What is the best age for kids to start playing football?

The best age for kids to start playing football depends on several factors, including your child’s physical development in comparison to his or her peers, personality and other interests and aptitudes. Similarly, there are critical differences between casual “kick arounds” and more formal, structured training in the game. The question really boils down to what you hope to accomplish.

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Fun, fitness and family time

Football is one of the sports recommended by the National Health Service (NHS) as a suitable sport for you to play with your children to boost their health, manage their weight and give them real family fun.

The NHS specifically suggests football for children aged between 6 and 15 because by the age of 5 or 6, most of them will have gained the necessary motor skills to play the game. You can probably involve younger children in a park kick around, but you will need to make allowances for their limitations. An important point to remember is the growing evidence showing that it can be harmful for children to head the ball. You are essentially encouraging your kids to play football for fun and exercise and don’t have greater aspirations for them – like becoming Premier League players, for example – so they don’t really need to learn this skill and it is best to avoid it.

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Playing in a team and to compete

Learning to be a team player and dealing with the pressures of competition are valuable side effects of kids playing more structured football. Matches are easy to organize, and cheap football kits are widely available at suppliers such as https://www.kitking.co.uk. Again, this is most suitable for kids aged 6 to 15. When choosing a league or team, do bear in mind that children grow at different rates and your child might be competing with much bigger youngsters.

The equipment used – balls and portable goals, for example – should be of the correct size for your child’s age and size. A widely acknowledged defect of the English game is that we still see little children playing with adult equipment, meaning that size and strength become more important than dexterity and skill.

If you want your child to have a professional career, you should initially contact your nearest club’s academy.

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