, back in the day. This primarily means you put a bit of pressure on your child when they practice the skill. You may play as a defender; draw in close but not tackle.

On the contrary, tackling is welcome in a fully-opposed manner, just like you would in a game setting.

These two stages are vital for enhancing your child's core football skills and decision-making. This is because children must learn how and when to apply their skills in a game setting.

The most common way to put pressure in a semi-opposed manner is to shadow your child while practicing. Stand directly opposite your child. Then ask your child to repeat a skill a couple of times down a line as you move backward with them; do this at an arm's length apart. That way, the ball won't stray too far ahead of them as they try to keep control of the ball.

To improve your child's skills in football using the fully-opposed 1v1 scenario, set up two goals on one side of the pitch. Directly opposite you, position your child 15 yards apart. Start playing the ball into their feet. The game is live on their first touch. Now, they have to try to dribble and use their skills to get past and around you; they must score in either of the goals.